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vice president of marketing
Oracle, Redwood Shores, Calif.

ROLE Paul Salinger joined Oracle more than 10 years ago and now serves as vice president of marketing, reporting to the chief marketing officer. His primary focus is strategic communications and creative concepting, supporting the event marketing department. “These days my role is helping to strategize about the event portfolio and making sure we are meeting our customers’ needs as well as our own marketing needs. I am responsible for the content of the event and thinking through how we’re going to deliver that content effectively.”

SUCCESS STORY Five years ago, Oracle was doing about 3,000 face-to-face events globally every year. A high-level analysis showed that events were a primary driver of leads and, in turn, sales for the company. Salinger remembers the CEO’s response when presented with the data: “Great news! Let’s double the number of events but do it for the same amount of money.” Today, the company runs about 8,000 face-to-face events each year. “It’s forced us to be very strategic in the way we think about our events and incredibly efficient about the way we run them,” Salinger says.

FORWARD THINKING With 8,000 events around the globe annually, Salinger works with the event marketing group and the integrated campaigns group to create “event kits” that standardize the way the company presents itself. “When you go to any Oracle event around the world,” Salinger says, “they pretty much look the same because they
are all working off the same templates for branding, invitations, collateral materials, signage, and presentations.”

GREEN Championing Oracle’s green meeting initiatives is a secondary role for Salinger, but it’s the one that he may be most proud of. His green program, launched in 2007, to make the annual 40,000-attendee Oracle OpenWorld conference a sustainable event is now well established. The goal for 2010 is to take the program global. “We’ve put together documentation on what we’ve done at OpenWorld, what we’re doing with procurement, and going beyond minimum requirements to meet green meeting standards,” he says. “We’re now rolling that out to the global green team.”

ADVICE The key to success for an event marketer, says Salinger, is understanding that the audience always comes first. “Really understanding the needs and concerns of your audience on both a macro and micro level and then delivering value to meet those needs will lead you to a great audience experience.”—Sue Hatch