Meeting Mentor Magazine

July 2017

PCMA: How to Make Digital Events Pay Off

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) recently released The Power of Digital Events, a white paper supported and sponsored by Freeman. The report includes insights into adult learning, virtual and hybrid events as an engagement strategy, and the value of second screen technology, but mainly it gives an overview of PCMA’s digital events strategy over the last six years, using hard data to highlight return on investment.

The white paper reports that from 2011–2016 hybrid and rebroadcast events have brought 3,933 new prospects and more than $1,000,000 incremental dollars to the association. The dollars break out this way:
F2F Registrations: $562,369
Membership Renewals: $305,404
Online Products: $29,186
Total: $1,007,566

While digital events have added significant revenue to the organization, PCMA considers “enhanced engagement with previously unknown or unengaged live streaming participants the greater return,” particularly in the global realm. “Digital events play a critical role in our organization’s global audience growth and our overall engagement strategy,” Deborah Sexton, PCMA’s president and CEO, states in the report.

Data mining was key to PCMA’s being able to track growth of revenue and new prospects. Beginning in 2011, PCMA followed the online behavior and actions of those attending its first Convening Leaders or Education Conference live streaming to determine ROE [return on engagement] metrics. The association was able to measure the success of drawing viewers deeper into the organization by following:
• Number of website sessions
• Number of email message opens
• Number of email message clicks
• Number of who viewed the association’s CMP Series articles and accompanying quizzes
• Number who viewed on demand video content
• Number who purchased an online education course
• Number who became a member

Some of the lessons PCMA learned along the way:
Prioritize: Stay focused on the goals of the organization and target only key performance indicators.
Keep the long term engagement strategy at the forefront: Resist the urge to require full expense monetization over the one to four days of your event.
Benchmark: Be consistent with your individual event year-over-year and plan for long-term comparisons.
Share your findings: Be sure to communicate in a timely fashion with key stakeholders to demonstrate both the ROI and the ROE.
Keep Evolving: Your audience’s engagement expectations will continue to rise as technology advances. Make sure your solution providers are keeping you ahead of the curve. — Regina McGee

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