How an Access Intelligence Group Doubled the Revenue of a Conference

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Editor's note: This is the fourth of an ongoing series profiling the 2018 SIPAward winners. See the others below.

Knowing the popularity of podcasts, it's impressive to see when they are used for conference marketing—as Access Intelligence did with its second annual 2018 Connected Plant Conference. In a five-minute interview, Jon Towslee, a speaker at the event, talks about his role—applying digital technologies to power plants—and then praises the second-year conference.  

It's one of a few speaker podcasts that Jessica Grier, senior marketing manager of Access Intelligence's Energy and Engineering Group, arranged for the conference. Her efforts—which more than doubled attendee registration and revenue from year one—also included an extensive targeted email campaign series, video promotions, ad retargeting, content messaging, telemarketing, direct mail and a dynamic website.

And it won her a 2018 Third Place SIPAward for Best Conference Marketing. Here are some takeaways that stand out from that campaign:

Reach multiple audiences. Grier targeted marketing messages for not just one, but two communities—the power generation sector and the chemical process industries. It's clearly delineated on the conference homepage.

Use video to engage people. On the current site for the February 2019 conference, there's an excellent three-minute video showing highlights from the 2018 Connected Plant event. Access Intelligence is fortunate that they have other divisions like EventMarketer which really excel in video. It's good to see that the divisions are sharing that expertise.

Don't rely on just one channel. To learn about the conference, you can listen to the podcast, watch the video, read interviews, look at the session descriptions, see who's attending or read the latest news on the industry from the conference website.

Increase the benefits for attending. "A Certificate of Completion is available and can be applied towards Professional Development Hours." The Connected Plant Conference offers the opportunity to earn 9 professional development hours (PDH) when attending the full conference program offered during the event.

Run an awards program that culminates at the conference. The Connected Plant Conference Game Changers Awards are announced at the conference. It gives their audience another way to engage and another reason to attend the conference.

Keep your audience informed. A section on the conference website simply called "News" stays current and shows people that the site is being constantly updated, giving them a reason to come back often.

Mix in local highlights. "The conference will kick off with a tour of Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub, the company's worldwide manufacturing and service location for 60-Hz power generation equipment." What can you use from your locale to attract attendees?

Use podcasts to promote the conference and your editors. As mentioned earlier, podcasts with speakers focus on key issues for attendees. "Jon Towslee, director of marketing and business development with ABB Inc., is scheduled to give a presentation during the event. He spoke with POWER Executive Editor Aaron Larson on December 6 during a power-industry conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can listen to the interview in the following POWER Podcast extra."

Get your next year's site up quickly. The 2019 site is up and looks great, filled by video highlights, photos from last year, the certificate information, speaker photos and thank yous from last year, some early speaker commitments for 2019, etc.

Keep adding and improving. For 2019, Grier plans to add an onsite resource center to the website, and is involved in using an app with will allow attendees to ask questions to speakers, network with other attendees, and schedule meetings with vendors during and after the event.

Previous 2018 SIPAward profiles:
January Spring – Best Editorial and Marketing Collaboration
EB Medicine – Best Use of Video
AAA Northeast – Best Product Launch

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…