9 out of 10 b2b leaders believe events can make the transition to recurring value or income (but it’s hard). Thanks to Covid, event companies have tested ways to create value beyond the day(s) of their events.
“I’m not big on resilience, because when you’re resilient you go back to where you were before. We’re all about agility which is springing forward to where we’re going next. And this time has been invaluable to dive deeper into the membership model.”source – substribe ceo think tank
During the Substribe CEO Think Tank, 20 leaders shared insights. And as guest speaker Tracey Davies, President of Ascential Money 20/20 points out, it’s not a question of if events companies can make the transition to recurring value or income. The right question to ask is, should you? And how do you do it?
Part of the discussion focused on definitions. A typical event company may create a re-occuring revenue stream. But, it was felt to be a stretch too far to create recurring revenues. There may be some exceptions where events companies bundle passes in annual memberships.
So, in the absence of recurring revenues, what should be the goal for re-occuring revenues?
To know if you are on the right path to building re-occuring value, here are 3 goals to be tracked over time:
- Percentage of units and revenue resold on site
- Uptake of annual price increases
- Attendance from the same company
This topic has appealed to leaders with subscription only business models. Why? Well, as events push to engage customers through the year, the battle for customers 365 attention will increase.
Whatever your model, if you’re looking to build recurring value then building a habit is key. In other words, figuring out how to get your customers to keep coming back to you. But for it to stick, you need to know what you are helping your customer to do.
Many B2b subscription companies want to create community. This is across SaaS, media, information, data and others. Some are acquiring communities rather than go through the hassle of building. This is where great event companies should have an advantage. Their expertise is creating new relationships.
Leading events companies are applying subscription disciplines to live events. For example, changing the experience for first timers and return customers. Also, using customer success approaches. This is important because the average b2b database churns over 33% each year. This means 100% of event attendees will have changed roles or companies over a 3 year period.
Here’s some of the approaches shared during the Think Tank…
“We’ve been adding marketing services into the finite days event to create a 365 day relationship with clients.”
“We’re using regional roadshows to upsell into multi-locations to avoid running out of inventory.”
“We’ve focused on one flagship event to ensure there is a reason for people to come and meet.”
“We are doubling down on being about deal making, rather than being content led.”
Here are some of the knotty problems discussed…
“It’s important to change the proposition along the way, but it’s hard to change your proposition when you don’t have the resources. So, how do you make sure that when a customer buys in January, it looks different to when another customer buys later in the year?”
“We used to be an event. We wanted people to feel like they were part of our brand so we took a heart centred approach and shifted our entire community. Now we offer in person as one of our 5 bundles of membership. We find that in our virtual, there’s a good amount of deal making in pre-sessions for speakers on a topic, and breakouts on intentional topics. It’s easier when there are no live options.”
“One of the things that drives value and price points is how you sell memberships. You need sales people, they need to articulate the value proposition. Below a certain price point it doesn’t make sense to use sales people. So that drives decision making on product.”
“Networking online doesn’t work unless it’s intimate and focused roundtables (like this).”
Here are some thoughts about testing channels…
For lower value propositions – “To test channels you must have some form of content – build a mechanism to promote content to your customer, like podcast, videos, newsletters.”
For higher value propositions – “We form action councils around a particular topic, our C-level execs meet every six weeks. It’s more valuable than the event for them. We have other membership packages for them.”