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GreenBiz Achieves Rapid Online Growth with Pantheon as its Agile Digital Platform

The clean economy media and events company worked closely with Pantheon Partner Kalamuna to redefine premium offerings on its powerful flagship website.

Summary

Business Outcomes

  • Improved performance and reliability support increased traffic, and the major site redesign improves the user experience
  • Site traffic grew by approximately 25%, and registrations to free climate change events increased 10X
  • New online offerings grew revenue as high-quality online events enabled GreenBiz to monetize its offerings
  • With a custom-built Google Data Studio dashboard, GreenBiz is armed with user insights to drive growth
  • Powerful online experience solidifies GreenBiz’s reputation among top executives and influencers focused on creating a clean economy

Challenges

  • Pandemic shutdowns required GreenBiz to immediately shift multiple events to virtual delivery 
  • Support digital marketing and event registrations on flagship website; seamlessly drive attendees to virtual events platform
  • Support exclusive community of sustainability champions during global business shutdowns

Approaches

  • Aided by its high-performance website, GreenBiz shifted to revenue-generating virtual events and more sponsorship opportunities
  • Upgraded video content management system, migrated web CMS to Drupal 8, and launched a site-wide redesign 
  • Support virtual event platforms by integrating promotion and registrations  

Why Pantheon

  • Pantheon supports GreenBiz with simple and secure web development operations  
  • Dev-Test-Live and Multidev help GreenBiz quickly pivot the user experience without risk or guesswork, and New Relic integration monitors site performance 
  • Proactive Pantheon support keeps GreenBiz from spending time on technical troubleshooting

Introduction: GreenBiz – Accelerating the Move to a Clean Economy

The GreenBiz Group is a media and events company that promotes the transition to a clean economy by educating and connecting government representatives, executives, and academics to confront the threat of climate change. 

Sustainability is critical to countering climate change. GreenBiz works closely with government and business communities to achieve awareness, build peer networks, and educate on crucial topics like renewable power grids, circular supply chains, and the role of financial technology in funding green development.

The scale of their work requires a flexible, powerful, and adaptive marketing website. Before engaging Kalamuna, GreenBiz struggled with a failing website that could barely keep up with its user community, let alone support traffic to educational content and promotion for fast-growing events.  

Challenge: Transform Website into an Agile Digital Platform

Several years ago, GreenBiz’s legacy website was struggling to maintain performance under the pressure of growing traffic and the popularity of sponsored webcasts. The organization reached out to Kalamuna, a sophisticated digital agency that provides strategy, design, and innovative technology solutions to its clients. 

Kalamuna immediately brought Pantheon into the project to transform the legacy website with its agile WebOps platform, while Kalamuna led the redesign and Drupal 8 upgrade and migration process. 

“We're huge fans of GreenBiz’s transformative sustainability work and we’re excited to help them create a website platform to support their activities. Being able to attend GreenBiz events and helping to build such an amazing community is, frankly, magical.” - Andrew Mallis, CEO and Co-Founder of Kalamuna

The partnership continued throughout the next several years. Kalamuna and Pantheon enabled GreenBiz to steadily scale their site for growing content, event marketing, and ever-increasing traffic. 

Then in 2020, the pandemic hit. Live multi-day events were the cornerstone of GreenBiz’s financial model, and an important venue to grow its influential executive community. Replacing live events overnight with virtual events of comparable quality would be difficult, to say the least. 

The website supported marketing campaigns, high user traffic, and content repositories, and was also the hub for linking to virtual event platforms and mission-critical cloud applications. Was the Pantheon core platform up to the urgent challenge?

Approach: Overnight Swing to Virtual Events

Pre-pandemic, GreenBiz annually hosted three multi-day live events. With its profitable live events canceled, GreenBiz immediately turned to holding virtual events and creating more opportunities for online sponsorship. 

The company upgraded its video content management provider and called on its partners Pantheon and Kalamuna to help it accelerate stability and performance for growing traffic and take on a massive redesign. GreenBiz also partnered with the Hopin virtual events platform to seamlessly deliver virtual events of all sizes.

The team launched a large CMS upgrade project with a migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Driving revenue growth through better SEO and higher performance were the main drivers for the move, which was planned in two stages. GreenBiz first migrated the main content site that included dozens of microsites and over 34,000 articles to Drupal 8, which immediately accelerated page load times. Drupal 8’s fast page loads were a fraction of the time of Drupal 7’s. Isa Stamos, Director of Systems and Technology at GreenBiz said, “Once we moved the content site to Drupal 8, our SEO increased significantly. That benefit was our primary impetus for making the change.”

The second phase of the project involved reinventing event microsites in Drupal 8. To support strong engagement growth, GreenBiz adopted a Pantheon Elite 1M plan — for enterprise-grade performance, uptime, customer support, and automation. As traffic continued to increase, scaling up to an Elite 2M plan was a seamless process.

“There was a huge performance improvement when we moved to Drupal 8, both because of the newer technologies and versions of PHP that we were able to take advantage of on Pantheon. Plus, the architecture of Drupal 8 is significantly more performant,” Mallis noted.

The flagship site supported promotions and registrations for the multi-day virtual events that GreenBiz hosted on Hopin. 

We now create and host multi-day sessions with multiple speakers. Pantheon supports our promotional campaigns and acts as a central hub to Hopin as well as Salesforce and Marketo, our internal cloud apps for marketing and sales

- Isa Stamos, Director of Systems and Technology at GreenBiz

Why Pantheon: Safe Development and Efficient Workflow

For an organization like GreenBiz that does not have in-house development, Pantheon makes it easy to work with agencies like Kalamuna and provides confidence and transparency in its technology space. Clients maintain complete control without being overwhelmed, and the platform enables developers to work in a very sophisticated and advanced environment. 

Pantheon's Deployment Pipeline helps GreenBiz deploy new digital experiences to Dev, Test, and Live environments without risk or guesswork. The development tool enables the team to safely experiment with new features and designs before going live. And Multidev helps development teams to work on separate features efficiently and safely. 

Pantheon support is also valuable. Stamos said, “Support is another fantastic Pantheon feature. For instance, if we notice some system latency, instead of having to troubleshoot the whole application ourselves we simply reach out to Pantheon, and they immediately respond and help us solve the problem.” 

Kalamuna also benefits from Pantheon’s workflows, which free up agency time to provide even more value to clients like GreenBiz. Mallis said, “Because so many of our workflows are standardized on Pantheon, it makes it much easier to onboard new developers to the platform. These individuals quickly understand the process of testing and deployment. We also use the native New Relic integration to pinpoint performance degradation and improvements automatically. That is hugely useful.” 

Results: Soaring Revenue and Reputation 

GreenBiz’s redesign improved its website performance and reliability while protecting its excellent reputation with its high-powered community.

The website also supports the GreenBiz Executive Network, a membership-based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability executives from the world’s largest companies. GreenBiz had always viewed in-person meetings as essential to network members, and the team was initially concerned about losing members and momentum. However, the company successfully replaced in-person meetings with virtual ones and protected the community by scheduling high-level member discussions and offering educational perspectives with climate experts. 

Strong website performance also encouraged GreenBiz to update its monetization model. For the first time, they charged for the premium virtual events. Stamos added, “We were able to monetize our online events and grow them from three a year to six. This strategy turned out to be wildly popular and amplified the reach of our climate change and sustainability efforts.” 

Shorter webcast offerings also brought in more participants and revenue. The sponsored webcasts attracted more visitors with less marketing spend, and GreenBiz went from producing one or two webcasts a month to one or two a week. 

Another post-pandemic improvement will be to extend the use of Google Data Studio (GDS) for deep traffic analysis and insights. Website metrics already enable GreenBiz to analyze SEO and user behavior results, which are critical to optimizing digital marketing. Kalamuna deployed GDS, a comprehensive data visualization tool that will allow GreenBiz to easily track key user metrics. These key user metrics include which media channels convert more registrations for any given campaign and larger data trends, as well as turning results into actionable reports. 

Success for us is growing our events and content offerings and nurturing our executive network to drive more awareness and understanding of a clean economy transition. All of this depends on enriching our excellent offering and reputation — so that the executives of influential corporations want to participate in our exclusive sustainability group. The website is our window to that world, and thanks to Pantheon and Kalamuna, we are exceeding our goals.

- Isa Stamos, Director of Systems and Technology at GreenBiz 

Download the full GreenBiz case study here

Webinar Date Wednesday, September 8, 2021 - 12:15

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