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How David Cowgill Helped Postman Secure 25K Registrations for their Annual User Conference with a Marketing Operations Project

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Insightfulness
Impact
Explanation
Execution
Novelty
This case study is a great fit for B2B companies that want to grow their value, as well as existing B2C companies that want to transition to a B2B model.
In this case study, you'll learn how I built out the infrastructure to support my company's annual user conference, integrating multiple operating systems to provide the sales and executive teams with the metrics they needed to hit their registration target.
Hit goal of 25,000 registrations for the conference
Company got access to the data that enabled successful targeted marketing campaigns
Sales team were able to view and reach out directly to top accounts
Background

A SaaS Startup Needs to Collect Insights to Inform A Marketing Campaign for a Large Conference

Postman offers a collaboration platform for API development. They were using a relatively new video hosting service provider for their annual user conference. However, they didn't have a very deep analytical platform or integration with other systems, meaning that the executive and events teams couldn't easily view metrics for the conference, their biggest event of the year.

We needed insight into how registration and the event as a whole were going before it launched. The company wanted to make sure they were on track for the total registration number they had in mind.

I decided they needed to sync up the service provider to our Salesforce platform and build reports and dashboards so that it could be self-served for the executive team. Then we had to define the guests we were expecting — they were attracting a diverse mix of professionals, including executives and developers as well as goes — and creating reports on which companies, regions, and so on had made the most registrations.

My background is in digital marketing and marketing operations. I was in-house and had the skills to do more or less everything: development, system integration, strategy, report-building, dashboards, and so on. And I had the business sense to know what the executive team was looking for so that we could ensure we hit our desired registration numbers.

Besides, I love being set loose at a startup — allowed to wear many different hats and never siloed doing just one project.

Execution

Plan, Build, & Integrate a Dashboard to Provide Insights for Everyone

Create and Analyze a Business Case

I knew in advance that lack of visibility and insight into the conference was going to be a problem, so I wanted to get ahead of the curve before the executive team raised the issue. I made notes as to why I thought we should spend time building out this project and presented them with my business case.

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Meet with the Stakeholders

Then I presented the business case to stakeholders asking for feedback. These included the executive team, the head of demand generation, and the head of the event.

I highlighted the inefficiency of deferring to my team several times a day to retrieve analytics, which they understood. They thought my solution of building a self-serve system made sense, so I collaborated with the executive team to create the specs.

The stakeholders either signed off or sent it back to me to make adjustments until eventually it was approved.

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Define the Scope

We needed to reach a consensus on exactly what we were going to build to avoid 'scope creep' later on. Since this is such a common problem, I tried to lock in the reports we wanted right away — at least for the initial release.

I had created some of these reports ahead of time in my business case, but at this stage other key stakeholders let me know what else they wanted to see, so we added one or two extra reports.

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Set Goals and Objectives

Next, we decided what we were going to be doing and when it needed to be done. Generally, setting goals and objectives is quite a formal process, although with smaller companies it doesn't always work out that way, as you have to move fast.

The goal was to have a dashboard with all KPIs in one place to give the executive leadership team insight and help guide the decisions that would increase our registration count.

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Define Deliverables

In this case, the deliverables were pretty clear; we just had to decide where on the dashboard to position the various modules. For example, registration count, revenue so far, and number of tickets sold were the top three widgets.

Access to the dashboard was the other crucial thing. Permission issues cropped up with certain reports, so there was some support required after the fact to ensure delivery on this.

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Create Project Schedule and Milestones

The next step was setting the milestones. We set a two-week time frame based on the conference date and worked backward from there, with 'ASAP' also being a working principle.

I was already working on some of the reports, so setting the schedule wasn't especially formal. But if I had been managing for a larger team, I would have mapped out the milestones in more detail and implemented some sort of project management tool.

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Results

Number of Registrations Reached Company Target Thanks to Data-Driven Marketing Campaigns

The executive team was blown away by the results. Across the company, people now had actionable data for making decisions about ticket types, or geo, or demographics.

We had VIP, student, and one-day tickets and were able to see where to focus our outbound to increase registrations. We had a ton of student registrations, which were free, but the more expensive tickets weren't getting sold. So, we ran a targeted segment email campaign for higher-profile accounts, either offering them a discount or applying time pressure, which increased VIP ticket sales.

Sales could also see the top registered accounts, which enabled them to reach out to people on them and offer assistance in the lead-up to the conference, encouraging attendance.

If I could do one thing differently, I set more realistic expectations of how much integration we would need to do to get what we wanted, as time was so tight.

Nonetheless, we hit our target of 25,000 registrations, a success built on the insight I provided.

I'm a seasoned B2B SaaS Marketing tech leader with 20+ years experience. I help early to mid-stage companies develop and scale their GTM strategy, lead/customer acquisition, branding, building and scaling mktg and rev ops systems which results in new multi-million $ ARR business.