The Strategic Meeting Planner

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1 White Papers The Strategic Meeting Planner In an age of slashed budgets, reduced corporate travel and a growing trend away from costly meetings and events, meeting planners are being forced to prove to their bosses that they can be strategic assets to the organization.

2 The Secrets of Successful Event Marketing and Management In an age of slashed budgets, reduced corporate travel and a growing trend away from costly meetings and events, meeting planners are being forced to prove to their bosses that they can be strategic assets to the organization. By showing increased revenue, customer retention and satisfaction from a cost efficient, streamlined, automated meeting planning program they can do just that. Consider these statistics from Successful Meetings Magazine s 2003 State of the Industry Report: 52% use online registration 60% promote meetings/events on the web 89% predict that cost control requirements will increase And most importantly: 36% (the largest percentage) say their biggest challenge is showing tangible value from meetings/contributions In other words, most meeting planners feel that they need to become more strategic to the organization and show real ROI, or for the event marketing industry, what Cvent likes to call ROE - return on events. There are several steps you can take to prove your worth to the organization as a strategic asset that is concerned with both the top and bottom lines. Automated Event Planning and emarketing With slightly more than 50% of meeting and event planners using online registration today, many have come to the realization that the Internet is crucial to their efforts. Today, nearly every facet of business is done on the Internet. Nearly everyone today has an address. is fast becoming the preferred method of business communication. If you are not using efficiently and effectively to market your events, products and services consider these facts: According to the American Management Association, has overtaken the phone and fax as the preferred method of communications of North Americans Jupiter Communications estimates that paper campaigns typically get a 1-2% response rate, while campaigns average between 5-15% Forrester Research predicts that marketers in the US will have tripled their marketing budgets by 2004 According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 75% of executives say that will be their primary source of information by 2005 With you can get up to 90% of results in 48 hours. Regular mail can take days or weeks. The importance of using to market your events is obvious and the cost savings can be tremendous. But automated event planning is more than just sending electronic invitations instead of paper ones. You need a back-end system that will monitor responses, trigger reminder s, track important customer/invitee information, monitor and manage payments, and give you the business intelligence you need to make better decisions about your events so you can better market them in the future 2

3 Benefits for Every Stakeholder The advantages of an online registration and emarketing system are clear: 1. Online registration is faster and easier for your invitees 2. Personalized, targeted marketing messages increase attendance 3. Automated confirmations and reminders reduce event attrition 4. Secure online fee collection makes budget management simple and easy 5. Integrated online housing and travel arrangements saves you time 6. Instant reporting and data analysis helps you get to know your customers But how do they make you more strategic? For any given event, there are three primary stakeholders: the invitee/customer, the event planner, and your boss. To be strategic you need to satisfy all of them. Here s how an automated online event registration and emarketing system benefits all three stakeholders: Invitee Meeting Planner The Boss Simple convenient registration Instant confirmation and updates Access to real-time information Greater response rates Higher productivity and efficiency Quicker data collection and reporting Higher revenues/attendance Decreased costs Improved attendee satisfaction Monetizing the No s One of the most innovative ways to show ROE is what Cvent calls Monetizing the No s. With traditional snail mail invitations to prospects, if someone can t attend a particular event, they simply throw the invitation away. With online regret surveys, not only can you find out why someone can not attend an event, you can ask if they would like more information or a personal follow-up. Showing ROE The cost savings and return on investment for a typical meeting planner is substantial when using an online registration system. Not only do you save thousands of dollars on paper-based invitation packets and mailers, but you also receive the benefits of better and faster response rates. While results vary by event and registrant volume, any organization can benefit from these efficiencies. With our own marketing efforts, we typically can add an additional 2-3% to our response rate by identifying customers that cannot make the event, but want more information. These potential leads would have been lost with traditional marketing efforts; but with marketing, you can turn a No into real revenue. It s a marketer s dream not only to find out why someone buys but also why some didn t. This is a perfect example of how you can become more strategic to your organization. 3

4 Case Study Nasdaq Take a look at how one of the world s best-known stock exchanges used Cvent s online event registration and marketing tools to improve their ROE: Attendance Cost Reduction Time to Market ROE Indicator Speed/cost of data entry and fee collection Overhead Reduction Flat, no change Expensive traditional marketing expenses 6 weeks Before Cvent Registration and payment were manually processed In-house system only met 50% of requirements Response rates doubled, attendance increased A total savings of more than $220, hours After Cvent Automated online registration and payment freed up 50% of staff-related processing time No IT implementation required Conclusion Institutionalize Marketing 101 Concepts Hopefully by now you understand the importance of automating the online registration process and using proven emarketing concepts to improve your attendance and save time and money. To summarize, some of the key concepts included the following: 1. Personalize your s -an absolute must when conducting an emarketing campaign 2. Segment the marketing message. Target the right people with the right message 3. Use pre-registration questions to deliver a better event. Don t wait until after the conference to find out what your attendees want - it s too late. Ask them before the event! 4. Monetize the No s. Use surveys to determine if someone is still interested in your product even if they can t attend your event 5. Analyze target markets by response rate and perform cross-event analysis - use surveys and reports to uncover what your customers need the most 6. Send strategic reminders and communicate with attendees to improve attendance, lower attrition rates, and build relationships Most importantly, recognize that you can t do all of this yourself. Find a strategic partner like Cvent that has experience in all of these areas and we can help you become a strategic meeting planner. 4

5 About Cvent Founded in 1999, Cvent is a leading cloud-based enterprise event management platform. Cvent offers web-based software for online event registration, venue selection, strategic meetings management, mobile apps for events, marketing and web surveys, and helps clients around the world manage hundreds of thousands of events, conferences, and meetings. Cvent s client base includes corporations from every major industry, associations, universities, and non-profit organizations. For more information, please visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. 5

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