The Society of Gynecologic Oncology's (SGO) Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer is one of the biggest events in the gynecologic oncology specialty field each year. This annual meeting, held across 4 days in a North American city, attracts more than 2,000 specialists each year.
The planning and execution of such a large event is no small undertaking for SGO staff who handle everything from setting the education schedule to planning special networking events to managing onsite logistics. And without a full-time marketer on the payroll, promoting the meeting is another task that fell to SGO staff. Realizing their lack of capacity to market such a large event, SGO reached out to Association Management Center (AMC) in 2017 for help marketing their 2018 meeting.
AMC's Creative Media Services team leveraged a 20-person team of marketing and creative professionals with expertise in campaign strategy, event marketing, digital advertising, analytics, and email and web copy writing to help fill the marketing role on SGO's staff. Through this team approach, SGO maintained a primary point of contact at AMC while being able to access the resources of the creative team. This allowed SGO to tap into more resources and expertise than what a single marketing professional could provide.
To best understand SGO's needs and goals, AMC conducted an initial kickoff meeting and assessment to identify key audiences; identified opportunity areas for increased attendance; defined unique meeting benefits and aligned them with specific audiences; established key messaging concepts; and identified tactics and channels.
Though AMC drove the strategy, SGO provided insight into its members that informed our decisions. This campaign was a true collaboration—for example, SGO's graphic design and web staff created materials under AMC's direction.
Utilizing SGO's past attendee data, AMC developed targeted audience segments to identify the largest opportunities for growth and crafted unique messaging to highlight the meeting benefits by audience. AMC ran a Google AdWords campaign to target new audiences, advertised in SGO's digital newsletter and journal, wrote unique e-mail copy for each audience segment, and wrote web copy to optimize key webpages.
By taking the time to fully understand the audience and using tried-and-true methods to reach them where they are, AMC was able to increase engagement among SGO's desired audiences. Ultimately, the 2018 SGO Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer saw more attendees than the previous year.
To measure performance, AMC used campaign tagging and analytics to track the success of each marketing channel and refined tactics as the campaign progressed to optimize efforts for SGO's audiences. CMS helped SGO increase total conference attendance by 3%, which included a 5% increase in attendance for the audiences specifically targeted in the campaign, breaking all previous attendance records.
This project resulted in an ongoing partnership between AMC and SGO that provides marketing strategy and access to a full suite of marketers on a campaign-by-campaign basis while keeping costs in line with SGO's overall budget. AMC went on to market the 2019 and 2020 meetings as well as another event.
"AMC's marketing team has been an invaluable partner to SGO," said Ellen Sullivan, SGO's chief communications and membership officer. "We value their expertise, efficiency, professionalism, and results. Truly impressive."
By continuing to work on these campaigns, AMC is able to introduce efficiencies and enhance the campaigns' effectiveness. The structure of these campaigns has largely stayed similar, and refinements are introduced based on the new audiences and event offerings.