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Companies Turn to Virtual Trade Shows to Save Money
Who needs handshakes and cocktail hours? With travel budgets deeply slashed across Corporate America, more companies are turning to virtual trade shows to connect with customers and suppliers.
For some, virtual shows are a way to tiptoe into esoteric meetings that may not attract large crowds. Software company Lithium Technologies turned to the virtual format in November for a show on customer relationship management because the company wasn't sure the topic would draw enough for a real summit. "Do you do a real event at (San Francisco's) Moscone Center, where you have to predict how many people will come for a new show?" says Dan Ziman of Lithium Technologies, which develops social-media software for customer interaction.
Lithium's Social CRM Virtual Summit drew more than 2,200 registrants, and about half logged on for the 10-hour event. A quarter were from other countries. "We couldn't have accomplished that with a live event," he says.