If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to plan a party. Throughout my nine-year career at Brightcove, I’ve helped produce some of the company’s largest events on behalf of the corporate marketing team. This includes Brightcove’s biggest and baddest party: our annual conference, Brightcove PLAY.
What first began as a small gathering of Brightcove customers eight years ago has since evolved to become one of the most notable video industry events, drawing the likes of thought leaders and innovative video practitioners from around the world. And that’s thanks in no small part to my team. How did we get there? Read along and learn how we’ve been able to grow PLAY year over year while using video as our main marketing tool. I’ll even share some of our pro tips, which will help you implement these techniques for your own events with ease.
Step 1: Define your goals
Before planning anything, I begin by defining specific goals for the PLAY conference. “What do you really want this event to be about?” I ask. “A networking event? A customer event? Do you want it to be just a fun party for everyone to get together?” There are many different ways you can define the goals. That said, my team and I landed on three definitive objectives for the PLAY 2018 event: (1) Grow overall attendance by 30 percent, (2) double the number of non-customer attendees, and (3) put on a great show that grows the Brightcove brand.
Pro tip: When in doubt, always think back to your goals. Some of your event planning decisions might not jive with everyone, and they’ll question why you’re going down a certain path. If that happens, take an inventory of your actions and make sure they’re supporting the original goals you’ve outlined.
Step 2: Map out a marketing strategy
Together with Brightcove’s corporate marketing team, I set about designing a digital strategy best suited to meet the three goals of PLAY 2018. Looking at the stages of the customer journey—from initial awareness to engagement, conversion, and retention—we brainstormed campaign ideas around each phase, marking where video could best be used to drive messaging forward.
Pro tip: Don’t force a square peg in a round hole. Not every step will require video, so you don’t have to fit it in where it doesn’t belong. If you prefer using a variety of content, use video to complement your other assets and activities.
Step 3: Use video at every stage
In order to build awareness, we launched a PLAY 2018 website and sent emails to customers and prospects announcing registration was officially open. We also published blogs and social media posts with the same messaging. And in each of those communications, we used video as the core marketing tool.
Take, for example, emails. Instead of sending standard text emails to potential PLAY attendees, the marketing team incorporated video into the email message, creating a more enticing experience for recipients. We included hyperlinks to video content on the PLAY 2018 website and embedded videos directly into emails, blogs, and social media posts as well.
Pro tip: Repurposing footage is a great way to grow your video asset library and increase marketing content production. Use footage from previous events to give viewers a sense of what your new one will be all about.
Next, the team shifted focus to engagement. To highlight the quality of PLAY and encourage people to participate, we created videos featuring interviews with PLAY speakers and industry influencers. We then incorporated these videos into blogs and social content. Extending marketing efforts even further, Brightcove’s account managers used the assets in daily conversation with customers and prospects. Again, Brightcove’s video team handled production, utilizing basic equipment, lighting, and editing tools.
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to pull in your CEO for an interview, especially if he or she will be on stage at your conference.
Now, motivating people to take action is a task unto itself. So to help boost conversion, I made this stage of the journey a little bit more interactive than others. I launched a video contest, giving customers and prospects the chance to win an all-expense paid trip to Boston and free entrance to PLAY. All they had to do was submit a short video explaining why they wanted to attend. To promote the contest, Brightcove created its own video breaking down the rules and submission info, and it was then shared across all distribution channels. More important, our video highlighted just how easy it is to produce content without all the bells and whistles. We used our fellow employees as talent and kept production 100 percent in-house.
Pro tip: Show ‘em what you got! Prospective attendees have already been to a number of industry events, so they’re probably thinking, “Why this one?” Answer that exact question in the marketing assets you create. Show your audience all the reasons they should invest time and money into your event, and make sure to include links back to your registration page.
Getting people to register for PLAY is one thing. Getting them to come back, that’s another, which is why the retention phase of the customer journey is the hardest to tackle. Recognizing this challenge, the team and I put our heads together to think of ways of how we could amp up registration. And the answer was simple: keep the content coming. In the past, we typically distributed assets from January to May, just before the start of PLAY. For 2018, we extended that timeline to a full year’s worth of content. We titled our post-event series #REPLAY, and featured interview-style videos with me and several guests with expertise in ad tech, video marketing, digital media, and production. They also happened to be PLAY attendees. With the increased content, we knew we’d be able to keep PLAY in the minds of our audience and even tempt new viewers to attend.
Pro tip: Stay top-of-mind. By continuing to emphasize the event’s value, former attendees and new prospects will want to secure funding for future registration. You want to make sure your event is something to look forward to year after year, like a birthday party or anniversary celebration.
Step 4: Measure results
...analytics showed a 57 percent increase in unique opens and a 12,400 percent increase in unique click-throughs. Among regular email recipients, 10.03 percent clicked to open, lending to an increase of 9,930 percent.
Of course, no digital marketing strategy is complete without tracking its performance. And in this case, results only reinforce the idea that digital video is the fastest, most successful way to connect with audiences. Looking at Brightcove’s emailing efforts—those that included both links and embedded video—analytics showed a 57 percent increase in unique opens and a 12,400 percent increase in unique click-throughs. Among regular email recipients, 10.03 percent clicked to open, lending to an increase of 9,930 percent.
Other stats are just as impressive. Across Brightcove’s LinkedIn audience, there was a 123 percent engagement boost with its five-minute speaker series video. Similarly, its 30-second speaker teaser video recorded an engagement increase of 129 percent.
As I write this, the planning for PLAY 2019 is already well underway. My team and I have established our goals, and we’re in the middle of executing our digital strategy. And while we continue to improve upon our past marketing efforts, one thing is for sure: video will always be the star of the show. That’s because it works.
Curious about #PLAYBoston 2019?