CDM Media is a leading global face-to-face events firm specializing in C-Suite engagement for the world’s largest brands. They manage hundreds of executive Summits and Digital Boardrooms throughout the year, in addition to several other types of events, to engage leaders and build relationships that last. 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.”
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 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.
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.”