The Benefits of Live Streaming: NCAA March Madness LIVE

The NCAA championship game was held a little over a week ago. The finishing point of a yearlong season and exciting month long tournament, showcasing the best of the best in college basketball. As an extreme sports enthusiast – I would much rather be at all of the games, in the midst of all the action, but unfortunately it just wasn’t in the cards this year.

I’m confident that I wasn’t alone in my disappointment for not experiencing the Madness in person. Whether it was schedule conflicts, ticket prices and availability, or travel costs, there are a slew of reasons why going to the games wasn’t feasible for many of us.

A great solution?
NCAA March Madness LIVE


This year, and decided to live stream every game online for free. All game replays were also available on-demand. Not only were enthusiasts like me able to enjoy watching their favorite team, but we also were able to fill out brackets and join pools. And with that, we needed to keep track of every single game. With live streaming, we could switch between games, as many overlapped in the beginning of the tournament. Or if you were lucky enough to go to one game in person, you could have lived streamed another game on your mobile device at the same time.

Reasons Why I’m Now an Online Fan:

  • Access to instant and constant content and action
    • Expert picks
    • The Social Arena – Twitter and Facebook feeds to read and post in during the games
    • Play-by-play analytics and replays
    • Real-time reporting and updated statistics
  • Online engagement with…
    • Friends
    • Professional and college athletes
    • Professional sports writers, reporters, and broadcasters
  • Gamification
    • Online brackets
    • Sharing/liking/retweeting of memes, infographics, online team posters, game pictures, Facebook albums, etc.
    • Numerous mobile applications
      • e.g. March Madness LIVE, ESPN BracketBound, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, and more

NCAA Tournament Statistics Supporting the Online Extension:

  • 69% of consumers used their mobile devices while watching NCAA tournament on TV in 2012 and 26% of fans used mobile as their primary viewing device
    • 48% checked scores, 25% read news on team/players, 23% checked brackets, 2% watched game highlights
  • Over the last 10 years, there has been $5.2 billion in TV ad revenue from 275 different broadcast sponsors during March Madness
  • CBS/Turner reach a $10.8 billion deal for NCAA tournament broadcast rights from 2011-2024
  • Total March Madness revenue was $738 million
  • Cost per 30-second commercial is $1.2 million (Super Bowl’s ads averaged $3.1 million)
  • Total viewers: 21 million
  • Big time advertisers: GM, AT&T, Coca Cola, Capital One, and more

Big Trend – Online Video:

  • 96% of internet users watch online video
  • 1 out of 2 people share videos with friends
  • 1 out of 3 people write comments
  • 21% use smartphones, 63% use tablets, and 72% use notebooks to watch online video
  • Online video advertising ($2 billion spent) has increased 334%

Live streaming has become an every day thing. Most people don’t even realize that by watching, they are taking part in an online event. Live streaming doesn’t reduce demand for the physical event; it increases content development, gives more opportunity for viewing and engagement, and creates greater awareness. It’s a growing market with high financial, social, and educational possibilities that can be utilized by all industries. I am very grateful that CBS and the NCAA live streamed the games. I had the second best seat in the house.

-Alexa Anason



Posted on Friday, April 19th, 2013 at 3:40 pm | digital events, face-to-face events, Gamification, hybrid events, innovation, marketing, online events, virtual events

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Online Education: Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Professionals

Online college education is growing, and not showing any signs of slowing down. From Harvard and MIT (edX) to local community colleges, schools are taking their education online to deliver coursework to individuals in need of flexible scheduling and reduced costs. A recent article on LinkedIn pointed out:

One of the largest MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) providers, Coursera, is barely a year old and already has 2.5 million students, 215 courses, and 33 college and university partners.

The drivers of college online education are parallel to the drivers of professional online education…

College Online Education Drivers

  • Desire to create a competitive edge against other college and /or internship applicants
  • Desire to experience premium content without geographic and/or economic barriers
    • Ex: Open EdX Harvard & MIT courses
  • High cost of education
  • Desire to test run a major before investing in a college education

Professional Online Education Drivers

  • Maintain a competitive edge against co-workers and outside industry competitors
  • Desire to participate in exclusive or limited size events/forums
    • Ex: Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum (ECEF)
  • High cost of event registration, travel and accommodations
  • Desire to test run association content and value before investing in membership
  • Desire to test run a new career or industry vertical before changing career paths


  • Continued education
  • Inability to focus solely on education due to employment and other responsibilities
  • Ability to learn on your own schedule – morning, noon or night
  • Self-fulfillment
  • Developing the Brand of You
  • Certification

See the above drivers and more in this infographic: Online Education: Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Professionals

Associations and organizations focused on professional education have an opportunity to create new revenue streams by more aggressively applying the strategies of college online education to their business model. Today’s students are tomorrow’s emerging professionals looking for adult education from the association marketplace. Young professionals are expecting professional online education.

Is your association living up to this marketplace expectation? Many associations are, and more are doing so everyday. Those that do will realize new growth in new areas of their business. Those that do not run the risk of their marketplace looking elsewhere for the content needed in the industries they serve.

Other posts on this topic:

Additional infographic:

- Alexa Anason & Lauren Mulherrin


Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 6:29 pm | content, digital events, ECEF, face-to-face events, Generation Y, hybrid events, innovation, Leadership, marketing, Millennials, Motivation, Network, online events, strategy, syndication, virtual events

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Five Factors Driving Online and Hybrid Events to Year-Round Destinations

The following is a guest post by Malcom Lotzof. Malcolm is the Co-Founder and CEO of INXPO. For more content from INXPO, follow @INXPO.


My company provides a technology platform that event planners have traditionally used for “point in time” online and hybrid events. Over the past 12 months or so, however, I am increasingly seeing these same event planners keep their event “open” year round.

One example is the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). They run a number of large, “point in time” events, but also provide an environment called PCMA365 for their members. PCMA365 is exclusively online. And yes, you guessed it: the environment is available 365 days per year.

Let’s consider five factors driving event planners from “point in time” events to year-round destinations.

1) Activation made easy.

I use the term “activation” to refer to the process of delegate recruitment, advertising, email communications and, ultimately, entry into the online or hybrid event. With a year-round environment for your event, your greatest asset (your attendee base) becomes an annuity whose value continues to grow each year. Forget about the burdensome task of recruiting past attendees year after year. Simply activate them when the time comes for your next episodic event.

2) Your attendees want to stay connected.

Your attendees love your online or hybrid event. They enjoy the sessions, they cherish new connections and they enjoy the interactions with other attendees. Do you think that’s not the case the other 11.9 months out of the year? Attendees would love to continue the conversation, stay in touch and keep on top of emerging issues and trends. Your online platform can be the destination for all of that.

3) The economics are attractive.

You incur a certain amount of costs for your online event: live days, live webcasts, video production, live day support and more. Typically, you’ll keep the on-demand archive of your event open for 3 months. Guess what? The cost for keeping it open another 9 months (and beyond) is a fraction of the cost for your point in time event. In my mind, the cost side of the equation is a no brainer (“just do it”) – the larger challenge is developing a smart content strategy, so that your environment flourishes. Year-round destinations become year-round jobs, so there is more work involved.

4) A single destination for your event content.

I’m hearing a lot about content marketing these days. Whether you’re an association, corporation or media company, you’ve probably started doing content marketing related to the mission of your organization. An online environment can become the single destination for all of your content. Place it in your environment, then invite attendees to comment and rate it. Provide information to your sponsors here as well, via access-controlled folders.

5) Additional revenue channels.

You’ve kept your event environment open year round and now have attendees logging in each and every day. That means additional revenue via sponsorship and advertising. Think live webinars, on-demand webinars, sponsored trivia games, banner advertising and more.


As a case in point to what I’ve covered, consider the network launched by bXb Online. They call it BOBtv, or Best of Business Television. Many of the factors I’ve covered (above) directly relate to the launch of BOBtv. My organization, INXPO, is honored to be working as a technology partner of BOBtv. Let’s make these destinations great.

- Malcolm Lotzof, Co-Founder and CEO, INXPO <>

Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2013 at 6:08 pm | audience, B2B, channels, community, content, digital events, hybrid events, Network, online events, strategy, virtual events

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Content. And More.

If I’ve learned one thing in my role at bXb Online, there are no typical event models when it comes to digital events.  Online extensions of face-to-face events especially help organizations achieve a variety of specific goals and objectives through broadened content distribution.

There are common benefits that can result from hosting an online extension of physical events. In addition to the obvious benefit of targeted content distribution across time and geography, and expanded engagement with an organization’s community, quality lead generation can at times be one of the more meaningful benefits derived from well-planned and executed digital events.

Digital events can be particularly effective when budgets are limited, and the goal is to educate, generate interest, garner increased exposure and generate LEADS for a particular initiative or new product launch.  As is the case in planning an in-person event, the need is there to identify desired business outcomes, know the target audience, develop and document a strategy, enlist strong partners, plan, deliver and measure outcome against targets established.

Lead generation is all about targeting the right message to the right audience at the right time. Your data is the foundation for executing a sound marketing plan, with clean and targeted data segmented to include prospects, partners, industry colleagues, and other segments. Through this data, you can track toward a successful online event that will surpass targeted lead generation goals.

Marketo offers a great example of a successful online event, including detailed steps involved in pre-event strategy.  The case study highlights how they segmented their database, utilized social media and leveraged their partners for promotion to wider audiences. For access to case studies from bXb Online, click here.

Content. Community. And more.

Deb Greif & Gretchen Kihm-Stegall 

Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Data, digital events, hybrid events, marketing, online events, strategy, virtual events

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Did you hear what they did?! – Word of Mouth Marketing

Paul Rand and Marty Finn of Zocalo Group (@zocalogroup) recently delivered a gripping presentation, Becoming Recommended: Word of Mouth as the Center of the B2B Marketing Mix, at a BMA Chicago Young Professionals event. Word of mouth marketing, or WOM, is a concept that has always intrigued me due to its power. WOM is free, honest, real, and most importantly, it guarantees you will gain exposure for your brand. 

Below are my 3 main takeaways from the event.

1. Recommendations

Zocalo Group places high importance on recommendations. Not only do you want your business to be talked about, but talked about in a positive manner. You want that talking to lead to recommendations, or great word of mouth, which will in turn lead to customers choosing your business. Paul and Marty included this well aligned and thought provoking quote to further emphasize their point:

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is, it’s what the consumers tell each other it is.” –Scott Look, Intuit

It’s truly all about personal recommendations, whether it’s a friend recommending a movie, a coworker raving about a restaurant, or a product review you read on Amazon. Recommendations exist everywhere in today’s world and it’s important that your company gives clients a way to recommend your work.

2. Transparency and Ownership

While every business hopes the WOM regarding their brand is positive, it is essential to accept that sometimes it is not. Businesses, like humans, WILL make mistakes. The best thing you can do is this:

• Own up to your mistakes, and quickly – don’t try to hide or ignore them and assume people will eventually forget

• Apologize, and don’t try to pass the blame – studies have shown that apologies carry much weight in the decision of a returning customer

• Communicate how you’re fixing it – keeping your customers in the loop will establish long-term relationships, and if you can create long-term relationships with those who have been previously upset, what can’t you do?

If you stick to the above, there is a very high chance that positive word of mouth regarding your business will spread like wildfire. “Did you hear about what company X did? Did you also see how quickly they owned up to their mistake and apologized?” Respect. Trust. Authenticity. A few qualities your company can earn by being transparent with mistakes and by taking ownership.

3. The 90/10 Rule

The 90/10 Rule can be applied to many aspects of business. For WOM purposes, the Zocalo Group befittingly applied it to social media. 90% of your time on social channels should be spent listening, learning, and engaging. Only the remaining 10% of your time should be spent talking about yourself, your brand, your business, and pushing out your own material. This type of communication can guarantee a well-built and lasting relationship with your customers.

All of the above, and much more, can be practiced to create excellent and lasting WOM as the center of the B2B marketing mix for your business.

-Alexa Anason 

Posted on Monday, March 4th, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Advice, B2B, marketing, social media, strategy, Word of Mouth Marketing

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