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Event orchestration | 8 January 2020

12 Imaginative Events from QUALCOMM

Jacob Thomas

Learn how tech giant Qualcomm hosts such amazing events and marketing initiatives.

Qualcomm is a multinational telecommunications company that was founded in San Diego, CA in 1985. As of the time of this writing, Qualcomm is ranked 133rd on the Fortune 500 list of largest American companies with annual revenue exceeding $100 billion.

Despite this amazing success, many people still haven’t heard of the brand — but most use its products every day (Qualcomm makes much of the technology that powers mobile devices). And for those involved in B2B event marketing, they are a force to be reckoned with. 

When the Qualcomm team isn’t designing new tech, they can be found brainstorming new corporate event ideas and/or hosting a noteworthy conference. In this article, we’ll explore 12 winning events and marketing activations from Qualcomm and identify a key takeaway from each that you can use to improve your event ROI in the future.

1. Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit

Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: Qualcomm

The Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit held on an annual basis in beautiful Maui, HI, is one of Qualcomm’s premier gatherings. Every year, folks travel across the Pacific Ocean to learn about what new technologies Qualcomm has been cooking up and how they can be used. The 2019 event featured keynote speeches from top Qualcomm executives; leaders at Google, Dolby, and other successful companies; and Steve Aoki, the famous DJ, producer, and entrepreneur who has worked with a range of successful musical artists from The Backstreet Boys to Blink 182.

Key Takeaway: Where an event is located can sometimes be an overlooked detail in the event planning process. But it shouldn’t be. By hosting your next conference, training seminar, or trade expo in a desirable location (Maui, for example), you’ll be able to elevate the event experience for your attendees and ensure more ticket sales.

2. Qualcomm 5G Summit

Qualcomm 5G Summit - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: Qualcomm

The Qualcomm 5G Summit was, unsurprisingly, all about 5G technology — a kind of tech that Qualcomm is breaking new ground with. At the three-day conference, attendees were given the chance to learn about development and commercialization during the 5G transition as well as discover new, cutting-edge industry trends, and network with their peers. The event featured keynote speeches from leaders at Amazon, Microsoft, Nokia, and, of course, Qualcomm. It also allowed attendees to choose between seven different conference tracks and tailor their event experience to their specific interests and needs. Whether event-goers wanted to learn about 5G devices and networks, AI, IoT, or wearable tech, the Qualcomm 5G Summit had the right information.

Key Takeaway: For many organizations, using and focusing content on emerging technologies is an effective event strategy. Your guests want to learn about the latest technological breakthroughs that can help them achieve greater success. And by using top tech like event software to help manage your gatherings, you’ll ensure the audience experience remains high level.

3. “Cause An Effect” Event

"Cause An Effect" Event - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: Event Marketer

Qualcomm’s “Cause an Effect” event was designed to “increase communication and collaboration among Qualcomm’s upper management.” To do this, the company took a unique approach and hosted the gathering “in the round”. Speakers delivered their speeches from a circular platform in the middle of the room to an audience that was on all sides of them. This gave the talks a very intimate feel and allowed for greater audience participation. But Qualcomm didn’t stop there. The events team also spiced things up by displaying vivid graphics and videos during each keynote address.

Key Takeaway: Qualcomm did a lot of things right with this event! But we want to take a quick moment to focus on a seemingly minor detail that helped this gathering achieve success: its slogan. Catchy event slogans can help people remember your event as well as what it’s about, and why they should attend. Slogans are also great for event branding. If you’re able, come up with slogans for your events and use them in your event marketing efforts.

4. Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerate

Source: Twitter

When you hear the term “wireless technology”, you probably think about your smartphone. But wireless tech extends beyond the devices in our pockets and can have a major impact on city projects. At the Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerate event, attendees learned about smart street lighting and metering, transportation, public WiFi, and much more. The gathering featured engaging presentations and curated one-on-one meetings.

Key Takeaway: The best events almost always prioritize networking. Your attendees might buy tickets to listen to top speakers or see their favorite companies demo new products. But the opportunity they have to connect with other industry folks plays a large role in their overall event experience and whether or not they decide to attend future conferences hosted by your company. So do yourself (and your attendees) a favor and set aside time for people to meet.

5. Qualcomm Analyst Day

Qualcomm Analyst Day - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: Qualcomm

Qualcomm Analyst Day is an event specifically for investment professionals. The 2019 gathering was held at The Times Center in New York City and featured presentations from some of Qualcomm’s top executives, including its CEO, Steve Mollenkopf. Attendees learned about the Qualcomm brand, the breakthrough technologies that the company is engineering, and its financial standing. The aim was to educate potential investors about Qualcomm and convince them to invest their money to further the company’s future.

Key Takeaway: Qualcomm Analyst Day reminds us that effective corporate event management includes multiple event types. Some events should be large gatherings that everyone in your industry will enjoy attending. Others need to be aimed at specific groups of people and cater to their unique needs. When developing your company’s event strategy, be sure to plan a range of events that will satisfy each segment of your target audience.

6. The Qualcomm + Mercedes Partnership

The Qualcomm + Mercedes Partnership - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: SportsProMedia

The next entry on our list isn’t a specific event, it’s a partnership between Qualcomm and Mercedes that helps Qualcomm both test new products and market its brand to fresh audiences at many different events. It works like this: Qualcomm provides technology for the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team. In return, the Qualcomm company name is plastered across Mercedes’ race cars for all to see. Qualcomm also gets valuable data regarding which aspects of its technology work and which don’t during the races. It can then use this information to improve its products before they’re officially released to consumers.

Key Takeaway: Partnerships are a wonderful event strategy. They will allow your events team to share the event planning load with others and reach new audiences. The cool thing is, partnerships come in all different shapes and sizes. You could co-host a conference with another company, sponsor an event hosted by another brand (we’ll talk more about this in a later section of this post), or partner with a racing team — the choice is yours!

7. Uplinq

Uplinq - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: Moment Factory

Uplinq was a developer conference hosted by Qualcomm. Its objective was to bring developers, publishers, device makers, tech providers, and network operators in the mobile app and data services industries together and educate them on business building tactics. While Qualcomm has discontinued this conference, there are definitely some things we can learn from it!

Key Takeaway: The most valuable thing you can take away from Uplinq is the importance of starting each event you host with a bang. Get people excited from the very beginning of your conference or training seminar by featuring a fun video, top speaker, light show, musical performance — anything that will get your audience pumped and ready for the rest of the event.

8. “Why Wait?” Branding Campaign

Source: YouTube

Qualcomm launched its first-ever branding campaign in 2015. The theme was “Why Wait?” and featured a series of commercials informing viewers of Qualcomm’s impressive technology offerings. Qualcomm wanted people to know that amazing, life-altering tech isn’t just science fiction. Some of it, at least, can be had right now.

Key Takeaway: The events your company hosts provide you with an incredible opportunity to both promote your products and educate attendees on how to use them to their full potential. Don’t waste it! If you’re able, include product training sessions at your conferences, and make announcements regarding new company offerings. Find ways to market your company’s products and services at the events you host and watch event ROI rise.

9. Qualcomm Technical Talks

Qualcomm Technical Talks - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: Eventbrite

Qualcomm Technical Talks was an intimate event held in the summer of 2019. The gathering was put on in conjunction with IEEE Women in Engineering and featured Hors D’oeuvres, networking sessions, product demos, and three different technical talks on the topics of WiFi6, 60 GHz WiFi, and cellular vehicle-to-everything. Though it was a small conference, the information delivered was top-notch.

Key Takeaway: No matter what industry you’re in, it’s always important to over-deliver when it comes to your events. If you can exceed audience expectations, you’ll ensure everyone who attends your gatherings leaves feeling satisfied and ready for the next big shindig your company hosts. This rule of thumb even applies to small gatherings like Qualcomm Technical Talks. Because Qualcomm and its partner, IEEE Women in Engineering, delivered such high-quality information, those who attended couldn’t help but leave the event feeling better educated and more prepared than when they arrived.

10. Best Bus Stop Ever

Source: YouTube

Humans are constantly bombarded with advertisements. When we turn on the TV, surf the internet, or visit a bus station, some companies will undoubtedly be trying to capture our attention with an ad. This kind of marketing tactic has become so prevalent, many of us simply tune them out. Knowing this, Qualcomm took a creative approach. Their bus stop poster ads said things like “In a hurry?” “Seen it all?” and “Bored?”. When bus riders visited the accompanying URL, they were then treated to a digital Lamborghini or snow sled ride, or a clown show. It was a fun, unique way to grab attention and it worked like a charm.

Key Takeaway: This activation from Qualcomm is a perfect example of experiential marketing. More than that, it illustrates the need to make every one of your events and/or marketing activations memorable. You don’t need to host the biggest, baddest conference, or come up with the most out-there marketing stunt to find success. But you do need to reach your target audience in ways that will make a lasting impression on them. You can do this by securing great speakers, hosting your conferences in amazing locations, over-delivering on information, or any of the other techniques we’ve discussed in this post.

11. Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: Qualcomm

The Consumer Electronics Show is a very popular annual event held in Las Vegas, NV. Attendees get to learn about the latest technological breakthroughs, hear top tech industry speakers share business-building advice, and see new product demos before anyone else. While Qualcomm doesn’t host CES, they have been known to rent booth space and interact with their target audience during the event.

Key Takeaway: A well-rounded event strategy will include more than just self-hosted events. It’s important that your company makes appearances at other top gatherings in your industry. This will allow you to connect with new folks and become part of the industry-wide conversation. So do a little research and find out which events your target audience likes to attend. Then book your ticket and interact with them at these conferences and expos.

12. Consumer Electronics Show (Continued)

Consumer Electronics Show (Continued) - Qualcomm Event MarketingSource: CNET

We’re going to stick with the Consumer Electronics Show for this last entry. As mentioned above, CES is a popular Las Vegas event that showcases cutting-edge technology. And Qualcomm regularly rents a booth at the annual conference.

Key Takeaway: What else can we learn from Qualcomm’s time at CES? Event marketers need to constantly spark curiosity before, during, and after your events. To do this at CES, where thousands of cutting edge brands in attendance make it hard to stand out from the crowd, Qualcomm hired Trollback to design a 360-degree audiovisual experience that introduced and defined the company’s role in developing 5G technology. The resulting display helped Qualcomm peak attendees’ curiosity and grab attention on the crowded CES expo floor.

Main Takeaways: Host Stellar Events Like Qualcomm

Qualcomm always brings their A-game when it comes to events. While there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the tech company, here are the main takeaways you can use to improve your own conferences, training seminars, and trade expos:

  1. Prioritize Creativity: Qualcomm is always looking for ways to differentiate itself from its events. You should too. Whether you invest in technology to make your events more memorable, pull a fun experiential marketing stunt, or something else entirely, don’t limit yourself. Get creative and find new ways to wow your audience.
  2. Get the Details Right: Creativity is important, but so are the normal, everyday details such as where your event is located and who will be speaking at it. Make sure you have these details locked down for every event you host.
  3. Invest in Partnerships: Many of the events listed in this article feature Qualcomm partnerships. By partnering with other brands, you’ll be able to share the event-planning load and financial burden as well as reach new potential customers. Take some time to develop business relationships and explore this idea.

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