Posts Tagged ‘virtual events’

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

October 26, 2009

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!

Reaching real tech buyers in emerging markets virtually. Really!

October 14, 2009

Not all technology buyers in emerging markets are accessing the internet from mobile phones or dial-up connections.  In fact, many places in countries considered “emerging markets” are rapidly resembling more mature markets, in income levels and especially in mobility, internet access, and now broadband penetration.  Shanghai, for one, is probably better connected than some cities in the middle of the US.  What does that mean for technology marketers?  It means that they can leverage their complete toolbox of marketing tools to reach those audiences — and increasingly they are doing just that.

One tool that is rapidly entering the mainstream is the use of virtual events to connect with audiences far andvirtualevents_emergingmkts wide.  In Forrester’s Business Data Services Global Technology Adoption Survey, IT decision-makers in emerging markets report greater use of virtual events to inform purchasing decisions than their mature market counterparts — 42% in emerging and 37% in mature markets.  When compared to physical events, buyers in some countries — Chile, Mexico and  Vietnam — participate more in virtual events (see figure).  And, tech marketers are paying attention.  One of EMC’s virtual launch events attracted almost 8,000 attendees from over 80 countries.  And, you don’t have to be big to have that success.  Quest Software’s 2008 Quest Connect event attracted almost 1500 attendees from 20 countries.

Stay tuned for some tips on how to plan and execute a successful global virtual event.  And, in the meantime, take a look at my recent Forrester report, “Reach Real Global B2B Tech Audiences With Virtual Events: New Tools And Best Practices For B2B Marketing Beyond Borders.” And, attend my upcoming Forrester Teleconference, “Reach Real Global Audiences With Virtual Events,” on Monday, October 19, 2009, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Eastern time (18:00-19:00 UK time).