Calgary Comic Expo

How Inbound Interactive helped Calgary Expo drive $336,500 in online ticket sales

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (Calgary Expo) is an annual comic and pop culture convention in Calgary, Alberta and the second largest convention in Canada.

I trust Inbound Interactive to do what needs to be done. When I look at ticket sales for our events, the trend is up, and that’s what I really care about.”

– Kandrix Foong,
Director and Founder, Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo

28x Return on marketing investment

62,000+ Visits to campaign landing pages

$336,500+ Directly attributable ticket sales

Challenges

Managing a massive online marketing campaign

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (Calgary Expo) is the second largest pop culture convention in Canada, bringing together celebrities and special guests from the comic and pop culture industry for an action-packed schedule of performances, workshops, panels and exhibitions.

Attendees are always passionate and excited—but to pack out the event year after year, the Calgary Expo relies on clever marketing to build anticipation and sell tickets.

Over the event’s eleven-year history, Director and Founder Kandrix Foong had done almost every marketing job imaginable—from building the website to running ticket sales.

But as the event grew and marketing tasks ballooned, Kandrix quickly recognized that the online marketing component was too important and complex to handle alone.

“Over the last 10 years there’s a lot that has changed in the world of marketing and mass media. If I tried to do all this by myself, it would take forever,”  he laughs. “One of my strengths is my versatility—but when I find someone who understands an area much better than I do, I have no problem letting them run with it.”

Kandrix also recognized that he was more of a generalist and lacked the experience to set up optimized campaigns, write landing pages and  integrate all the technical components necessary to run a massive online marketing campaign on his own.

“I understand it conceptually, but I’m all about letting the specialists do what they do best,” Kandrix reflects. You can waste so much time trying to figure something out on your own, but if there’s someone who already has that knowledge, there’s no need to spend the extra effort yourself.”

With deadlines looming, logistics to take care of and, most importantly, tickets to sell, Kandrix needed a partner who could lead the charge on online marketing and deliver optimal returns.

 “If I tried to do this all by myself, it would take forever.”

Solution

A multi-faceted strategy delivered on a deadline

When Kandrix was referred to Inbound Interactive by a trusted business colleague in 2014, he knew he’d found the right partner.

“You could tell right away that Calin (Founder of Inbound Interactive), knew what he was talking about,” Kandrix said. “He and his team have the ability to navigate from one channel to the other online; that’s where they’re really good.”

Kandrix was so impressed by Inbound Interactive’s work in the early years that he’d allocated more budget to online marketing virtually every year since.

“We started small and then quickly got larger and larger as we realized Inbound was getting us very tangible results,” Kandrix explains.

2017 would be the largest campaign yet, and with just three weeks to deliver, there was no time to waste.

First, Calin and his team wrote, designed and developed six custom landing pages using Unbounce: one for each A-list celebrity attending the event including Jeremy Renner, John Cusack, Peter Capaldi, Jay and Silent Bob, and Nathan Fillion.

To drive relevant traffic to these pages, Inbound Interactive worked closely with the designer at Calgary Expo to create compelling Facebook Display and Google Adwords ads that fit with the Calgary Expo brand.

The ads targeted three distinct audiences:

  • Locals (fans within 25kms of Calgary)
  • Driveable Distance (fans within 4 hours of Calgary)
  • Fans in Northern USA

To cast a wider net the Google Adwords campaign targeted users actively searching for the Expo’s branded terms as well as relevant terms related to the comic book, film and entertainment industry.

Those who visited a landing page or viewed the Expo’s YouTube campaign but didn’t purchase a ticket were targeted using a Remarketing campaign that reminded them to purchase tickets.

Kandrix was happy to see how capably Inbound Interactive brought every piece of the strategy together.

“I was impressed how Inbound Interactive took care of everything. From social media, tagging, retargeting and campaign implementation – it was all really easy,” Kandrix said.

Even more impressive, however, was how trackable the ROI of the campaign was.

Inbound Interactive configured Google Tag Manager to capture ticket pricing information and filter the data back into Google Analytics, making return on ad spend obvious and precise.

Throughout the process, Kandrix was kept in the loop on the campaign’s performance, with a clear breakdown of what was working and where they could focus next.

“Calin’s very proactive. He contacted me and took the time to go through all the performance statistics including clicks, traffic, conversions, ticket sales and return on investment,” Kandrix said.

Managing all of these landing pages, audiences, campaigns and analytics is a complicated task. To meet Calgary’s three week deadline, Inbound Interactive had to be on the ball.

“Calin always goes above and beyond,” Kandrix reflected. “There’s a lot of organic discussion about what’s working, what’s not, and what to do next.”

To make it work, Inbound took a strategic approach to managing the project, making sure Calgary Expo were kept in the loop and that each campaign was driving ticket sales.

 “I was impressed how Inbound Interactive took care of everything. From social media, tagging, retargeting and campaign implementation – it was all really easy.”

Results

A 28x return on marketing investment

The campaign was a major success, driving 62,000 visits to campaign landing pages that resulted in $336,500 in directly attributable ticket sales.

That’s a 28x return on investment for Kandrix and the Calgary Expo team.  

“We’ve seen conversion rates on some of the campaigns as high as 25 percent,” Kandrix reports, “which means for every dollar we allocate to Inbound, we receive over $28 in ticket sales.”

With offline marketing, Calgary Expo struggled with the fact that they couldn’t measure the effectiveness of each channel.

Since partnering with Inbound Interactive, that’s changed.

“It was really interesting to see how campaigns had different conversion rates and how we could optimize those to drive more ticket sales,” Kandrix said. “I know it’s working, because there’s a definite uplift in sales as soon as a campaign kicks in.”

With Inbound Interactive’s data-driven approach, it’s easy for Kandrix to see how his marketing budget is translating into conversions and sales.

“We always used to ask what our most effective marketing spend was,” Kandrix reflects. “Now, we know for sure. We allocate budget and adjust our spend based on performance, so we’re always optimizing for what’s working best.”

Kandrix appreciates that Inbound Interactive Inbound is proactive about testing multiple campaigns, landing pages and online display advertising placements to see what works and allocate budget where ROI is best.

“Inbound Interactive can get you the results that you want and open your eyes as to how to do this stuff right,” Kandrix explains. “You don’t have to micromanage… they’re constantly working to give us the most return for our spend.”

 “We’ve seen conversion rates on some of the campaigns as high as 25 percent; we’re always optimizing for what’s working best.”


Is your marketing budget returning $28 in sales for every dollar you invest?

If not, you need to talk to Inbound Interactive today.

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