23rd Microsoft NT Conference

Basic Event Information

Date: 22nd – 24th May 2018
Location: Grand Hotel Bernardin, Portorož, Slovenia
Organizer: MPG Plus d.o.o.
Client: Microsoft Slovenia
Event type: IT and business conference

EVENT CATEGORY: CATEGORY B2B

Event description and key objectives

Microsoft NT Conference is the biggest Slovenian technological and business event. Three days of diverse content, and intertwining technology and business brought together over 2200 attendees to witness over 130 domestic and foreign speakers, and more than 60 partners and sponsors.

Because of its development and interlacement of business and technology the event is interesting for professionals in all kinds of fields and it connects IT experts and developers, as well as HR managers, marketing managers and decision makers in finance and sales. NT Conference is not just about IT trends and solutions, but also about the ways on how to include them in our everyday business processes and how to effectively use them in our business challenges.

NT Conference is a place of many business opportunities and it presents an important platform for personal meetings with business partners and topmost experts. That is one of the added values of the conference, as it creates a great opportunity to maintain the existing business partnerships and to create new ones. The event truly became a vivid technological, business and marketing platform, and above all, an important business accelerator. One of the key objectives is to constantly educate IT and business professionals through relevant content, shared over conference’s communication channels (case studies, blogs, webinars) through the entire year, and of course through lectures and workshops at the event itself. One of the main objecti

Key challenges

The essential challenge of the event is to ensure its execution, which is not self-evident. We have to ensure a successful financial structure with un-constant budget. Microsoft NT Conference is financed only through attendee fees and sponsorship fees. Its financial structure results in the challenge of keeping and/or raising the number of attendees and sponsors.

The task is not simple, as we are meeting higher and higher number of similar events in the region, while the plane tickets for the entire Europe are no longer expensive and people can visit any event they want for the same financial input. According to the raising number of competitive events we need to keep up the relevance of the entire event – not just the content and the networking part, but the entire experience an attendee and a partner gets from the event. The interest of both groups is getting higher each year, which means that the added value of the event is high enough to conquer other competitive events. In the process of transformation of the event itself, it’s also our challenge to keep the high number of attendees from IT sphere (10% of the entire IT population in Slovenia), while raise the number of attendees from business sphere.

Another challenge of the event with 23 years of tradition is to keep the legacy of the event and Microsoft Corporation, so that attendees know what to expect, while at the same time create the content and the happening that is up-to-date, relevant, innovative and fresh

Event results

Creativity

A project with 23 years of tradition has to stay innovative in order for the attendees and partners to keep attending and investing in their knowledge and business connections. We believe that the concept itself needs to be the most creative. One of the main things that makes NT Conference unique and differs it from other such events is a special mix of technology, business and casual atmosphere, that all bare equal importance and attention from our side.

Creativeness in the knowledge part means to create a timeline of lectures, round tables and workshops that are just the right level and content for the widest IT and business public. Combining technology with business in a way to deliver contents, intertwining them both, makes it interesting for both groups at the same time.

Sponsorship cooperation is also very creative. We offer them the entire event platform and consult one-by-one on how to use it most effectively. Through contribution of their content and presence with various engagements before and at the event we create many opportunities for them to keep and stay in contact with all the event parties. We support and help them generate new leads through that, and also through our conference system, which enables them to collect leads at their exhibition stand. Together with partners we transformed a knowledge-based event into a modern business and marketing platform. And through combination with relaxed unformal events we are creating even more opportunities for all.

Innovation

Having 2.200 attendees at the event means to have 2.200 different behavioural patterns and it’s important to recognise them in order to achieve better results and better events in the future. To prepare the best possible content, side-events and business opportunities, we have to know, what kind of professional profiles are interested in the event, how to convince them to join, and at the end, what kind of profile comes to the event and what are their preferences at the event itself.

Through marketing automation, we are following the behaviour of potential attendees way before the event, in order to recognise their interests. Through different content (conference information, partner and sponsor content) we get their attention to continue following our communications and of course, to submit to the event.

At the event itself, we are collecting different kind of information in order to know individuals’ preferences in content, partners etc. Having 13 simultaneously lectures, parallel sponsorship happenings and several side-events it’s important to know how successful they were. That kind of measuring does not just give us an insight in the event in order to improve it, but also gives us the opportunity to react immediately in case anything goes wrong or if there is too much of interest for a certain topic (we can repeat one lecture or workshop, produce more such contents etc.).

Execution

From the organizational point of view it’s most important to fulfil the expectations and demands of the client – Microsoft, and through that, to fulfil expectations and wishes of the attendees. Namely, those are the ones who will be affected by the event in a way to re-visit it, to re-buy a certain product or service, to transfer a certain information etc. And that’s what counts.

Marketing agency MPG Slovenia organized the Microsoft NT Conference for the fifth time in a row now. We created a new concept, upgrading it each year. We fully take over the conference organization, implementing new solutions and quality improvements, while respecting tradition and legacy. Most important is the combination of agency experiences and Microsoft experts to work closely to prepare the event in such dimensions.

We are preparing the NT Conference for app. 10 months. It all starts with the number of a few people, each one responsible for specific core field – management in general; event organization and finances; sponsorship and partnership; communications and attendees. Slowly, one by one, we include new co-workers and subcontractors to the project – and at the end, there are more than 100 people working in the organizational team of the NT Conference. And when attendees are totally not aware of the fact that there is such a number of people behind all of that happening, then you know, we did our job well.

Measurable results

We are dividing the result of the Microsoft NT Conference in several parts. The first part of the results, on which the entire event is depend on, are the number of sold attendee fees, and the amount of financial input from the side of event sponsors. As we already mentioned, the conference is financed only through those two channels and it’s important to achieve the goals we set on the beginning of the project planning. The event is worth app. 500.000 EUR and we not only reached the limit, but overcame it this year too. That means we could include in the project all the elements needed for a successful event.

The other part, also very important for the existence of the NT Conference itself, is the business impact on Microsoft’s side, which is measured in several segments, like the number of leads, contacts, revenue etc., achieved through the event. Unfortunately, none of those segments and its numbers can be disclosed, but there are many concrete sales leads generated at the conference and you can be sure, that without the results and achieved goals in that part Microsoft Corporation would not recognise the added value of the event and would no longer support its performance. The only information we can share in this part is that half of Microsoft Slovenia yearly revenue is influenced by the NT Conference.

Communication

Communication is a very important part of the NT Conference and we pay special attention to it. We use many different digital communication channels to inform our target audience about the event and its possibilities: website, newsletters, social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram). We are cooperating with Slovenian media (advertising, PR), as well as with digital agencies (on-line advertising). The communication was very successful and the conference is recognized as one of the biggest and most important IT and business events in the region also by the media. We had 27 accredited journalists, 35 articles and 11 interviews.

For communication with partners we use personal e-mails, phone calls and meeting; internal e-mails for Microsoft Corporation informing; phone and e-mail communication for attendees who can reach to us anytime.

We need to know our audience well in order to form the right content, interesting for IT professionals and developers, as well as for managers and decision makers, if we want to attract them to follow us and to attend the event. Speakers and partners play a very important role in the process of creating such content. NT Conference is a business and marketing platform for our partners. Through the entire year we share their relevant contents (case studies, blogs, webinars) over all conference’s communication channels, creating a rich base of knowledge to educate the audience and to prepare them for the final content peak at the conference.

The use of sustainable practices

We all realize that sustainable practices unfortunately not always depend on the organizer. We are limited with the location of the event, and sometimes it’s much more sustainable if we work with location capacities than with the ones we would prefer to, as it would includes additional transfer, costs etc. In that spirit, we are cooperating with as many local suppliers as possible.

No matter the above-written fact we are trying to be as sustainable as possible and the concept of the conference enables us just that – to be digital. That means we don’t use unnecessary paper and we communicate only through digital channels. We don’t print the essential information, but we keep them on the conference website and in the conference application, we share them through newsletters and social media, we keep everyone informed through screens on the walls. We don’t even print the ground plan and time schedule, even though many attendees would like us to.

We believe that the main core of the concept of sustainability is very similar to Microsoft’s and our conference’s concept of digital transformation – to keep all the information in cloud, available and accessible to everyone anytime anywhere. We are building the event with those thought in our minds and share the idea among the attendees. So far, we achieved that every year there are less of them, demanding the printed materials, and we believe it’s a fact we can all be proud o