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Case Study: How a Virtual Conference Enabled Software Provider Cognos to Slash Costs and Extend Reach

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Company: Cognos, Inc.
Contact: Zeynep Marasli, Cognos global marketing programs manager
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Industry: Business software and services (B2B)
Annual revenue: $979,300,000
Number of employees: 3000

Quick Read:

Cognos, Inc.—which yesterday (Nov. 12) announced it had agreed to be acquired by IBM—produces enterprise planning and business intelligence software. It makes sense, then, that the company would attempt to constantly improve its own performance, including the execution of its Financial Forum conference events. Cognos regularly held at least 10 forum events a year, in different locations, aimed at staying in touch with current customers and generating new ones.

In 2007, Cognos experimented with a virtual conference format, which offered a complete 3-D simulation of a physical event, including a main stage with a keynote address, seminar rooms hosting five session tracks, a tradeshow lobby, and a resource center. As a result, the company was able to significantly cut conference costs, boost attendance, and consolidate several forum events into one while still retaining the two-way interaction associated with physical events.

The Challenge:

Cognos is Canada's largest software provider, specializing in business intelligence and performance management solutions. It regularly holds conferences that it dubs Financial Forums to stay in touch with customers and generate leads for new customers.

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Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via

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