June 08, 2021 Michael Mayday
Great experiences drive outstanding results. And few companies know that better than Zendesk, a leader in helping companies create fantastic customer experiences. In fact, the company’s ability to create a great experience anywhere at any time is why it won our 2021 Globalization Award at The ON24 Experience.
How did it do this? The company made a successful major pivot to digital events after in-person conferences and meetings were shut down due to the global health crisis spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
That it made a pivot to digital is not in itself unique. However, what is unique is Zendesk’s philosophy and avidity for going all-in on using digital experiences to create a fantastic set of experiences.
With One Digital Experience Series, Zendesk:
Drove 65% of pipeline
Drove 51% of bookings
Beat registration goals by 2x
51% average live attendance rate
26,000 global registration
13,000 global event series or on-demand views
Zendesk’s Big Digital Event Decision
Like many global organizations, Zendesk had to make a significant decision in early 2020: do they cancel all planned in-person events now or wait and see how the events environment responds to COVID-19?
Zendesk made an early, quick call: shut down in-person events and go digital as soon as possible.
Going digital was a massive pivot in more ways than one. Before COVID-19, Zendesk, like many companies, considered digital events as an afterthought or an add-on to a physical event.
According to Sarah Reed, Sr. Director, Global Strategic Events, Zendesk, that was because the company focused solely on building out the physical experience. Everything at a physical event — from the emotional tone, layout and branding — was there to enhance the audience experience and the stage.
Zendesk’s digital events had to hit a lot of the same notes — like emotional tone, layout and branding — but it had to do so both at a distance and with a potentially inattentive crowd.
Creating Amazing Digital Experiences
To make its digital experiences stand out, Zendesk’s events team partnered with the organization’s webinar events crew to craft unique digital experiences that’d scale.
Creating Unexpected Experiences with Zendesk’s Digital Tipping Point
The first major digital event: translating the messages Zendesk would’ve shared at its annual user conference, Zendesk Relate, into a digital context.
To do this, the team set its sights on creating a unique, unexpected experience that attendees would love and remember.
So, the company partnered with Pop-Up Magazine — a live multimedia magazine experience created for the stage — to produce an event around Zendesk’s quarterly theme: telling stories through digital channels.
And that theme — telling stories through digital channels — was especially important to Zendesk’s audience. To drive the point home, the company developed interactive content, like quizzes, visual cues, and icons, to help attendees to assess their digital experiences and drive better results.
But Zendesk went one step further for its Pop-Up Magazine event: the company sent care packages to high-value guests and asked them not to open the care package until the day of the event.
By sending attendees a physical package for a digital event, Zendesk realized two things:
1. Care packages are a great way of generating excitement ahead of a digital event
2. Physical touchpoints still have a crucial role to play in a digital world
With its strategies in place, Zendesk drove a 51% attendance rate for its Digital Tipping Point event with Pop-Up Magazine with an average viewing time of 57 minutes.
How Zendesk Drove Global Reach With Its CX Trends Report
Zendesk’s Digital Tipping Point was only one part of its overall shift to digital. The company also had to ensure its main audience — customer experience professionals — had the latest insights and trends to apply to their work.
To help Zendesk’s more than 90,000 customers, the company produces its annual CX Trends Report. This report provides audiences with insights into how customer experiences are evolving year over year, what trends should be considered and applied, and acts as an annual guide for CX professionals.
To add context, answer questions and flesh out all of its insights, Zendesk created a CX Trends Report 2021 series for its European audience. The series incorporated nine separate events across Europe in six different languages.
But instead of creating a simple series, Zendesk took its time and built out dynamic experiences. The company built agendas to enhance its regional events and supplemented its regional experiences with different thought leaders, customer panels and live Q&A sessions.
Put together, Zendesk’s CX Trends Report 2021 drove great results, generating:
- 65% of pipeline
- 51% of bookings
- 26,000 global registrations
- 13,000 total views — both live and on-demand views
- An average live attendance rate of 51%