|Title||CISCO LIVE: APAC|
|Product / Service||CISCO LIVE B2B EVENT|
|Category||A06. Consumer Services / Business to Business|
|Entrant||MERKLE DWA Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Idea Creation||MERKLE DWA Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Media Placement||MERKLE DWA Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Timothy Brogan||Merkle DWA||Business Director|
|Katrina Papica||Merkle DWA||Digital Account Director|
|Matt Brown||Merkle DWA||Paid Social Manager|
|Thao Nguyen||Merkle DWA||Programmatic Executive|
Cisco Live is a flagship regional event for the technology giant and planning begins almost a year out, but as COVID-19 grew from being an intangible piece of news to a global pandemic, the event was swiftly cancelled, and the decision taken to transform this into an online forum. With just weeks to go, we had to pivot months of work into a new solution: chiefly, how to make the virtual event available via mass channels for easy content consumption against key audiences, while hitting ambitious business KPIs, including sales pipeline targets.
Cisco needed an innovative way to use its flagship event to showcase its position as a market-leading technology business. However, competition for attention to hear the brand's value proposition is difficult, with multiple vendors all claiming to hold the keys to “digital transformation” which increases difficulty for IT decision makers (ITDMs) to gain a clear understanding of the pressures, trends, and opportunities facing their businesses and careers. To complicate matters further, what was originally planned as a physical event had to rapidly pivot into being a full virtual one, due to the impact of Covid-19. The challenge presented to us was how to extend reach of the online event to key regional markets, hold the audience’s attention across a two-day period, specifically including 12k+ registrations from paid media and delivering 3.5m views of the live-streamed event on Cisco platforms ... all the while ensuring that media played a
With the adoption of AI technology growing at three times its normal rate, there is a clear demand for businesses to equip themselves for the future. Decision makers’ considerations are also becoming harder to track, with more than 80% of research conducted online anonymously. Additionally, this key audience conduct an average of twelve searches before engaging with a brand's site, meaning they are becoming more discerning in their research and consideration of tech brands and providers. However, with data indicating that 70% of this audience watch videos throughout their path to purchase - given Cisco had multiple tasks to achieve including changing users’ perception of the brand and building as much awareness with decision makers at the top of the research funnel, live-streaming Cisco Live seemed key to repositioning the brand and its products in the audience mindset, particularly with decision makers at the top of the sales funnel.
Once the core audience were captured at the start of their research journey, the second stage of the strategy commenced. Given the digital signals these viewers left, we built a comprehensive media journey to nurture these prospects through their consideration journey for the months to follow. This digital and data-based approach to changing perception through nurture is very rare in Cisco's current marketing segments. We knew that if the event went well, there was a real chance to become an industry trendsetter in B2B marketing. After workshopping an initial approach and user journeys - including a multi-stage approach of pre, during and post-event - we then engaged key media platforms to support campaign development and advise on key solutions to drive the right outcomes, given cutting edge ad-tech and market-first tactics were required to livestream to an audience that had historically never been able to access the event.
Pre-event, it was especially important to build excitement for the event among those unable to attend. Activities in this phase harnessed the power of global reach and targeting abilities of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, driving mass awareness with digital professionals. With over 18k people registering their interest in the livestream, social platforms would also become important in phases 2 and 3. This outcome was a far cry from the 2,500 registrations from the previous year. During the two-day event, we dealt with the complexities of live-streaming across the APJC region and traversing multiple time zones and media platforms; a raft of livestream and live engagement formats were implemented to capture attention in as many environments as possible. To close the loop, post-event, social and programmatic channels retargeted specialised offers to those who had previously engaged with the live broadcast or visited Cisco Live web assets.
We exceeded Cisco’s expectations by delivering 12M views by the end of day two, a far cry from the 1.9M during Cisco Live 2019 (500%+). The audience were also engaged; they spent twenty-four minutes on average viewing content on cisco.com and ciscolive.com sites - but most importantly, this viewership generated more than 62k media conversions, versus the planned 49k. This value generated from a limited regional budget greatly exceeded anyone’s expectations, with paid media driving more than a million views within the first twenty-four hours – an impact on sales that’s still being felt today. From a business standpoint, the virtual event amplification initiative has also been a success, contributing significantly to a $15m+ sales pipeline. Analysis also shows that nearly two-thirds of users are now likely to purchase Cisco products as a result of attending the event; and more than half of attendees planned to purchase sooner than before.