Devex Shares Secret Sauce for Events Business
Events are increasingly a big part of how publishers make money, but many publishing companies struggle to put the appropriate resources and talent behind event marketing, audience development, and event execution. In short, events are not easy, but they have huge revenue potential if done correctly. These are some of the challenges that were discussed during the recent Publishing Executive webinar, “Driving Event Revenue: Content & Digital Strategies That Work.”
The webinar featured leaders from B2B commercial real estate site Bisnow, women’s lifestyle site She Knows Media, and Devex, a B2B site for international development professionals. The speakers shared insights on how they launched events from the ground up, brought in sponsorship and attendee revenue, and scaled their events.
We had a lot of great questions about the strategies and processes that power a lucrative event business. Jamie Bay Nishi, senior director of the Devex events division Devex LIVE, took a few minutes to address some of the questions we didn’t have time to answer during the webinar. Check out the Q&A below and click here to watch the full webinar.
What type of marketing have you found most effective for driving attendees to your event?
At Devex, we have found market segmentation to be a key factor for driving attendees to our events. For example, Devex has thousands of Career Account members who leverage devex.com to look for jobs and receive professional development advice. This audience is a very effective group of individuals to market our career fair events to.
Are you tracking whether website readers are converting to an event from specific pieces of content? If so, how are you tracking this?
Currently, the vast majority of our event registrations come from email invitations. We are working to build site traffic to our events landing page in the hope that we can secure more registrations directly through devex.com in the future, and in turn, reduce the volume of email communications we send.
What type of talent do you need in-house to launch an events program?
You should look for a combination of expertise in event design/production as well as event marketing/communications. I would strongly encourage event managers not to underestimate how much time and effort go into event communications. Event marketing to prospective sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees coupled with communications to various types of confirmed participants can really add up!
What factors determine whether an event will be sponsored, paid, or a mixture of the two?
I tend to look at the size of the event. For example, Devex World and Devex Forums include a combination of sponsors plus paid attendance in large part due to the significant overhead costs associated with hosting a full day or multi-day event. That said, the amount we charge for an individual to attend an event may not fully cover the costs of their participation but we often use this as a way to ensure that individuals are serious about attending. We tend to leverage a sponsor-only model for some of our "by invitation only" events or for some of our webinars.
For sponsored events, how are you determining the different tiers of sponsorship? If a sponsor is allowed to speak on a panel, for example, is that part of a more premium package?
At Devex, the tiers "might" factor in speaking roles but we are thinking more about the amount of visibility at the event, the number of digital communications deliverables we produce around the event, and volume of advertising for the sponsor around the event.
Related story: See What Happens When Vendor-Hosted Events Go Bad. Real Bad.