Cisco redefines their Global Sales Experience — a virtual event with real cost savings!

Cisco recently blew away the numbers on attendance at a virtual event — with over 19,000 attendees at their Global Sales Experience (GSX), their first virtual annual sales meeting.  The largest I’d heard had been EMC’s V-Max launch with almost 9,000 attendees. While Cisco’s was an internal event and not a outward-oriented marketing event, their success is illustrative of the possibilities of virtual events for reaching broad, global audiences.  And, what possibilities there are!

Here are some of the stats on Cisco’s GSX (from the Cisco blog):

  • Participants from 89 countries spanning 24 times zones
  • 3 global Contact Centers (running 24×7 on Cisco technologies) supporting the users (in the environment as well as via phone and email) and providing technical monitoring and support real time
  • 88 hours of consecutive sessions crossing 24 time zones
  • More than 13,000 active players of the alternate reality game (ARG) “The Threshold” (around 7,000 had been expected)
  • More than 8,000 participants in group chat within the “Chat Zone”
  • More than 9,500 playing mini  games
  • Satisfaction scores for the sessions comparative to previous events
  • Offset 84,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide
  • 90% cost savings

The virtual event was long anticipated as Cisco announced cancellation of the 2009 physical event originally schedule for August 2009 back in November 2008.  Cisco’s last physical global sales conference had brought about 5,000 of its top sales reps to San Francisco in August 2008.

With the new event, participation in the sales meeting more than tripled, and costs fell by 90%.  The average cost per attendee went from somewhere over $4000 to just over $400.  That’s huge!

The team used the InXpo virtual event platform but relied on additional help for event production.  A virtual event is a real event after all.  As some virtual event organizers have learned the hard way, event production services can be a key to success — particularly for events of this size and scope. Cisco used used the services of  jUXT Interactive, a part of George P. Johnson.  Cisco’s GSX also integrated their own technology including CiscoTV, Webex and Telepresence to stream content and provide additional security for behind-the-firwall meeting environments.

Congratulations to Cisco on a real success!

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