Autopsy of a Unicorn: How Hopin Could Have Used a Custom Data Strategy to Avoid Catastrophe

Intent Data
Bespoke Data
Growth Signals
Account signals tracking
May 17, 2024

Following the insights from "6 Lessons From the Collapse of a Unicorn," we believe it would be beneficial to discuss how Hopin's decline could have been prevented through strategic adjustments to their go-to-market (GTM) data strategy.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of virtual events, platforms like Hopin have redefined how we connect, learn, and engage from afar. Yet, navigating this space requires more than innovative technology; it demands a strategic approach to data utilization. By leveraging custom data strategies, Hopin could have not only avoided pitfalls but also unlocked new growth avenues. Here’s how a sophisticated data approach, involving tools like LeadGenius, could pave the way for success.

1. Transforming Attendees into Evangelists with ABM

The concept of transforming event attendees into evangelists and paid users through strategic data utilization is not just theoretical; it has been successfully implemented by leading tech companies like Box and Google. These corporations have excelled in leveraging participant data to enhance their go-to-market strategies and expand their customer base.

Box: Personalized Engagement Through Participant Data

Box, a cloud content management and file sharing service for businesses, has adeptly used attendee information from its events and webinars to drive conversion. By analyzing participant data, Box identifies companies that show a high level of engagement during these events. For instance, if a participant from a particular organization frequently attends webinars on collaboration tools or data security, Box’s marketing team uses this insight to craft personalized follow-up messages highlighting features or services specifically relevant to those interests.

A real-life example includes Box's approach following their BoxWorks annual conference. By examining attendee activities and session participations, Box was able to identify and engage with companies showing keen interest in specific solutions, such as Box Governance or Box Zones. This targeted outreach often leads to discussions with decision-makers about potential upgrades or new subscriptions, effectively turning interested attendees into paying customers.

Google: Data-Driven Outreach for Upsell Opportunities

Google, with its vast array of services, from Google Cloud Platform to G Suite (now Google Workspace), employs a similar strategy but on a larger scale. Google meticulously analyzes data from its Google Cloud Next conferences, identifying businesses that are currently using a basic tier of their services but have shown a marked interest in more advanced features or solutions, as indicated by their participation in specific breakout sessions or keynotes.

An illustrative example of this strategy in action was observed when Google used data from its Cloud Next conference to identify companies with growing interests in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Recognizing these companies were potential candidates for its advanced AI and machine learning solutions on the Cloud Platform, Google’s sales teams initiated personalized outreach campaigns. These campaigns provided additional resources, offered expert consultations, and sometimes included exclusive offers to upgrade, thereby converting high-interest attendees into higher-tier customers.

Key Takeaways for Hopin

The successes of Box and Google underscore the importance of a nuanced approach to participant data. Hopin could take inspiration from these examples by:

  • Segmenting Attendees: Identifying which attendees are most engaged with different aspects of the platform, using this to tailor follow-up communications.
  • Personalized Outreach: Using insights from data to create personalized outreach efforts that speak directly to the needs and interests identified during events.
  • Offering Exclusive Incentives: Like Google, providing targeted incentives to upgrade or adopt more comprehensive solutions based on the participant's demonstrated interest.

By adopting a strategic approach to custom data utilization, as demonstrated by Box and Google, Hopin could have not only averted potential setbacks but also significantly enhanced its market presence, converting attendees into advocates and paid users through insightful, data-driven engagement.

2. Leveraging Public Data for Proactive Engagement

The digital age has transformed how organizations plan and advertise their events, often utilizing the vast expanse of the internet to broadcast upcoming events. This shift presents a golden opportunity for virtual event platforms like Hopin to engage potential clients proactively. By leveraging publicly available data and employing social media scraping techniques, Hopin could tap into a rich vein of prospective business.

The Strategy of Proactive Engagement

Public web data, encompassing social media posts, event listings, corporate news releases, and even email newsletters, serves as a beacon for companies like Hopin to identify and engage potential clients. These digital footprints offer invaluable insights into which organizations are in the planning phases of their events, what types of events they are organizing, and when these events are scheduled to occur. By systematically mining this data, Hopin could develop a comprehensive understanding of the market landscape for upcoming events.

Implementing Data-Driven Tools

Utilizing sophisticated platforms like LeadGenius, Hopin could automate the process of scouring the web for such data, enabling them to identify potential leads with precision and efficiency. LeadGenius, with its advanced data extraction capabilities, could filter through the noise of the internet to find genuine opportunities for Hopin to offer its virtual event services. This approach not only saves time but also ensures that efforts are focused on high-potential leads with a demonstrated need for virtual event platforms.

Real-Life Examples of Proactive Engagement

A notable example of this strategy in action is how companies like Adobe have utilized public data to drive registrations for their Adobe Summit. By monitoring discussions, announcements, and even competitor event schedules, Adobe strategically positioned its summit as a must-attend event, targeting potential attendees at the perfect moment in their planning cycle. Similarly, Salesforce has adeptly used insights from social media and public event calendars to personalize invitations and communications for Dreamforce, making a compelling case for why their event is unmissable for anyone in the CRM and cloud computing space.

Capturing Time-Sensitive Intent

The critical advantage of leveraging public data for proactive engagement lies in the ability to capture time-sensitive intent. For example, if a company announces on social media or a press release that they are planning a large-scale tech conference, Hopin could quickly reach out with a tailored proposal that showcases how their platform could enhance the event experience. This timely engagement ensures that Hopin is top of mind for organizers at the crucial decision-making phase, significantly increasing the chances of securing the event.

Enhancing Engagement with Tailored Solutions

Once potential clients are identified, Hopin can further leverage its data insights to tailor its platform offerings. For example, if a company is known for its interactive workshops, Hopin could highlight its breakout session capabilities and interactive Q&A features. Or, if a prospective client emphasizes networking, Hopin could showcase its networking tools designed to mimic in-person interactions virtually. This level of customization in the sales approach not only increases the likelihood of conversion but also demonstrates Hopin’s commitment to delivering value-driven solutions.

Case Study: The Success of Early Engagement

A practical application of this strategy can be seen in how companies like Zoom and WebEx have expanded their market presence. By closely monitoring public data for mentions of remote work and virtual meetings, these platforms were able to proactively reach out to businesses transitioning online during recent global shifts. Their success underscores the efficacy of using public data to not just identify leads but to engage them with solutions that meet their immediate needs.

3. Targeting Unhappy Competitor Clients through Social Listening

Never underestimate the power of social chatter in new tech. Understanding and responding to customer sentiment can be the key to capturing market share and driving growth. For a company like Hopin, tapping into the rich reservoirs of user sentiment expressed on social media platforms and review sites offers a strategic advantage. Sites like Twitter, G2, Trustpilot, and even LinkedIn provide real-time feedback from users across the globe, making them invaluable resources for competitive analysis and lead generation.

The Power of Social Listening

Social media platforms, particularly Twitter, have become the go-to channels for users to share their experiences, frustrations, and recommendations about various services. The immediacy and public nature of Twitter make it an ideal source for Hopin to engage in social listening. With millions of tweets sent daily, a considerable volume of chatter can relate to virtual event platforms—ranging from specific features users wish were better to outright expressions of dissatisfaction with current providers.

Similarly, professional review sites like G2 offer a more structured form of feedback, with users providing detailed reviews of their experiences with virtual event platforms. These sites categorize feedback into pros, cons, and general comments, often giving potential switchers clear reasons why they might look for alternatives. By analyzing this data, Hopin can identify common pain points with competitor platforms, such as issues with user interface, lack of certain features, pricing concerns, or poor customer support.

Identifying Dissatisfied Users

Through advanced social listening tools and techniques, Hopin could systematically monitor these platforms for negative sentiment toward competitor services. Keywords and phrases indicating dissatisfaction, such as "disappointed," "frustrating experience," "looking for alternatives," or "better than [competitor name]" can signal a user's readiness to switch. This process allows Hopin not only to gauge the volume of dissatisfaction but also to understand the specific aspects users are unhappy about.

Engaging with Empathy and Precision

Armed with this insight, Hopin's outreach strategy can be both empathetic and precise. Customized messages addressing the specific concerns raised by users can demonstrate Hopin's commitment to providing a superior experience. For instance, if users complain about the complexity of a competitor's platform, Hopin can highlight its user-friendly interface and robust support system. Engaging directly with users on platforms like Twitter or via email, if their contact information is available through other means, allows for a personal touch that can differentiate Hopin from its competitors.

Converting Competitor Weaknesses into Opportunities

This strategic approach to social listening and engagement can turn competitor weaknesses into tangible growth opportunities for Hopin. By presenting itself as a viable, superior alternative to dissatisfied users, Hopin can gradually erode the customer base of its competitors, converting unhappy users into loyal customers. Moreover, by publicly engaging with users looking for alternatives, Hopin not only captures new leads but also enhances its brand perception as a responsive and customer-centric platform.

4. Partnering with Event Coordinators, Event Managers, and Agencies

Event coordinators, managers, and agencies play pivotal roles in orchestrating virtual events, from conceptualization to execution. Their expertise and influence in the events industry can unlock numerous doors for platforms like Hopin, making these partnerships a cornerstone for growth and market expansion. By strategically aligning with these industry professionals, Hopin could leverage their networks and expertise to amplify its presence and adoption in the virtual events market.

Strategic Identification and Engagement

The first step in this partnership process involves identifying the right event professionals and agencies that align with Hopin's brand values and target market. This could be achieved through industry networking, participation in professional forums, and attending industry events. Once identified, Hopin can engage these potential partners with tailored communication that highlights the mutual benefits of such a partnership. For instance, showcasing how Hopin’s technology can address common pain points experienced by these professionals in event management, such as attendee engagement or seamless integration of multimedia presentations.

Tailored Incentive Programs

To make the Hopin platform more attractive to event coordinators and agencies, the company could offer specialized pricing structures, exclusive access to new features, or enhanced support services. These incentives not only provide immediate value to the partners but also foster long-term loyalty. For example, offering a tiered incentive program where agencies can earn higher commissions or receive additional benefits as they bring more events to the platform can motivate ongoing advocacy and utilization of Hopin.

Collaborative Marketing and Branding Efforts

Partnerships with event coordinators and agencies also open up collaborative marketing opportunities. Co-branded events, joint webinars, and shared case studies can showcase successful collaborations, serving as powerful testimonials to attract more clients. By highlighting the success stories and seamless experiences created using Hopin’s platform, both Hopin and its partners can enhance their industry reputation and attract a wider audience.

Real-Life Example: Salesforce and Its Event Partners

A real-life example of this strategy in action is Salesforce's approach to partnering with event management companies for its Dreamforce conference. Salesforce works closely with a network of partners to deliver a seamless and immersive virtual experience, leveraging these partnerships for everything from event planning and execution to marketing. These partners become advocates for Salesforce’s solutions, integrating them into their offerings and recommending them to other clients.

Continuous Feedback Loop for Improvement

Establishing a continuous feedback mechanism with event partners is crucial for Hopin to refine its offerings and address any gaps. Regular check-ins, post-event debriefs, and surveys can provide Hopin with actionable insights to improve its platform and partner program. This feedback loop ensures that the needs of event professionals are met, enhancing the partnership’s value and effectiveness.

5. Harnessing Intent Data from Attendee Interactions

The concept of leveraging intent data derived from attendee interactions represents a transformative opportunity for platforms like Hopin. In the world of virtual events, every click, view, and interaction is a potential goldmine of information, revealing not just the preferences of attendees but also their current interests and future needs. For instance, when an attendee spends considerable time at a virtual booth dedicated to corporate insurance, or actively engages with content related to it, this behavior is a strong indicator of their interest in such solutions. This intent data is a critical asset that, if properly harnessed, can significantly elevate Hopin's value proposition to event hosts and sponsors.

Transforming Behaviors into Actionable Insights

By systematically tracking and analyzing these interactions, Hopin could create detailed profiles of attendee interests and intent. This information could then be packaged into an intent data offering, where exhibitors and sponsors receive real-time insights into which attendees are most interested in their products or services. Such insights would enable exhibitors to tailor their follow-up strategies more effectively, focusing their efforts on the most promising leads.

Real-Life Applications and Success Stories

Consider the success stories from other industries where intent data has been a game-changer. For example, B2B marketing platforms like Marketo and HubSpot have long utilized website visitor tracking to provide businesses with insights into potential customers' intent, significantly improving lead qualification and conversion rates. Similarly, e-commerce giants like Amazon use browsing and purchase history to predict customer interests, tailoring recommendations and marketing messages to match user intent.

Hopin could adopt a similar approach, offering exhibitors the ability to not just passively collect leads but actively understand the level of interest each attendee has shown. This could revolutionize how follow-ups are conducted post-event, moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to highly personalized engagement strategies based on demonstrated interest.

Enhancing Value for Event Hosts and Sponsors

For event hosts and sponsors, access to detailed intent data would be a compelling value add. It would not only improve the ROI of their participation in events hosted on Hopin but also provide them with a wealth of data to refine their overall marketing strategies. This data-driven approach would position Hopin as an indispensable partner in their marketing ecosystem, far beyond the conventional role of an event platform.

Positioning Hopin in the Intent Data Ecosystem

By leveraging the intent data from attendee interactions, Hopin could establish itself as a critical player in the intent data ecosystem. This would mark a strategic expansion from its core offering, opening up new revenue streams and partnerships. Furthermore, it would underline Hopin’s commitment to innovation and its capability to offer solutions that meet the evolving needs of businesses in the digital era.


In essence, the strategic harnessing of intent data from attendee interactions presents a pathway for Hopin to not just avoid potential pitfalls but to thrive and redefine its market position. Through initiatives like targeted ABM, engagement based on public data, social listening, strategic partnerships, and the innovative use of intent data, Hopin can secure its future and ascend to new heights of success. By recognizing and acting upon the rich insights attendee behaviors offer, Hopin can transform the virtual event space, delivering unparalleled value to event hosts, sponsors, and attendees alike.

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