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Top Marketers Share Secrets to Event Success in 2016

How do you measure experience? What does the event toolkit look like in 2016? Is there a career ceiling for eventprofs?

Top marketers shared their thoughts on these questions at DoubleDutch’s Rise x Shine breakfast, a morning series that brings together eventprofs to discuss the future of events. We were pleased to host Andrea O’Connor (Event Marketing Manager at Optimizely) and Anthony Kennada (VP of Marketing at Gainsight) for a breakfast panel session last week!

These two marketers have a proven track record for leveraging events as an effective engagement channel. At Optimizely, Andrea built the event and field marketing team and strategy from the ground up. She also created Opticon, Optimizely’s user conference which is now in its 3rd year. Anthony built Pulse, the industry conference and largest community for Customer Success, an event that in its first four years is surpassing the growth of Dreamforce by 68%. Needless to say, the stage was set for a great conversation!

As an eventprof, I was thrilled to both plan and attend an event that was targeted towards me! Held at the Clift Hotel, overlooking San Francisco, it was the perfect way to start the morning and discover how to rise to the top of my game.

Here are 3 BIG things I learned:

  1. You have to defend the spend. As both Andrea and Anthony mentioned, it’s not uncommon for events to take up half of your entire marketing budget, so with great spend come great responsibility. Although audience sentiment has always been a gut check on event success, leaders up the ladder are demanding more data-driven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from event teams. Anthony is focused on building a community and generating demand for Customer Success as an industry. To do that, he measures registration data to demonstrate increase in demand. Andrea, with a slightly different focus, produces events for mostly Account-Based Marketing initiatives. She measures how events help her sales team penetrate target accounts. Whatever your goals are, it’s important that you’re set up to gather data to make sure you measure their success. This brings me to my second point:

  2. DoubleDutch should be part of your 2016 event toolkit. I know, I know! This seems like a shameless plug, but after hearing these two share their love for our platform, it felt silly not to include my own roundup. There are many enterprise tools--from Marketo to Salesforce and everything in between--that help you facilitate sales and customer relationships. The problem is, these tools are all focused on providing a digital footprint to your lead and customer behavior that stops at web behavior, making live events difficult to measure. DoubleDutch, however, enhances your marketing technology stack by lighting up the show floor with business-boosting data! Using the app data to understand an attendee and their event journey, you’re able to engage and personalize your outreach to them before, during, and after the event. “It’s a content channel” as Anthony described it.

  3. Eventprofs can (and should) think like marketers. Throughout the conversation, Andrea and Anthony validated that eventprofs are increasingly data-driven, cross-functional within the marketing organization, and adept with a wide stack of marketing tools (like DoubleDutch). So, can an event marketer be a future CMO? As Andrea noted, “If event marketers are data-driven, they can do whatever they want in marketing.” Anthony agreed that event marketers have “the entire mix” that makes great leaders: they see the value in human connection, they travel and represent their company, and they have exposure to the entire marketing mix to make their projects a success. We agree!

I was definitely inspired, and we at DoubleDutch are glad that this knowledge has started to stick. We are thrilled to host future opportunities to bring together eventprofs to network and hear from top event and marketing professionals. Join us for our next event!

By DoubleDutch Insider | 16 February, 2016

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