Oracle did a cool thing today. They held an on-line trade show called Applications Unlimited Experts Live. The company leveraged On24’s virtual trade show technology to make it all work. As luck would have it I have recently interviewed a user of a competing trade show product for another project so I was able to get an understanding of what’s involved.
You might think that because the event is on-line that it’s easy to put one together but the same amount of planning and the same or greater amount of content has to be prepared for these events. The real payoff is that it’s a lot easier to get people to a virtual event—it’s less expensive and far greener.
One complaint, attending the event required a robust set of software for viewing and listening and although Oracle had instructions for PC’s and Mac’s, I think the PC instructions worked better (I hope), I finally got everything configured and downloaded and heard Ed Abbo’s keynote.
The interface and the virtual venue were fine and you could, if you wanted, chat or otherwise communicate with people. As an analyst there wasn’t a lot of new content for me but that isn’t the point, I get briefings all the time. What impressed me about Oracle’s on-line trade show was how well it was put together and how it operated.
There are many ways to demonstrate thought leadership in a recession and show that you are engaged with your customers, this was novel and quite good. The virtual conference saved a lot of money and ensured that customers with real interest would not be precluded from attending because budgets are tight. While that might look like great customer intimacy (and it is) it is also great operational effectiveness because it made Oracle look like a company that is easy to do business with. In a recession operational effectiveness is a great weapon that far too few companies use.
It also stole some thunder from Microsoft’s Convergence, a flesh and blood trade show happening this week in New Orleans. Think about the contrast!