When PAS canceled its annual meeting due to COVID-19, they faced a new challenge: exhibitors and sponsors still needed their audience (and PAS needed a way to make up for lost revenue).
PAS used Feathr Monetization to offer retargeting packages to their sponsors. This new digital offering helped retain revenue and provided another avenue for sponsors to reach their audience.
Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) is a consortium of four pediatric societies and two alliances. Their annual meeting brings pediatricians, researchers and child health providers together to share research and network.
Expanding digital sponsorship offerings
Each spring, for nearly a century, the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) gathered pediatricians, researchers and other providers to share cutting-edge research and network. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, and members on the frontlines, PAS canceled its 2020 event and faced the unfortunate possibility of canceling on its sponsors too.
Upon receiving the news of the cancellation, “at least five exhibitors reached out to us right away and said, 'we still want to reach your audience!’ but at the time — we did not have a lot of digital opportunities," said Carmen Valls Beck, MBA, HMCC, Director of Resource Development.
After learning about Feathr’s sponsored retargeting tool, Beck realized they could still help their sponsors and make up for lost revenue at the same time. “Two weeks after our meeting was called off, I watched a webinar on Feathr Monetization, and something clicked,” said Beck. “I finally understood retargeting and thought to myself: okay, we need to start really pitching this to sponsors, not just plop it on a prospectus and see if it sells.”
With guidance from their Customer Success Manager, they quickly developed a plan for pricing, selling, and fulfilling sponsored retargeting packages. With just a couple promotional emails, they sold a total of 4 retargeting packages — with a gross profit margin of 84 percent.
PAS now includes sponsored retargeting in almost every proposal and aims to sell 20 additional packages before their 2021 virtual meeting to generate over $100,000 in revenue.
Packages sold following the event's cancelation
Gross profit margin on retargeting packages
ROI from Feathr Monetization
Many organizations hesitate to invest in new tools out of fear that they won’t see a return on investment or that doing so takes a significant amount of time. While this objection is understandable, often selling just one retargeting package typically recoups the entire cost of the tool.
PAS had a particularly successful experience selling its first sponsorship package. They pitched the idea to sponsors while still in talks with Feathr, and sold their first sponsor package before even signing their service contract. That gave them the confidence needed to buy Feathr Monetization and the platform paid for itself immediately.
PAS used a simple email to let their sponsors know about a way to reach their audience — despite the canceled event.
PAS quickly realized the main barrier to selling retargeting was explaining it to sponsors. This hurdle was overcome by using a digital media kit, created by Feathr’s Implementation Team, that explained how retargeting works, showed pricing and packaging examples and included sample campaign analytics.
Their media kit, and especially the sample campaign analytics, were extremely helpful for them and their sponsors, as sponsors were eager for the ability to track their campaigns in real-time and change ad creative if necessary.
PAS also discovered that another key in selling retargeting packages was to tailor them to each sponsor’s specific goals. “I think there’s two pieces to selling,” said Beck. “One, you have to teach people what retargeting is, which we do by utilizing the media kit and creating marketing email campaigns promoting the opportunity. And two, we really listen to our exhibitors to see what their goals were, and we tailor our communications to that. Is there a certain message they want to get across? Are they trying to get people to a certain website? It’s about helping sponsors understand how retargeting will work for them, and then how to execute it well,” she said.
The PAS team found it easy to get campaigns up and running in Feathr, and they felt that the analytics did a good job of keeping sponsors engaged. “The ease of using the platform is one of the best parts,” said Schmalfeldt. “You can spend very minimal time uploading everything to the app, it’s all very user-friendly, and it’s so easy to have a campaign up in 24 hours once someone buys it. Plus sponsors are able to see all of their analytics without us having to provide it, and they can even modify their own campaigns, so that saves us a lot of time.”
PAS emphasized the importance of being able to quickly adjust a campaign if it’s not delivering results. One sponsor had a couple of ads that weren’t performing well, but they were seeing high engagement with their call-to-action (CTA) button on another ad. Since PAS learned about effective ad copy and creative from their Feathr Customer Success Manager, they were able to advise the sponsor to add that CTA to the other ads, which caused the campaign to perform much better.
With the cancellation of this year’s event and the enduring changes brought about by the pandemic, PAS is already planning for next year’s meeting to take place virtually. As part of this shift, the association is rebranding itself to focus on providing regular content and programs outside of the event.
This idea of providing year-round value isn’t a completely new one, though. A few years ago, PAS came up with a strategic plan to offer more enduring content, and they were already gearing up to launch a learning management software platform in 2021, saying the pandemic forced them to work faster and smarter.
Part of this approach includes continuing to provide sponsors with more flexible, digital offerings. PAS is currently working on proposals for their 2021 virtual meeting, and they’ve offered retargeting to every single sponsor. For exhibitors, they’ve created a special package that includes a marketing email bundled with a retargeting campaign as a booth traffic driver.
Feeling optimistic, Schmalfeldt added, “We know that the more people who experience retargeting, the more they’ll know how advantageous it is. We’ve attached it to basically everything we’re doing right now."