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group of event attendees networking at an incentive trip
Madison ShepherdJul 2, 2024 8:00:00 AM14 min read

Turning Events into Opportunities: Strategies for Marketing Success

The podcast episode featuring Katie Moser of GoGather and Lisa Peterson of Moxified Consulting dives into innovative and effective strategies for maximizing the impact of events.

Lisa highlights the importance of repeatedly delivering key messages to a captive audience at events. She suggests using both conventional and unexpected spaces for branding, such as hotel elevators, restrooms, and even airport advertising.

Our two marketing experts discuss how incorporating digital technology can make message delivery more engaging and memorable for attendees. Lisa also highlights the importance of creating opportunities for attendees to connect and network, providing suggestions for facilitating conversations and interactions that align with the event's goals.

About the Expert: Lisa Peterson

Lisa Peterson is the Founder of Moxified Consulting, a company that helps executives and companies create an authentic communications strategy that fosters connection and gets business results. Lisa has more than two decades of experience in marketing and communications and has helped companies in life sciences, tech, and healthcare scale, connect and drive business results.


Katie Moser: Do you have some examples of things that you've implemented that have been very successful at events, that you would say to a client, this is absolutely necessary, or this would be really effective for your event?

Lisa Peterson: Yeah. I mean, this is where my marketing background comes in. And I think about how many times it takes the average person to absorb a message, right? And in the old days, we said like six or seven times they'd have to hear your message before they would, you know, sort of clue in and maybe start to take action. But in today's world, I mean, that's like 6000 right? Because we're all being inundated from devices and experiences. 

So when you have someone at an event, the great thing about that is they're a captive audience, right?

So maximize every opportunity to reinforce the key messages.

And you know that can be a sign. Much. And even better when that signage is in unexpected places. You know, think about if you're in a hotel, for example, what are all the different parts of the hotel that your attendees are going to be in? How can you integrate your brand and your messaging into those spots? It could be panels in the elevator, panels in the restrooms, you know, something that is left in their room each day right after the event, or, you know, something that they receive as part of like a welcome gift or when they check in, right? 

So not just the four walls, if you will, of that conference room, but thinking outside of the room specifically, and using all that is available to you in reaching that very captive audience, which is super rare, right? And it doesn't have to just be physical pieces, but it can also be leveraging digital technology so that, you know, messages are popping up on their phone as they're going by different, you know, potentially parts of, you know, a very large destination.

I've even had a client recently who invested in doing airport advertising. So, as in this case, it was customers coming in for a big user conference, and how did, as they were making their way to the destination, right? Like airport advertising, you know, advertising in the back of transportation, right? Advertising at the hotel, you know, all of those things start to seed in someone's brain. And, you know, they're not going to see it every time, because they're probably on their phone. So also, how can you leverage that, right?

Katie Moser: I love what you said about unexpected places. It starts to make people feel like they're special in a way, especially if they're coming into, let's say, an internal conference, right? You know, if they start to see their brand in the airport, in the Uber ride, I mean, so excited, it's very cool. And it, I think, makes them pay more attention, like, Where else can I find little, you know, Easter eggs or things like that?

I love thinking outside the box. Like you said, you know, it's not just the traditional signage. There could be so many opportunities for getting in front of people. And like you said, the captive audience. We are all on our phones all the time, and it's very hard to get in front of people. I mean, we struggle with this, both with our clients and with, you know, marketing as you know, more and more digital channels come up absolutely.

Lisa Peterson: I think the unique opportunity that events present is that you can use a mix of digital channels to reach attendees as well as the physical because, again, you're bringing people together for an objective, and one of those objectives is almost always to connect, right? So thinking about also, how are you facilitating the ability for people to connect easier? You know when in the past, when I've attended incentive trips and you're at a resort, and while you might be the majority of the people, you're not the only people, right? 

So how do you create either you know, a visual demarcation that you know you and I are from the same company, so we can strike up a conversation at the breakfast buffet or in the elevator, right? Is there a destination that attendees can all go to at any time to be able to network with one another? So it's just thinking about those objectives that you started with in the planning process and then getting creative with what are the channels, both physical, tangible, and digital, that you can use to start to then achieve those objectives?

Katie Moser: Yeah, I love it. Another question I have that just came up in my brain. So I apologize I keep throwing curveballs at you, but I love the idea of thinking about the actual communications themselves, right? The wording that you're using, the things that you're saying throughout the conference. I mean, how do you keep it from getting stale, right? Or keep the message from getting too, I don't know, cliche or repetitive? What are some strategies that you would recommend there?

Lisa Peterson: It’s tough you know. I mean, we've, I know there've been times where we've knocked it out of the park, and other times where we've gotten, oh, we heard the same message over and over again. Well, I mean, that's sort of by design point? You know, we want you to walk away with a very clear understanding of the ask. 

But you know, I think that there's a balance between figuring out the right variety of messages and then how much you're repeating them in maybe slightly different ways, right? And so, you know, if you're trying to get across maybe 10 different points, even in a span of, you know, let's say three days, that's a lot of information that you're expecting people to walk away with, right?

So that's where coming back to the beginning of the process and making sure that everyone is aligned on what's the objective here, you know, what is it that our attendees actually care about? Right? And then how do we frame whatever those messages are in a language that makes sense to the attendees, you know? And I mean, I've done it, you know, but the corporate jargon the business speak, right? We all think it sounds good, but real people don't talk that way in real conversations, right? You know, that's why we play like corporate buzzword bingo, right? So trying to make your messaging real and relatable, right? And you can do that by keeping things more informal and a conversational tone, right? 

If you feel the need for something that is more corporate, right? There's a time and a place you know, maybe that's where the CEOs address, right? He or she's got a very clear message that they want to send. How do you then build off of that and the other touch points of the experience and reinforce it in a way that's relatable to the audience that you have?

Katie Moser: Yeah, absolutely. And I love what you said about making it a little bit more casual and relatable because that's what events are, too. It's the human piece. People are so used to the digital piece of the world, right? Like, why not lean into the human aspect? Because when else are you really going to get to have that opportunity, right? 

Lisa Peterson: Don't be afraid to take some chances, you know, because you do have people together. Think about, well, how can my messaging spark more conversation and dialog amongst the attendees, right? And allowing for them to maybe even add to it, right? And getting them engaged in the dialog and discussion, right? You know, asking them to maybe share, you know, what does the brand mean to you? Or why are you committed to the company's mission, right? Just getting your attendees more involved in being part of that content of your event, also helps to drive home the point so much more.

Katie Moser: Yeah, I love that get them involved in the conversations from the get-go. 

Lisa Peterson: Absolutely. 

Katie Moser: That kind of leads into my next question about, you know, how can you leverage events to create content for your brand, and what are the different ways that you can collect that on-site, beforehand, afterward. Do you have any recommendations there?

Lisa Peterson: I do. I mean, look, if you're doing an event, I sure hope you're thinking about it in the context of a broader plan for the year, right? And again, whether that's, let's say a sales meeting, or maybe it's a customer meeting, right? 

The event, yes, the event needs its own strategy and plan, but the event itself is not a strategy, right? You need the event to be part of a broader marketing strategy that has touch points throughout the year, and I think this is something that people struggle with because it can be confusing, right? You're like, but we're having this whole event, and you want us to make a plan and have a strategy, and it has messages, but now you're saying, I need another strategy. 

So let me, let me explain, right? When you're approaching, you know, let's say 2025, right? And you're thinking about what you're going to need to accomplish for your business, you should be setting goals and setting out a strategy to accomplish those goals, and an event might be part of that strategy, right? And so when you're then beginning your event planning process, you're thinking about, okay, this is part of a broader strategy. You probably already, because of that, have some very clear objectives for the event, right? 

She talked about how important it is to align with those you know, be clear on who your audience is and what you want them to take away, and then start building content for the event, or is it for the event only? It shouldn't be. You should be thinking about how I'm building this content. I'm making a lot of you know, investment of time, energy, resources, cash to this event. So I want to leverage this content well beyond the actual event, and that could be in the lead-up to the event. 

How do you maybe take, you know, teaser content for a presenter or speaker that you're going to have featured at the event and use it as a way to hype people up in advance, right? But then, how are you going to take, maybe some of the learnings that people gathered from that speaker's presentation then feed it back into the organization more broadly after the event. 

So it's always thinking about the event is a massively important tactic as part of a broader marketing plan and making sure that whatever happens at that event you're someone is thinking about, Okay, what aspects can be used after the fact, right? And you could be taking content from a sales meeting like, let's say you have a customer story. 

Customers come in, they tell a story about how they use their product and the impact that it had. That's great. Everyone at the event feels good. But what about all your other customers? Can you share this on social media? Can it be part of an email campaign to solicit more testimonials? 

So I think it's just we get so busy planning for the event, and then we're like, I did it. Great job, everyone. But it's like, there was all this content here, all this investment, let's do more with it. And I worked at a company where they would create a separate theme for their commercial meetings. Okay, so that's kind of cool, right? But then you couldn't use that theme the rest of the year only at the meeting when people were together. How does that make sense? We just spent all this time and money building out this theme, but now we can't reference it.

Shouldn't this be the rallying cry for the entire year? So that's where if you really want to get, especially your executives, more bought into events as an important investment in building culture, your brand, growing your business, you have to think about how you're going to use the event and all the content created for it long after the event has concluded.

Katie Moser: Yeah, and it goes to prove the value of the investment you're making, right? It's beyond just a one-time thing. If you're creating content that you can use, like you said in the case study for your other clients, you're like, well, now this could bring in so much more ROI for us. 

It's beyond just the event. I love all the points you just made there. It's making me think about how we can help our clients implement these types of things and help them think beyond the event. 

It's like the catalyst for so many other things that you can do within an organization, whether it's your marketing department or even if it's for your internal teams, for your human resources department, or your sales department, you know, encouraging people to continue to work hard, or, you know, whatever. I think about incentive trips, right? You know, that's a great opportunity. 

Lisa Peterson: It’s an amazing opportunity to remarket the event to the people you know, to the rest of the sales force who does not get to go, right as motivation, like, don't you want to be here? 

Katie Moser: Yeah, right. 

Lisa Peterson: And using that to push people a little bit harder. Make one more call, right? You know, sell one more product. And, you know, featuring the people who won that year's trip, right? And what did they do to win it? I mean, it's this idea of, like, the rising tide lifts all boats, right? And so especially with incentive trips, I think that's an area where I don't think a lot of companies truly make the most of those experiences and opportunities. 

You know, they're, they're giving someone a trip for blowing their number out in the water, right? And sure that rewards someone who has worked really hard that year, and they feel good about it. You know, their spouse, partner, or friend that they bring along feels pretty darn good about it too, right? 

But imagine if you could utilize that experience to motivate not just that person to try harder to win it again, but everyone on their team, right? And if that person shared what they learned from others at the event that made people in different parts of the business successful or in different regions, right? 

So I just think that there's so much more to events than what we often think meets the eye, right? But it's because so often we treat it as a tactic in and of itself, instead of thinking about the event as part of a broader plan.


Madison Shepherd

Madison Shepherd is a Marketing Specialist at GoGather. When she's not writing blogs or sending out social media posts, she enjoys hiking, traveling, or reading at one of the many beautiful beaches in San Diego.