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Cvent: The Financial Services and Fintech Sectors’ Digital Event Management Evolution

Financial services and fintech businesses alike are learning that the journey to deep customer engagement is a marathon, not a sprint, and no place is that more evident than using events as part of your marketing or sales mix.

Banks, insurers, asset management companies, technology and investment research firms have begun to recognise and act on the need for agile and data-informed customer acquisition and retention approaches in event marketing. Demonstrable ROI from event budgets can instantly transform clients into loyal advocates. Organisations today demand no less, and understanding what can sometimes be an elusive, data-drive marketing metric is a business imperative.

Karen Carter, director of enterprise marketing, Europe, at Cvent
Karen Carter, director of enterprise marketing, Europe, at Cvent

These are the views of Karen Carter, director of enterprise marketing, Europe, at Cvent. She is a seasoned marketing veteran with over 25 years’ experience working in all facets of the discipline. Starting on the agency side Carter spent her early career as a client service director to many large high-tech firms driving some of the biggest tech events of the day. Moving client side, she spent over 14 years at Microsoft in varying roles in both B2B and B2C. Recently, she’s returned to her roots, helping to build the enterprise marketing strategy in Europe for Cvent, a meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider.

The new customer mindset calls for business functions to engage and
co-create events across traditional walls. Events are a key example of a high-potential customer engagement activity that has languished under inadequate attention. Finserv, fintech marketing and event planning teams regularly execute events jointly, but these events are often marked by a lack of common goals and ineffective resource sharing.

A recent Forrester study indicates that almost 75 per cent of the finance industry’s professionals feel that their ideas around budgets and goals have diverged significantly from the event management team. Most of these decision-makers also said the events were run in siloes and lacked the collaboration that is crucial for great outcomes.

Global meetings and events are critical for the financial sector. They serve as both product testbeds and a sales pipeline. Additionally, product roadshows, investor conferences, and community gatherings create face-to-face interactions and provide a one-two punch to marketing efforts. They have the potential to generate vital business intelligence. Unfortunately, most events in the sector tend to be one-dimensional, or marketers fail to mine data from these interactions to generate actionable insights for conversion.

Fintech disruption has recast the traditional finance sector business in its own mould. Open banking, expanded financial access, cloud adoption, and digital banking are just some of the changes shaped by the fintech sector. The market waves created by non-traditional fintech firms have pushed mainstream financial players to accelerate the shift towards digital-first, technology-led business models. Marketing and events technologies have undergone extreme makeovers to remain relevant in the new paradigm.

But making the leap from a passive quarterly webinar that simply ‘checks a box’ to a full-fledged interactive online event that delivers measurable impact hasn’t been easy. About 93 per cent of respondents in the Forrester study reported that their firms hosted virtual events at some point prior to the pandemic, with 84 per cent reporting that most of these pre-pandemic virtual events were delivered as webinars.

Covid-19 changed all of that. B2B marketers and events teams were suddenly required to pivot to exclusively using virtual events to deliver their content and drive engagement. Now, as recovery continues, businesses must transform events into experiential journeys for all customers. The choice of event formats must be aligned to marketing outcomes.

Instead of using content and technology in discrete, staccato bursts, marketers, decision-makers, and tech implementers need to build fluidity and flexibility into the strategy and execution of events. To extract maximum business value, financial institutions must approach events holistically. And events must be seen not just as tools to understand customers better but also as markers that can help plot a firm’s future roadmap.

For events of this calibre, upskilling and utilising workforce digital natives, creating a content narrative, and providing seamless end-to-end, customised experiences for internal and external customers is essential. Such events and platforms become rich sources of metrics, leads and conversion opportunities. A healthy ROI, in turn, helps marketers justify the spending on such events. But advisory roadshows and other B2B product marketing events can quickly become a regulatory trap. Therefore, building robust compliance is an overriding ask of such events teams. Marketers and event professionals working together will enable skill sharing and expertise to thrive in a post-covid world.

Pre-pandemic, several events firms had already automated planning and registration processes in what was primarily an in-person events landscape. The rest of the process remained largely manual. For US-headquartered Cvent, the pandemic presented a unique opportunity for the company to leverage its software as a service (SaaS) model and decades of technology innovation and industry expertise to deliver new digital solutions to support more engaging and interactive virtual events. This quick pivot to virtual events enabled Cvent customers to maximise the impact of their online experiences and drive engagement with their customers and other stakeholders throughout the pandemic.

Over the past two years, Cvent has further cemented its position as a premier, cloud-based, enterprise event marketing and management platform; providing the technology and professional support to power exceptional in-person, virtual, and hybrid experiences.

For financial institution clients, Cvent delivers tailored experiences that fulfil baseline deliverables like service reliability, scalability, world-class data acquisition, and data security. Its maxims of compliance and data privacy bode well for European customers who are required to align with GDPR requirements. For clients in asset management and capital markets, Cvent offers scalability to replicate recurring events via its template feature with ease of launch and brand authenticity.

Cvent’s toolkit for event marketers in the finance vertical also includes custom reporting, which solves the tricky problem of measuring the ROI of an event. Intuitive user experience from augmented reality and mobile apps helps map the attendee journey at all touchpoints during the event and helps marketers gather actionable intelligence.

Cvent leverages the heft of the cloud by offering easy, on-tap access to in-event data and documentation. Its extensive experience in managing large events enables it to anticipate and manage the need for customers to control attendee experience and data.

A client recently saw the impact of events on lead generation and revenue attribution using Cvent products to drive thousands of MQLs (marketing qualified leads) via use of the Appointments tool. And with Cvent’s RFID tracker and mobile app they were able to capture data from live visitor registration and use the data to quantify revenue. Working together, Cvent enabled the customer to generate insightful event metrics and prove the impact of events as part of their marketing arsenal.

With 20 years’ experience working with the global financial services sector and partnering with some of its largest players, Cvent is in a unique position to both observe and shape the role that events play in today’s business environment. This also means taking on a certain degree of responsibility when it comes to conducting business in a way that is fair and sustainable.

Virtual and hybrid events can support a more sustainable meetings and events industry, while helping to bolster quantifiable marketing outcomes for B2B customers more traditionally accustomed to hosting only large in-person gatherings. In the new events landscape, offering a smart mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events can help organisations deliver more sustainable event programmes while increasing reach and maximising engagement across their Total Event Programme.

Today, Cvent is helping tens of thousands of organisations adapt to the new business landscape and create not just memorable experiences but measurable ones. By combining Cvent’s robust event marketing and management platform with metric-driven marketers and planners, organisations will be better positioned to create unique, connected experiences that will propel their business forward.

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