About to start virtual trade show demos

By | January 5, 2009

A couple of other urgent work projects took me away for a bit from the virtual trade show evaluation, but I’ve been gearing up to talk with the virtual trade show vendors.

In the process, I’ve refined my questions and added a few, so here is the final list I came up with.  I’ve told the vendors that I don’t want them to fill it out, I just want to use it as an overall guide to help steer the conversation/demo.  Of course the overall questions are the most important

Overall Questions
•    What do you feel are distinctive characteristics/features of your platform or company?
•    How long have you been hosting virtual trade shows?
•    Approximately how many of your customers have come back to host a second or subsequent show with you?
•    What is the overall process for coordination once you begin working with a client?
•    In general, what aspects of the show do you handle and what do you require of your clients?
•    How do you help steer clients to get the most value from their show, before, during, and after?
•    Do you have any kind of user groups/networks for organizers to share experiences?
•    Are there any upcoming shows in which we can take a look?
•    Please provide two references.

Detailed Questions
(not necessarily in order, I just put numbers to have a point of reference)
1. Show Administration
•    What types of tools are available for managing vendors, speakers, attendees?
•    Are non-English languages supported, and how is it determined on show, vendor, speaker, or attendee basis?
2. Vendor/Exhibitor Administration/Setup
•    Variety of booth types
•    What is platform for customizing booths?
•    Can the booth integrate Adobe Flash?
o    If so, which versions (ActionScript 2 or ActionScript 3)?
o    Can Flash extensions access booth features, such as initiate Chats, open documents
•    What types of videos and/or multimedia can be used?
•    What, if any, e-Commerce facilities/functionality are available?
•    What formats are acceptable for the booth (contents)?
3. Speaker Administration
•    Can talks be done as live streaming?
•    Can talks be done as pre-recorded broadcasts?
•    Are Q&A’s (following) sessions all text chat, or mixed (text/audio/webcam)?
•    Are Q&A’s recorded for later use/review?
•    Can the speaker share his or her desktop, or other WebEx-type functionality (white boards, polls, etc.)?
•    Can the speaker browse to web sites or other content while allowing the participants to interact with that content?
•    Can audience members speak (audio) or take the microphone?
•    What technical requirements are there for the speaker to conduct a presentation?
•    What are the recommended specs for speaker equipment?
•    What formats are acceptable?
•    Can there be multiple speakers/presenters, and from different locations?
4. Attendee Administration
•    Platforms (Win/Mac/Linux)?
•    Require any browser plug-in?
•    Browser or other compatibilities (e.g., Windows Media, etc.)
•    How intrusive is sign-up?
•    How intrusive is login?
5. Talks/Presentations
•    What browser and software does an attendee need to participate?
•    What kind of support is given during the conference for attendee problems?
6. Exhibit Hall
•    How does a participant “see” the possible booths or vendors?
•    Are there booths of different sizes?
•    Do booths have different areas, or just one view?
•    What kind of interaction can an attendee have with a sales/booth rep?
•    What kind of tracking is kept for an attendee?
7. Attendee Networking
•    Does it integrate with networking after the show?
•    How do attendees network?
•    Is there a place like a lounge where attendees can network?
•    Why does an attendee want to hang out in the lounge?
8. Reporting/Tracking
•    What kind of reporting is done, and how is that accessed?
•    Can extensions or loaded content hook into tracking (read/write)?
9. Support
•    What kind of support is available before the show, for
o    Vendors
o    Speakers
o    Show Organizer
•    What kind of support is available during the show, for the same groups as above, as well as Participants/Visitors?
10. Pricing/Costs
•    Pricing/cost structure/options
11. Beyond the Show
•    What are the archival capabilities for talks, exhibit hall, etc.
•    How can the show creators get value after the show?
•    How can exhibitors get value after the show?
•    How do participants get value after the show, for example, social networking?

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