Learn how the Chinese tech giant, Baidu, uses different event types and experiential marketing campaigns to promote its web-based products and services.
Baidu is a multinational technology company that specializes in the creation of internet-related products and services. If you're unfamiliar with the business, just think of them as the Chinese version of Google. Like Google, Baidu's offerings include a popular search engine, a mapping service, mobile apps, translation services, and a stellar event marketing strategy.
In this article, we'll explore 11 different events and experiential marketing activations that Baidu uses to promote its services and products all while serving its customers.
1. Create 2019
Our annual #BaiduCreate AI Developer Conference will take place in Beijing in just a month on July 3 & 4! Join Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li, executives, scientists and partners for the latest #AI trends, announcements, partnerships and more. Stay tuned for more details! pic.twitter.com/YSeUs4GRxq— Baidu Inc. (@Baidu_Inc) June 5, 2019
Create 2019 was the latest version of Baidu's AI Developer's Conference that took place from July 3 - 4 in Beijing, China. At the event, Baidu's CEO demonstrated the company's cutting-edge technology and top-of-the-line products. Beyond learning about Baidu's latest offerings, attendees were also able to "explore the applications of AI technology and global trends of industrial intelligentization together." All in all, it was a great event that inspired and empowered event goers in the emerging field of artificial intelligence.
Key Takeaway: Create 2019 reminds us to always strive for innovation and to look for ways to push our industries forward with our company's B2C and B2B event marketing efforts. Here's the truth: people will always want to attend events that both shape the future and prepare them for it. If your events can accomplish that objective through research, collaborations with experts, and forward-thinking products, they will always be well-attended and successful.
Source: Campaign Asia
Next up: the Baidu CNY Campaign, a unique marketing initiative that saw the search giant partner with CCTV (a state-owned broadcaster) to reach 300 million people for Chinese New Year. You read that right, 300 million people! For the event, Baidu offered $133 million worth of prizes to people who downloaded its mobile app and followed the instructions inside. The end result was over 100 million people receiving red envelopes (pictured above) with small cash prizes inside and a huge bump in Baidu users.
Key Takeaway: Baidu obviously invested A LOT of money into this specific promotional campaign. Your company might not have millions of dollars to hand out to its target audience. But any business, regardless of its size and budgetary constraints, can take advantage of holidays, current events, and other happenings — just like Baidu did for the Chinese New Year. You'll give yourself an advantage by tying your marketing campaigns in with special events already being celebrated by your audience.
The ABC Inspire Summit is completely dedicated to interpreting new and important technologies such as AI, cloud computing, and the application of smart internet of things (IoT) tech. Attendees of the event get to hear keynote speeches from industry leaders and see exciting new products in action. It's another great conference for technology enthusiasts who want to be in the know on current industry trends and best practices.
Key Takeaway: The ABC Inspire Summit is all about state of the art technology. So it makes perfect sense that Baidu uses the event to not only educate and inspire its audience, but to also announce the release of new products and services to them. Your events give your company an amazing platform as well. Take full advantage of it and let your attendees know about your latest offerings or important news to help your promotional efforts.
ForwardPMX is the first official Baidu certification partner, which means they've been cleared by China's largest search and technology platform to teach users the ins and outs of Baidu and hand out accredited certifications to qualified individuals. Pretty cool! As of this writing, ForwardPMX offers single day training, one week intensive programs, and bespoke client/agency lessons. All training is taught by either ForwardPMX or Baidu professionals.
Key Takeaway: In-depth training events should never be underestimated. If you want your customers to continue using your company's products, they need to know the best ways to do so. What better way to teach them through an entertaining and interactive conference, seminar, or summit?
According to Branding in Asia, Baidu DuerOS is "a suite of software developer kits, along with APIs, and turnkey solutions that enable OEMs to integrate the platform with smart speakers, refrigerators, washing machines, set-top boxes, and other smart wired devices." In order to promote DuerOS, Baidu partnered with F5 Shanghai to craft a series of short, entertaining, and memorable commercials that demonstrate the power of the platform.
Key Takeaway: Whatever you do, make sure your events and experiential activations are wildly entertaining. Otherwise, you'll have a hard time connecting with your target audience. To ensure the entertainment factor is turned up to 11, try bringing in famous speakers, organizing end-of-conference dance parties, or using humor in your marketing efforts, just like Baidu has done with its Baidu BuerOS campaign. Yes, your events need to be useful and deliver quality information. But if said information isn't fun to consume, most folks will decide not to consume it.
Source: Business Wire
It's the 21st century and attention is the currency of the realm. And few things get as much attention as major Hollywood blockbuster movies. That's why Baidu partnered with Paramount Pictures, the makers of the popular Transformer movies, to bring its interactive messaging features to fans, right before the Bumblebee movie was set to release. Downloaders of Baidu's mobile keyboard apps were able to send fun emojis and digital stickers (pictured above) that included everyone's favorite yellow transformer, Bumblebee.
Key Takeaway: Partnerships are a fantastic event marketing and/or marketing activation strategy. Who says you have to plan your next conference, training seminar, or international summit all by yourself? Why wouldn't you partner with other like-minded brands to host better events or reach new audiences with creative marketing campaigns? Take a page out of Baidu's book and find partnership opportunities that your company can take full advantage of.
The Polaris Program is Baidu's attempt to "attract top AI scholars and use the talent engine to promote the rapid development of China's AI." In other words, it's an academic exchange program for top scholars from all corners of the globe. Those who are accepted into the program get to participate in cutting-edge research projects and work in top research environments as they strive to push the field of AI in new and creative directions.
Key Takeaway: The Polaris Program isn't a typical hiring event. But it does remind us of how important hiring events can be. Acquiring top talent for your company is essential. Without skilled and experienced personnel, your organization will quickly fall behind its competitors. Hiring events are an easy way for your company to interface with the top talent in its industry and bring them onboard. We suggest including a few of these event types in your event marketing strategy.
Baidu is a publicly traded company. As such, it has an obligation to its shareholders to apprise them of its progress in the market and its earnings. Baidu does this via its live quarterly Earnings Conference Calls, which are also recorded so that those who are unable to tune in on the day can still participate at a time that's convenient for them.
Key Takeaway: Whether you're a small startup with five employees or an international, publicly traded company with investors and shareholders, it's important that you take care of your team. This might mean scheduling employee appreciation dinners, team bonding events, or fun holiday celebrations. It might also mean hosting earnings conference calls like Baidu does. Whatever you do, treat your team right and you'll find more success.
It seems like anyone who's anyone in the tech industry shows up for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. So it's no surprise the Baidu was there in 2018. But Baidu didn't just attend, it hosted its own launch event within the wider expo. At this launch event, Baidu spoke to the CES audience about how it's striving to innovate and make the world a better place with AI technology.
Key Takeaway: We're going to cheat a little bit and give you two key takeaways here. We hope you don't mind! First, we're big fans of events within events because they allow companies to cater to specific demographics while still serving their audience as a whole. And second, launch events can be incredibly effective, which is why many successful companies, from Baidu to Apple, use them. If you're looking for new corporate event ideas, consider planning an entire gathering to announce the new slate of products and/or services your company offers.
10. VidCon US 2019
What's VidCon? Only the largest event in the world for "fans, creators, executives, and brands who are passionate about online video and building diverse communities." The conference, now in its tenth year, is owned by Viacom and welcomes 75,000 attendees to sunny Anaheim, CA on an annual basis. It features three different tracks: one for fans, one for creators, and one for industry professionals, and is loads of fun for all involved. While Baidu doesn't own or host this event, they do sponsor it. Let's talk more about event sponsorship...
Key Takeaway: Event sponsorship is an important component of a full event marketing strategy. By sponsoring other events that serve your target audience, you'll be able to introduce your brand to new potential customers. And by securing sponsors for your own events, you'll be able to offset many of the expenses incurred when hosting conferences and seminars.
11. CVPR 2019
CVPR is the "premier annual computer vision event comprising the main conference and several co-located workshops and short courses." In 2019, the event was held in Long Beach, CA and gave attendees a fantastic opportunity to learn and network together. Baidu didn't own or host CVPR 2019. But they did exhibit at it and that's why we've included it on this list.
Key Takeaway: Your company doesn't necessarily have to host its own events to participate and benefit from event branding initiatives. It could simply sponsor other events in its industry like we mentioned above or exhibit its products at them like we're mentioning now. By renting a booth at a popular conference or expo, you'll be able to demonstrate your products to the exact people they were intended for. It's an amazing opportunity to make new connections and sales, which is exactly why Baidu exhibited at CVPR in the first place. We suggest you exhibit at events in your industry too.
Main Takeaways: Host a Stellar Event Like Baidu
As we've just seen, Baidu knows how to host an amazing event. It's also no stranger when it comes to effective experiential marketing campaigns. If you're ready to boost your own companies event strategy, keep these valuable lessons from Baidu in mind:
- Creativity is the Name of the Game: What can you do to plan more innovative events and marketing campaigns? Think like Baidu and always look for a creative edge. You might find it by hiring top-notch speakers, taking advantage of national holidays, or something else entirely. Just commit to creativity and your corporate event management skills will flourish, guaranteed.
- Invest in Partnerships: One of the best ways to increase event ROI is to invest in partnerships. This will allow you to share the event planning load and reach more like-minded audience members. Just remember, partnerships come in all shapes and sizes. You could host an entire event with a partner company. Or you could simply sponsor or exhibit your products at an event that's already happening.
- Take Advantage of Your Events Platform: Baidu never misses an opportunity to promote its offerings in a tasteful way at its events. Use this same strategy and announce new products, demonstrate best-sellers, and deliver exciting news at your conferences, training seminars, and expos. Simply take advantage of your captive audience and watch sales shoot through the roof!
Here's one last tip for you: invest in event software! Planning and executing stellar events is hard enough. Make it easier on yourself by using the right tools.