Friday, November 9, 2018

Case Study: Covering Events from Start to Finish

Key Challenges

   Create a platform that allows conference hosts to facilitate and track conference events from start to finish.
   Enable multiple business divisions to collaborate on budgets and marketing campaigns.
   Create a comprehensive view of session attendance, attendee feedback, sentiment, and attendee demographics.

Hosting Conferences Is Not Easy

Conference hosting is a complex operation. A successful conference requires careful budgeting, executing multiple marketing campaigns, planning sessions, monitoring session attendance, tracking attendee feedback, and ensuring that the conference meets business objectives. If you have ever hosted a conference, you’ve likely spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours diligently marketing your event to ensure a good turnout. At some point, you probably wondered what people thought of your event, whether they liked it, and whether their professional aspirations were aided by attending. You also likely wondered whether there was a better way to market and manage your event.

Our client, an internationally recognized software company, asked us to create an end-to-end event platform to manage a conference of 30,000 attendees. The client wanted to track all the marketing activities related to the conference. The platform would allow marketers to track budgets, drive weekly campaigns, analyze marketing channel performance, measure attendee demographics, compile and compare attendee sentiment from before, during, and after the conference, and evaluate the return on investment. In short, the platform would enable our client to run the event from start to finish.

Complete Event Management on a Single Platform

Running a conference with 30,000 attendees requires significant preparation. One of the draws of our client’s conference is the diverse audience it attracts. The audience spans countless industries. Individual sessions and workshops were planned for a variety of job titles ranging from IT technician to CEO. Our events platform allowed the client's leadership and operations teams to execute multiple marketing campaigns, each targeting an audience segment. Unifying the budgetary information for marketing campaigns enabled an enhanced level of coordination that ultimately made the conference a success.

Our client’s marketing teams spent six months generating demand for the event. The events platform allowed marketers to forecast how many weekly registrants were needed to meet the conference’s attendance goals. The marketing teams conducted weekly campaigns. When conference attendees registered for the event, their registration information was made instantly available to the teams. This real-time data access allowed the teams to perform detailed analyses of marketing channel performance. The result was that campaigns improved each week, as the teams knew exactly which channels and demographics to target.

Registration information, pre-conference and post-conference surveys, and session surveys allowed our client to better understand attendee experience. A week before the conference began, attendees were asked to fill out a pre-conference survey. Attendees were asked questions like, “What are your professional objectives, and can this conference help you reach them?” and “Is [our client’s] brand a brand you love?” The attendees then answered to what extent they agreed or disagreed. The events platform allowed our client to analyze the survey results in detail to learn how to better serve the attendees’ needs.

Finally, after all the preparation, it was time for the conference itself. The client issued each attendee a conference badge. The badge was scanned before entering each session or workshop. The session attendance information provided our client even more insights into the attendee experience. Our client used this information to evaluate session demand in real time. Because the client knew which sessions were filled, they could schedule additional makeup sessions during the later days of the conference.

Successful Results

A week after the conference, attendees were sent a final survey. The survey featured the same questions from an earlier pre-conference survey, allowing the client to measure sentiment shift. The client was now able to evaluate how attendees felt about their brand before the event, how attendees’ perception of the company shifted during the event, and how attendees felt about their brand after the event. The information allowed trends to be tracked across countless metrics. Using the data gathered from the event, our client determined whether certain industries liked the conference more than others and whether the enjoyment of the conference varied by job title.

Most importantly, our client observed positive ROI in all their metrics. These metrics included satisfaction, sales lead generation, viewership, support cost reduction, and demand generation channels. Using our comprehensive events platform, our client compiled the data from their conference in just one week—a process that used to take six months. The ability to use one platform to host an event from start to finish resulted in significant benefits at every stage in the process.