Morningstar

Expanding the boundaries of event technology for unparalleled experiences. 

123%

increase in attributed revenue from MICUS

1,868

MQLs from MICUS live & online events 

12%

increase in total profit from global events in 2018

Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research across the world. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings through their global events and eight international investment conferences. 

The events team at Morningstar has expanded their global events program with Cvent technology since 2015. They manage almost hundred events annually, featuring almost 13,000 registrants across eight countries. These events include client trainings, key conferences, and internal executive-level events. They have catapulted the program’s success by pushing the boundaries of event technology and bolstering their brand in tandem with their global expansion. Caroline DeCamp, Director of Events and Operations, notes, “Our goal is always to execute flawless events, and to be able to show event metrics.” 

The road to becoming an event powerhouse presented unique challenges for the Morningstar team. “When I first started, the events team was decentralized,” explains Caroline. “With that came the need for a central technology system.” The original in-house system could not meet the needs of the expanding suite of international events.  As Head of Experiential Marketing, Leslie Marshall vividly remembers the pain points of the inadequate system. “We used to have a lot of homegrown solutions when I started that did not capture all the data and information that we wanted to understand about our clients,” she explains. “It also did not create the event feeling that we wanted to have at our events. As we’ve grown as an organization, we’ve relied on technology to help solve a lot of event problems.”

Capitalizing on a Powerful Tech Stack 

To help streamline and centralize operations around their hundreds of global events, the Morningstar team turned to Cvent. In conjunction with Cvent’s Event Management platform, they have grown their product suite to include Cvent’s OnArrival, CrowdCompass, LeadCapture, Appointments, and RFID tools. “What’s great about the technology that we’re using with Cvent is it really helps us elevate the client experience, help them register more effectively, and get the information that they need through the mobile app. It’s always working behind the scenes,” explains Leslie. 

The team leveraged Cvent’s Event Management platform for an automated functionality that streamlined registration and payment processing. They have strengthened event marketing efforts in line with their brand to create a distinct “Morningstar” event experience, regardless of location or region. “One of the things that I love about the Morningstar Investment Conferences and the events that we host globally is that it’s the best of Morningstar, live,” explains Leslie. By enabling this technology for their global regions, the international team is able to fully leverage the Morningstar brand for better attendee experiences. “Previously, we were only using Cvent for client-facing events. The seamless experience we have delivered to clients, and how that experience supports our brand, has enabled us to show the value for internal events as well,” adds Leslie. They are now able to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, promotions, and incentives in their marketing efforts. With a clean, modern feel, the registration creates a seamless, on-brand user experience. “Our branding is consistent now across registration pages. Events can be easily copied by local event managers to ensure branding is carried over globally,” adds Leslie.

Crafting an International Reputation of Excellence

Caroline notes, “One of the challenges rolling out this program globally has been understanding the needs of particular events in different countries.” Expanding not only the use of event technology across eight countries, but better enabling all departments to fully manage the technology was the solution. “By investing in this technology and making sure our event managers were trained to use the Cvent tools, our teams in global offices can really own the event. They’re not waiting on our corporate office in Chicago to approve something for them. They’re empowered to really manage their events in their markets and run them really successfully,” adds Leslie.

On site, attendees across the globe are able to experience a smooth, timely check-in experience that enhances the brand. “Previously, we had pre-printed name badges laid out across the registration table. Additionally, reconciling attendance was a manual process,” notes Leslie. Automating this process has not only saved the team more than thirty hours of work, but helps comply with GDPR standards and CE accreditor requirements for different regional event.  In 2018, they rolled out OnArrival for MIC U.K., India, Italy, and Australia for the first time. They saw a 500% increase in adaption of this technology for these key conferences, elevating the check-in experience for over 7,500 attendees. 

Showcasing Morningstar Event Impact

Understanding the scope and impact of their events is a key KPI for the Morningstar team. “The Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago in particular has always been successful from a revenue impact, but we were never able to track true contribution to pipeline,” notes Leslie. RFID scanning allows the team to track the attendee journey across their global conferences in order to deliver a consistent, powerful experience backed by data. Caroline adds, “We look at our event data in different aspects. What are we able to use for leads? What are we able to use for lead nurture? And what type of data are we able to use for future planning?”

The results of these concentrated efforts have proven the value of Morningstar’s events in delivering to key business goals. In 2018, the team captured 1,868 MQLs from MIC U.S. live and online events. Their US event alone accounted for a 123% increase in attributed revenue. Leslie explains, “There’s lots of KPIs that we measure. We’re measuring number of people through the door using RFID data, and then take a look at how they are rating those sessions through the mobile app, through Inquisium, and the event surveys.” By capitalizing on these data points for the executive team, Leslie and Caroline’s team has been able to greatly expand their global offerings in working to mirror the success of their US event. “Using Cvent’s reporting system, we can demonstrate to senior management that our Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago generates revenue through paid attendance and exhibiting, as tracked through Cvent. It also contributes to the company lead-generation and revenue attribution goals,” Leslie insists.

Creating a New Morningstar Mobile Reality 

By promoting the power of mobile technology, Morningstar has carved out their niche as an industry leader. Rolling out CrowdCompass to their global regions allowed the team to reduce costs and greatly enhance the attendee experience. Going paperless in their US, UK, and India events saved $31,000 alone, and allowed the team to run eighty-one live polls at eight conferences. Users spent almost 121,000 minutes in the app, resulting in an 8% year-over-year growth globally. “I think mobile apps are widely used now at this point,” notes Caroline. “We’re really looking to enhance the attendee experience and increase engagement with our attendees. One of the things that we’re doing is using push notifications and segmenting those to specific audiences so it’s a more personalized experience.” They also use the app to attract key sponsors for additional revenue generation.

CrowdCompass also offers Morningstar the ability to integrate industry-leading technology into their attendee experience. “When we think about the experience that we’re having, we really want to elevate that and make sure attendees feel that they get a solid return on investment,” notes Leslie. At the 2018 MICUS, the team worked with Cvent to create a deep link which would connect the CrowdCompass to a companion augmented reality (AR) app. The saw 36% of Crowdcompass mobile app users download the [email protected] app as a result. Through this unique on site experience, Morningstar saw huge spikes in customer interactions; they tracked 250 sponsor interactions and 1,300 exhibit hall discoveries through the [email protected] app alone. 

Using Digital for a More Personal Attendee Experience

As Morningstar continues to add new tools to their tech stack, they have seen the benefit of using Cvent’s Appointment tool to enable their sales team in developing relationships with clients. “When I think about the digital and the live experience, all of that supports each other,” notes Leslie. The sales team previously invited attendees to meet via Outlook, meaning there was no central way of tracking data. With Cvent’s Appointments tool, they gained more understanding of how client and prospect meetings that support the sales cycle. The results were impressive, with 195 private meetings scheduled and 80 training lab appointments created. Ultimately, there was an incredible 247% increase in actualized training lab appointments as a result. “These tangible numbers help us make planning decisions and prioritize our budget. Enabling the sales team to do business with tracking and reporting means greater financial support for our events in the future,” adds Caroline.

Measuring and Proving Success to the C-Suite 

Leslie and Caroline, along with their team, have worked tirelessly to expand their global events program. They have proven not only the value of events, but of event technology within Morningstar’s growing MarTech stack. As a result, both Leslie and Caroline have accelerated their career growth. “For me, my job has evolved by being able to not only connect with our customers, but with technology, in the US and globally,” notes Leslie. “My role has expanded globally and we have connections with our global teams through technology and really thinking about our brand experience.” Caroline’s role has expanded into managing the partnership with Cvent as a whole, and she acknowledges the results of their efforts have not gone unnoticed within the organization. “Morningstar has continued to invest in our events program, in our events themselves, and in our team members,” she explains. “We’ve seen several team members be promoted within our department over the past couple of years and this is definitely due to the great events that we’ve been putting on, which have been enabled by the technology that we’ve been using.”

Not only has Morningstar seen impressive growth in their global events, but leveraging the power of data has catapulted events to the forefront of the organization.  “Morningstar’s mission is to empower investor success. And we do that through our data,” notes Leslie. “We’re able to tell a great financial story with our event planning, both from a revenue standpoint in terms of what the event makes. We partner very closely with our product, marketing, and sales teams to use this data. We want to make sure that this investment is not going to go unanswered.”

The future of events at Morningstar is a direct reflection of the success they have experienced so far. “The future of our event program will continue to be all about empowering investor success, and we’re going to make technology decisions and experience decisions that meet those needs,” insists Leslie. Importantly, the last few years has changed the conversation around the function of events at Morningstar. “Being able to show those business results has really elevated our team from event