For the last few years, attendance at INBOUND, a week-long marketing, sales, and customer service event held in Boston, MA by HubSpot, has soared: 2017 had over 21,000 attendees and 2018 saw over 24,000. They expect bigger numbers for this year's event, being held the first week of September 2019.
Years past have seen speakers like Michelle Obama, Lena Waithe, Deepak Chopra, Shonda Rhimes, and plenty of other recognizable names. It's a can't-miss event for those passionate about growing their business—and growing as people— which means the registration experience must be seamless.
A clunky sign-up process leads to less customer confidence and lower attendance numbers, making it harder to get big names like this year's Katie Couric and Jada Pinkett-Smith.
But Elijah Clark-Ginsberg, senior event manager in charge of technology and attendee experience, says registration wasn't always as easy as their current experience:
"Event technology is a tough space with a lot of entrenched legacy providers [...] We really jumped around trying to find something that worked for us and was a good experience for our attendees" he explains.
Part of the trouble he kept running into was that these older event technologies relied on archaic infrastructures. That meant moving information from the event management app into HubSpot, which INBOUND uses as both a customer relationship management (CRM) tool and for marketing automation. It was an immensely manual process.
Between Zapier and Bizzabo, it's really been a complete game changer in terms of what we're able to do technology-wise and how easy it is for us and for our attendees.
Elijah Clark-Ginsberg, Senior Event Manager, HubSpot
This work involved an outsourced team hired on to manage the integration and keep it running throughout the year. The cost came out of Elijah's team's budget and pulled resources from engineering teams.
It wasn't sustainable or cost-effective. So Elijah sought out a new event software. He landed on Bizzabo. "Since we've been using Bizzabo, we've seen a shift in how attendee-friendly our registration process is because Bizzabo's focus is so much more on the attendee," explains Elijah.
But there was still the issue of getting registration and attendee information from Bizzabo into HubSpot. Bizzabo's team had a recommendation for Elijah: automation tool, Zapier, which can be used to automatically send data from one app to another. Once he set up a Zap—an automated process—connecting Bizzabo and HubSpot, Elijah became a believer. "The cost to my budget is essentially zero," he says.
And as an added bonus, he and his team wound up getting even more out of the integration: insight. Thanks to the alerts and emails Zapier sends when it encounters an error, Elijah has a deeper insight into when and why things go awry during registration.
It adds a layer of transparency he didn't have before, providing insight into why a registered attendee doesn't show up to the event or when items don't transfer as expected. That transparency lends itself to an easy-to-follow paper trail, too:
"Say there are VIPs and we want to make sure that when they register, they redeem a code that's being tracked somewhere else," Elijah explains. "Now we know immediately when our most important investors have registered—and we're able to know that because of Zapier."
Elijah's getting all of these benefits—troubleshooting and a paper trail, a dramatically lowered cost, and the best attendee registration experience INBOUND has had—from one single Zap that connects Bizzabo to HubSpot.
Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 56,500 total customers in more than 100 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot gives companies the tools they need to Grow Better.
Customer relationship manager (CRM) and marketing automation
[This] is actually the most foolproof and bulletproof integration we've ever had in our registration system.
Elijah Clark-Ginsberg, Senior Event Manager, HubSpot
When someone registers to attend INBOUND, they select their ticket from a few options and then fill out a registration form powered by Bizzabo:
Once a registrant completes the form, Elijah's Zap jumps into action, taking the new registrant's information—like name, email, title, company, etc.—and sending it to HubSpot, where Zapier creates or updates a contact and fills in the appropriate fields. And the best part: What used to take months of building and managing an integration now happens instantly.
"It's a huge time saver," Elijah says. "Now, literally the day we start selling tickets, we start syncing, and we can just make the changes to the Zap on the fly."
With this Zap handling what used to take a team of developers, Elijah says he's able to redirect their efforts to improving the attendee experience and build out new features:
"[Zapier] allows us to be a lot more innovative and creative with how we're using developers' time or money that we're paying freelance developers," he says. "We're able to have them work on slick new stuff that really elevates the experience."
Beyond saving his budget—and developer resources—Elijah enjoys the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethos Zapier enables.
"I think it comes down to just how much of [Zapier] is self-service, especially as a non-developer," Elijah says. "Being able to go ahead and get completely up and running, fix bugs and issues—and all that with very little effort—I think the biggest difference is that [Zapier's] very DIY."
Want to work as effectively as Elijah at HubSpot? Give Zapier a try for free.
All images provided by HubSpot.