Event Case Study Marketing

Posted on by Mira

About Skybay

Since 1981, Skybay has been the source for remarkable face-to-face event experiences. They offer trade show and event exhibits to match any size and budget, ranging from tabletop displays and portable displays to modular inline exhibits and large-scale island exhibits. Skybay makes over 20 different exhibit systems, including pop-ups, banner stands, panel systems, fabric structures, truss and other structural, custom modular exhibit systems that add to the event experience.

The main marketing goal for SkyBay is to increase traffic to their website in order to generate more customer acquisition. After doing a lot of the same things over the years with good results, all of a sudden Skybay started to see their sales decline and they weren’t quite sure where to turn next. Their demographics were beginning to shift and they were unsure what were the best tactics to reach them. The team decided to be proactive and they started researching new trends in the industry to help them get back on track. They wondered if there was a solution that would help them reach a wider audience and manage all the new areas that SkyBay needed to manage?

Was there a solution to getting their sales back on track?

Before Skybay decided to use the HubSpot software to help manage their marketing program, their main challenge was increasing online traffic in order to generate new leads to increase sales. At this time, all of their leads were coming from the corporate office through traditional marketing tactics like phonebook advertising. Beyond that, they were using email to reach out to leads, but had no metrics or measurements surrounding it. They had no way of knowing how each program was actually working and which ones to spend the most time and money on.

Marketing team member Sarmistha Tarafder knew Skybay needed a new direction, but they just needed help knowing what was the right way. She began researching new tactics and discovered inbound marketing. The more she researched the more HubSpot kept popping up. After six months, she figured if all their tactics were working for the company itself, it might actually work for Skybay too. When a HubSpot sales person reached out to her because of an ebook she downloaded, she was so impressed she signed up immediately for the HubSpot all-in-one marketing software.

HubSpot Assisted Skybay in Generating More Traffic and Leads

After Skybay started using the HubSpot software with their marketing tactics, they quickly went to work building traffic to their website. By using HubSpot’s Keyword Grader tool they were able to simply discover what potential customers were searching for when they were looking for their products, which made them feel like they were taping into the pulse of what their customers were thinking and doing. They were then able to use the most effective keywords on their website and in the content they generated, which has helped them increased organic traffic by 726%

Using Landing Pages and CTAs to Capture Lead Information

With their traffic up, they also knew they needed a way to capture the information of all the potential customers coming to their website. With HubSpot’s Landing Page tool they are now able to make pages on the fly with no help from the IT department. Each page was updated with new product information with customizable lead capture forms and embedded CTAs to gain as much information about each lead as possible. They are now able to track views of each page and how many people have converted. Because of the work they have done building new landing pages and CTAs, since 2009 Skybay has increased their overall leads by 158%.

Blogging to help build their Web Presence

With HubSpot’s Blogging tools, Skybay is easily able to create content that they can then share with their prospects on their blog, as well as with their social media followers. When an interesting topic arises they are able to write a post in minutes, share their thoughts, and stay on top of the trends in their industry. In addition, the HubSpot blog platform gives them SEO tips while they are writing and instant analytics so they can see which topics have resonated the most and develop more content surrounding those topics. In the last year alone, they were able to increase subscribers to their blog by 97%.

Case Study: InGo —Social Event Marketing

InGo is a social third-party platform that organically grows events by empowering attendees to invite their friends and colleagues while lowering the attendee acquisition costs for event organizers.

I joined InGo as the the lead UX designer and the 6th employee in December of 2013, and departed in January of 2015. I was in charge of the product and user experience but as most early stage startups, I designed UIs, websites, reports, social media content, and other graphic collateral.

InGo’s offering comes in the form of widgets which provides value to attendees by:

  1. Enabling fast and easy event registration.
  2. Displaying other attendees, including contacts who are attending.
  3. Suggesting contacts that may be interested in attending.

The Problem

The state of the widgets were slightly above proof of concept and were not ready to be scaled due to poor experience and usability. The widgets lived on registration companies’ websites, which posed a big challenge as we didn’t have full control of the experience.

The Goals

  1. Design the attendee experience (widgets)
  2. Show results and insights to organizers about their event and audience (analytics platform)

1. Design the Attendee Experience

The Login Widget

The Social Sign On Problem

InGo’s value is predicated on attendees signing on socially and authorizing access to their contacts before it can make smart recommendations. However, very few users were doing so at the time, which was a huge problem, as not just the attendee experience, but the very business model of the company was based on social sign ons.

The Process

Although there were many external factors, I started by analyzing the widget itself, which looked like this before I joined:

I placed myself in the attendee’s shoes, it became clear there were no stated benefits as to why register socially. How am I supposed to know that it will save me time or that I could find out if any of my friends are attending? All the persuasive copy was hidden behind the “Tell me more” button.

With my hypothesis in mind, I made the following decisions:

  • Removed the “Tell me more” button and added copy explaining the benefits of social registration up front.
  • Addressed privacy concerns by providing the option to opt out of sharing your attendance publicly and auto-posting on your behalf
  • Visually de-emphasized the manual registration- moving button to bottom (version A, B) or signaling hassle up front in hopes of swaying people away (version C)

As I kept incorporating customer feedback, the copy become more succinct, and the widget was refined stylistically, we saw social adoption take off instantly.

Levering Psychology

I started experimenting with applying psychology principles to further entice attendees to register socially. I featured the top 5 most influential attendees of the week on the Login Widget not just for social proof but as a clever growth catalyst; those featured would get an email congratulating them, with a call to action to share their accomplishment and thus increasing awareness. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test this iteration’s performance live during my stay.

Social Widget

Once an attendee has socially signed on and completed the registration process, they encounter the Social Widget which provides 3 functionalities:

  • Invite- allows the attendee to invite relevant contacts
  • Who’s In- shows if attendee’s contacts are attending, along with everyone who registered through InGo and chose to be discoverable.
  • Share- allows attendees to share their attendance on social networks.


The widget wasn’t fully built, but there were legacy designs in place which were confusing.:

Given that the width of the widget couldn’t exceed 300px, it was very busy visually, avatars were small, text was crammed, and there were too many calls to action.

The Process

Each functionality was complicated as is, let alone all 3 living under the same widget. I separated each functionality into its own tab in order to simplify a user’s mental model, and to add flexibility when implementing.

I made the following design decisions:

  • I enlarged the images of the attendees as they are the most attention grabbing elements
  • spaced out the elements to give them some breathing room
  • reduced the functionality to by shifting suggestion up top
  • reduced visual pollution: there were way too many horizontal lines which made it hard to visually grasp elements

Many iterations later, a more refined and simplified design began emerging that was stylistically in synch with the Login Widget:


I created prototypes as I went along and ran mini-workshops where I asked members to perform certain tasks and collected feedback.

I eventually also got around to designing an expanded version of the social widget, since confirmation pages provided more screen real estate:


Power in Social Hierarchies: by observing communication response time between people, a power hierarchy can be mapped out; the more important someone is, the quicker people respond to him or her.

Asking for Permission

When attendees registered manually, we still needed to obtain permission to their social network before InGo could work its magic.

In order to make sense of it all, I mapped out the logic behind permissions:

Timing was critical- ask for permission out of context and a user will likely decline it. The legacy interaction asked for all 3 permissions initially which resulted in poor conversions. Using strategic timing, I was able to obtain much higher acceptance rates: for example, asking permission to post on a user’s timeline only when they’re at the share screen, as any other time wouldn’t make sense contextually and might scare off the user.

I mapped out the permission prompts on a user journey to determine the best time to ask users for each permission:

I also mapped out the process behind the major registration platforms to inform my decisions:

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