Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CMO Club May '08: Successful ROI through tailored CIO-only events

Mitch Bishop, CMO at iRise, an application simulation technology better understood as CAD (computer aided design) for Web sites.

When it comes to success, iRise measures everything, but they rely ultimately on revenue ROI.

iRise's goal is to get to the CIO. Build a relationship with them, and develop pilots down into the organization. They weren't trying to sell to business analysts directly because they had no budget to work with or purchasing power.

iRise has an incredible network of people, specifically CEOs. To develop leads, they turned back to the CEO network and asked themselves, "Can we grow the company on the marketing side through that same network?"

They aimed high, creating custom events around auto races and built a rigorous methodology of who to invite and how to invite them.

Through the invitations they developed three categories of people:
  • People who attended
  • People who declined. (People who even declined they set up meetings with.)
  • People who were referred to the iRise event. (Everyone who attended was asked for three referrals.)
The mantra for the event was "World class networking. World class marketing. No Selling." Although if an attendee asked them about iRise they'd go ahead and start selling. :)

For all the events, they've had 300+ attendees with 1,300 follow-up meetings. And all of this work has generated six to seven times the product revenue ROI. Branding ROI was not measured.

That's good news, but they knew that they'll have to repeat the performance to prove success. How can they sell the next 1000 customers? iRise is looking towards a scalable customer acquisition strategy. They've been successful creating a category and now they've created competition so they're going to have to fight harder.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time for a breakout session, but Mitch asked the following questions that I'll repeat in the blog, hoping to get answers from you.

  • What was the one thing you had difficulty measuring? How did you overcome it?
  • How did you link the ROI to the overall business objective?
Let us know what you think.

In other news, the iRise car, the KVRacing Team driven by Oriol Servia, qualified 25th for the Indy 500.

Disclosure: the author of this post, David Spark of Spark Media Solutions, is a former consultant for iRise.

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