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Case Study: How IBM Offset the Impact of a Down Economy on Event Attendance

by Kimberly Smith  |  
September 8, 2009

Company: IBM
Contact: Sandy Carter, Vice-President of SOA & WebSphere Strategy, Channels & Marketing
Location: Armonk, NY
Industry: Computing, B2B
Annual revenue: $103,630,000,000
Number of employees: 398455

Quick Read

When IBM had a sneaking suspicion that the faltering economy might have a dire effect on registrations for its annual IMPACT conference, it devised a plan that in addition to trying new promotional tactics involved forging better relationships with, and maximizing conversions among, those who could attend.

That strategy paid off in more ways than one, as you'll learn when you read how Sandy Carter turned a sweeping industry challenge into a long-term win for the organization.


IBM is the world's leading provider of computer products and services. Nonetheless, in today's economy, even the big guns need to rethink marketing strategy if they are to keep pace with previous years' results.

Such was the case with IBM's annual IMPACT conference, which aims to educate attendees on the smart and effective use of service-oriented architecture (SOA) solutions. The event had hosted more than 6,000 attendees in 2008; however, widespread budget cuts throughout the industry threatened to significantly reduce registrations in 2009.

To compensate, IBM sought a new strategy that would not only drive event registrations, but also...

  1. Increase conversion (sales of SOA solutions) among those who register, in order to make up for any reduction in registrations
  2. Create a more lasting relationship with attendees that would benefit the company well beyond the event

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

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  • by Dan Hinkle Wed Sep 30, 2009 via web

    Great strategy! Not everyone has the team and financial resources to accomplish all these tasks but an incredible use of the internet.

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