The New Strategies for Events and Meetings

The New Strategies for Events and Meetings

[Music] welcome to gather geeks a podcast by biz bash the place where people passionate about meetings and events come together this episode is a gather geek’s special sponsor edition here’s your host biz bass chairman and founder david adler on this special edition of gather geeks we’re focusing on the new strategies for events and meetings our co-host is kathy song novelli the svp of marketing and communications for the event platform hubilo our other guests include robert thompson the vp of sales for av canada sarah gorlick the vp of events at rakatan americas and dalia elgazar one of our industry’s foremost experts on technology and event strategies who is in her own firm in this episode planners and vendors take off the gloves to frankly discuss the new purposes for events and how at this moment it is so stressful just when we thought everything was going to be better the rug was pulled out from under our industry despite the moment the conversation goes to how to merge content contact community intimacy and activism from all participants so let’s take a listen kathy welcome to gather geeks as our co-host thank you david i’m so excited to be here i think this topic and everything we’re going to dive into from three different perspectives is super excited we have an international crowd here today but we’ll get into that later why don’t you first tell us a little bit about hublot and what it is and how it’s burst onto the scene and taken so much sort of energy into the field where people are now using it for their events and their meetings yeah nuts i started with hubelo april of this year but five years before the pandemic they had already been in the event space perfecting this the science of event engagement but obviously that time that meant in-person events and they were really working to perfect the matchmaking and the other levels of engagement outside of sessions with various events you took a job that is a little bit different than being an event organizer you have a grand experience in this world what about it that said aha there’s something going on here i had put on many events so coming into it as an event organizer what really helped them separate themselves from the rest of the industry to me was that a whole like half of their company is focused on the support elements meaning they don’t just give you an event platform and they’re like there you go good luck and and i think everyone needed full service customer success teams and that’s what google very uniquely has in this space because i know when i was leading events last year and we had more and more virtual events i would have died for a live customer success team to be there with me so that i wasn’t i’m trying to watch my language but so that i wasn’t freaking out every two minutes as i was i knew that they had something i knew that they weren’t differentiating themselves as much as they could in that area so it was really exciting to be able to come and help build the category as much as their brand that’s fantastic let’s go around the horn and we’ll find out who everyone else is and where you’re calling from too sarah why don’t you give us a little bit about where you stand in the event industry and your company i’ve heard a lot about it from you and i was very excited to hear your strategies and how you’re shifting your strategies a little bit so you can touch on the high level version of that but not too long so we can get everybody a chance and then we’ll dig in yeah sure thanks so much for having me i’m excited to be chatting with everybody first i live in mclean virginia so i’m in the virginia area and i moved here in january of this year in the middle of the pandemic and then my world is corporate events so i have been doing corporate events my entire career whether it was for a non-profit organization or now for rakatan which is a very large e-commerce organization they do a million different things i won’t get into the details but if you shop online definitely check out rockton.com for some cashback and prior to kobit we were running really large in person conferences that was our focus and cocktail events and dinners and really primarily face-to-face events um of course now that has pivoted which i’m sure we’ll talk about today into virtual offerings anything from webinars to cooking events and entertainment events but you focus on the b2b area or consumer area all areas b2b and and so who are the attendees at your face-to-face events so it depends on which events we’re putting on but primarily it’s our clients so for rockton advertising it’s a digital marketing arm of rocket10 we have our affiliate marketing so we have our clients or advertisers such as the larger brands pretty much anyone that has a shopping cart on their website say is an advertiser and then the publishers so like a rocketing.com where they’re advertising those shopping sites and we have our advertisers and our publishers come together for networking and then for rocketdense.com again our advertisers that are on the site why don’t we go to let’s go to our international participant robert thompson tell us a little bit about your world and what you’re up to yeah so my world is similar to sarah’s just from a different point of view i’m from av canada slash av america and uh we’re sort of international company that way in terms of the america but we generally do events we were doing live events right until march with hybrid components to them at times webcasting out and doing all that kind of cool thing having zoom come into the meetings skype all those types of things that have been happening for the last 10 10 15 years but then in march of last year everything changed to a fully virtual world so of course we had planners like sarah and kathy that completely freaked out so our job was to hold their hands and help them through the process at the same time we were teaching ourselves how to manage the virtual uh world because we could always do the different sort of as i said the skypes into the meetings or the or the zooms into the meetings or the video conferencing we could always do that but now fully virtual and now we had to figure out platforms right where is that we’re going to produce these events where do they land where are they going to go and so we had to quickly convert to that so my world over the last year and a half has been basically training myself and training my staff and training the whole company to this whole new way of thinking and i feel the old way of thinking all the sudden comes to mind is the aol when you used to start up the aol and it said and it made all knowledge noise like before okovid that’s what i feel like we were in and now we’re in a completely brave new world and speaking of brave new worlds dahlia one of my old friends and fellow travelers in this path is a wealth of knowledge and i can’t wait to hear your perspective because you talk to a gazillion people probably every day i do i do so i i’m dahlia for those that don’t know me dahlia plus agency was created to be that source of expertise or experience or right now my world is about therapy and i am talking people off ledges talking people to that are ugly crying in the bathroom because they have a show slow-mo that’s my new hashtag where everything is just moving really slow and it’s a train wreck and you can’t stop it but basically our team comes in where we are able to help people think strategy first technology lasts but also in regards to it’s not cookie cutter anymore so when we talk about like new norm when we talk about what kind of event you are designing my pet peeve and sarah actually heard me this morning where the h word is the new p word and we shouldn’t be using that terminology it gives a tunnel vision to our stakeholders and to ourselves psychologically and it actually prevents us from doing what we kick ass at as event professionals we kick ass at um being creative not about innovative technology but innovatively how we use technology as well as strategy first so there’s a a lot of firsts for people for the last two years what they don’t understand is hybrid blended virtual in person we’ve been doing formats of that for ages we just need to get better at it so instead of it being on the bottom of a to-do list or on a nice fuchsia post it on your mood board or vision board we’re in the thick of it and this is where we lean on our partners those that show up those that come to you not as a platform i work with you below as a matter of fact i’m in the thick of putting an event together for four days tomorrow for i think it’s 5 000 cios which is by the way an interesting audience to be in front of and i i lean hard on not the platform itself i lean hard on the team and this is why i appreciate who below i appreciate like teams like that and i think that is a very big mind shift for a lot of event planners right now can you give a little bit go back a little bit sure and i’ve always had this issue especially with new people that come in the business what is the difference what is strategy how do you explain how strategies is why strategy is so important and what really is it and how do you know when it’s not when the person’s presenting you something that’s not strategy right what advice would you give to the managers that say here’s my strategy but it’s not really so the first red flag let’s talk about code red for a second code red okay code red so code red is when someone says i have an event strategy and they actually pulled up their plan from 2019 on a very beautiful google doc with a lot of tabs it’s color coded because they understand the color codes nobody else on their flippin team understands the color codes and it is just a cookie cutter this is my face to face or better yet which i’ve had clients do where they send me a run-off show of a potential digital event and they’re like this is our plan and i’m like this says bring coffee out to the hallway at 205 that is not your digital virtual plan so when you when the code reds is when someone says i have a strategy but basically what they haven’t done was first and foremost be realistic in the sense of like relevant at the time we are in second is when not everybody in different departments are working together and those silos are real especially on the digital side and then all of a sudden it’s they present a plan nobody knows what’s going on but they put everybody in the kitchen and as many chefs in the kitchen as they can with no central strategy with no central strategy and with no way of being able to communicate what the goals are of the stakeholders so it’s come to a point where we we produce virtual shows and i’m asking okay so you need a proposal back what is your event like oh i don’t know sometime in october so how many people uh we’re looking at five thousand we might end up with six hundred oh we don’t know what the program’s going to look like but we do want some magician involved honestly and it’s like when it comes to exhibitors different strategy so it’s there there’s no clear thinking right now and actually my last linkedin post which i guess generated a lot of conversation where i’m like i am sensing last year was hamster wheel this year we’re in panic mode there is a huge panic right now because there is no plan there is no backup plan let’s go back kathy you are a senior executive at many companies when you think strategy what do you think because strategy drives everything else yeah getting to strategy is simple it’s not simple but the strategy should be simple right the strategy should be simple but i think and i’d love to hear what everyone’s experiences are right now sarah in particular and i think robert as probably a ripple effect of what all of your clients are going through but we were starting to walk toward the light we’re seeing the end of this dark awful tunnel and now delta and so i think it’s what’s so interesting is what dahlia just touched on feels a lot like what the industry has just been going through like they might have had a strategy and they might have even had a q4 event strategy that they were locked into they’re like hey i lost a lot of revenue and a lot of lead or a lot of pipe because we didn’t have the event plan that we had or that we had originally planned for and so they did maybe they started dabbling in hybrid or little bitsy regional in-person events but stuck toward virtual but they didn’t really lean into redefining how they’re going to engage over virtual because they’re like oh we’re going to get back to in person so we’re good and so i think a lot of people are having to rethink their strategy i think what used to be an obvious cookie cutter 80 20 model with 80 in person 20 like webinar formatted everyone has to throw all that away and start from scratch and redefine what event strategy means for them this year what it’s going to mean next year i don’t and i don’t even know i had an event strategy for q4 that i’m throwing away right now so i’d love to hear what you guys are experiencing well i think if i could pipe in i think you hit the nail on the head i think to understand your strategy you have to understand your demographics and that’s the key into what you’re trying to deliver and who are your demographics because your demographics really do drive your strategy and the first question out of my mouth is what are you trying to achieve what are you trying to get across what are you trying to how are you trying to present yourself who are your demographics because with that knowledge i can then recommend and take my production and everything else and then engagement tools and recommend engagement tools a whole hell like really far down the pipe if i have the answers to those questions and you’re right that the strategy has been completely i think because people didn’t know the question the end questions to those these are the the answers to those questions i don’t think they knew what they were trying to achieve virtually i didn’t think so many clients don’t know their demographics like it’s crazy okay you got as you just said dalia you have 5000 people signing on who are they you know are they older are they younger what generation do they come from are they tech savvy are they not tech savvy because that’s all really important on how you deliver everything so have you been able to adjust your intake program in order to get to those answers and then you know somebody says i want this but you’re going to tell them maybe you don’t yes so as everyone in this panel knows that hybrid quotes clients are calling saying i want a hybrid quote they don’t understand what a hybrid is in most cases and we i know i do a lot of an association work i know sarah does a lot more in the corporate side but in the association world i know you can’t afford hybrid a fully hybrid event so now we gotta figure out what you’re trying to achieve and make sure that we can hit those nails on the head right one of the things in our pre-call we talked about how what do you do after the heart attack what’s the first thing you do when the guy the person looks at that bill and says holy crap what’s interesting i think that this we’re in that period right now we’re in the hospital bed right after the heart attack and i think going back to what robert was touching on in that understanding the demographic we also need to understand the psychographic and the sort of fears that people have when the comfort with hybrid i think if anything this forcing us in the hospital bed forcing us to rethink what we should be doing for our audience is a really good opportunity okay let’s take a pause let’s rethink this what areas are okay and want to have little small watch parties right and are feel comfortable doing so and who wants in person who wants what type of virtual this is our chance to reset and i’m sure like sarah from the corporate end this is where most of my experiences i don’t know if you’re experiencing the same but there is a tendency to want to cookie cutter what the the perfect event strategy that you have developed over years and years you’ve probably tested optimized you’re like yes i’ve got this great strategy like how are you guys dealing with this yeah i think as you guys were talking about strategy one of the things previously i would always just look at like everyone was saying what are our end goals how do i want our attendees to feel when they leave this experience and then work backwards from there but because of everything that’s going on and now with the emergence of delta it’s even making me personally take a step back even further and say oh how are how our culture is going to change how is our society going to change because of this because let’s say we’re in this for another year possibly even another four years five years right if this keeps to go on how are everyone i know all of our clients just people in their own lives how are they going to view the world differently because that’s going to influence all of our events no matter what our goals are people going to feel comfortable being indoors for the next five years on top of one another even if they’re just a little bit spaced apart are we gonna have to really rethink our framing to say maybe we’re gonna have to do some localized events city road shows for the next couple years all outdoors because that’s what people’s comfort level is going to be and then offer a virtual option on top of that for anyone that doesn’t want to travel so what i’m trying to do is really just try and read as much as i can and get a sense of how our people’s their comfortable levels and their desires going to change how are their desires to travel going to change are people going to cut back on their travel 50 because they realize they don’t have to travel as much as they used to so it’s really interesting to me i feel like our whole world is changing and that’s going to impact events forever do the c-suite people rely on you more because you’re so close to both the customers and uh the product because i know i’ve heard that in other areas that there’s a new level of appreciation of the event organizer because of the contact they have with all the constituencies yeah i’ve been really lucky with rocket10 they are huge event champions and i’ve worked closely with the c-suite pretty much since i’ve been at the company for over a decade so they care about events they know how powerful they are and they are i talk with them every week so you know do you know why they think that they know how powerful it is and that what is the proof that they came in because they don’t teach this in harvard uh business school about events yeah the last thing they teach one thing that i tried to focus on a lot throughout my career is on roi for events which is like this when it comes to those things like how do you prove roi for an event it’s like this abstract concept in some ways but depending on the company you work for i think that there’s ways that you can develop equations to throw data at events not just ticket revenue how many people are in a room but looking at how your clients reacted revenue that came in as a result of the event and actually apply equations to it and so i think that’s how you get that the c-suite really interested is saying here let me show you exactly how this event impacted the business i was going to say yeah i could provide an example but because i worked with sarah yes at racketon and what was really brilliant about sarah and her team in not only setting expectations for for the executive team but then reporting upon the roi is that she didn’t go into an event saying this is always going to be how we measure roi she actually redefined what success meant for each unique event thus as we were talking about before like there should be a unique strategy and then unique plans and tactics for every event but for every event that sarah and her team would run they would very much say this is how we’re measuring success this is how we will measure roi and so that was what was wonderful is that the executives couldn’t go into each event being like how come the cost per lead is higher this time because she said an expectation that like this event is going to be measured by x or y just on our toes that is a brilliant move by the way i’ve been in many corporate meetings where they’ll come back and said about the old metric but that is really good but how important also is merchandising the events back to the c-suite to let them know because they’ll just forget one event after the next i would assume that’s part of what you do too it’s so interesting to bring that up because that that was something that i was going to talk about next i feel like events when people are there and they experience it in person just like anything when they first walk away people are super excited even when someone goes to a wedding right oh my gosh that was amazing it was wonderful i had so much fun there’s all this excitement but then as time goes by it’s like a cloud of smoke it slowly just disappears and people forget oh wait was it that great or what exactly happened and it gets mixed in with all the other events that that people attend so capturing that even for years to come honestly because for event planners you start to compare year over year events of annual events that are happening all the time and so when you have that data to go back and say look at how successful this was we can build upon it i think that’s really important is this is like very corporate putting a deck together and saving it for all eternity oh yeah everything and try and almost recreate the experience when people look back on it here later kathy does hubalo provide the ammunition for a planner to merchandise it back to the c-suite because this is the key thing tell us a little bit yeah in fact so with virtual has a great benefit of virtual right is that you come out with exponentially more data i think the harder part is what do you do with that data how do you action it based upon you know what campaigns you want to build after the event and that’s where our team especially becomes really helpful um but then also like how do you take those key learnings and continue to optimize and again a really great benefit of virtual is that we can have these events every two weeks if we want to i could take learnings from my event last month and put them into play this month because all of that data seeing who’s engaging with what segments dropped off more than others taking a look at all of the most engaged versus least engaged those that downloaded the content you just get so much more rich data and so it makes it easier to report upon for sure but i would say it what changes exponentially is the ability to look at different audience segments and really truly perfect that your science of engaging with audiences and i imagine what sarah just raised with regards to we did this last year how do we do that again and then make it better and make it better year after year our insights obviously help but i imagine dahlia that you don’t probably have much of that oh i need to continue to like get better you’re probably just completely wiping the whiteboard clear and starting from scratch each time or it depends on how open the client is and not stuck in their ways so we have a big dilemma where especially on the association side if it’s not broken you’re not going to fix it and the conversations are bigger than just events the conversations are your business model is broken your your membership dues that you like survived on and your one annual conference not anymore so sarah is lucky sarah’s lucky because she’s got the c-suite that listens to her what i see that is happening more so now and is there is going to be a brain drain when it comes to event professionals and that talent and experience that we need within organizations that are taking care of experiences and the reason of it is because the c-suite is not listening to them is riding them hard is putting too much on their plate as an example true example when they are supposed to be going back face to face dealing with venues and suppliers they have no freaking clue if customer service is going to be there fmb is a copy going to still be shitty or not and they put another layer of go ahead and put a full-on digital pla event on top of that with your team of 1.5 people and so this is where and like what robert was saying we’re learning here on the job we’re teaching on the job we’re the therapy part is not is not like fun it’s like real these people are breaking down they’re not getting hit by kova they’re getting hit by mental fatigue and making themselves physically sick to a point they’ll just walk away it it yeah we were number five on the most stressful job list okay i think we’re like number one at the moment but but this is telling because there’s a co there’s a another dynamic that is happening the the dynamic is oh we’re going back to normal bring me back that 5 million that i used to do on a show floor virtually and you’re like as an event planner i’ve got clients that go back to them and say how that freak do you want me to do that because here’s the the kicker is they don’t know what they don’t know they probably logged on on a virtual event of some kind and they’re like oh look at the bells and whistles look at whatever they don’t understand what goes on behind the how many events has everybody been on where like sponsors and exhibitors you ask them for creative assets so that their like booths don’t look empty and it is it’s crazy it’s like details like that but what i’m trying to get at is sarah you’re lucky but the whole idea of trying to educate the c-suite and telling them yes we deserve a a place around the table and the strategy is real but it is a bigger conversation to a point where some event planners are not comfortable with it they’re not comfortable a lot of them are not oh yeah i hear robert yelling go talia because he’s basically thinking exactly what you’re thinking with his clients in our conversations previously he went through some of the same things and he had some methods of convincing people in a nice way that they have to change their whole he’s nicer than me i have and we love you for it yes we do i’m hot-blooded but you wouldn’t know it but so there’s a discomfort and i love and i cherish everybody that’s putting out content and trying to tell other event profs with checklists of how to do hybrid and all of that what they need to understand is first you’re not in this alone second is when you take a seat at the table this is exactly you should be co-creating business conversations meaning with your tech providers or partners with your keep it outside of the bubble that has been in place for a long time when it comes to business models when it comes to missed revenue opportunities i’m not talking about what you charge a sponsor page or booth and what assets they get the most important conversations is around content is around the terminology we’re using this is why sarah did the shift you did pirouettes i’m not using the other p word you did pirouettes and you took the the experience design that you had and you’re doing something different but it’s kicking ass and it’s working so like when you think of it this is where you think of what we do best creative design right content design and if it’s not in our wheelhouse you got to go get that talent or else you will die i would like to shift the conversation a little bit now to tactical so that when people listen to this there are things that they can actually use tomorrow in terms of how to get people to come to their events what lines in the email work to get people to have to take action and so i first wanted to start with robert who had some ideas on you know how you actually bring people to events like how do you signal things that are working like we had some really great conversations about this previously yeah i think delays sort of hit the nail on the head with the content is of course so important and number one number two would be engagement how do you get people engaged into that content how do you get them to be part of that virtual event and different platforms offer different things hublot has these great lounge tables which i love and this is a great way for people to have one-on-one one with three other people or a table of eight to have those conversations to get people engaged but it’s not as easy as saying go into those lounge tables we’re having a break you have to be so creative to get people to go into those landscape tables you have to get creative to get people to excited into coming to the event and so one of the biggest thing is we talked about david about recordings and a live event and my theory is always if you’re asking people to show up live for your event they don’t want to re watch a recording of your event they want to see a live event right and they want the nuances of the cat jumping on your lap or your kid running and crossing those diapers they want those nuances because that makes it real for them and it brought them in it drags them into that experience of a live experience i understand that there are times to record so don’t get me wrong with that there are times when you want to do maybe your sponsorship 30 second or minute recording or you want to do someone’s having technical issues you want to record get it i get that but generally you should you’re if you’re you’re inviting your audience this is what people are always asking it’s the million dollar question no make at least seventy percent of it live because people expect that you talked about significant signaling too what was that uh so what do you mean by that yeah well signaling you’re doing things in your event to allow people to experience things that that you didn’t necessarily they’re not expected it’s the surprise the obvious ones in virtual is your polling and your q a and doing your q a live doing it on the fly is a great way to get people involved making sure that your speakers comment on the q a comment on the polls comment on those chats that are going live while people are talking all available in the platforms that that we’re talking about but you can draw people in by using different ways like doing smaller social circles getting people to talk in small rooms with your sponsors that is really important and key and delia had brought up this whole thing as sponsors sponsors no longer is just showing up at a booth and looking at people and watching them and waiting for people to come to you you never really could do that live anyhow but why do you think you can do it virtually as a sponsor we do these training sessions before the event and we say to the sponsors you can’t just sit in your booth you got to get out there and you got to chat so when i sponsor and i’m sponsoring i’m always saying hey there sarah hi sarah how are you doing how are you doing today i’m sending a little text or can you chat with me can we set up a meeting time can we do this can we do that you have to get out and you have to get people involved and engaged yeah and if you’re just sitting in your booth you’re going to hate the experience and i’ve had clients say that to me but so interesting going back to data and analytics in our own events we saw that some booths got a lot of traffic and i think it was organic to what was going on at that exact time we were having a 3d stage and so they went to those booths that were powering those kinds of 3d bringing the world on one stage together type of experiences and then others didn’t and i think that when i looked at the data of our event i realized like i actually have to integrate in these sponsors into our content a little bit more because it you’re right there is no free ipad or whatever the sexy firework stuff is that’s going to drive you toward the booths it’s like after the event it would be too easy for people to just drop off if you don’t give them really compelling reasons to want to go and engage and i think it brings a new challenge in virtual to think through like how do you really entice because there’s on the fly and then there’s also the very well planned out choreographed like driving attention to these things and and part of that i think is the social contract with virtual and with in person to really break out what these experiences are going to be like and how you as an attendee will get to experience these because people don’t know like they don’t know what in person is going to what’s the how safe is it going to be what does one on one meetings what’s what does food and beverage mean in an in-person event of 10 people right now right i don’t know and i don’t know if i want to go and for virtual i don’t know is it going to be me sitting there for three hours listening and i think part of that’s the challenge for all of us now is like how do you get people not only to want to go but to understand like what the experience is going to be like for them so they’re almost prepared for that psychologically you guys thought about that sarah dahlia was saying about content and how that’s so key now and i’m on the same page and one of the mantras i continually say to myself is content is king again we’re back there and the sessions for me and events for me that have piqued my personal interest is unique conversations that i don’t think i ever could have seen in person and i feel like that’s a great way to think about content is what is something that you can deliver to people that they would have so rarely seen in person like a panel discussion with three or four experts on a topic that usually would never be able to be in a room together due to their schedules or competing interests but they’re willing to have a conversation from their office and their home combining people that are almost related to a field but not so much like having a semi well-known podcaster talking to a marketer and maybe a scientist people that are different worlds but you can have them crash together in a virtual offering and i think that’s a really great way to hook people in is it what is it though about that is it that’s the unexpected comes out of that it’s not it’s like a new idea that they’re actually formulating in real time almost and and connected to your thinking yeah yeah like robert scene it’s live too so you just how is it going to play out like you’re watching as a fly in the room from your home and seeing how is this conversation going to go when it’s live so there’s an element of excitement to that and if it’s pre-recorded like what we’re saying i think people are like i could just watch this on youtube so why would it why would i join as long as it’s intimate in some way i believe that our whole business is about how do you scale intimacy and that’s why these small groups like every time i’m in a zoom thing and they break out into the small groups and i get to know the six people in the room i feel satisfied that i have like actually met somebody that i would want to talk to again perhaps and then if you do it again and they switch the people it’s even better and also i found that you have to be an active participant we have to train people to actually take advantage of attending these events dahlia you have your hand up and you’re about to speak so so a couple of things that the the onboarding and the training is critical at this point to a point so we have been critical of the content that we’re seeing like we’re connoisseurs all of a sudden the whole globe has become connoisseurs on zoom not or on content presentation delivery and they can rate a speaker in one nanosecond which is true to robert’s point this is why pre-records are going to be in trouble soon and then what’s going to happen is like when you go to an event planner and say we got to go live then they’re going to get sticker shock and they say oh my god and this is going to cost me my firstborn yes it’s going to cost you your firstborn but what they don’t understand is that content that you are capturing the content that you are planning out and to sarah’s point those panel discussions those conversations become part of offering that has monetization to it but they can’t think through they think through of checking and checkout date of an event but you can take that content and those conversations and those networking opportunities and record what’s what the discussions are around the table it’s almost like jada pinkett smith and her red table have you guys seen that seriously red table talk so good ass yes right yes you think of that’s the creativity part of it the surprise and delight i’m all for it like when i did the keynote for hubalo i actually brought in my daughter as a cameo because when she unboxed hublot’s box that was sent to me she did a video on her own and it went viral on linkedin so there you go for a 14 year old that speaks volumes but then everybody was like asking about her so i brought her on so did garyvee van right yeah i think that one was an accident so when you think of okay so when you think of your sponsors they need to be content creators when i when you when i go in as a speaker and adler you do this really is you feed off and you describe the presentation on the chat it’s not about only polls and q and a’s anymore you’re co-creating the content and that’s gonna be the ask going forward meaning event planners you’re gonna kill me or mug me for saying this it ha you have to be more agile now when creating sessions this goes back to like south by southwest panel picker where you go in and you like you say oh my god i want to hear kathy and robert and sarah and adler on a presentation and this is what i want to ask them and they’ve already started creating the session with you you already have their buy-in so you got to do that with all stakeholders exhibitors sponsors don’t the labels have to go away exhibitors don’t make sense in a virtual world in my opinion right so it’s think of them as thought leaders think of them as insight showcase whatever it is you want to like give it a sexy name they become part of the content and then people will continue to want to have more of those let me get a little controversial on this everyone’s saying content says king oh no i say content is your new currency okay okay whatever it is but i i am going back to the idea of contact is king okay so you need both you can have all the contents you want but you can get it almost anywhere but i cannot be in a room or in a chat with unless i’m in a room in a chat with talia so getting to that content and what a lot of the the platforms are doing they started with matchmaking because that’s what people wanted so it’s the the combination of the content and the contact i i totally agree with you i agree it’s the connections it’s the content contact if you will but it comes down to the content exchange between adler and dahlia well i now judge an event not by how many people attend but how many conversations are curated and that’s the api by the way it should be no and the idea of the social physics of how events work because ideas transfer at events and we have to set the table and the social physics for how ideas can flow at events totally this is this is why the ideas that you get from a chat room versus q a and polling and you curate that that becomes content that’s gold for you well and for sarah it’s turns into buying oh my god i need to have that and i need to understand that i need to join that i always say that the most powerful word in the english language is the word let’s because any time people get together they say let’s go to lunch let’s go to dinner let’s start a revolution let’s buy that and we all want to get to the lets and that’s my philosophy of how the purpose of events and things like that and i think that the new platforms are enabling that but the event organizers need to be the artists that know how to use the canvas properly i think you guys just came up with a new industry formula which is content plus contact equals connection yes yes there’s another c by the way that i’d like to add on community which is which is coaching because if you empower and coach each other that’s where your community that word really lives you can belong to a community because you’re being celebrated or you’re being empowered or you’re being valued you know i usually end these things by asking you to give us your sense of the world but i want to end it by what have you learned today and how because that’s the idea like what have we picked up and what have we learned from this conversation to change our strategies or our thinking so i don’t know do you want to start robert do you want to start go with uh sort of a wrap up we’ve gone way longer than we thought we were going to go because this is so interesting i think we could go another couple hours personally but it’s such a great conversation i really do believe that what we did last year to survive and what we did at the beginning of this year to get through is all changed now we have to take it to the next level because people are expecting that and people your attendees no matter the demographic are going to want they want more and everything that you just talked about i love the active participants i think that’s so true it’s active participants active sponsors it’s active thought leaders which i love that term and it’s just being active when you’re in a virtual meeting like you would if you were in a live meeting you would go and talk to the person beside you you would go in the reception areas you would talk to them while you’re picking up your coffee and your and your donut so i think it’s really important that we’re all active there but i think there’s the value here and is this you got to be creative going forward you’ve got to take it to the next level and you’ve got you can’t rely on what you’ve been doing and trust in your partners and trust in your community to help you through it that’s great that’s fantastic sarah do you want to go next sure yeah i mean for me i think this all just solidifies my the the importance that i place on connection for people it’s really hard throughout the pandemic to want to connect with people sometimes online you’re in your home a lot it can be really isolating i’ve experienced this but then joining events where they have the one-to-one connection or i had joined one where it was like a roulette where you had a two-minute conversation with the person they passed on to the next one and i came out of that with so much joy and feeling so connected and so what this has really taught me this experience is as an event planner we’re now in this really unique position where we can say what are my experiences and how am i feeling and then use it as your strategy because previously before kovid i so rarely was an attendee at an event i really tried to figure out what that attendee experience was but i didn’t because i was always running them and then every once in a while i’d go to a conference and i’d be like oh this is what it’s like i should put this into my events and now one of the really unique opportunities we have is that we’re living this every day and we know what our clients our target audience what their life is like and so we can use that idea of what do i want to see and put that right into our strategy so i i’m super excited because i see i see two suppliers on on on this podcast right and there’s this co-creating type of energy and forward thinking which is fantastic and i want event profs to do more of that even supplier with supplier the affiliation the partnership the mind sharing and the idea flowing and there should be more of this i also urge and challenge and play devil’s advocate but challenge more so than anything that we need to do a better job in exploiting chaos in our industry it’s the only way we are going to shift everything it’s the only way that we are going to grab someone’s attention and someone’s loyalty not naming it an event not naming it whatever hybrid blended whatever but that it is something that if adler comes and says i need you on a room with kathy sarah and robert i’m like right there all the time that’s what we need to create going forward and i i want people to get out of this mindset of it’s one event after another it is a continuum of just connections like you said and awesome content and awesome conversations and let’s repeat we’ll find out how to make money later i’m kidding yeah we would no but i think you hit the nail on the head in that the only way that we are all going to catapult out of this and get to that dream state is if we’ve got more conversations where we’re bringing experts from every perspective right from corporate from emc from production from the customer and the event organization perspective but everyone’s coming into it with a different point of view with different learnings because lord knows our business model as i think you’ve all mentioned in one way or another is shifting we can’t lean on the old here’s what i’ll do with a million dollars here’s what i’ll do with 50 million dollars it’s more like what do i need to do for the business what is the safest the most successful the most creative way we could go about this how do i rethink the staffing of my teams because it’s fascinating i’ve actually spoken to i think three event marketers recently who recently got merged with digital marketing teams this is more so relevant to the corporate end because events are no longer totally analog they’re a lot more digital and they want digital teams to to all work together so i think it’s what is the makeup of all of the resources that i need and we’re just in a completely reshaping right now of what’s the business model how do i drive new roi models out of these new frameworks it’s so interesting and i’m learning every day from more and more conversations like this yeah i totally have i was this conversation has been particularly interesting to me because i when i think adelia said the co-creation piece that what we’re doing we’re at the brick phone age of this business where we’re right now we’re basically so far down in the aol dial-up era that we are haven’t yet begun to thrive i believe that these new platforms that are being created are the greatest co-creation vehicles invented because we’re going to be able to do brainstormers with the world we’re going to be able to do things now by co-creating things together as opposed to just information it’s going to be another use case and and a corporation is going to want to put an idea out there and get everybody’s opinion before they do it and association’s going to want to do the same thing so the whole purpose of a meeting is going to be co-creation as opposed to just information vomiting you know what i mean which i don’t think is what we should be doing anymore because people feel more inspired when they’re part of creating the dream and we want everyone to be and everyone is capable of helping to create the great dream and so i think that we’re enabling this technology that’s going to change the world and that we as event organizers are just at the nascent part of this and that all of the tactics audio visual everything that’s going to enhance it is going to inspire us to do more with this type of format to create new solutions for everything from climate change to a new product on a website or a new way of doing things or a new way to have workflow so you’ll get on these things and it’s the collective intelligence of the world that people think is going to be what saves us and it’s not our individual thinking so with that said i am pumped and i wish we can go on forever and turn this into a complete let’s get a camp together and i do think the one last thing i want to say is what i think what sarah said it’s about event organizing is now more about managing feelings than it is about anything else it also comes down to maya angelou and people you want to get people feeling in a way that they are inspired to take action and having a good content and good connections makes it important too so with all that said i am ready to uh let’s go like charge the mountaintop thank you all guys thank you guys for uh participating in this great great co-creation of the future thank you this is amazing thanks for listening to today’s episode if you like what you’re hearing be sure to subscribe to the podcast on itunes or your favorite podcast app we can be found on itunes stitcher soundcloud player fm google play and pocket cast be sure to leave us a rating and review it helps others discover the gather geeks podcast we’d also love to hear from you you can leave feedback on twitter at gathergeeks or leave us an email gathergeeksbash.com we hope you’ll join us again for the next episode of gather geeks until then gather on
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The New Strategies for Events and Meetings

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