Raising the Game for a Customer Event

For five years, the technology company had hosted an annual golf outing for its customers and key vendors, and bracketed it with cocktail receptions and a dinner at the country club.  Attendees loved it – but it attracted too few of the company's most important customers, and executives wondered if it was contributing as much value as it should.

We proposed that the company create a one-day seminar, to be called the Techforum, on the day before the golf outing.  The Techforum would accomplish several goals:

  • Increase the number of customers attending, particularly those unwilling to tell the boss that they were attending to "play golf with our vendor."
  • Showcase the company's leadership in technology innovation for media, mobile, maritime and other markets.
  • Enhance the company's brand in all of its markets.

Turning Innovation into Reliable Solutions

Working with company leadership, we devised a program focusing on two key areas of strength: mobile communication services and broadcast center integration.  We recruited key customers as panelists, and keynote speakers from industry trade groups and vendors of transformative technologies in the sectors.  The program included demos by selected vendors and a tour of the company's state-of-the-art facilities.  Every piece of content contributed to the perception that the company excelled at turning best-in-class technology innovations from around the world into stable, reliable solutions for its customers. 

We also created a sponsorship program to monetize the strong interest of vendors in reaching the audience of the Techforum.  Program tracks, keynotes, social events and the golf outing became sponsorship opportunities that were eagerly taken up by name-brand companies.  The income went far toward subsidizing the total cost of the program. 

In its first year, the Techforum program won rave reviews from attendees but did not dramatically change attendance.  By the third year, however, the educational program attracted standing-room audiences, with more than 50% consisting of customers.  With much lower net costs and improved attendance, the Techforum had achieved its objectives for audience, message and brand.