In the rapidly-evolving IT world, producing events that showcase the latest IT trends and relevant hot topics is a constant challenge. Knowing the rapidly-evolving business trends that affect event attendance is no walk in the park, either.
At Gartner, Alwyn Dawkins, Senior Vice President of Gartner Worldwide Events, leads the team of event professionals that help keep Symposium/ITxpo ahead of the curve.
After spending 20 years in the events and conference industry, Mr. Dawkins joined Gartner in 2002. He said technology has become so pervasive in all industries and businesses that conferences have evolved to serve specific areas, rather than trying to reach the entire IT industry.
“We have repositioned Symposium to focus on the most senior IT professionals and create the world’s largest and most important gathering of CIOs,” Mr. Dawkins says.
Mr. Dawkins summarizes Gartner’s overall events strategy as “making every event we produce the ‘must attend’ conference for the roles and the communities we target, so that our events are the centerpiece for these communities in every geography in which we operate.”
To accomplish this, Gartner has transitioned its Summits to focus on technology roles, aligned with Gartner’s role-based research framework, and to help build role-based communities, which drive customer loyalty and retention.
“Our agendas reflect the most pressing issues and hottest topics affecting the roles we are serving,” Mr. Dawkins says.
Gartner stays on top of these trends by listening to its clients, analyzing the inquiries it receives through gartner.com and other channels. In addition, Gartner staff continually interviews clients and attendees, he said.
Above all, the events team takes input and direction from Gartner analysts, who talk to thousands of clients every day. Mr. Dawkins points out that Gartner has “the largest CIO membership in the world, through our Executive Programs business, with over 3,000 CIOs globally. This provides us with a level of insight that no other organization has access to.”
CIOs and other IT professionals recognize the value proposition of Gartner events. “We have seen a 30% plus increase in C-level attendance this year,” Mr. Dawkins says. Coming in the face of widespread travel and budget restrictions, this increase is a sign that attendees and exhibitors “still value face-to-face interaction above all else,” Mr. Dawkins says.
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