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Fully six in ten marketers (60%) say they plan to increase spending on virtual events and environments in 2011, while 42% plan to decrease spending on physical conferences and tradeshows during the year, according to a survey from Unisfair.

Below, other findings from Unisfair's second annual report titled The Future of Virtual Business Environments (2011), based on a survey of 550 marketers.

Bigger Audiences, Less Money

Nearly two-thirds of marketers (64%) say a key benefit of virtual events is reaching larger audiences for less money, while 40% cite a related benefit—getting the same or better results for less money.

Roughly one-quarter of marketers (27%) say attending virtual events (rather than physical ones) is less hassle, reducing the stress of losing luggage, while 24% say virtual events offer the same or better results for less effort; 19% say such events deliver quantifiable results.

Asked what the best part about attending a virtual event is, 58% cite the ability to multitask, while 14% cite the ability to be "invisible" until they're ready to engage with colleagues or vendors.


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Attending from Unusual Places

Marketers themselves have attended virtual events from a wide variety of places, such as from bed (27%), beaches or swimming pools (11%), and airplanes (4%).


 
Some 42% cite "other" places, including the car, the kitchen, a baseball game, the patio, and a retail showroom.

Not surprisingly, 62% of marketers would like the ability to attend a virtual event from a mobile device.

Virtual events appeal to marketers for a wide range of purposes, including training (42%), customer engagement (36%), internal collaboration (34%), lead generation (29%), and networking (8%).

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 550 marketers nationwide, conducted in April 2011 by Zoomerang for Unisfair, an Intercall company.

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