Think Tank Case Study: A Non-Profit Global Conference

The DaVinci Institute, a six year old non-profit think tank in Boulder, Colorado.

The Client’s Problem
The DaVinci Institute grew to the point where they knew they could have an impact on global technical and financial innovations. To that end, they designed a summit that had the potential to bring in a global audience of financial thought leaders from the economic, legislative, and private industry. The principles at DaVinci knew this event could be a great success, but were faced with limited resources and experience in developing and promoting an event of this magnitude. Early attempts to build awareness, gather sponsorship dollars, and attendance for the event were unsuccessful, and with four months remaining to the event the options were limited.

The Marketplace
With one month remaining until their event, the DaVinci Institute had approximately two hundred people registered to attend, and had picked up several sponsors. Additionally, they had a full panel of global expert speakers on the subjects of economics, currencies, banking, electronic commerce, and security. They had also built numerous partnering and strategic relationships with corporate and venture capital members interested in making their next event a success.

The Sales Partnerships Solution

  • We developed a targeted marketing and outbound sales call structure flexible enough to change course rapidly to inform the right people about the event.
  • Sales Partnerships saw the opportunity to sell sponsorships, and effectively brought in funding that they were not responsible for producing.
  • We presented and delivered a clear, consistent message to establish solid branding for the DaVinci Institute while educating the global public on the impact of this financial summit.

Sales Partnerships delivered consistent input on website improvements, delivered additional candidates to be considered for speaking positions, brought in additional network media coverage, and provided market analysis on the impact and potential of future seminar topics. As a result, the DaVinci Institute went from potentially hosting one event per year to planning for three events the following year.

“When I talked with a member of the Digital ID world event, he told me about the importance of creating personal relationships regarding a high dollar event. We ended up together at the Omni Hotel in June and one of the exhibitors there was a outsourcing sales group, and my colleague recommended that I needed to talk to this group about forming a relationship. I asked my people to do some investigation into developing a call center. 

We spoke with several competitors, but a large part of the determination to go with Sales Partnerships surrounded their data and assumptions based around a self funding future, and I think that what Sales Partnerships has done is excellent. Fred Kessler forced our people to spend a lot of time thinking about how to sell the event.

We started with a list targeting CFO’s, and that was misguided, so we learned we had just been naïve to start with. I recommend that for anyone doing a campaign in the future possibly consider testing various target audiences. I think that we are outsiders to the financial world and having no bankers on the advisory board has limited us in providing banking industry speakers for the event. If I had to do the whole thing over again knowing what I now know I would still make the same decision (to pick Sales Partnerships).”

-Tom Frey
 Executive Director, the DaVinci Institute