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How SAP Spain Took Its In-Person Conference Virtual and Tripled Attendance

Marketers need to work with sales to drive effective hybrid event follow up. This blog explains why.

SAP Concur Day 2020, one of the many events SAP hosts each year, was weeks away. Gloria Abadin, Senior Field Marketing Manager, who headed SAP Spain’s version of the event, plotted and planned the event for months. But five days before the event, SAP decided to cancel the event due to the heightened pandemic. 

SAP moved quickly and sent a cancellation email to its 300 registrants. The good news — they informed the registrants this event will still be held virtually at a later date.

Gloria and team were now on a time crunch and needed to find a way to salvage their event. If not, they’d lose 60% of the budget allocated for the event. The team brainstormed ideas, researched different options and planned to host the conference — including all keynotes and sessions — in an ON24 Engagement Hub.

Here’s how Gloria’s team did it all in only two weeks:

Organize Speaker Recordings

Gloria had time on her side. Before Spain enforced its shelter in place order, she brought all of her event speakers to the would-be event site and recorded their presentations as if they were live. Her team captured hours of recordings on the ON24 platform. Each recording would play simulive, which gives the audience the experience of a live event while giving them the chance to ask questions to experts via Q&A chat.

With simulive, SAP Spain could provide the audience with a better experience emulating an event as if it were in person. The speakers were on stages and the breakouts sessions were recorded with virtual in mind. SAP Spain did everything it could to make audiences feel as if they were actually at the conference.

Building it all on the ON24 Engagement Hub

With the move from physical to a digital-first experience in motion, Gloria and the team had registrants signing up for the virtual event. The 300 or so attendees who previously RSVPed for the in-person event were automatically registered for their digital event thanks to SAP’s Marketo and Salesforce integrations with ON24. Saving the team a lot of time.

SAP promoted this event for another two weeks, giving them more runway to get more registrants. By going virtual, SAP doubled the number of registrants they originally had. Had. When it comes to event attendance, figures triple. SAP Spain went from a venue limit of 130 customers and prospects to almost 400 live attendees actively engaging with their content and messages for at least two hours on the day of the virtual event.

Digital Component for all Events

Gloria never expected she’d have to cancel a full-fledged conference she’d been working on for months. Going through the process of bringing her biggest event online, she now understands more than ever the importance of digital events and how they can be a great compliment to her physical event strategy.

Because of the success of SAP Concur Day 2020 (she has more than 700 registrants watching these recordings on-demand) she now plans to create hybrid events — incorporating both physical and virtual aspects — in the future. For SAP Spain, digital will always be a part of its event strategy. After all, Gloria and her team will continue to see great results by promoting its on-demand and simulive sessions year-round, allowing the team to capture and engage viewers anytime and anywhere.