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Event Planning & Management
16 August 2019 

12 Imaginative Events from Cisco

Jacob Thomas
12 Imaginative Events from Cisco

Cisco is a leader in the event space. Check out 12 of their best event examples and learn how to host better conferences, trainings, and seminars for your own company.

Cisco is a San Jose based technology company that develops, manufactures, and sells networking and telecommunication tools (among other things). It was founded in 1984 by two Stanford computer scientists. Since that time is has grown at a rapid pace and is now one of the largest companies in the world.

Cisco is also a leader in the events space. The company hosts many highly regarded conferences, trainings, and experiential marketing events each year. In this article, we’ll look at 12 of them and analyze the corporate event management tactics that make them so successful.

1. Cisco Live

Cisco Live - Cisco Event MarketingSource: Cisco Live

Let’s start with Cisco Live, one of Cisco’s main events, which happens multiple times a year in different cities around the world. In 2020, it will be held in Barcelona, Spain and Melbourne, Australia with additional locations to be announced. But what is it? Cisco Live is the conference attendees go to in order to “build the foundation” of their digital futures. These gatherings are jammed-packed with amazing speakers, hands-on training sessions, Cisco product demonstrations, and networking opportunities. It’s pretty much everything an attendee could want out of an event!

Key Takeaway: Every company needs a flagship event; an annual gathering (or multiple gatherings if you’re a mega corporation like Cisco) where event planners can shoot for the moon, go all out, and truly delight attendees. Your organization might not have the resources to execute big events like Cisco. But it can do something. Get creative and brainstorm ways that you can push boundaries and give your attendees more.

2. Cisco Connect

Cisco Connect - Cisco Event Marketing

Source: Cisco

Cisco Connect events happen throughout the year in dozens of cities around the world. New York City? Check. Tokyo? Check. Atlanta, Seoul, and Montreal? Triple check! At each event, attendees get access to first-rate educational content, have time to network with their peers, and discover new business-building technologies. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Cisco customers and fans to get the “Cisco experience” much closer to home.

Key Takeaway: A roadshow or traveling event series is a fantastic way to reach more people with your event strategy. Remember, not everyone will be able to attend your flagship seminar or conference. For some people, the cost of travel will be too expensive. For others, the dates just won’t line up with their schedules. But if you were to bring your events to them, they’d be much more likely to participate! See if you can plan different event types in various cities where your company’s customers are located.

3. Cisco C-Scape

Source: Twitter

Cisco C-Scape is an event within an event. It started more than a decade ago and was created to discuss all things Cisco as well as the high technology industry. It’s grown a lot since its inception and now the special Cisco Live (mentioned earlier) gathering features many top Cisco executives and product demonstrations.

Key Takeaway: Rather than planning another entirely new event, why not take the C-Scape route and host a special gathering at a conference that already exists? This gathering could discuss your company and its vision for the future. Or tackle a specific area of your industry. Or even cater to a certain demographic. The event’s content is totally up to you. The benefit of this event marketing tactic is a potential boost in event ROI because you have the opportunity to charge attendees an additional fee for access.

4. Cisco Partner Summit

Cisco Partner Summit - Cisco Event MarketingSource: Cisco Newsroom

The Cisco Partner Summit is for (you guessed it) Cisco partners. Every year, these folks gather together to learn from top speakers and exchange ideas with peers. The 2019 event will take place in Las Vegas, NV from November 4th-7th and those lucky enough to score an invitation will also receive discounted hotel room rates at the ARIA Resort and Casino, a perk that definitely adds to the overall event branding.

Key Takeaway: If you’re in need of corporate event ideas, an invite-only conference might be worth considering. These event types have two major benefits: they’re naturally exclusive which means those invited will feel extra special and you’ll be able to charge higher ticket prices because availability will be more scarce. Now, we definitely don’t recommend making all of your events invite-only. But the occasional exclusive gathering is a great idea.

5. #CiscoChat

#CiscoChat - Cisco Event MarketingSource: Cisco

#CiscoChat is a regularly scheduled social media chat series that “brings technology and business experts together so you have an opportunity to engage, discuss, and ask questions in real time.” These conversations are hosted on either Twitter or Google Hangouts and are a great example of an alternative event style.

Key Takeaway: Not every event in your company’s B2B event marketing strategy needs to take place at a physical location. Use the technology and resources at your disposal to create an event-like atmosphere for your audience on a more regular basis. Social media is a great channel to deliver these types of experiences. So host a chat on Twitter or go live on Facebook — whatever you need to do to connect with your tribe.

6. TechWiseTV

TechWiseTV is another way that Cisco reaches its audience on the regular, without having to deal with typical event planning details like finding a venue and hiring a set up/tear down crew. It’s a regularly scheduled web series that’s presented to Cisco fans free of charge. Each episode educates viewers on different technologies and how Cisco products can be used to accomplish specific tasks.

Key Takeaway: In the previous example, we showed you how Cisco uses modern technology to give its audience an event-experience in the comfort of their own homes. TechWiseTV is another great example of this strategy. It also reinforces the benefits of free content. Whether you decide to host a web-based event or an in-person gathering, consider eliminating ticket prices. This tactic will allow you to reach more people with your events!

7. Cisco Empowered Women’s Network

Cisco Empowered Women's Network - Cisco Event MarketingSource: CiscoLive

The Cisco Empowered Women’s Network began six years ago and is another event within an event, taking place during Cisco’s flagship conference, Cisco Live. As we’re sure you guessed from the title, this event is specifically designed for women and helps them to realize their amazing potential in the workplace through keynote speeches and networking opportunities.

Key Takeaway: No matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. But you can please specific demographics if you focus on them and cater your events to them. The Cisco Empowered Women’s Network has been effective because it targets a narrower audience and aims to deliver content crafted specifically for them. Create events for a specific target market and they’ll likely be more successful.

8. Cisco Webinars

Cisco Webinars - Cisco Event MarketingSource: Cisco

Cisco is the golden standard when it comes to technology powered events, which isn’t too surprising since it is, in fact, a technology company. Their webinars are further proof that the corporation is committed to reaching its audience, no matter where that audience happens to be. Cisco webinars happen frequently and cover a wide range of tech topics such as digital network architecture, APIs, and data center analytics.

Key Takeaway: When most people think of events, they tend to imagine in-person affairs. And while the typical live conference experience isn’t going anywhere fast, digital and online events are growing in popularity. We’re not surprised, these event types offer numerous advantages. They allow companies to reach more people, they’re cheaper to host, and the session recordings can easily be repurposed down the road. Have you ever considered hosting a digital event for your company? You should! Modern technology makes it a fairly straightforward process and it may be the perfect strategy for your organization.

9. SpiceWorld 2019

SpiceWorld 2019 - Cisco Event MarketingSource: Baramundi

SpiceWorld 2019 is a major business IT conference happening in Austin, TX from September 23rd-25th. It’s also the only event on this list that isn’t directly put on by Cisco. But the tech company does sponsor the conference and will be showcasing its products during the event.

Key Takeaway: Not every conference your company participates in needs to be hosted by your team. A strong event strategy will include sponsorship opportunities as well as in-house events. When you sponsor another gathering, you’ll expose your company to a new audience and give it the opportunity to generate new leads and customers for a fraction of the price it would take to host your own event!

10. The Cisco Black Hat Party

The Cisco Black Hat Party - Cisco Event MarketingSource: Cisco

Black Hat USA is “the world’s leading information security event, providing attendees with the very latest in research, development and trends.” It really is a great conference, but it’s not what we want to talk about right now. No, we want to talk about the party hosted by Cisco at the Jewel Nightclub inside the ARIA Resort & Casino. Since many Cisco customers attend Black Hat every year, the company decided to do something special for them and host a customer appreciation event during the conference.

Key Takeaway: Customer appreciation is important! When your audience knows that your company values and cares about them, they’ll be more loyal and inclined to purchase products. So make sure that your organization’s event schedule includes customer appreciation time.

11. Casa Cisco

Casa Cisco - Cisco Event MarketingSource: Cisco

Casa Cisco was an impressive experiential marketing campaign that Cisco put together for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Casa overlooked the stunning Sugarloaf Mountains and served as the “primary hospitality showcase for valued Cisco customers and partners during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.” The purpose of the Casa was to help guests learn about the important work Cisco was doing to help transform the region.

Key Takeaway: Use your events to do good in the world. Why? Because the world needs more good in it. And if we’re being honest, it will probably help your company connect with its target audience and sell more products. Now more than ever, consumers want to support brands that make a difference. Use your events to do this and you’ll reap the rewards. You’ll also feel good inside so it’s a win-win!

12. The Cisco Global Events Mobile App

Source: Twitter

Our final entry on this events list isn’t an event at all, it’s a piece of technology called the Cisco Global Events Mobile App. But since it’s so closely related to Cisco events, we wanted to include it. Basically, the app allows Cisco events attendees to maximize their time and experience at the seminars, trainings, and conferences that Cisco hosts. Attendees can keep track of their personal event schedules, learn about keynotes and sessions, and view sponsor profiles. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone going to a Cisco event!

Key Takeaway: Your events will definitely benefit from a central hub where attendees can learn important event information, track their schedules, and dig into speaker details. You could create an app for this purpose like Cisco. Or you could include a special section on your event website dedicated to the task. Whatever you do, make sure it’s easily accessible to your audience.

Pro Tip: If you use an event software like Bizzabo, you’ll be able to easily create an event app for your attendees!

Main Takeaways: Host Stellar Events Like Cisco

Cisco is an amazing company with a strong event strategy. While your organization may not have the same resources as the tech giant, there’s still a lot to be learned from them. Here are the main takeaways from this article:

  1. Embrace Technology: Cisco does an amazing job of using every tech resource at their disposal. Your company should do the same and host digital gatherings, make use of social media, and build an event app for attendees to use.
  2. Host Multiple Event Types: A proper event strategy will include many different events. Host in-person conferences and online webinars, sponsor other events in your industry, and craft creative experiential marketing campaigns.
  3. Always Keep Your Attendees In Mind: Every event your company hosts should be to the benefit of its target audience. What do they want and how can you help them achieve it? Craft your event experiences around audience desires and you’ll be successful.

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