While some trade shows are on the decline, online events that require no travel are on the rise. Brent Arslaner, vice president of marketing for online events management company Unisfair, said in Despite Growing Pains, Online Events Provide New Opportunities that the advantages of online events include a global reach, lower expenses, lower environmental impact and the fact that busy executives can pop in for just an hour or two. He also cites research from FactPoint Group showing that those who attend virtual events typically spend 2 hours there, visit 16 locations and download five resources.
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Other organizations still see lots of value in trade shows. Eric Weaver, president of social marketing consultancy Brand Dialogue foresees live events becoming even more interconnected with online aspects, but still not giving all their value away for free. He says many vendors go to trade shows because their competitors are there, and they can't afford not to be present. He believes that an event budget is better spent on online engagement with potential customers. Technologies such as Twitter and Facebook, he says, also help facilitate face-to-face meetings at trade shows.