KCDMA combined the power of both online and offline tactics and the best practices they themselves encourage into the promotion of their biggest event of the year, the Direct Marketing Symposium.

Strategy

Early Bird Campaign: Offered the first 25 ticket buyers the chance to meet and greet the Symposium speakers the night before the all-day event, at a hosted dinner and happy hour.
Full Promotional Calendar: Launched 2 months prior to registration deadline, starting with a variable-data-filled direct mail piece that folded out to become a poster, including infographics on why and how direct marketing earns ROI.
Bi-weekly emails: Each focused on a different speaker in the line-up, and a full array of social media. Bonus – Jib Jab video to announce Jib Jab’s Marketing Director as the morning keynote speaker!
Additionally, KCDMA partnered with 12 other marketing organizations in Kansas City, to encourage promotion to their members, and coordinated a free KC Marketing Clubs Joint Happy Hour around the event.

Tactics

The personalized self-mailer used bright colors and call-out boxes to draw the reader’s eye to the variable data in the piece.

Series of 9 emails:

  • Delivered to opted-in subscribers and paid members of the KCDMA, including a targeted invite to those who attended last year
  • Inclusion in monthly newsletters while tickets were on sale
  • Series of emails focused heavily on the rock star line-up of speakers and brand names on the docket. Those that registered before October 31st (before full speaker line-up was announced) were entitled to a full 33% discount, garnering more interest 2 months out than ever before.

Partners: American Advertising Federation, Association of Fundraising Professionals, American Marketing Association, Business Marketing Association, The Freelance Exchange, International Association of Business Communicators, Public Relations Society of America, Social Media Club, Social IRL, Media Mix, KC Source Link, and Thinking Bigger Business Media. These partners added the Symposium to their calendars, blogs, social media and email promotions and a few exchanged postal mailing labels to send our beautiful self-mailer to their members with a special discount message.

Results

The goal was to sell out the event at 160 seats. This was especially bold considering that the three prior years’ attendance was under 80 registrants per year.

  • KCDMA ended up selling 171 seats, dragging extra seating into the venue’s spaces! The event drove over $28,000 in sales for less than half that in expenses and less than a third of that in marketing investment.
  • Return on Marketing Investment: 927%
  • Event ROI: Revenues were more than double expenses, making the largest profit margin this event has seen in over 15 years.
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Ready to give it a go?