Posts Tagged 'Cisco'

Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX)

Frequent visitors of this blog know that I consider Cisco one of the leading innovators when it comes to virtual events. A few weeks back they held their Global Sales Experience. This time it was not a live event but for the first time a virtual event. A complete shift if you ask me for such kind of conferences.

There are several good posts about this event  called “GSX”.

First a few stats from GPJ, one of the companies involved in setting up the event:

  • 88 hours of consecutive sessions crossing 24 time zones
  • More than 13,000 active players of “The Threshold”, alternate reality game
  • More than 8,000 participants in group chat within the Chat Zone
  • More than 9,500 playing GSX mini games
  • 90% cost savings
  • Content satisfaction scores comparative to previous events

Click here for a good blogpost with more in dept analysis and references to other posts.

This strategy was taking a risk. Companies should allow people to take more risks in order to progress.

Personally I think that a hybrid model for these type of events (objectives) will probably be the right approach.

Thanks Cisco for doing this and sharing the results and learnings with the public!!

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Cisco Live Networkers: Analysis of the Virtual Event

In an earlier post I commented on the virtual events key learnings of Cisco Live Networkers. Earlier this month Cisco provided an overall analysis of their virtual event. A must read if your are into the virtual events business.

Two things caught my attention:

  • One third of the online attendees where from the executive/senior management and management groups. This is promising and proves the fact that virtual events are not only for technical savy audiences. While you would think that executive level people like events for the networking and face to face contacts, Cisco proves that they see value in a virtual event as well and attend!
  • 34% of the virtual attendees indicated they were extremely/very likely to attend the in person event next year. This is prove that an online event is not captilalizing on the in person event attendance, on the contrary, in the long run it is helping in demand generation. Only of course if you have the right strategy in mind and have a clear value proposistion for both the in person as the virtual event.

Cisco Live Networkers: Virtual Event Results

2 months ago I wrote about Cisco Live Networkers: A Hybrid Approach. Over the summer Cisco has provided key learnings in 2 blogposts including results and number of attendees (Virtual Events Key Learnings Part One and Part Two).

I agree with their 3 learnings from part one, meaning:

  • You can never start the strategy planning early enough. Basically, if you don’t know at the start what and why you do something, you should never start it. And secondly, a virtual event IS an event and needs a similar way of planning.
  • Provide support: monitor if things are working (use Twitter as a back channel for example) and act accordingly in a true sense of customer service and experience. Social media can be a medium for that. Technology sucks if it doesn’t work and people get a poor support experience.
  • Maximize your opportunities: in other words, take a hybrid approach and do different things live and online. Be creative and go experimental.

I am less impressed by the 5 learnings out of post two. “Reporting” and “monitoring” is something each marketing campaign should have. “Support” and “Immersion” goes back to the second and third learning out of post one. And finally I agree with “Usability“.

I am positive about the attendee numbers. Some content was freely available and for the whole conference content you needed to pay a subscription fee (which is a great way not to capitalize on live attendees and helps pay for the virtual event platform). Happy to see it worked for Cisco.

Nice case study and thanks to Cisco for open and honest communication about learnings and attendee numbers.

Cisco Live Networkers: A Hybrid Approach

Last week Cisco Live Networkers took place in San Francisco. Cisco opted for a hybrid event approach; meaning a combination of a “live” event with a “virtual” component.

At the live event, content and interactivity are the keywords; keynote sessions, breakout sessions, expo area, ask-the expert sessions, hands-on labs, instructor-led labs, certification testing , social activities etc. “Knowledge is Power” is a well chosen tagline.

The virtual component – I intentionally write “component” – is not replacing the actual physical event. It is offering an alternative to people. I also see it as an extension where Cisco tries to bridge the gap between offline and online attendees to offer a full event experience beyond the actual live event dates in order to link people with the Cisco brand and products.

The live attendees get full access to the virtual component as an additional benefit, while premier subscribers of the online event get a 2 day full fledged virtual event and access to all sessions and content post event (same package as live attendees) and finally there is a guest entry to the online experience for free (you can see some content).

I clearly see value in these type of leveled offerings in order to reach more people and scale the content. It can help pay the platform investment while reaching more people.

The virtual component is built on the InXpo platform. It is the most extensive hybrid event I have seen so far. It is not just having taped content sessions, a resource centre, an expo area and a lounge area (the 4 traditional components of a live event). This one has more elements; a media and analysts area, links with social media to improve interactivity, blog center, a prize centre, a scavenger hunt. Some of these features can be categorized under one of the four traditional ones.

Most elements are an online representation of the live event component. From earlier posts you know that I am not convinced this is the holy grail in virtual event conferences. Though Cisco in this case adds Web 2.0 features and brings in the social media aspects. The virtual experience is a “website” on its own, where Cisco is playing in the Web 2.0 space.

I am quite sure a lot of work and thinking has gone into setting up and building the “experience”. How do you measure the return on investment in this case; the number of online premier subscribers, the number of guest subscribers, how many can you convert into the higher offering, how long do they stay online, how many interactions, feeding the pipeline, knowledge transfer, brand and product awareness etc.

Interesting. Evolution.