On the Record: Briefing Bites from Top EBCS
Title: Manager-3M Innovation Center
You pushed into the realm of EBCs because…
We have a number of customer technical centers throughout the world, but we didn’t have one here in the United States. Forty percent of our operations are here, and it didn’t make sense that we didn’t have a place where we could bring our customers. This gives us an opportunity to showcase the depth and breadth of everything 3M has to offer.
You’ve been open for a year. The response so far?
We’ve had more than 1,000 customers visit, which is phenomenal. We’re averaging between five and six visits a day.
Who represents 3M during meetings at your EBC?
A variety of disciplines and a number of businesses are almost always represented. One business—like the optical systems division, for example—might be the host for a particular customer, but they’re also inviting other 3M businesses to take part in the discussions that are taking place.
Title: Director-Vision Center
What are the primary benefits of having an EBC?
It brings our company to life for customers. We are such a large company that our customers tend to know us based on the businesses that they deal with, but they might not be aware of the full breadth of products and services that we offer. Many times, people say, “I didn’t know you did that,” and it leads to further conversations and cross-selling opportunities.
Who comes to visit your EBC?
It’s really a wide mix of folks. Our primary audience, of course, is customers and prospects, but we also host investors and analysts, media, prospective board members and different associations. We also have a number of politicians who come through, and it’s really a great way to show what’s happening within healthcare to legislators.
What was the biggest focus in pre-EBC planning meetings?
For us, it was really, “How do we tell a story and have it make sense to every customer segment?” That story has morphed over time as we’ve acquired new businesses.
Title: Director-Global Briefing Network
Company: Sun Microsystems
Who generally visits your EBC? During a typical meeting, we would expect to see four to six folks from a corporation, typically one of which would be at the cxo level. We would expect to see decision-makers and their advisers coming to meet with our subject matter experts.
What kind of preparation goes into each visit?
We spend a lot of time working with the account teams and then the customers before the visit. We typically have a four- to six-week lead time. We custom build agendas to meet the specific needs of the accounts.
Why do you think the EBC is the most effective way to connect with decision-makers?
If customers go to a conference—and they do—they’re just going to sit in a room with 500 other people. Some consider that an inefficient use of their time, because they’re just getting a general information update. EBCs are much more personalized.
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