Eric Otoo has been with Vodafone since 2012. As Head of Go-to-Market & Strategic Partner Marketing, he has lead a 35-strong team in the business customer sector since 2019. He is also responsible for product roadshows and other customer events as part of B2B marketing.
Like most companies, we relied heavily on direct contact and face-to-face meetings in the business customer sector until 2020. But then Coronavirus came along, and we made a virtue out of necessity. As one of the drivers of digitalisation, we wanted to develop a format that demonstrates the digital world's strengths in terms of content and technology.
We started with the proverbial 'blank sheet’ and the aspiration to create something extraordinary. We invited the whole team and our agencies to think along with us and tackled the individual planning and implementation steps in an agile way. It was clear that a digital format needed a strong storytelling concept to satisfy the diversity of interests and to keep the attention level high. This meant the content planning was particularly intensive. Additionally, being Vodafone, we always have the ambition to present the advantages of the digital format in all its facets. Looking at the participants and their reactions, we can say that we succeeded pretty well. The feedback was incredibly positive.
If you want to have and keep attention, you are well-advised to deal with topics that are currently dominating the discussion and to develop them further with new aspects or insights. We got it right with the chosen subjects and formats: Technology, Business and Inspiration worked perfectly as headings to serve the different expectations of more than 10,000 participants in various formats. At peak times, up to 7,000 participants were simultaneously in individual parts of the programme. That was fantastic.
The technical platform was high-performance. It not only carried the streaming of the more than 70 programme parts, but e also organised the registration and offered the participants the possibility to put together their schedule from various programme parts, depending on personal preference or available time. By the way, the platform is still active and is now available to offer the recorded content to those who could not be there ‘live’.
Of the team, of course, that worked for almost a whole year to realise this digital event. Of the line-up, as well, which brought together innovators, big players from the business world, politicians and some fascinating people to bring new perspectives and ideas into the conversation. And, last but not least, despite the premiere situation and pandemic conditions, the fact that everything worked almost like clockwork.
It is not yet possible to assess how successful the event was as a B2B marketing tool. But our impression is that we managed to stay connected to our existing customers and establish contact with areas that had not been as much in focus so far. The whole field of digital education can perhaps be highlighted as an example. This development alone should have a very positive effect.
The answer to this question is a resounding "yes". We are - mentally, at least - already working on it.