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How One Partner Found Event Success at the Microsoft Store

While there are currently only 14 Microsoft stores open around the country, the company plans to open 75 over the next couple of years. If you are lucky enough to have one in your backyard, it's the perfect place to hold a client event with style.

Cloudy with a Chance of Sales in Atlanta
Located in Woodstock, Ga., just north of Atlanta, RoseBud Technologies has held five events since the Atlanta Microsoft retail store opened in May 2011. While all the events were successful, according to Greg Wartes, director of marketing for RoseBud, the Nov. 9 event was over the top. Co-hosted by Microsoft, November's cloud services-focused event attracted over 200 registrations with approximately 150 attending.

"If I had to put a check mark by the most successful marketing tactics, it would have to be the LinkedIn groups," Wartes said. "From the tracking we could do with such a large crowd, it appears that over half of the attendees found out about the event through LinkedIn." Wartes and other RoseBud team members spent the weeks before the event finding and announcing the event to LinkedIn groups that were local to Atlanta with potential interest in cloud computing.

The strong relationship that RoseBud has built with the regional Microsoft team also helped the event gain attention and drive attendance. Greg Treanor, vice president at RoseBud, cited the relationship with Microsoft reps as critical to the success of the event.

Event Content
The November event was billed as a continuation of the Office 365 launch, and also included Windows Intune and CRM online. Treanor presented O365 and Intune, while Atlanta-based Zero2Ten presented the CRM online content. Using real-world examples, the partners were able to demonstrate their knowledge and experience to the crowd.

The 9 a.m. pre-opening schedule was helpful in accommodating the crowd before the store opening. Even though the event was held early, the audience was interactive, asking plenty of practical questions that helped build interest. The topic of cloud clearly resonated with the audience.

Treanor said, "The event was very positive. We got the chance to meet about 150 people who we hadn't met before. Our cost for the involvement was low and we developed more than a dozen really good leads with immediate needs. We have closed most of those opportunities.

"I am really in awe of the reach we were able to achieve through this event, even though we are a small partner. This was beyond anything we could have done on our own. The fact that partners can use these regional stores -- which are a 'destination' for a lot of people -- gives them the chance to meet people they would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet."

Lessons Learned
While most partners may not hit registration numbers like 200, the RoseBud team shared some lessons that partners can use to prepare for a better experience:

  • Staff up and be ready for questions. Have as many staff on hand as possible to talk one-on-one with prospects at the end of the event.

  • Take plenty of business cards.

  • Plan ahead so you can manage the details that make an event flow smoothly.

  • Go to the store in advance to meet with the Microsoft store management team. Map out the logistics with the Microsoft team and take advantage of their experience.

If have a Microsoft retail store in your town, contact them right away to get your event on the calendar. Schedules fill up quickly. Across the country, the store management teams have proven themselves to be very supportive of partners and their events.

Did you have a great event at a Microsoft store? Comment below or tell me about it so we can share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 26, 2012