Case Study

IBC cleanse inactive data and invigorate their list with automated re-engagement program


IBC is the world’s leading media, entertainment and technology show. Six leading international bodies are the partners behind IBC, representing both exhibitors and visitors.

In its 50th anniversary, IBC2017 has had a record attendance attracting more than 57,000 attendees from 170 countries around the world, exhibiting more than 1,700 of the world’s key technology suppliers and showcasing a debate-leading conference.


  • Cleanse list of inactive data for a better understanding of their engaged audience
  • Re-engage inactive contacts
  • Improve deliverability and engagement for active audience

The Challenge

IBC had a large database built up over several annual shows, but a large proportion of the database had not engaged with their emails for a long time. This meant their campaign reporting was misleading and they were unclear on the real size of their active audience. Importantly, they did not want to continue emailing contacts who had ‘emotionally unsubscribed’ as this risked a negative perception of their brand and an impact on long term deliverability.

IBC wanted a way to clean their list, and to re-engage contacts who still wanted to receive emails from them.

The Solution

The IBC team designed a two-stage re-engagement strategy. The initial automation was a series of three emails sent to all contacts who had not opened an email in over two months. The emails contained content relating to the 2017 show and registration launch. If they opened any of these three emails they were fed back into IBC’s active list and removed from the program.

Anyone who did not engage during this program was fed into a second re-engagement journey – again a series of three emails, but this time with a more direct call to action asking recipients to re-activate their subscription and complete their preferences. The emails reminded people of ‘the best bits of being part of the IBC community’. Eye catching subject lines were used to encourage opening, for example: ‘<Firstname> Come Back to IBC Today!’ and ‘Last chance or we’ll have to say goodbye!’. Those contacts who did not open or click any of the three emails were unsubscribed.


IBC achieved great results with this strategy. They re-engaged an impressive 16% of contacts who entered the second program (6,614 contacts). They now have an active database of approx. 200,000 people. Following this project, they have seen an uplift in average open rates from around 14-17% to 25% and higher. As they enter the next phase of promotion for the 2018 Show, having an accurate insight into their active audience is helping them to plan more effectively and generate better results from the email channel for IBC and their partners.

What are they planning next?

IBC are using automation to nurture their active audience ahead of the registration launch for the 2018 show. They are segmenting their list based on what aspects of the show people have shown an interest in, using their completed preferences or email click behavior. They will be tailoring, and personalizing email content based on this data.

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