IAEE marketing partner, Feathr, has published a series of case studies examining the unique challenges companies in the exhibitions and events industry are facing and offering solutions they discovered. In this feature, learn how Informa Tech worked with Feathr to expand its audience base and, ultimately, increase its total event registrations in 2021 by 31 percent.
CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO
Channel Partners Conference & Expo was already the leading event for its industry. But Informa Tech needed to make sure it was continuing to reach a new audience to nurture into faithful yearly attendees.
To ensure continued growth, Informa Tech used Feathr Invites to reach a net-new audience of over 15,000 people and their referral marketing campaign brought in 31 percent of total event registrations in 2021.
Informa Tech informs, educates and connects the technology community through world-class research, training, events, and media.
Attendee acquisition & referral marketing
Invites & Services
Every year over 6,000 technology channel professionals — from agents to managed service providers, and system integrators to distributors and suppliers — meet in Las Vegas for the world’s largest independent channel technology event, Channel Partners Conference & Expo.
2021 was its 24th consecutive year running, and part of the reason for its longevity and growth has been Informa’s focus on long-term marketing objectives. Staying on top in the event world requires expanding brand awareness and actively nurturing new customer relationships.
“Back in 2016, we were introduced to Feathr to learn about its dynamic invite page campaigns,” said Jessie Truscio, client marketing director at Informa Tech. “Channel Partners already had a referral program in place for its exhibitors and sponsors, but we didn’t provide custom invite pages to them, only a unique promo code. With Feathr, our exhibitors and sponsors loved how they could easily invite their customers to the event with their custom page that included details about their participation — and not their competitors’. And our team loved how all we needed to do was upload a list of our partners, and all their materials were instantly ready to share!”
Leveraging exhibitor and sponsor relationships to reach new audiences
For all the advances in marketing technologies, there’s still nothing better than word of mouth. And referral marketing (what Feathr calls Invites) is exactly that — except built for the digital era.
And it’s not only about added exposure for the event itself. This is a value for exhibitors and speakers too. They get the word out about their participation, ensuring that those showing up meet them at their booth or listen in during their keynote speech. This is one of those situations that would best be described as a “win-win.”
Channel Partners makes sure to communicate this value starting day one. Truscio said, “The referral program was added as a deliverable in their contract at booth purchase. Our clients are making an investment to participate at the show, so if there is something listed in the contract that we owe them, they don’t want to miss out on it.” This is a great example of the marketing team assisting with booth renewals. An exhibitor who got their top prospects to the event through the campaign won’t miss the positive impact this had on their ROI, and it’s going to be an easy renewal.
Example: custom promotional materials created for AT&T to help promote Channel Partners 2021.
Some tips from the pros
Organic marketing initiatives, including referral or influencer campaigns, can feel nerve-wracking because so much depends on influencer activity. What strategies work to increase engagement? And how do campaigns make the turn from added awareness to attendee registrations?
There are best practices for increasing partner engagement, but there’s no magic bullet. And like most things, the most effective strategies to encourage participation often require hard work. Truscio offers three takeaways from running successful Invites campaigns year over year:
- Repetition and investment make it worth the effort. “A referral program already existed for Channel Partners events, so it wasn’t difficult to introduce Feathr Invites to our clients. Since we’ve seen great ROI with it, we make it a priority,” said Truscio. The more comfortable they are and the more they come to expect it, the better the results.
- Consistent and clear calls to action produce real results. “Communication is key. Before we started using Feathr’s Managed Services, our marketing team would email clients about the referral program almost weekly with information on the benefits of sharing their code or invite page.” Making sure partners have access to their co-branded materials and know how to share them is ultimately step one.
- It’s important to get buy-in and support from other departments in the company. Relaying the benefits and encouraging sales to communicate often about initiatives can have a huge impact on partner engagement. And there’s no reason to stop with just the sales team. Collaborating with internal marketing and operations teams on incentives can even further enhance partner participation.
By partnering with the Feathr Services team, Channel Partners was able to offload much of the work necessary in running a successful campaign. From leading internal webinars with sales teams to responding directly to partner inquiries, Feathr Services can assist any and every team, ensuring they get the highest ROI out of their Invites campaign.
“Services helped us save so much time particularly with help building personalized banners and email deployment,” said Truscio. One email at the beginning and near the end will most likely fail to maximize partner engagement. Designing a timeline that’s persistent but not burdensome is key. A nudge at the opportune moment can make all the difference.
“Our exhibitors and sponsors loved how they could easily invite their customers to the event with their custom page that included details about their participation — and not their competitors’.”
JESSIE TRUSCIO, CLIENT MARKETING DIRECTOR – INFORMA TECH
Results from the Channel Partners campaign
By harnessing the power of word of mouth, Channel Partners saw many registrations come in directly through their Invites campaigns. This was 31 percent of all registrations for the event! And that’s not including associated retargeting campaigns where those who were served ads were found through the Invites campaign.
When paired with retargeting ad campaigns, the sky is ultimately the limit. Once a user expresses interest through engagement with Invites but doesn’t complete registration, it’s the perfect time to follow up with a well-placed ad.
Business is essentially about relationships, and Channel Partners has continued to invest in the key connections that have made their event a success for 24 years and running. This focus on its exhibitors and sponsors has solidified its place as the go-to meeting point for channel partners.