A beach-forward conference engaged clients in a celebratory company culture

Editor’s Note: On the heels of a major acquisition, Planbox, a provider of cloud-based, AI-powered “agile innovation management solutions,” wanted to show customers and prospective customers how much they love them. That meant going beyond the obvious. A survey of favorite places revealed that attendees were hankering for a Florida beach day. Smart Meetings talked to Lucas Potasso-Justino, the Montreal-based company’s marketing specialist, to find out how he inducted guests in the adventurous company culture and got people talking.

Business Goal: 2019 Planbox Imagine user conference was an annual event designed to bring the customer community together under one roof—to share stories, best practices and some laughs. Since the product is all about collaborating and ideating, the team knew it had to practice what it preaches. “You can’t go to a predictable place to innovate,” Potasso-Justino said. That’s why the company opted for learning and teaching by the beach.

Biggest Challenge: Getting 50 clients from major companies with crazy-busy schedules to the destination and keeping them there required creative marketing.

Solution: Event planners chose W Fort Lauderdale in Florida as the site for three days of sessions, networking and a dine-around town. Email and social media messaging—including a fun trailer video distributed through LinkedIn of what attendees could expect—promoted an event for innovators by innovators. “Join us on the beach,” was the message.

Focus: Once there, the team solicited feedback every step of the way and updated the program immediately based on the suggestions. Board-gaming sessions showcased product modules. Thought leaders from Cargill, InsurTech and UST Global candidly shared their experiences and hopes for the future.

Success Measurement: Feedback at the event was enthusiastic. Joe Messina, senior acceleration manager at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, was ardent in his praise. “I was particularly impressed by the team’s willingness to retool the agenda—in real time—in response to audience feedback,” he said.

Lessons Learned: Now the challenge is to make next year’s conference just as memorable. “We already know how to better prepare for logistics next year,” Potasso-Justino said.