A Morristown, NJ-based firm is billing itself as the industry's first "customer conference company." After a restructuring, Pentamark now is producing client conferences and special events targeting an organization's customers.

The move comes in response to a growing demand for these types of corporate gatherings, says Pentamark president Kevin O'Sullivan. "We've seen a 60 to 80 percent increase in requests for such events this year alone, as corporations increasingly search for more creative, effective ways to relate to their customers," O'Sullivan explains. "CEOs strongly believe these events fill an emotional void between their customers and their own organizations."

Customer events, ranging from entertainment extravaganzas to low-key educational conferences, feature "a lot of elbow-rubbing and networking," O'Sullivan notes.

These events are typically two to three days and target a "strategic" attendee mix of 80 percent current customers and 20 percent prospects.