Macmillan Cancer Support
As part of their mission to support people living with and affected by cancer across the UK, Macmillan Cancer Support create and host a range of events to engage with audiences including healthcare professionals, volunteers, supporters, as well as those affected by cancer.
Pivoting an existing event programme
Macmillan has been a Cvent customer for over 5 years. They first used Cvent for in-person events in 2017, starting off by adopting the Cvent Event Management Platform, and have since adopted Cvent’s Event App and Onsite Solutions.
“We used Cvent before 2020, mainly for event registration,” explains Tessa Pearson, Events Officer. “For the 2019 in-person Macmillan Professionals Conference, we used the CrowdCompass mobile app as well as the registration module. The app was a good way for attendees to arrange and view their schedules and look through the details of the presentations and sessions taking place, like a pocket event programme.”
“We continue to use Cvent’s registration, event sites and emails for all of our events,” explains Tessa. ”We run between 10 and 20 events annually at the moment, which is up from less than 10 pre-pandemic.”
Like most others, in 2020 Macmillan pivoted to virtual and continued to work with Cvent to adapt to the new event landscape. When in-person events were no longer an option, they still needed to continue engaging and supporting their audiences during such a hectic period “At the beginning of the pandemic, our healthcare professional audiences faced a lot of demands on their time and attention, and had less of an appetite for attending events generally,” Tessa shares.
“As the year went on there was more desire to interact with other healthcare professionals, keep up to date with changes to the UK’s cancer landscape, continue their professional development and learn about the ways we could support them. Virtual events were vital in enabling us to maintain this support.”
Responding to healthcare workers’ needs during the pandemic
With their pivot to virtual formats, Macmillan found themselves needing to deliver a larger number of smaller scale events.
“We had a lot of tight timelines,” Tessa elaborates. “For instance, during the pandemic there was a need to quickly offer an event focusing on the emotional wellbeing of healthcare professionals.
One way Cvent enables customers to save time with event creation is with templates. When creating new events, planners can either start from scratch or work from customisable templates, with variables like format and structure pre-set.
Furthermore, Cvent’s Registration, used a lot by Macmillan, offers a range of options to strike the balance between speed and complexity. Registrants can modify and cancel their own registrations, and even complex parameters can be duplicated across multiple events.
Macmillan also use the new Cvent experience, a modernised user experience updating the look and feel of Cvent’s products, now rolled out to all Cvent customers. Tessa found that this update helped her streamline the event creation process: “I prefer the new experience to the old one,” says Tessa. “It’s an intuitive system, the way things are aesthetically laid out makes it easy to use and navigate from the perspective of an event planner. It’s very easy to quickly access any area you need to work on.”
After successfully implementing a responsive event plan, Macmillan were looking at their approach to their annual Professionals conference.
Finding the right hybrid event platform
Macmillan were very keen to bring back an in-person element to their events when it was viable to do so.
“It was really about bringing a community back together,” Tessa explains. “A benefit of using hybrid formats rather than in-person only was accessibility. They allow our audiences to access content and participate in whatever way best suits them.”
Macmillan went hybrid for their 2021 Macmillan Professionals Conference. It was a two-day event, bringing together healthcare professionals funded by Macmillan, who work across the UK in support of those affected by cancer. They gathered to network, share best practice, learn from speakers and each other and gain insight into the future of cancer care.
When it came to finding the right solution for Macmillan’s hybrid conference, they decided to use Cvent following a period of intensive research. “During our search it became clear that Cvent had done the most work in thinking about how the two audiences, online and in-person interact, and how these two experiences overlap and complement each other” states Tessa. “This was particularly clear with the setup of the Cvent Attendee Hub® and the Event App, with the same platform being accessible from both desktop and mobile.” Tessa further explains. All audiences in attendance could participate in the engagement features of the product, the Q&A, chat and polling. “Facilitating this type of interaction across both audiences, making the experience feel like one event, was a big priority for us.”
An element of Cvent that Tessa found particularly useful was the range of self-serve options available. The Macmillan team could work at their own pace and seek advice from their account team along the way. “You can create and build your event how you want and to your own timeframe, which is important for us. We had the freedom to set our own deadlines and had full control over the design of our platforms.”
Macmillan implemented Cvent at every stage of the event’s creation and delivery. “We used Cvent to build our registration process, our whole front-end event site, the Event App and the event’s sessions,” Tessa explains. “We were able to closely consult with the team at Cvent on the ways in which we could use the software to deliver the best hybrid experience –Cvent’s support was always knowledgeable and easy to reach.”
Attendee Hub® was used as the event’s primary platform. “We made use of virtual booths across the event to host 10 virtual exhibitors, and one sponsor who, were all able to upload their own videos and content via the Speaker Resource Centre. We also livestreamed our keynote sessions while including some pre-recorded sessions –making many available on-demand for three months after the event. We ran 69 sessions across the two days and implemented session surveys to capture a quick snapshot of attendee feedback. Attendee Hub® offers so many options with video content and so many ways to present it to an audience.”
Macmillan made use of the Event App to enhance the in-person experience as well as cut back on physical material used at the conference, similar to what they did in 2019. “Attendees essentially had an event programme in their pocket,” Tessa explains. “Attendees could check and update the sessions they were registered for, as well as interact with our virtual attendees on the day. The self-service element of Cvent really came into play with the app -we had a page in the app for Covid safety measures, set up a splash screen, theme colours, which we could all do ourselves without a third party app developer.”
Achieving, and measuring, positive attendee outcomes
“We invited 867 people, including delegates, speakers and exhibitors, of whom 817 registered.” Macmillan achieved a 94% registration rate! They used Cvent’s Registration Paths, a feature which offers registrants a high degree of flexibility when signing up. “We had great feedback from our attendees and contributors on the ease-of-use of the Registration Paths,” Tessa explains.
“We were able to use Cvent’s reporting both to view details specific to each registration path, but also the professional roles and locations of our registrants, as well as the viewing and engagement numbers of the sessions on the Attendee Hub® and attendee feedback for sessions post-event. Once we set up the reports we wanted, Cvent allows you to save the parameters and return to it at any time, which is a really useful feature.”
Results pulled from the Cvent post-event survey, showed 95% of attendees had a positive experience. Overwhelmingly, attendees agreed that Attendee Hub was easy to use and navigate. Tessa summarises: “As a planner, I love Cvent’s level of self-service. You’re very much able to work to your own deadlines and needs –with the flexibility to create the event you want in an intuitive way.”