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SAME Gains 235 Attendee Registrations With Digital Ads

Society of American Military Engineers

4 min read
Jun 26, 2024






Net New Audience

The Challenge

With nearly 25,000 members, SAME has enough work simply serving its current audience. But expanding the base and better engaging with their current members required new methods for segmentation and strategic communication.

The Solution

During SAME’s annual event - Joint Engineer Training Conference & Expo, (JETC), by implementing highly targeted ad campaigns, they brought in 235 conversions compared to 120 the previous year. With an ad spend of $4,700, they brought in over $143k in revenue.

Like many national organizations, the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) has a lot riding on its annual conferences. For SAME, one of the main conferences is JETC, or the Joint Engineer Training Conference & Expo, which takes place each year in May.

Frankie Hamme is the Senior Manager, Marketing for the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME). During the year, she manages a diverse set of marketing activities, but as JETC nears, her priorities shift largely toward the event. It’s definitely an “all hands-on deck” mentality for her team.

Frankie said, “One of the main marketing challenges we have faced was not being able to reach audiences outside of our SAME universe, or a broader segment in terms of outreach for our national events like JETC and the Small Business Conference (SBC).”

Following the steps

But that broader segment, or community, isn’t discovered in a day. Frankie decided to take it one step at a time, building digital advertising as a channel for the Federal Small Business Conference (SBC).

SBC ad 3

One of the ads run for SBC

Frankie said, “Our first ad campaign was with SBC, and we were just tickled with the 34 conversions that we saw come in. But year over year, we’ve seen a constant increase. We went from 34 conversions to almost 250 last year. So, we know the ads are working.”

That might be an understatement, but it's a testament to Frankie’s dedication to the process of engaging meaningfully with her community.

Once Frankie and the team had built the machine during SBC, now it was time to let it run in the lead up to their annual event of the year, JETC.

Teeing up a home run

With the lessons learned, Frankie was approaching JETC with all the cards in her hand. She wasn’t guessing what worked for her audience. She knew.

“We now have roughly four years of historical data that we can look back on, and that’s how we build our strategies,” said Frankie. “We've pretty much got it down to a science now because we know almost exactly what works — and what doesn't.”

But Frankie also knew that part of the winning strategy was staying flexible and listening closely to the data. She went into JETC with a plan that she knew was going to work, but that plan included making adjustments based on the real-time data she pulled while the campaigns were running.

“Having the data is critical in making informed decisions,” Frankie said. “During campaigns, I'm constantly in the Feathr dashboard seeing how many conversions we have to date and making comparisons to the previous year.

She continued, “And with that day-to-day information, I’m able to adjust tactics if needed. Sometimes it’s simply about adjusting the message, adding or extending a campaign, or increasing the budget.”

The numbers don’t lie

Staying flexible and responding to the data resulted in the most successful ad campaign SAME has run to date. Frankie reported, “With JETC 2023, we ended up having 235 conversions compared to 120 the previous year. We had a marketing budget of $4,700 and an ROI of a little over $143,000.”

JETC email mapping

One of the email mapping ads ran for JETC 2023

Frankie attributes much of the ROI success to the heavy lifting that awareness campaigns (like geofencing and affinity) played during the early stages of their campaigns. By building brand awareness before asking directly for a response, it made the action much more likely in the end.

“It keeps the event top of mind because they’re constantly seeing our branding,” Frankie said. “And if you're at a particular website and you still haven't registered, the ads just sort of magically appear as a nice little subtle reminder.”

The hard work of building messaging, adjusting budgets, prioritizing projects — all while keeping a strict timeline — is a testament to the capabilities of Frankie and her team. But she was quick to point out the support the Feathr platform provided to her team’s effectiveness and efficiency.

She said, “I would recommend Feathr. If you’re a marketer interested in reaching a broader audience — I would recommend testing it out. There are so many different features that you can use in your marketing mix. I can't envision us not using Feathr now.”

Follow through

The beauty and struggle of marketing is that the work never ends — because it’s the work of building relationships. Even with the success Frankie has found with SBC and JETC, today she’s dreaming of future successes.

From next year's events to STEM summer camps, Frankie is using Feathr to continue to build new audiences, telling them the SAME story.

She said, “Over the past few years, our camp numbers have been lower than expected, so we ran a variety of awareness campaigns that were able to get our ads in front of the correct audience - in this case parents. For the 2024 camp application period, we drove in the most applications that we've had over the past five years. We had over 500 applications to fill a total of 270 slots!”

We can’t wait to hear how the story continues! Our guess is that it’s only just begun.

“I would recommend Feathr. If you’re a marketer interested in reaching a broader audience — I would recommend testing it out. There are so many different features that you can use in your marketing mix. I can't envision us not using Feathr now.”
Frankie Hamme

Senior Manager, Marketing
Society of American Military Engineers




The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) builds leaders and fosters collaboration among government and industry to develop multi-disciplined solutions to national security infrastructure challenges. Founded in 1920, the Society has a storied history of uniting public and private sector individuals and organizations from across the architecture, engineering, construction, environmental and facility management, cyber security, project planning, contracting and acquisition, and related disciplines in support of national security. Learn more at same.org.


Alexandria, VA


Attendee acquisition

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