Case Study: Quality Sells

In a rare blend of high-level vision and feet-on-the-street tactics, SMA’s event management services help a leading location intelligence company win new business.

Imagine throwing a party and nobody comes. It’s a nightmare no event manager – or the clients they serve – wants to think about. But achieving an outstanding return on a marketing event? That, most sales and marketing executives agree, is most certainly top of mind… even if difficult to accomplish.

With the help of SMA, DMTI Spatial, a leading provider of location intelligence solutions to Global 2000 companies and government agencies, staged an extraordinary event that was well-attended and well-received, and immediately captured a 15% rate of qualified leads among delegates. What’s more, the event attracted international attention and netted a sale within 11 days – one that covered the entire expense tab!

“We chose SMA because of its wealth of experience in managing events and its focus on value for money,” says John Sorrell, VP & GM, Mapping Solutions (then Director of Marketing) at DMTI Spatial. “I’m always thinking, ‘if I invest in something, I expect specific measurable outcomes’. SMA thinks the same way. At every step, they were concerned about value for the guest and value to DMTI Spatial.”

DMTI Spatial is the creator of the CanMap suite of geospatial data products, the gold standard for GIS location-based data in Canada, and offers a Location Hub platform, which uniquely identifies, validates and maintains a universe of location-based data. The company wished to raise its profile among key decision-makers as a provider of enterprise solutions. And to achieve a return of its investment, it wanted to generate qualified leads that could convert to sales.

Mr. Sorrell envisioned an odyssey-type event where attendees could explore the dimensions of location intelligence and how it can be used to increase profitability. The event, he decided, had to be top-quality, aimed at both C-level and technical prospects, and provide exceptional value for participants’ time and money.

“Catherine Wathen (SMA’s Director of Client Services) was quick to embrace our vision and execute on every detail,” says Mr. Sorrell.

DMTI Spatial developed branding for the event – the Intelligent Enterprise Expedition 2008 (IEE08) – then worked with SMA’s event management team to produce marketing collateral, source venues and secure all related products and services, such as catering, gifts, transportation, signage and other items. The materials included a sponsorship package that was marketed to DMTI clients and business partners with the aim of offsetting some event expenses. In the end, funding from sponsors exceeded budget by 50%.

The event attracted 230 people, who applauded its value for the money and time they invested. In a post-event survey, 100% of the respondents indicated that they had received at least one meaningful item they could take back to their work.

As for DMTI Spatial’s value for money, event expenses came in 15% under budget. Meanwhile, significant business leads were achieved. Immediately following, the event generated 28 qualified leads, resulting in nine closing opportunities. Within 11 days, the first opportunity converted to a sale, the value of which more than covered all of DMTI Spatial’s expenses associated with the event.

“On every aspect I can measure, this event was an overwhelming success,” says Mr. Sorrell.

There were other benefits too, in terms of brand recognition. As DMTI Spatial seeks to expand outside of Canada, one potential U.S. business partner indicated how impressed he was with the quality of prospects and customers in attendance. A downloadable collateral piece that captured the top 10 lessons learned from the conference attracted 10 times the normal activity on the company’s web site. “These are not immediate leads, but it’s important brand recognition, from as far away as the U.K.,” notes Mr. Sorrell.

“This was a big success for us, and I was glad to have SMA involved,” he adds. “Catherine really listened and stayed on top of every detail. Her experience was very useful to me; she told me exactly what to expect and when not to worry. She was also proactive about making suggestions, such as a first-class reception with a live band, which created the right dynamics. ”

Far from a nightmare, the DMTI Spatial IEE08 was more of a marketer’s dream come true!