Morningstar Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research across the world. The Morningstar Events and Operations team manages hundreds of events of all formats and types each year, including client trainings, marquee conferences, and internal executive-level events. The global Morningstar Investment Conferences (MIC) bring together thousands of attendees annually to discuss key financial topics and timely investment strategies.
Morningstar has long leveraged event technology to create innovative experiences across their global events program. They utilize Cvent’s Registration tool in addition to Onsite Solutions, Mobile Event App, Appointments, Surveys, and other technologies. “I’ve been at Morningstar for 12 years now, and for the past eight we’ve used Cvent,” explains Caroline DeCamp, Director of Events and Operations at Morningstar. They initially partnered with Cvent in 2015 to alleviate a number of pain points such as eliminating disparate in-house systems and centralizing their operations. Adopting these solutions allowed Morningstar to create a single source of truth for their event data. Integrating Cvent with their MarTech stack meant the Morningstar team could more seamlessly support the sales cycle for increased lead generation. These improvements allowed the Morningstar team to prove measurable event ROI to their C-Suite and greatly impacted the team’s visibility within the organization.
Creating an engaging hybrid MICUS 2021 conference
For 2021, the Morningstar team decided to move forward with their first hybrid MICUS conference. They were challenged to attract in-person attendees at a time when COVID transmissions were still high. They also needed to create and communicate a robust health and safety plan for attendees while fully staffing the hybrid event. Moreover, they sought to incorporate increased sustainability practices into their flagship event.
First, they utilized Cvent’s Registration solution to collect important health and safety data. “That was obviously at the forefront of our minds when executing a hybrid event, and we were able to use the system to collect the information we needed,” Caroline explains. They also used Cvent to communicate important updates to their attendees. Using an API integration between Cvent and the virtual platform meant all data was automatically synced between systems. “Cvent provided us that one source of truth,” Caroline notes. This meant more staff time could be allocated to creating engaging attendee experiences rather than manually updating registrant lists or details.
Supporting sustainability goals onsite
Onsite, the Morningstar team implemented several innovative initiatives to ensure they were meeting their sustainability goals. In-person registrants could opt-in via Cvent’s Registration tool to receive the MIC Welcome Kit, thereby reducing waste and the number of unwanted kits. They could also choose to make a donation in lieu of the kit, resulting in over $5,000 donated to the United Way. Utilizing OnArrival 360 ensured a seamless, entirely contactless check-in. Morningstar also received onsite technical support from the OnArrival 360 team, who helped manage setup and teardown, training, and day-of support for OnArrival software and hardware. The onsite kiosk construction was also made of recycled material, while the name tags were recycled and were themselves recyclable as they were made of a sturdy plastic constituted of 40% recycled waste.
In total, they saw over 2,600 attendees register via Cvent for the conference, with over 1,070 in-person attendees and more than 1,550 digital attendees. This included over 800 first-time attendees, as indicated by Cvent’s reporting functionality. “We reached a brand-new market and we used Surveys to capture their interest in the conference so we can continue to grow that market,” notes Caroline. Moreover, they could provide Continuing Education credits for digital and onsite participants using Cvent’s Certificate functionality. This saved more than 30 hours of processing time and eliminated manual processing errors.
Innovating internal events with the Cvent Attendee Hub
Morningstar relies on Cvent to help power some of their premier internal events, including their Sales Kickoff (SKO) 2021. For their first all-virtual SKO, they adopted Cvent’s Attendee Hub solution. The three-day digital event allowed team members from Sales and Marketing to come together to celebrate their successes and learn innovative ways to engage and drive business. Here, employees could stay connected thanks to engagement features like moderated Q&A, live chat, and polling. They could view sessions and speaker information, stay up to date through push notifications, complete surveys, and participate in networking. With these features, they were able to expand their audience to include 160 new attendees, with 480 registrants in total and a 93% attendance rate. On-demand video functionality meant attendees could continue to engage post-event and, when combined with live session engagement data, gave Morningstar a holistic view of their agenda performance. In addition, they leveraged Engagement Scoring to drive and measure participation. The event saw such impressive feedback that it was copied for the EMEA region, saving the EMEA team countless hours in the event creation process.
Creating an impressive hybrid MIC event with Cvent’s all-in-one platform
In light of the success of their SKO event, Morningstar decided to move forward with Attendee Hub for their hybrid 2022 MICUS conference. “One of the reasons we’re using the Attendee Hub is that we’ve seen a lot of efficiencies using one system, and that’s been a game changer for us,” Caroline explains. They also used the Mobile Event App, Registration tool, Surveys, Exhibitor Management, and Onsite Solutions. By leveraging these integrated tools, they were able to create a seamless and engaging experience for virtual and in-person attendees alike.
Leveraging the Registration tool ensured a seamless dataflow between the registration experience and the Attendee Hub platform. This meant the Morningstar team didn’t waste valuable time updating attendee information, modifying registrations, or syncing attendee lists. “Having that data in one place, there’s nothing better than that,” Caroline insists. “We change our agenda one time and it reflects on the website, it reflects in Attendee Hub, and it reflects in Registration.” This also ensures accurate reporting for the Morningstar team pre, during, and post-event. Caroline adds, “Having that data in one spot makes things quicker, makes it easier for us to get leads to Sales faster, and then just serves as proof points for the success of our conference.”
With nearly 2,700 registrants, the conference featured 71 sessions with more than 111 speakers. In total, 1,859 attendees joined the conference. Within the Attendee Hub, all attendees could self-manage their schedule, use integrated engagement tools, and access exhibitor virtual booths. They could also view important info via custom cards and pages, complete session and event-level surveys, access session details and speaker information, and view documents and key links. Moreover, attendees were able to connect with one another through one-to-one messaging, Discussions, and other networking features. Engagement features moderated Q&A, live polling, and chat ensured attendees remained connected with speakers and session content across the event. In total, they tracked 2,336 Attendee Hub logins with over 17,480 Attendee Hub page views.
With 84% of their registrations being in-person, Morningstar also utilized the Mobile Event App to create a connected onsite experience for attendees. Here, they could access a personalized home screen with their agenda, reference session materials, access sponsor and exhibitor information, and view speaker details. Engagement features like live polling allowed attendees to participate in real time. The easy-to-navigate mobile experience also meant attendees could easily view exhibitor information, network via attendee recommendations and direct messaging, and provide feedback through embedded surveys. In fact, Morningstar tracked an impressive 1,756 mobile app logins and over 84,000 standard page views within the app.
Onsite, Morningstar also wanted to ensure a speedy check-in experience by using Cvent’s OnArrival solution. This created a fully contactless check-in experience where attendees could scan a QR code and receive their badge immediately. This not only eliminated lengthy queues, but allowed the onsite staff to check in over 1,800 attendees quickly and efficiently. They leveraged session scanning within OnArrival to not only capture session attendance, but monitor capacity and even track attendance for continuing education credits. “We have tracked the attendee journey for several years through session tracking and we use that data for marketing,” explains Caroline. “We’ve created efficiencies and saved ourselves a lot of time using Cvent’s tracking capabilities and then awarding continuing education credits with Cvent.” She estimates using the automated solution has saved her team “hours and hours” of time over a manual effort.
Onsite, exhibitors were able to utilize Cvent’s LeadCapture solution. Using this tool, they could easily scan, qualify and rate leads in real time for more accurate follow up. They could access detailed reports via the Exhibitor Portal and export them in seconds, giving them an accurate, up-to-date view of lead generation. In total, exhibitors captured 681 leads across the three-day event.
Caroline explains that the efficiencies using one integrated platform has created for her team are immeasurable. “Having all that data in one place makes it all come through much more cleanly,” she says. “So we’re seeing tons of efficiencies and time saved, and we’re so thankful for that.” She adds that the adoption and growth of Cvent has created a measurable impact on her team and her own career as well. “Using Cvent eight years ago was really helpful for our department, and it was also really impactful upon my career itself,” she says. “It actually gave me a new direction to take my career and I’ve seen a lot of success out of that.”
Since Morningstar uses Cvent globally, her team’s visibility has greatly increased across the business. She insists, “Our ability to show our leadership attendance, revenue, leads…all of these things have supported us and raised our profile within the company.” As they look forward to next year’s conference, they are excited to continue to continue to grow the success of their global events program across Morningstar.