UPS Enlists a Roster of Notable Speakers and Hosts
Longitudes is UPS’ twice-yearly conference series that focuses on supply-chain management and synchronized commerce. With one meeting each year in the U.S. and the other overseas, the sessions allow the company to engage key customers in dialogue about the future of shipping and commerce and position itself as a solutions provider.
Thanks to an almost unbeatable roster of speakers—George H. W. Bush, Vaclav Havel, Thomas Friedman and Lech Walesa among them—the events have been a hit since their debut; buzz was so strong among UPS clients after the first few meetings that the company has had to turn away potential attendees. Of the roughly 200 attendees at each event, the majority are c-level clients, with vp and director-level execs making up the rest.
Session topics are tweaked for each event, but follow the same basic template. An intro from UPS’ ceo is followed by a dinner keynote. The next day includes presentations by professors, industry experts and other notable speakers, roundtables, Q&A sessions, an executive exchange, a keynote and closing reception.
UPS gets help from Harvard Business School Publishing, which co-hosts sessions, helps generate content, provides moderators and compiles an executive summary for attendees and invitees who were unable to attend.
UPS reports that customers who attend the conferences have increased their spending with UPS at a faster rate than the company’s average customer. More to the point, the campaign generated a $25 million return on a $5 million investment.