Large US companies have embraced the use of virtual meetings technology more than their smaller counterparts, according to a new survey by George P Johnson Experience Marketing.
The online survey of 889 participants in the virtual market, conducted in collaboration with the Virtual Edge Institute and the Lattanze Center at Loyola University Maryland, showed that among the sample of companies with more than $250m (£166m) a year in revenue, 70 per cent of respondents indicated that their companies produce virtual meetings and events.
Looking at the figures overall, 48 per cent of those questioned said their companies were utilising virtual meetings technology, with 37 per cent indicating their companies produce hybrid events, with both a physical and virtual component.
The most popular use of virtual meeting technology was presentations, with 61 per cent using it for that purpose, followed by internal meetings (56 per cent), training/education (53 per cent) and conferences (48 per cent). The least popular use was trade shows, with 32 per cent.
However, when the respondents were asked what virtual activities they had participated in during the past year, 48 per cent answered trade shows. The most popular activities were webinars and webcasts, with 83 per cent and 75 per cent respectively. The least popular was online job fairs, with 11 per cent.
When implementing a virtual meeting or event, 89 per cent of respondents indicated that ‘ease of use for attendees’ was critically important, followed by return on investment, at 64 per cent. The most well known interactive online platforms were WebEx and GoToMeeting (89 per cent and 81 per cent).
In its conclusion, the report stated: “We’ve seen that as the underlying connective power of the web has increased, so has the ability of marketers to engage their audiences. At the same time, economic and environmental forces are creating the impetus for organisations to invest in new ways to educate, engage and inspire those same audiences.
“Benefitting from these trends, virtual meetings technology such as desktop sharing and webcasting have paved the way for newer, larger format virtual environments that enable a much broader scope of networking, education and brand engagement. For event and experiential marketers, the moment is particularly ripe with opportunity. The convergence of these technologies, along with a more sophisticated approach to content and strategy, is putting live experiences — both online and physical — at the centre of the new integrated marketing mix.”