Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 potential advantages of virtual marketing (and market research)

Virtual events such as webcasts, podcasts continue to grow in popularity as marketers are beginning to get a grip on how to conduct these events effectively. When you have to do more with less, as we have in a troubled economy, the internet can be your best friend.

There are a few advantages of online events over live events:
  • Online events can be a fraction of the cost of a live event
  • It can be left on the internet forever and accessed anytime
  • Its effectiveness can be measured easily and in greater detail
Now, a strong case can be made for the face-to-face interaction that live events provide; however, a similar impact can be made via video-conference technologies as well. Some may say that nothing can replace the effect of a handshake between two people - except, perhaps, the incredible amounts of time and money saved by online meetings. 

At Stinson, we are currently engaged in conducting online market research, and we have decided to leverage web-based technologies to reach our audience and capture their insights. We held a series of focus groups online, using a video conference platform and webcams. We sent the respondents a webcam and few handouts by mail in advance. And a few hundred dollars later, we had a full length transcript and audio/video recording of the focus group. Not to mention, we could see the expression on every respondent's face during the research session which is harder to do from behind a one-way mirrored window.

The day when business can be done over digital handshakes may not that far in the future.

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