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Event orchestration | 12 September 2019

12 Imaginative Events from Oracle

Jacob Thomas

Oracle hosts many creative and engaging events each year. In this article, we look at 12 of them and tease out the things that make each so successful.

Oracle is an American technology company based in Redwood Shores, CA. It was founded in 1977 and just 41 years later it has become the third largest software company by revenue. Not bad, not bad at all!

But Oracle is more than software, it’s also an incredible event host. In this article, we’ll look at 12 of its best conferences, virtual gatherings, and corporate event ideas and tease out the things that make them so great. That way you can use the information to improve your company’s events. Sound like a plan? Then let’s get started!

1. Oracle OpenWorld

Oracle OpenWorld - Oracle Event Marketing

Source: Oracle

Oracle OpenWorld is Oracle’s largest event of the year. The gathering is chock-full of amazing speakers like Jerry Rice, a pro football hall of famer; Dr. Kate Darling, an MIT Media Lab research specialist, and Salvatore Ancoretti, the head of customer marketing at Ferrari. Their corporate event management strategy also features plenty of hands-on training sessions, networking opportunities, and exhibitor booths. There’s a lot going on at OpenWorld and it’s just about all geared towards educating attendees on the future of technology.

Key Takeaway: At the end of the day, most people attend business conferences because they want to propel their careers forward. Yes, they hope to have a good time and relax. But if they don’t learn at least a few tidbits of groundbreaking information, they’ll likely leave the event in disappointment. That’s why your conferences, seminars, and trainings should always prioritize audience learning. Work hard to get qualified speakers, offer hands-on training sessions, and more to make sure your attendees have that “lightbulb moment” at each event you host.

2. Oracle Code One

Oracle Code One - Oracle Event MarketingSource: Oracle

Code One is “the best in tech” and is hosted in the tech capital of the world, San Francisco, CA, on an annual basis. Attendees to this event have the option of listening to cutting-edge keynotes, participating in technical sessions with industry experts, and watching interesting product demos. But the actual content that event-goers consume is up to them. Code One offers multiple conference tracks so that attendees can completely focus on the information they need. All in all, it’s a must-attend event type for anyone who considers themselves a part of the developer community.

Key Takeaway: Conference tracks allow event hosts to cater to a wide variety of attendees and give them a more personalized event experience. If your company serves customers in multiple industries, we definitely recommend including different conference tracks for each!

3. Oracle CloudFest

Oracle CloudFest - Oracle Event MarketingSource: YouTube

Oracle CloudFest is an annual concert that takes place after Code One (mentioned above) and features amazing artistic talent. In 2018, CloudFest played host to Beck and Portugal. The Man. In 2019, the event will feature Grammy-winning, record-breaking guitarist and singer/songwriter John Mayer. Flo Rida, a radio-regular with over 100 million album sales to date, will also make an appearance. We love that Oracle is willing to bring in amazing artists just to please and entertain their event attendees!

Key Takeaway: Earlier we mentioned that for most event attendees, the top priority at business conferences is to learn new, career-boosting information. While this is absolutely true, it doesn’t mean your gatherings shouldn’t be over-the-top fun! Take a page out of Oracle’s book and host an amazing, post-event concert for your audience. It will help your events stand out in attendee minds for a long time after your conferences end, guaranteed.

4. Collaborate 20

Collaborate 20 - Oracle Event MarketingSource: Spinnaker Support

Collaborate 20 is very different from the first three Oracle events we just looked at, mostly because it’s not actually hosted by Oracle. No, it’s a user conference, organized by Quest Oracle Community and Oracle Applications and Technology Group, that caters to Oracle users. Oracle does directly support the conference, though. The event takes place each year in Las Vegas, NV and teaches attendees how to better use Oracle products while networking with other Oracle users.

Key Takeaway: The Oracle events team understands that they don’t have to directly host an event for the event to benefit their company. If you have the opportunity, we suggest allowing user groups to host conferences, seminars, and trainings that teach attendees about your products. What do you have to lose? As long as you’ve vetted the user groups hosting the events and know them to be legitimate, a user group hosted conference is a win-win scenario!

5. Modern Business Experience

Modern Business Experience - Oracle Event MarketingSource: Oracle

The 2020 Modern Business Experience (MBE) gathering will take place in Chicago, IL and is created specifically for professionals in customer experience, finance, HR, and supply chain. Those who attend MBE get access to amazing keynote speeches, breakout sessions, networking meetups, and more. The event is known for doling out extremely practical advice and attendees always leave with a wealth of new knowledge and a full tank of inspiration.

Key Takeaway: A complete event strategy will include mega-events like Oracle OpenWorld that attract a wide range of people. But it will also feature smaller gatherings aimed at select individuals. Remember to create events and engaging conference experiences for folks in specific industries or certain demographics that your company caters to. This will help you better connect with your core audience and allow them to bond with your company.

6. Oracle Quick Start Live Events

Source: Oracle

Who says every event a company hosts has to be a full-fledged, in-person affair? Oracle definitely doesn’t prescribe to that strategy! That’s why they have Oracle Quick Start Live Events. In a nutshell, Quick Start Live Events are “½ day, virtual, instructor-led sessions designed to accelerate success and increase adoption of your Oracle SaaS applications.” These events happen roughly every two weeks and allow those interested to attend no matter where in the world they happen to be. If they have access to the internet, they can participate.

Key Takeaway: Online events have exploded in popularity in recent years. We’re not surprised! They offer many benefits to both event hosts and attendees. For example, event hosts can save money because they usually don’t have to rent a giant venue, pay for a large on-site staff, etc. And attendees appreciate this approach too because they can get the information they need without the expensive travel normally associated with business conferences.

7. The Oracle OpenWorld Scavenger Hunt

The Oracle OpenWorld Scavenger Hunt - Oracle Event MarketingSource: Twitter

Each year, the Oracle team plans a fun scavenger hunt for OpenWorld attendees to participate in. Not only is the activity entertaining for event goers, but it also gives them a chance to win prizes. The tactic works for Oracle too because in order for the prizes to be won, participants have to visit multiple booths and learn about new Oracle products. Brilliant!

Key Takeaway: Attendee engagement is key at any kind of event, be it an in-person business conference, a rock n’ roll concert, or something entirely different. That’s why you should always be thinking about new ways to get your attendee involved at your own company-sponsored gatherings. Borrow this tactic from Oracle and try designing a fun scavenger hunt or another challenge for your attendees to complete. It’s fun, not terribly difficult to organize, and effective.

8. #OracleFreeRides

Source: Twitter

#OracleFreeRides was an experiential activation idea that Oracle created, in partnership with Marketing Activations Group and Billups, and used in 2017 and 2018. Basically, Oracle offered free rides in Tesla Model X vehicles that were wrapped in Oracle event branding to attendees at numerous San Francisco-area events. It was a one of a kind experience that folks seemed to genuinely love.

Key Takeaway: Do something memorable! Whether it’s at a conference your company hosts, a seminar hosted by another company serving a similar audience to yours, or a completely separate event marketing initiative, a memorable experience like #OracleFreeRides will go a long way towards brand recognition and customer satisfaction. So don’t be afraid to do something a little “out there.” If your target audience will enjoy it and you have the resources to pull it off, have fun and plan an event or experiential marketing campaign for the ages.

9. Oracle Park

Oracle Park - Oracle Event MarketingSource: Hoodline

Oracle Park is a big-league baseball field and home to the San Francisco Giants. But when the bay area ball club isn’t playing, the venue plays host to both public events like concerts and other musical performances as well as private gatherings such as business meetings and dinner receptions. Because Oracle’s name is on the arena, they have a hand in hosting each and every event that’s held at the ballpark — albeit in an indirect way most of the time. This is an interesting strategy and definitely one you should consider for your company.

Key Takeaway: Rather than planning and hosting yet another event, why not pay to sponsor a local venue and play “host” to numerous events throughout the year without lifting a finger? Companies that have the resources to pull this strategy off will receive a large amount of brand recognition and be able to greatly amplify their B2B event marketing initiatives in one fell swoop!

10. FitFest.19 at Oracle OpenWorld

Source: Twitter

FitFest.19 is a part of Oracle’s Code One event. Each morning during the conference, those interested in maintaining their exercise regimens while attending Code One can gather and participate in instructor-led yoga and stair-climbing classes. It’s an event within an event as well as yet another example of how the Oracle events team is always thinking of their attendees and how they can better serve them with amazing experiences.

Key Takeaway: Do you want to host more events but can’t seem to find the time and/or resources to pull it off because your company’s main annual gatherings take up so much bandwidth? Here’s an idea: host an event within another one of your events. This will be much easier to pull off and will enhance the conference experience for those already attending your main shindig. Win!

11. The Markie Awards

The Markie Awards - Oracle Event MarketingSource: Oracle

The Markie Awards have celebrated excellence in digital marketing for well over a decade. Now, the award ceremony also recognizes those in the field of customer experience. It’s a fun event that honors Oracle customers and allows them a taste of the limelight, at least for a moment. Even if the award was completely meaningless — it’s not, winners have been known to use the award to propel their own careers forward — it would still be worth winning. Have you seen those trophies? Too legit to quit!

Key Takeaway: It’s never a bad idea to recognize and award your stand-out customers and clients. So why not plan an entire event in their honor? You could take the Oracle route and host an award ceremony for your customers. Or you could simply treat your 10 best clients to a fancy lunch or dinner. The choice is up to you.

12. Oracle Challenger Series

Source: YouTube

The last event we’ll cover today is the Oracle Challenger Series. Not familiar with this one? It’s a tennis tournament that was established in 2017 and helps young American tennis players improve their rankings (and maybe a little prize money while they’re at it). Oracle has long supported American tennis and this is just another example of the company’s commitment to the game and its players.

Key Takeaway: While it may seem strange to you that Oracle, a technology company, sponsors a sporting event, we think it’s a smart move, and something your organization should consider doing as well. It will help your company with brand recognition and let current customers know that your business has a personality. Also, you don’t have to have Oracle-deep pockets to use and benefit from this strategy. If an entire series is out of your budget, try sponsoring a local little-league team or host a free throw shooting contest.

Main Takeaways: Three Keys to Amazing Oracle Events

Oracle hosts many memorable and creative events, as we’ve just seen. If you want to up your events game and create gatherings on the same level as the tech company, make sure you commit these takeaways to heart:

  1. Be Memorable or Be Forgotten: There are A LOT of events happening every year around the world. To stand out, your conference, seminar, or training session needs to be memorable. So book that band, bring in a top-level speaker, or schedule a fun scavenger hunt for attendees to participate in. 
  2. The Attendee Always Comes First: Always! Everything you do – from the venue you choose to the speakers you book to the entertainment options you make available – should be useful, interesting and/or entertaining to your target market. If it’s not, kick it to the curb and do something else.
  3. Think Outside the Box: Finally, think outside the box. Do something different and your events will be better received. You could, for example, wrap a Tesla with your company’s logo and drive folks around for free. It worked for Oracle! Get creative and think of something your attendees will enjoy that nobody else is doing. Then go do it!

And if you really want to stand out, make sure you use event software to help everything run smoothly and maximize your event ROI

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