How to grow delegate revenue by 53%

H1 results are in! We have officially grown delegate revenue by 53% – H1 2016 versus H1 2015.

So, how did we do it?

  1. We went back to basics

You got to get the fundamentals right. From there, you can experiment.

Marketing is about communication. Getting your product in front of the right people. So the first step is to ensure that you understand your target and that they are in your database. We revamped our ‘marketing briefs’ to make sure that we as marketers understood our events and who they are for. We then conducted a thorough data audit, and created a data acquisition plan to fill gaps, to also clean our existing data and add more data in our strength areas.

Working with data companies such as Dun & Bradstreet allowed us to target our spend and our efforts.

Next we took a look at the channels we were using. I labour this next point with my team constantly! I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to me when I hear marketers talk about ‘traditional marketing’ versus ‘digital marketing’. They work together. Our marketing campaigns are integrated. The channels we use work together, flow together, evolve together. We time our activities. You might receive something in the mail from us, which is followed up by a targeted email sent to you or social activity around a keyword aimed to get on your twitter newsfeed. What we work towards is communicating a cohesive message on a variety of platforms, giving our customers multiple touch points to talk to us, engage with us. Closing that loop between us and them. Not always achieved – I admit!

First channel to change – our websites. This was a global strategic change that looked to take our website (quite literally) from the stone age into the 21st century. We now have mobile optimised, user friendly and extremely attractive websites. These websites are effectively SEO’s, searchable and targeted to our customers.

Next, we boosted our digital marketing. We used tools such as Evvnt to effectively and efficiently list our events everywhere. Targeted campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn helped boost our website traffic. We have a long way to go to ensure that we are engaging effectively on social media, but we are building strong networks that are beneficial to us and our customers.

Email is a vital tool for any marketer. In this day and age, cutting through the noise of our targets’ inboxes is a challenge. With our significant investment in data, we were naturally keen to nurture; not spam. We worked to tailor our campaigns by job title, industry, geo…etc. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always 100% fool-proof! But, we noted a significant increase in our open and click (up by 4.6%).

This is just a taster of how we have gone back to basics. But despite the brevity, it’s clear how ensuring the fundamentals are done right leads to higher revenue.

  1. Experimenting

Now we have the fundamentals, we can experiment! We can look to the new channels, we can explore new ideas.

For example, content marketing for us has evolved. We see this as a tool of influencer marketing. Shouting out about the influencers, the change agitators appearing at our event, encouraging them to share our event and leverage their networks adds credibility to our products. This is a new area for us and something that I see as the future of our marketing strategies.

We are also experimenting with social media. We have looked to network marketers to employ their tips, their tactics to grow our networks. To position ourselves as thought leaders, to positions our events as the platform to influence industries.

  1. Customer Experience 

At the beginning of the year, I predicted that customer experience would be a huge talking point for event marketers in 2016. Customers experience the event, that’s a given, but they also experience your marketing. They experience every email. An email that is tailored to their needs will deliver a more positive experience than one that doesn’t – in fact, one that doesn’t delivers a negative experience, one that ends with the delete button.

The way customers experience events is also constantly changing. Gone are the days of death by powerpoint. People want to be engaged, they want their opinions heard. Digital platforms have made this possible – and provided yet another opportunity for marketers. The idea, or dream, of creating FOMO.

  1. Aligning Marketing with Sales

Never easy. And in all honesty, we are not yet 100%, 24/7 on the same page. However, what we found worked was demonstrating how marketing can ease the pressure on sales guys. Isn’t it better to have 200 leads handed to you on a plate, then have to go out and find them?

  1. Analytics

Everything in marketing is trackable, measurable. That’s why I love it! It’s a great feeling to go home at the end of the day and be able to pat myself on the back for getting X number of leads or $$$ more revenue.

Of course, with all of our experiments we also had to be focused on data and analysis to ensure what we were doing was working. 

I think marketing’s future success is really in this data driven approach; a customer focus on what they are engaging with.

Beyond these 5, what was key for me as a new leader was to learn to think ahead. To not let the short term objectives overshadow the long term goals. To make time for planning. To think strategically. To think “big picture”. To not let the opinions of other distract me from my goal. This gave me and my team the structure to thrive. The best part – now I get to show off.

The team dynamic was also vital. A lot was asked of my team, beyond the normal boundaries of their job. It involved late nights, long days, exhausting meetings where we tried to convince our internal customers that what we are doing was worth it!

What’s great is we now boast:

  • Increased website sessions by 188%
  • Doubled data
  • Increased leads by 62%
  • Increased delegate revenue by 53% 

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Sorry is not a dirty word in business

In the immortal words of Elton John;

“It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh, it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word.”

Never have truer words been spoken.

Why in business do we find it so hard to say sorry?

Is it because we fear looking weak?

Is it because we are programmed to disguise our failings?

When I train my team, I teach them the importance of the word Sorry. This one little word goes a long way with both internal and external customers. Admittance of fault is not a weakness, it actually shows strength. The strength to understand yourself; the strength to admit something hasn’t gone to plan and, most importantly, humility. You can turn a situation from one of anger to one of respect by saying one little word – Sorry. 

Say you’ve run out of time this week and those emails you said you’d write have unfortunately fallen by the wayside by the time Friday comes around? Which of these responses do you think is better?

Option 1 – 

I didn’t do them. Joe didn’t get the information to me this morning, and Steph didn’t follow up with me. I also got to X and you’ve not trained me on that part of the system.

Option 2 – 

I’m sorry, I didn’t finish those emails. A few other matters came up that took precedence. I’ll have written and sent them to you by close of business Monday.

I’m hoping the answer is obvious?

We can’t always control our own time. We have to learn to prioritise. Sometimes that means that something does not get done. Often this can affect whether or not colleague, or even a supplier, can complete their task.

As a manager, it is extremely frustrating when a member of your team hides behind the veneer of being busy when we’re all busy. Or they hide behind a colleague falling back in they time management.

If something needs completing, and by a certain time, it’s important to prioritise and see the bigger picture. I can guarantee that your boss only cares that a task gets done, not how it happens. They are putting their faith in you.  Taking something off their own to-do list. In their minds, that task is now taken care of. It is frustrating to discover that is not the case.

Instead of getting defensive and offering up a myriad of excuses, say Sorry. And offer a realistic timeframe for when the task will be completed. Providing a solution to the situation and ensuring the task does get done. Or if you get halfway through the task and are unsure how best to proceed with the rest, ask for training. Ask for a hand. Your manager won’t be annoyed. They’d rather know of a problem in advance, than find out from you when the deadline has already passed that the task is not complete.

The same principle applies for when dealing with an external customer.

Say a member of your team promised a customer that you would share their case study with your network, but forgot to mention it to you?

Option 1 –

Adam never told me. I can’t do it now.

Option 2 –

I apologise for the delay in releasing your case study. I will ensure that this is released on Monday, first thing. By way of apology, I will also share it again one week before our event to all attendees, in particular those who have registered interest in your session. Sorry. 

Again – obvious I hope.

Your customer will respect you more for owning up! That is good customer service – admitting fault, finding a solution, and going that extra mile.

Sorry is not a dirty word. Sorry is not a sign of weakness. The ability to say Sorry is priceless.

Diary of a Marketer in New York – entry 4.

“Good teams know no titles when it comes to new ideas” – Coach Mike Krzyzewski #CNX15

Today was the first day of #CNX15 and it kicked off with a great opening keynote – Coach Mike Krzyzewski. As a new manager I was really excited to hear from arguably one of the most inspirational leaders of our time about the importance of team work. Coack K has 40 years of experience as a Basketball Coach and has worked with the greats including Michael Jordan. Under his leadership, his teams have gone on to win National Championships, World Championships and the Olympics!

One of things that I find myself concerned with these days is ensuring my team work well together and develop, not only as a team, but individually. What was so inspirational about Coach K was that he spoke about the lessons he learnt from his leaders and his team. One of the greatest lesson he learnt as a leader came from Michael Jordan. It was he who saw everyone in his team as important. As Coach K explained it, Jordan saw a horizontal totem pole, instead of the traditional vertical totem pole. In terms of business organisations – “Good teams know no titles when it comes to new ideas.” For a great team to develop, each team member needs to feel important. Businesses are formed with a vertical hierarchy (or totem pole). See it – but don’t function in that way when it comes to people or ideas.

When it comes to developing yourself and your team, there are 4 qualities that GREAT leaders and GREAT teams possess:

1. Adaptability
2. Ownership
3. Emotion
4. Trust

Adaptability – this is self explanatory in some respects. However, not easy to implement. In marketing, we on a daily basis have to understand and implement different channels, juggle the objectives of different stakeholders and keep on top of an industry that is constantly changing. Adapting to everything is by no means easy, but is the sign of a great marketer.

Ownership – idea of each team member owning their responsibility within the team, whether it be their tasks or in how they interact with other team members. In basketball, this manifests as a mission: “playing for us.” In business, we need the same mantra. Coach K achieved a sense of ownership by asking the team themselves to set the standards. Instead of rules, there were team standards. And the whole team stuck to those standards religiously! The team respected each other.

Emotion – or feeling. How do you develop emotion? For the USA Olympic team, Coach K achieved this by creating a sense of pride in representing their country and their countrymen. For my business, I hope to see this achieved by the successful delivery of our events. In my brief experience, the marketers who have inspired me most seem to live and breathe their products (not in a work-is-taking-over-my-life way!) Coach K stressed the importance of imagination. As a team, you need to visualise the goal, imagine the successful result and work together to achieve this.

Trust – team cannot function without trust. You have to have faith that when you take the offensive, your team is backing you up! It’s the same in business. When you have an idea, or you are working on a task – you need to have faith that your teammates are there to support you.

To develop these 4 qualities is not easy. Coach K spoke today about how important it is to never stop learning or seeking inspiration and networking. This is important not only to develop as a leader but to develop team.

Thanks to Coach K and the #CNX15 team!