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How SAP Switzerland Went All In On Digital Experiences

June 8th, 2020 Samira McDonald

Every year, SAP hosts its flagship customer event SAP NOW in different markets and locations around the world. For SAP Switzerland, that means anticipating more than 2,000 in-person attendees for a two-day event loaded with keynotes, breakout sessions and an exhibition hall filled with sponsors.

This year, though, it didn’t happen. Instead, to accommodate global health concerns, it switched to a digital-first format. We were able to sit down and talk with Cyrill Maag, Head of Performance Marketing and Demand Management SAP Switzerland about how they set up this year’s virtual experience. Here are the tips they had to share:

Plan the Experience in Advance

The marketing team from SAP Switzerland planned the event for more than six months. However, two weeks prior to the event, they received the disappointing information that there was to be no social gatherings bigger than 1,000 people. That’s when the team decided the best way to transform this event was to go digital.

Some good news: the contract with the event organizer, flights and hotels for speakers were still honored, Maag said, and so the team was able to use the space to pre-record everything at the venue. With producers on-site, the team recorded all presentations and planned to live stream it through the ON24 platform. With only five days to get all the recordings set up and hosted, the marketing team not only created a uniquely branded experience, but they were able to have eight parallel live-streamed sessions all in different languages.

While stressful to pull off, the event was an amazing success and the team was able to reach and engage just as many customers digitally as they anticipated in person. More importantly, everyone realized the value and potential for this event content to drive demand and business all year round, well after the event.

Provide An Easy Access Content Hub

SAP wanted to make the attendee experience seamless, so it provided a one-stop-shop event hub powered by ON24 Engagement Hub where attendees could RSVP once and gain an all-access pass to sessions. Once the live day event concluded, all session content was automatically switched to on-demand access so attendees could easily re-watch sessions and find sessions they missed, all while capturing data that rolled up into existing reports.

Develop Strategy for Repurposing Sessions

The team knew there was great potential to drive demand and convert prospects with targeted session content post-event. In the months after the event, the SAP team re-packaged and bucketed sessions by hot topics and languages, and re-promoted to different segments and personas in their database via email based on their interest areas.

Know Your KPIs and Understand Data Flow

 For the team, it was important to closely track event performance and make the most out of the leads. They were pleasantly surprised to see the amount of data that the ON24 platform provided and how it could be easily fed into existing marketing ops processes to its MAP and CRM. Using this data, the SAP team nurtured and converted attendees by using repackaged event content and engaged other target contacts in its database.

  • Initial Digital Event Metrics
    • Quantitative
      • # of Registrations
      • # of Attendees
      • Conversion Rate
    • Qualitative
      • NPS Score – How likely are you to recommend this event to others?
      • Attendee Survey Feedback
  • Business Impact Digital Event Metrics
    • # of New Leads
    • $ Amount of Business Pipeline Generated

Maag is certain that hybrid in-person/digital events will be “the new normal” going forward. In the future, they will have more time to prepare and will have more of an opportunity to optimize the digital experience for engagement. For Cyrill, a digital component will always be a part of his event strategy moving forward because it allows him to engage a larger, more diverse audience and drive more leads year-round.

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