The American Optometric Association (AOA) is a leading U.S. authority for quality care representing optometry. The Optometry Annual Meeting has informed the community for over 100 years. Increased competition has caused attendance at the annual meeting to decline over time. AOA approached us to create opportunities for deeper and more sustainable engagement with members and attendees at the annual meeting and to grow attendance at the annual event.
The first step was to learn more about the core audience segments. By understanding what’s important to attendees and exhibitors, we shed new light on event offerings and aligned the offerings to the association’s mission. We tapped into audiences’ hearts and highlighted the critical need for participation, which galvanized the need to attend and allowed for a more meaningful experience — for everyone.
Using these insights, we developed a strategic approach for audience acquisition and an integrated marketing communications plan for the annual meeting. We also designed and executed the event marketing deliverables. On top of the strategy, we delivered the email campaign, direct mail, print ads, registration brochures, onsite program guides, and the digital and social media campaign.
The elevated marketing drove significant increases in attendance. AOA saw a six percent year-over-year increase in attendance by doctors of optometry as well as a 13 percent increase in doctor attendance over the past two years. Overall attendance increased by 15 percent over the past two years too.
Recently, the new retargeting campaign contributed to 11 percent of total attendees registering for the event after clicking through the ads. This approach provided an astounding ROI, as the resulting registration revenue was 59 times the amount spent on the campaign.
IAEE also recognized the value of this program by honoring AOA with an Art of the Show award for best attendance promotion campaign!