Market Your Meeting Through Video

One association recruited conference speakers to shoot their own video promotions and saw an increase in the event's attendance.

What's the great idea? Provide Flip cameras to your event speakers to create promotional videos.

Who's doing it? National Community Pharmacists Association

What's involved? Social media and new technology are making it easier than ever to communicate with your members. But those same tools, combined with increasing competition for your members' time, make marketing your offerings more challenging.

In an effort to stand out in the crowd, the National Community Pharmacists Association recruited speakers to shoot short videos promoting the sessions they would lead during its annual convention last October. "They all agreed without a problem and were very excited about this new idea," says Sue Hagler, associate director of education for NCPA.

NCPA purchased Flip cameras and mailed them overnight to session speakers. They were asked to shoot a video of themselves that shared one good tip that would be discussed during their program and then close the video with a short script provided by the association to promote the event, says Barbara Hayward, NCPA vice president of education and committees.

When each camera came back, staff downloaded the video and embedded it into an email. "We sent [the emails] out to everyone in our database: members, prospects, anyone we thought would be interested in going to the event," says Valerie Briggs, senior director of external communications and marketing outreach.

Briggs says the emails' open rate was around 20 percent, with a 10 percent clickthrough rate. Six speakers participated in shooting videos, and one member shot a video promoting the usefulness of a session he had attended in the past.

What are people saying? Hayward says the meeting had a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in participation, due in part to the email marketing. "Whatever the 'it' was, we're obviously doing something right. For us to have that kind of a surge, I think that a lot of credit goes to however it was communicated out to the membership," she says.

For those considering a similar campaign, Hagler, Hayward, and Briggs say it's worth a shot. "I think if you build that relationship with your speakers, then a lot of speakers will be open to doing something like this," says Hayward. "It's not expensive, and if it costs you $150 and you never use the [videos], then you never use the [videos]. But if you get good open rates and it potentially shifts your numbers, it's well worth the investment."

—Summer Mandell