Pump Up the Volume
How planners are using meetings tech tools to create greater impact with their events
This past May, software firm Citrix turned its conference into a global marketing event. Citrix Synergy
2017, held at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, drew in more than 5,500 employees, customers, partners, and industry leaders for three days of training, roundtable discussions, and networking that explored “the workplace of the future” and how technology could help drive it forward. But some of the greatest value came from the connections the event created outside the conference itself.
Partnering with Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Event Services, Citrix captured more than 100 of its conference sessions across 10 different rooms. Together, they created a customized online experience complete with a registration portal, live chat, a custom video portal, and project management to power what it dubbed Citrix Synergy TV.
“Sessions were streamed live, and then updated to be available on demand, often the same day and by livestreaming the keynotes and breakout sessions,” says Meri Summers, senior manager of corporate events at Citrix. “We turned the in-person event into an online, live, and on-demand destination that lives beyond the conference and generated more than 100,000 views.”
Meeting and event planning company Bishop-McCann recently worked to leverage technology and social media to expand the marketing impact of a live event. Its client, Verizon, was piloting a series of experiential stores, or “Verizon Destination Stores,” which aimed to create an experience like that in an Apple Store. Visitors could try out Verizon’s technology — from music and entertainment to health and fitness, with products like Bose speakers and Fitbits. For a store grand opening in Houston, Bishop-McCann was tasked with helping engage Millennials and showcasing Verizon not as a cell phone company, but as a technology company. Social media was the obvious way to do that.
“This generation’s buying patterns and behavior are highly influenced by social media, so we strategically crafted a store opening event that involved engagement through social media,” explains Hillary Bamont, sales director for Bishop-McCann.
Over a month-long campaign prior to the event, Bishop-McCann worked with several social media influencers with more than 1 million followers. Social media figures like Nash Grier, Lohanthony, Princess Lauren, and Jake Miller posted on their social media pages offering a chance to win tickets to concerts, meet-and-greets, and more to those who came to the opening and posted photos with the hashtag #vzwhouston.
“This created brand awareness and buzz since we provided step-and-repeats [banners for visitors to take photos in front of] with Verizon branding,” says Bamont. “The event was immersed in Verizon branding through banners, digital signage, and step-and-repeats, along with T-shirts that were given out to every person who attended the grand opening.”
The event was a huge social media success, resulting in more than 100 million social media, TV, and print media impressions. While the grand opening was targeted toward a consumer market more than a corporate one, the lessons it offered of the impact of social media, particularly for Millennial audiences, are valuable ones for planners of B2B events.
“Social media plays a big role in improving engagement [before and after an event],” says Liz King. “In particular, Facebook having a much bigger push on community building is going to be a platform to keep people engaged from event to event.”
Though specifics have yet to be announced, King expects this to include a simplification of Facebook’s Groups feature, how they’re organized, the ease of adding people or sharing updates and news, privacy settings, and so on. Such a shift could be valuable for events that target members of specific industry segments or affinities.
Meri Summers of Citrix has certainly found the livestreaming to be a benefit for Citrix Synergy. “A big reason for streaming is because we offer a lot of breakout sessions and you can only attend so many,” she says. “Even if you’re attending in person Citrix Synergy TV [allows you] to find all of the sessions your schedule didn’t allow you to attend. Attendees find a lot of content they are interested in that they go back and watch.”
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