Pre-event Marketing: The Cooperathon case study

Discover how the Pancanadian Challenge used as a pre-event marketing software. See how they leveraged the authentic content shared by their participants to create a word-of-mouth campaign.

Feb 10, 2021
5 min
|      by
Giovanna Pergher
digital badges education


Pre-event marketing strategies can make a significant difference in your event’s performance. Whether you sell entrance tickets, offer free-courses, online webinars, or organize any other event format, reaching the right audience is the success factor.

Being more specific, reaching the right audience is not the success factor alone. Ask any event manager that already burned budgets on Facebook ads. The content displayed must be convincing and authentic.

This is a case study about the open innovation challenge “Coopérathon”, a pan-Canadian event that took place from September to November 2020, and how they used user-generated content (UGC) as a pre-marketing strategy to almost double the number of participants in the last days of the registration period.

Coopérathon: The Pan-Canadian challenge

The innovation challenge was imagined and produced by Desjardins and united more than 4600 participants including experts of all areas.

Like many other events that took place online during the pandemic, by mid-September Coopérathon was still below its goal for the number of attendees, and the registration deadline was approaching.

With such a situation in mind, the organizers decided to implement the VirtualBadge software as a pre-event marketing tool, with the expectation that the content shared on social media by the current participants would reach people with similar interests, and these people would have high chances of also becoming event attendees.

VirtualBadge is a credentialing software with an online marketing focus. It works by giving your users (in this case, the event participants) a personalized badge that was made to be shared on social media. This badge is a digital recognition token that makes it easy for users to share their deeds online while creating authentic content for your company.

digital badges example

The reasoning behind Coopérathon's decision was: The current participants would engage with the pre-event activity of creating and sharing their personalized virtual badges, proudly showing their accomplishments to their network and enriching their online curriculum with experiences. At the same time, contacts in their network could identify themselves with the challenge or share similar interests, becoming possible event attendees.

In order to convert the interested users into event participants in a fast and simple way, every virtual badge shared had an embedded link to the event registration page. This means that new users would be redirected to the registration website with one click on the shared badges of their friends.

digital badges example

But the organizers of Coopérathon still faced the last challenge: Would their participants be motivated enough for the event and so proud to take part in it that they would post about it on social media even before the event takes place?


Within a week of using VirtualBadge as a pre-event software, Coopérathon increased their number of participants by almost 50%. By the end of the period on which the software was online, the number of participants had doubled and more than 22% of the total attendees engaged with their own virtual badges.

social media shares of digital badges

The digital campaign ignited the sharing of user-generated content (UGC) in the form of virtual badges, which reached the right audience with a hyper-targeted invitation to take part in the event. By providing users with a simple and intuitive experience, optimized for triggering social shares, the software VirtualBadge has automatized the process of turning users into ambassadors in an authentic and scalable way.

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