Some Publishers Seeing Double on Virtual Trade Show Investment
Publishers say the events have the look and feel of face-to-face conferences with virtual exhibit halls and lecture rooms. Registrants may network with one another, as well as vendors and sponsors through instant messaging. Vendors and sponsors may also distribute marketing information and white papers to participants. And, in return for their financial support, vendors and sponsors are given the names of attendants to use as a source of lead generation.
Debby Denton, publisher of Wireless Week, says her magazine launched its first virtual conference two years ago and it was so successful, they launched two more in 2005. "We did one in June and one in November, and we had 5,000 total registrants," Denton says. "So someone said ﾑYeah, great, how many do you think will show up.’ Well, you hope it’s somewhere around 50 percent. We had 3,500 people show up."
Wireless Week’s first two-day expo launched in November 2004, generated a 50 percent profit margin or $130,000 in revenue on a $65,000 investment. The magazine has now started doing virtual job fairs, which, Denton says, are also profitable, but less time-consuming. "When we started doing it, we didn’t realize how much work went into it. I would say for a conference it takes no less than 80 hours," she says. "The job fairs are much easier."
Unisfair’s Ziv says it can cost as a publisher around $25,000 to put on a small trade show and upwards of $100,000 for a large event.
Most online trade shows do not charge a fee to attendees and therefore profit margins are dependent on sponsorships and vendor booths. "We want people to come to the event," Denton says. "It’s what our sponsors and our vendors want. It’s a pretty hefty fee you pay for the platform so everything is based on sponsorship and booth sales."
For more about online trade shows, read Folio: magazine’s August issue.