Citrix Cements Attendee Relationships

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Citrix Systems Inc., a supplier of application server software, is fully automating many of the troublesome aspects of conference attendance for the 1,500 distribution partners that will be attending its "Citrix Solutions Summit" April 5 through April 8 in Orlando.

The company is using Carlson Marketing Group's iEvent, an online turnkey suite of solutions for live events.

Attendees can go online to to register for the conference, receive real-time session updates, communicate with other attendees, receive information about travel arrangements and product launches and provide feedback about seminars and other aspects of the conference.

The days of mailed paper seminar materials and registration information will not be missed by Sheryl Pattek, director of worldwide marketing communications for Citrix Systems, Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

"From our perspective being a vendor and putting on a conference as the host, the amount of time consumed for manual chores was enormous and there were the mistakes that occurred."

CMG has been providing these services for Citrix and other clients, but has only recently packaged the service and branded it as iEvent. The service can be used for any of a number of relationship marketing initiatives including trade shows, events, symposiums and conferences.

CMG can partner with the client company for their customer acquisition efforts by launching online marketing programs like e-mail campaigns.

"We do list buys and use prior attendee lists and current customer lists for e-mail marketing," said John Farrell, senior director, channel marketing Carlson Marketing Group, Minneapolis. The company will also arrange banner ad buys to promote the site.

Additionally, the company will make purchases of premium and incentive items to present to attendees who provide feedback about the event.

Citrix has expanded the service to wireless devices and plans to do so for journalists and possibly attendees at its upcoming iForum event in October. The company lends out the handheld devices, which are returned at the end of the event. In addition to the conference services, "they can check their e-mail, write and file stories directly and check their stocks," said Pattek.

Lessening the hassles of event attendance can help the hosts better build relationships with attendees, said Farrell. "We connect with attendees in real time online and offline to blend face-to-face the personal relationship building of an event. [Using iEvent] blends interpersonal and the Internet to help build a stronger relationships."

The fee for the service depends on number of attendees, depth and breadth of services.

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