CDM Media is a global events firm specializing in C-Suite engagement with over 15 years of industry experience. With an international community of over 10,000 top level executives, CDM Media knows the true power of creating valuable connections through high touch experiences for their attendees. J.D. Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communities, explains, “We’re an event marketing company specializing in smaller events focused on the C-Suite individuals across North America and EMEA.” These high value events offer executive stakeholders the opportunity to knowledge share, network, and learn about the latest industry trends. J.D notes, “We put on about 50 summits a year globally with C-Suite individuals, usually in the technology space.” In addition, they work with executive leaders in the marketing, operations, and HR spaces as well.
With an events portfolio comprised of hundreds of annual events, CDM Media creates white glove experiences across their program designed to meet and exceed client expectations. Specifically, their summits foster executive level conversations around particular topics through breakout think tank sessions, moderated discussions, and peer-based learnings. J.D. explains, “These are intense, full-day summits with speaking sessions throughout the day along with one-to-one meetings between attendees and sponsors.” Another large program, known as Digital Boardrooms, offer small groups of C-Suite individuals the opportunity to meet and facilitate roundtable discussions around particular topics. J.D. adds, “With those Digital Boardrooms, we get a deeper understanding of what they’re going through, their pain points and struggles, and our sponsors get an understanding from on the ground what’s needed out there.”
Eliminating manual process with automated Cvent solutions
With these programs at the core of their business offerings, CDM Media once relied on in-house systems and manual processes. This was ultimately unsustainable as their events continued to grow - and even more so when the world shifted to virtual during the pandemic. “We have been in the business for 15 years putting on these events and we used homegrown systems for attendees, for our mobile app, for registrations, for appointments,” J.D. explains. “I’m not going to lie that it was a bit of a mess.”
That’s where CDM Media first decided to seek a better solution. J.D.’s team needed a streamlined platform that could automate manual processes and serve as a single source of truth by integrating with the rest of their MarTech stack. “We met with Cvent and said, ‘Hey, we really need to find a better way to do this’,” he says. As a result, they adopted several different Cvent solutions, including the Registration tool, OnArrival, Appointments, the Cvent Attendee Hub, Surveys, and the Mobile Event App, amongst other solutions.
Using these integrated solutions, CDM Media was able to navigate the pandemic to manage various event formats and types. When the world shifted to virtual, their digital boardrooms and summits moved online using the Attendee Hub, Registration, Surveys, and Appointments solutions. They were then able to add in-person events back into the mix with the addition of OnArrival and the Mobile Event App. The flexibility of the Cvent platform, as well as the ability to grow their product use as the events landscape continued to evolve, meant CDM Media could start using Cvent for one set of events and grow their use of Cvent solutions over time as their needs changed. “Our journey with Cvent is amazing…it truly is amazing,” J.D. adds.
Executing incredible attendee experiences with Attendee Hub
J.D. says pivoting their first several digital boardrooms to virtual was an eye-opening experience. ”There’s a lot with the Attendee Hub that we realized, how did we survive for 15 years without this?” he insists. From the attendee perspective, he particularly appreciates the seamless integration between the Registration and Attendee Hub solutions. The smooth user experience not only eliminates any barriers to entry, but also provides a single integrated process from initial registration through the post-event survey. “It also allows us to maintain that constant communication with our attendees from one place,” he adds. On the backend, CDM Media has a single source of truth for detailed reporting and analysis.
Specifically within the Attendee Hub, attendees can access session information and speaker details with a filterable search to ensure the right session mix. They can also access session documents and speaker information. Since CDM Media focuses heavily on C-Suite level engagement and networking, fostering that sense of connection amongst attendees and with sponsors and exhibitors is essential. Attendees can easily network with one another through Discussions, which provide a virtual roundtable experience focused on a particular topic. Gamification and engagement tools like polling and live Q&A mean attendees feel connected throughout the event. The Attendee Hub also provides measurable engagement metrics that can be coalesced into a concrete engagement score, creating more targeted follow up and faster lead generation opportunities.
Exhibitors and sponsors are also able to create valuable connections with attendees through sponsored sessions and virtual booths. Within these booths, exhibitors can embed videos, use contact forms, include documents and other content, and set appointments with attendees. They are also able to meet with attendees via integrated virtual booths, meaning attendees never have to leave the hub. With access to on-demand reports, exhibitors and sponsors can view leads, measure engagement, and better prove ROI.
Proving the power of in-person events with event technology
J.D. says the Appointments solution “is one of the things I’ve noticed immediate ROI for CDM Media.” Whether managing virtual or in-person appointments, this tool allows event organizers, as well as sponsors and exhibitors, to set and manage pre-scheduled appointments with attendees. For virtual attendees, this includes an embedded meeting link for single-click access to the virtual meeting. For in-person attendees, this includes key details and location information. Custom notes and questions mean appointment organizers are able to tailor their meeting to specific needs and provide more detailed follow up post-event. Attendees are then able to accept, decline, or edit their appointment as well as sync it to their personal calendar. With everything integrated directly into the Attendee Hub, attendees can access and manage their appointments easily via their desktop or mobile app. J.D. offers an example of a success in utilizing appointments, saying, “We had a recent event in London where our sponsor meetings - those one-to-one meetings we set up between sponsors and attendees - had a 200% increase in actualized appointments. That is because of the appointment setting capability in the Attendee Hub.”
With the return of in-person experiences, CDM Media has also been able to keep attendees connected through the Cvent Mobile Event App. The native app is the integrated counterpart of the Attendee Hub solution, offering a seamless and consistent experience for all attendees. The app allows attendees to continuously engage throughout the event as they build their agenda, connect with sponsors or exhibitors, manage their schedule, and network with other attendees via one-to-one attendee messaging. They have access to all the same engagement tools, session information, documentation, surveys, and other features that are found in the Attendee Hub desktop experience. To help further deepen their engagement with fellow attendees, they can join group text discussions and even be matched with other attendees through Attendee Recommendations.
Importantly, the CMD Media team is able to stay in constant communication with their attendees through push notifications, which can even be pre-scheduled or targeted to a particular group. They’re also able to utilize custom pages and custom cards on the personalized home screen to ensure a high touch experience for their attendees. The Exhibitor & Sponsor Showcase also increases visibility with those viewing the app for sponsors and exhibitors. Here, attendees can watch embedded videos, view important documents or information, and provide contact information for inbound lead generation.
Onsite, the CDM Media team uses the OnArrival check-in and badging solution to provide attendees a quick and seamless first touch point. Contactless check-in via QR code ensures a safe and secure means of tracking attendance while providing up-to-the-minute attendee counts for event managers. Onsite badge printing ensures attendee information is accurate and updated, preventing headaches like having to pre-print and organize badges, reprint badges due to errors, and locate missing badges.
Creating stellar production experiences with Cvent Studio
As CDM Media continues to balance virtual and in-person events, event technology can help support their internal team and provide the highest quality experience for their attendees. This includes Cvent Studio, Cvent’s comprehensive video production solution. With a background in media and television production, J.D. offers a unique perspective on the capabilities of the tool. “Cvent Studio is going to be a game changer in the industry,” he insists. “I worked in television for ten years and I wish I had a studio as amazing as what Cvent Studio is.” The all-in-one video production solution means event organizers and marketers can capture and produce broadcast-quality content, either live or pre-recorded. “It really has every single bell and whistle,” adds J.D. “None of the TV stations I worked at had these types of capabilities to have that high level professional studio experience for attendees.”
With the ability to control the entirety of their production process within a single platform, producing highly polished video content for any event format or type is a breeze. “Especially in this world where you’ve got in-person, you’ve got hybrid, and you’ve got virtual…you’ve got Cvent Studio which features so many different things,” says J.D. Using the Director View, event professionals can produce a high-quality broadcast without needing technical experience. It’s easy to mix presenters, media, and screenshares, edit backgrounds and overlays, and streamline processes through multi-user collaboration. Pre-built scenes and one-click transitions ensure a seamless workflow. Event managers can also add custom branding and embed media assets, logos, and backgrounds or overlays. “You can click through and it’s so seamless with Studio,” J.D. adds. Within the Presenter View, speakers join via a separate virtual room where they can edit their settings, chat with the director and other presenters, and share their screen with a single click – all without needing any system downloads or expertise.
Looking towards the future of event marketing and management at CDM Media
With their particular focus on event marketing, J.D. foresees the future of the industry as a broad landscape of opportunity. However, he believes it’s important for event marketing and event management to remain aligned. “Event marketing and event management have to live together, and I’m living proof,” he offers. “We’ve had to work together more closely than ever before as we put on 50 summits globally each year, and over the last two years I did 350 digital boardrooms with our event management team.” J.D. insists that within each of these events, consistent and readily available communication was key. Attendee expectations must be aligned with sponsor or exhibitor goals as well as internal KPIs - no matter the event format. “It’s all about the experience, and having event marketing and event management truly aligned ensures that great experience,” he adds.
Relying on event technology is key in creating a consistent flow of communication across the event lifecycle. It also means event professionals can capture actionable data for their sales and marketing teams. “Integrations are a key part of that,” insists J.D. By integrating Cvent with their CRM and other parts of their MarTech stack, his team can capitalize on that data while scaling their program. “We’re integrated with Salesforce, we’re going to be integrated with our Pardot system, and to have these seamless integrations means we continue to have that seamless communication,” adds J.D.
Managing continuous communication through a single integrated system is vital for CDM Media as they continue to navigate changes within the industry. “It’s all living together in one area with Cvent, “ J.D. notes. “You know, I can get a tool here and a tool there, and it doesn’t do me any good. There are always going to be gaps when you do that. This is all in one, and to me, our future is having all of this together and seamless.” He also finds the communication between the CDM Media team and Cvent to be immensely valuable, particularly as a new Cvent customer. “I would say our experience with Cvent over this first year has been all about communication, and the communication from the Cvent team has been fantastic,” he adds. “I’ve been blown away by the attention to detail from the Cvent team, and to have that open line of communication with them means we can seamlessly deliver incredible experiences.”
As J.D. and his team look to the future, they are thrilled by potential growth in the industry thanks to the mix of virtual and in-person experiences. “We continue to see the industry shift and change, and I’m excited,” he says. “CDM evolves with that and we’ve been able to meet our sponsors and partners’ needs going forward, while also bringing a great experience to those who attend. And being able to have a partner like Cvent means we can facilitate these experiences, so I’m excited to see where that partnership is going to go in the next year and beyond.”