Consumer Bankers Association

New Money: Eight to One

A streamlined event strategy by the Consumer Bankers Association pays off.

Seven years ago, the events calendar for the Consumer Bankers Association looked a lot different. CBA produced eight separate meetings focused on different parts of the banking industry, including a mortgage conference and an auto-lending event.

While each was doing fine financially, CEO Richard Hunt, who was new at the time, wanted to make the most of them all, better meet member needs, and create a larger brand and event platform that would produce a higher ROI.

“I wanted to provoke a new way of thinking and challenge the status quo,” Hunt says. “I also wanted to position CBA to lead the industry through and beyond the financial crisis, helping member banks adjust their strategies to meet the needs of an ever-changing consumer.”

With the help of marketing and experience design agency 360 Live Media, Hunt discovered the solution: Consolidate CBA’s meetings lineup into one unified experience called CBA LIVE.

The three-day meeting and tradeshow attracts more than 1,300 attendees, and close to 600 of them are bankers who have decision- making authority.

“We have geometrically improved our ability to monetize the event, because the value of the audience is much more robust than it ever was,” says Hunt.

Since the launch of the CBA LIVE franchise, the association has increased event revenue 129 percent by focusing on building smart, sustainable, and customized partnerships and sponsorships.

Among the unique sponsorships are a VIP reception and dinner where a single sponsor is given exclusive access to senior banking executives, private meeting rooms so a company can meet with clients and prospects, and the ability for sponsors to give three attendees a VIP experience that includes access to an executive lounge.

CBA LIVE sponsorships and exhibits are reserved exclusively for CBA members, which means that if companies want to participate, they must first pay membership dues, which also adds to CBA’s bottom line.

Hunt attributes much of CBA’s success to the scarcity principle. By offering only five yearlong strategic partnerships, CBA has been able to increase the value of these individual packages from $20,000 to $200,000 per sponsorship in just six years.

“By telling [sponsors] they’re going to be only one of five to have that access, we are able to build buzz, and—even better—nondues revenue,” Hunt says.

CBA has been able to increase the value of these individual packages from $20,000 to $200,000 per sponsorship.


Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!