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InXpo hopes to draw big brands to its virtual trade shows by hooking up with a well-known experience-marketing firm, George P. Johnson. Experience marketing involves staging live events for clients who want to make a big impression.

The alliance could lead to more virtual trade-show events, since GPJ works with a number of global brands. Under the deal, GPJ will use InXpo as the preferred provider of virtual trade shows for GPJ’s clients.

Chris Meyer, senior vice president of client services and general manager of GPJ, said that virtual events are an extension of the company’s overall events strategy. The goal is to cost-effectively blend physical and virtual brand experiences for customers. We wrote about how Sony Electronics used InXpo to stage a virtual event to sell its broadcast equipment in lieu of traveling around the country.

Chicago-based InXpo doesn’t disclose how many employees it has, but it plans to double the number this year. It is privately funded and was founded in 2005. GPJ’s clients include a number of Fortune 1000 companies.

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Rivals include Forterra Systems, Unisfair, On24, and even virtual world Second Life. The latter is favored by IBM and involves attendees creating their own avatars. With InXpo, attendees simply upload their photos and do not create avatars.

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