MC Hammer emcees ON24 virtual event

Customer and prospect requests for virtual event best practices prompted ON24 to host the Virtual Events User Experience, a virtual event about hosting virtual events.

Client: ON24 (San Francisco)
Agency: Grayling Connecting Point (San Francisco)
Campaign: Virtual Event User Experience – VUE2010
Duration: September 13 – December 14, 2010
Budget: $33,600

Customer and prospect requests for virtual event best practices prompted ON24 to host the Virtual Events User Experience (VUE2010), a virtual event about hosting virtual events. The December 14 event provided education and networking opportunities, while showcasing ON24's platform and capabilities. AOR Grayling Connecting Point helped devise and execute a campaign to maximize it.

“We saw the VUE2010 as a thought leadership, brand awareness, and lead generation opportunity, and we put together a PR campaign to drive the same objective,” explains Tricia Heinrich, ON24's senior director of strategic communications.

Strategy
Virtual event experts from ON24's customer base, including Cisco and IBM, were recruited to present best practices.

MC Hammer, who has more than two million Twitter followers, served as spokesperson and emcee. In addition to being a well-known musician, Heinrich says Hammer has become a social media evangelist.

“He advocates adoption of new ways of doing business – a virtual event is a perfect example of that kind of tool,” she adds.

Social media outreach, media relations, email, and direct customer contact drove awareness.

Tactics
At ON24's studio on November 10, Hammer taped a video event “reminder” (used in promotional materials), and a video welcoming attendees and explaining event highlights (used during the event). A local ABC affiliate covered the taping. Hammer and the team tweeted about the taping, event, and media coverage throughout.

ABC's coverage was posted on YouTube, and b-roll of it was pitched to other media, including marketing trades, b-to-b trades, and business and general consumer outlets. Select journalists got copies of ON24's “Virtual Events for Dummies” book. Results of registrant survey in early November on event behavior and preferences provided a news hook.

Hammer-related phrases, including “Can't Touch This,” were used in promotional materials. Agency VP Curtis Sparrer notes “Can't Touch This” perfectly aligns with the nature of virtual events.

During the event, 15 experts covered topics ranging from content to promotion in a number of formats (case studies, chats, Q&As, etc.).

ON24's sales and customer service teams promoted the event in person with customers and via email.

Follow-up included an online forum created in January, and a “ReVUE” webcast case study of the event aired live online March 16.

Results
VUE2010 attracted 4,000 registrants from 84 countries. Heinrich reports 755 “highly qualified business leads” and nine deals closed.

The campaign garnered more than 57 million media impressions in outlets including PC World, Examiner.com, and MSN.

Future
The team is promoting emerging applications, such as virtual career fairs and training.

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