Online events are live events hosted from the convenience of a desktop. They bring together industrial suppliers who exhibit at online virtual booths and an industrial audience that clicks through the “showroom floor,” visiting suppliers and accessing information on products, services, and supplier capabilities.

More and more suppliers are adding online events to their marketing mix. According to the “Tech Marketing Barometer” study conducted by IDC in 2010, 60% of respondents indicated they will increase their investments in virtual events — a higher increase in spending compared to key marketing programs such as search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and e-mail marketing.

Why all the excitement around online events? Online events in the industrial sector are winners for both the audience and exhibitors.

Attendees experience comfort level
Industrial buyers and other professionals have largely migrated online to search for products, suppliers and services and are comfortable using online sources to access content. Online events allow industrial professionals to access information online and interact with many suppliers in a single session without having to incur travel costs or time out of the office.

Suppliers can achieve multiple goals
Industrial marketers can use virtual events to promote new product launches, gain exposure to a new market, build brand awareness, and develop and nurture relationships. These events present the perfect opportunity for suppliers to position themselves as thought leaders in their industries.

Exhibitors can showcase their entire portfolio
Webinars and e-newsletter advertisements are two other effective and popular online marketing programs for industrial suppliers. Webinars are usually single-topic focused and e-newsletter ads are typically centered on an individual product or offer. Both make sense when matched to specific marketing goals. On the other hand, online events give suppliers the opportunity to showcase their entire product and services portfolio and to demonstrate their expertise. At a virtual event, suppliers can offer white papers, research reports, data sheets, links to online catalogs and a wealth of other content that highlights the full depth and breadth of their offerings.

Connect with a targeted, yet dispersed audience
One reason suppliers like online events is they can connect with more of their target audience without bumping up against geographic limitations. Many decision makers and influencers who attend online events may otherwise be hard to reach because they are far away or do not travel to in-person events. Few other marketing programs can offer this type of reach and visible branding opportunity for suppliers.

Another advantage of online events is that engineers attend online events to stay abreast of the latest industry and technology trends that are useful to them; they are often in the early design phase of their buy cycle and suppliers that can get on their radar in the early phase are likely to be found on their prospects’ short lists in the purchasing phase.

A lasting impression
The most effective online events have both a live component that lasts for a full day, followed by on-demand exposure during which the audience can continue to access the content of the event for a specified period of time. This gives suppliers the opportunity to continue accruing the benefits of the event after the real-time version is past.

A resource for industrial marketers
GlobalSpec has recently published a white paper to help suppliers learn more about exhibiting at online events, including what to consider when evaluating virtual events and the four best practices for a successful event. Download your complimentary copy of “Online Events: What Every Industrial Marketer Needs to Know.”

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