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CONNECT is a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. By creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and C-suite executives have access to the people, capital and technology resources they need for success, CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies since 1985.
Needing a solution that would help its small staff increase their efficiency, CONNECT was looking for an event management and digital marketing platform that was easy-to-use. The platform needed to manage various events (ranging from small private dinners to multi-day conferences), have an easy registration process and market events to the right audience. CONNECT needed a fully integrated approach for their database (Salesforce), event registration, and event promotion.
According to Claire Bula, CONNECT’s Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, Aventri stood out from the competition. “It was really the only event platform that could handle the robust needs we have around events, down to seating tables and customizing mini-sites for an event,” she says.
Customer service and support was also a key factor in CONNECT’s decision. Aventri’s sales team walked them through the product and explained how Aventri could grow with their organization. Because the sales team had previous experience working in events, Bula says it felt like they really understood their needs. Once CONNECT was officially on board, their Aventri account manager was with them every step of the way for the training and onboarding process. “Our current account manager is very proactive with sending us updates, answering questions as they arise and reaching out with new information,” Bula says. “She’s great to work with.”
Bula: “The Aventri platform has made creating and sending all communications simple.”
With CONNECT’s previous event registration system, there were constant complaints from attendees about the registration process, so much so that the majority of attendees ended up registering over the phone with staff entering their information manually, Bula explains. Now 95% of registrations are done through Aventri’s registration module, which allows CONNECT staff to use their energy and talents on the actual event production and execution.
CONNECT also utilizes the seamless integration between Aventri and Salesforce. With the previous system, unique guest and email lists were created for each campaign or event. After the event or campaign was complete, the information would be updated manually back into Salesforce, if time allowed. “The integration between Aventri and Salesforce has been lifesaving for us,” Bula says. “Now we know instantly who received which emails and what program they registered for, which makes our membership and business development team very happy.”
Aventri’s mobile check-in option has also been a hit, says Elizabeth Hobson, CONNECT’s Senior Director of Programs & Events. At a 750-person event, CONNECT had minimal event staff to facilitate onsite check-in and guest registration. Because they had sent out the mobile check-in link to staff prior to the event, the rest of the team were able to easily jump in to register and check-in guests.
Hobson: “Both our staff and attendees were amazed and thrilled with how easy mobile check-in made their arrival to the event.”
CONNECT used the Aventri platform at its 2016 Entrepreneur Hall of Fame gala. As CONNECT’s highest honor, the event recognizes individuals who have achieved distinction over the years for founding, leading, or advancing a San Diego life sciences or technologybased business organization.
With over 300 people attending the 2016 event, CONNECT needed to maximize registrations and minimize staff resources for each registration and email sent, says Hobson. They were able to successfully accomplish this through the use of Aventri’s registration and marketing modules. Staff used Aventri’s cloning feature to customize and reuse templates for emails, surveys and other marketing materials. It also easily allowed for CONNECT’s branding to integrate with the Hall of Fame branding in an easy and ascetically pleasing way.
“We constantly use registration and marketing side-by-side to build our audience and notify our members about upcoming events and programs such as Hall of Fame,” Hobson explains. “The flexibility to create lots of different ticket pricepoints and available options makes our jobs easier.”
After the Hall of Fame guests had arrived, CONNECT’s onsite registration staff was able to confirm attendees and no-shows quickly, which made the postevent wrap-up efficient and easy. Instead of going through name badges and dinner seating cards to see who attended, post-event communication emails and reports were sent with just a few clicks.
“Guest check-in and arrival is the first opportunity to make a good impression on your guests,” Hobson says. “Through the onsite registration, public check-in and mobile check-in capabilities of Aventri, our small staff is able to start the evening off right by making guest arrivals smooth and easy.”
CONNECT is using Aventri’s analytics and reporting capabilities to capture useful ROI data, such as online registrations, timing of registrations, sponsorships, and email marketing; all of which, Hobson says, is invaluable to improve future events.
“The Aventri platform has made creating and sending all communications simple.”
Comprised of a 3-person team that executes all events & marketing
Organizes approximately 60 events annually
Works with San Diego-based life science & technology companies with a network of over 20,000 professionals
Post-Event Email Campaigns