The time has come – your annual user conference is around the corner, teams are divided, and the all too familiar battle has begun. In one corner, teams shout opinions about the outlandish cost, lack of ROI, and better ways to allocate that budget. In the other corner, teams rebuttal with the importance of connecting with customers, staying relevant in the market, and that there are “intangible” returns like brand awareness and perception. Many CMOs get caught in the cross-fire, getting forced to choose the side of pure revenue generation, or trust the underlying principles of brand marketing. The question is, how do you choose?
First: Understand What’s at Stake
As a marketing leader, your job is simple, generate a measurable contribution to company revenue – but that contribution can be measured in many ways. The best way to decide if you should invest in an event (or any marketing tactic for that matter) is to understand what would happen if you didn’t. If that $1.5M isn’t spent on the conference, where would you spend it? And, based on historical data, what kind of return would you expect? Understanding the opportunity cost allows you to set goals and work backward for how to reach them.
Second: Define Your Goals, and How You’ll Measure Them
There can be many different reasons to hold a user conference. Maybe you have an active community of users or developers that are passionate about your product – or you’re trying to build one. Perhaps you’re announcing a new product, launching an update, or repositioning the brand. Maybe you have a highly technical product that requires education and expertise to leverage its capabilities fully. Understanding your audience, and how a user conference will impact them, is essential for deciding if it’s worth your budget.
Here’s a List of the Top 5 Reasons to Invest in a User Conference, and What Metrics to Track.
There is not one right answer, so feel free to mix and match – make sure you can you measure the results.
Download it here.
Get User Input/Feedback
Whether you recently launched an update, are developing a new product, or want to get the pulse of your community – a user conference can be a great time to ask for input and gather feedback. Understanding what’s working, what’s not, and how you can better serve your customers can lay the groundwork for future success.
What to Measure
- Customer NPS
- Number of Positive/Negative Responses
- Number of Feature Requests
Foster a Community & Create Advocates
The best salesperson you can get is someone passionate about your brand that will bring in new business – and your customers can do that without costing you a dime. Leveraging your current install base and turning customers into advocates can be a great way to grow market share and drive incremental revenue. Fostering an active community and incentivizing them to be brand advocates takes time and effort, and user conferences can be a great opportunity to assemble and inspire this critical audience.
What to Measure
- Number of Enrolled Advocates
- Revenue from Advocates
- Number of Referrals
Increase Adoption, Renewal, & Retention
One of your greatest sources of revenue opportunity could be sitting within your current install base. User conferences are a great chance to educate your customer, show off new features, and put the full value of your product portfolio on display. Executed well, and your conference can increase renewal rates, open up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and reduce churn.
What to Measure
- Renewal Rates
- Customer Share of Wallet
Bolster Your Channel Strategy
If your business sells through the channel, your partners can be your greatest ally – if they’re actively selling your product. User conferences can be a great opportunity to invite channel and alliance partners and show them why they should be selling your product over the other guys.
What to Measure
- Channel Partner Share of Wallet
- Partner NPS
- Partner Generated New Business
Launch New Products or Generate Buzz
One of the best use cases for a large event like a user conference is to make a big splash with some big news. Whether it’s announcing new features or launching a new product, use the opportunity to speak directly to those who care the most, your users.
What to Measure:
- Share of Voice
- Brand Awareness
To assess yourself against these core components, download our 2019 Marketing Database Assessment Framework and identify the key areas you need to improve. Then, take the SBI Revenue Growth Diagnostic to assess the rest of your organization and see how other functions may be contributing to the problem.