Cisco has stopped charging online delegates for virtual access to its Cisco Live event, with global marketing manager Staci Clark telling Summer Eventia delegates: “The price of admission is information, it’s not dollars anymore.”
The Cisco Live education and training event attracted 12,000 people to Las Vegas in 2010 and 30,000 online attendees, garnering Event Marketer’s Grand Ex Award.
Formerly, those wanting to attend had the options of limited free access to the virtual material; a paid pass for full virtual access (around $395); onsite attendance (with automatic full access to virtual as well) for an average of $2,095. However, ahead of the Las Vega flagship event, 10-14 July, Clark said Cisco had decided to stop charging for the virtual content via both Ustream and Cisco Live Virtual.
“The idea was really to bring more people into the brand, fuel more growth for the event and provide critical content to Cisco customers,” Clark said. “We’re not charging money anymore. Now, you pay with information. It’s ‘tell us who you are, what you are interested in’. If we know what their interests are, we can design the content to be more relevant.
“The nature of content has changed. A lot of content that used to be paid for is now available for free. It was really an opportunity for us to build a brand-centric community and build our attendee pipeline. Social followers become community members then are more likely to become onsite attendees.”
The event is self-funded via 200 partner sponsors and delegate fees, but Clark said the free virtual access wasn’t expected to impact on actual attendance – in fact, the opposite, with Vegas attendance expected to hit 13,000 and virtual attendance 40,000 this year.
“It is not taking away from onsite. It’s helping drive onsite,” Clark added.
Clark spoke with director of strategy at Active Network Events, Anthony Miller, on the subject of ‘digital development for enhanced engagment’.