Updated: Feb 14
For Sibos's 2022 edition, UK blockchain scaleup Quant took a rather unusual approach to event marketing. To learn more about Quant's Sibos campaign strategy and implementation, we chatted with its CMO Andrew Carrier.
Quant is a London-based blockchain platform that provides organisations and governments with the infrastructure to connect their products with multiple blockchains and efficiently transfer data between systems.
Last year, Quant took part in Sibos, one of the world's largest financial services networking events. Organised and hosted annually by the global payments network provider SWIFT, Sibos brings together thousands of business leaders, industry experts, decision-makers and vendors from across the entire financial ecosystem.
But rather than taking the conventional path to events marketing and signing up for one of Sibos's expensive exhibitor packs, Quant's team decided to be a bit more creative and strategic with their marketing budget. So, they went on to attend the event as delegates and focused their marketing efforts and spending on building and releasing their own multi-channel Sibos content campaign. To find out more about Quant's 2022 Sibos campaign and its exact motivations, challenges and lessons learned during the process, we spoke to Andrew Carrier, CMO at Quant.
Read Andrew's complete Q&A below to find the answers to the above questions and more.
For Quant’s participation at Sibos last year, you adopted a rather unusual event marketing strategy. Can you please provide a brief overview of what your strategy was all about?
When you line us up next to the behemoths of the financial world that make up the bulk of Sibos exhibitors, Quant is a relatively unknown brand. But that was just one part of our challenge. The other element is that our business - making blockchain for finance easy – is not well understood. Indeed, there’s still a healthy degree of scepticism amongst some of the Sibos audience about whether it’s even ‘a thing’. We’re effectively creating a market from scratch. And, as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, there’s a final fly in the ointment: too often when we say “blockchain” people hear “crypto”. We need to disassociate ourselves from an application of blockchain technology that we’re not involved in.
So, when we thought about our strategy for Sibos, we knew it had to rest on three pillars: 1) Education; 2) Positioning and 3) Punching above our weight.
Education meant avoiding a salesy approach in favour of relying on valuable editorial content that genuinely informed, inspired and entertained. If we didn’t contribute to the Sibos dialogue in a meaningful way, we’d missed the mark.
Positioning implied claiming our ground, articulating exactly what makes Quant different. We landed on the concept of ‘institutional’ digital assets. We’re not involved nor interested in crypto or NFTs but rather grown-up, real-world applications of blockchain technology for regulated financial services firms – whether they be in payments or capital markets.
Punching above our weight was a recognition that we simply don’t yet have the brand equity or the marketing budgets of the Deutsche Banks or IBMs of this world. So, we had to be very focused in terms of where we would direct our efforts for the biggest impact.
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We noticed that your campaign was heavily focused on content. What was the reason behind this decision?
That’s right and it’s a direct result of implementing those three pillars. It quickly become clear to us that the best way for us to educate the market while positioning ourselves was through high-quality content.
Keeping the third pillar in mind too, we knew that this content had to be online and promoted via social media. That’s where we thought we could out-manoeuvre the established Sibos brands and make ourselves heard. So, we leveraged the event’s hashtags and existing online conversations to amplify our content and secured a few well-targeted ‘earned’ media appearances too.
The campaign then took the form of a PDF ‘guide to Sibos’, social media promotion before the event, live reporting from the conference itself, and a ‘deep dive’ 30-min video discussion once we got back to the office. All of this was housed in a dedicated Sibos landing page on our website.
Have you faced any challenges during the process?
There is no doubt that the biggest challenge was creating our 25-page ‘Guide to Sibos’ PDF. This was a slickly designed, extensively researched document that offered any Sibos attendee with an interest in digital assets an enhanced conference experience. It highlighted the most promising sessions, shared Quant’s own thoughts on the important themes, and asked some vital questions we hoped the speakers would tackle.
Producing the guide was a painstaking exercise in going through the entire conference agenda, picking out the sessions for which we felt we had a worthwhile contribution to make, then brainstorming with our experts what our angle on each of the topics should be.
I’m lucky to work with a CEO and senior team that value marketing and understand the importance of devoting effort to it - but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. We invested a lot of time in workshops and one-on-one meetings with our specialists. In each case, a writer from our marketing team would try to tease out the most pertinent messages, often by asking “if you were on the Sibos stage during this session, what are the points you would want to make?”
Then followed a series of drafts, revisions and edits. All against the clock since the event was hurtling towards us like a freight train.
It was time-consuming but hugely worthwhile because everything else in the campaign depended on the quality of this guide.
What were some of the key results of the campaign? And how did you measure its performance?
We used all the metrics you would expect, including website traffic, downloads and MQLs. The first two were up very significantly as a result of the campaign and the last (and by MQLs in this context we really mean requests for Sibos meetings from qualified prospects) ensured that our Sibos diaries we packed every day from morning ‘til evening.
But perhaps the most rewarding indicator of success was anecdotal. At least a dozen times that week, a meeting would begin with someone remarking that they’d seen or read our guide. Reaching decision-makers at the very institutions we want to work with was the ultimate goal.
If you were to do the campaign again, what would you do differently?
I would capture more video on-site and broaden our interviewees.
In the end, we published four ‘on site’ videos – a wrap-up with one of our senior team for each day of the conference – and they produced by far the most engagement with our audience online.
Next time, I would try to line up a few of our partners and customers in advance and devote more time to the production process so we could create a higher number of videos. In addition to great engagement during the event, those videos can be repurposed and have a longer shelf-life.
What advice would you give to anyone who’s considering participating in Sibos this year? Is it worth attending and/or exhibiting?
The old cliché about it being ‘the world’s premier financial services event’ holds true. If you’re in banking operations, payments, or asset servicing, Sibos is absolutely essential.
For us, the key benefit was raising awareness and what I call ‘meeting efficiency’ (i.e. I can’t think of anywhere else where you could meet with so many relevant, qualified prospects in such a short timeframe and all under one roof).
I would question whether you need to commit to the huge expense of exhibiting though. This obviously depends on your size and objectives but, speaking from our experience, not being tied to a stand actually gave us agility and flexibility.
What are your marketing priorities for Quant this year?
If 2022 was about raising market awareness, 2023 is about turning that into revenue. We’re going to continue our focus on editorial content but you’ll see it more amplified through paid and syndicated channels – as well as more closely tied to our products through case studies.
We have big plans and some huge announcements coming later this year. But you’ll have to ask me again in a few months’ time as I’m sadly not able to share them yet.
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