Our special report on the Best Places to Work in Events offered an inside look at the top office environments and cultures in the industry, including a rare peek at the internal strategies driving Facebook’s events team. To get more insight on how the crew gets down to business, we tapped Julie Hogan, the brand’s head of global event and industry marketing. Following is an excerpt from our conversation.
Event Marketer: What are your priorities as an events team?
Julie Hogan: Any face-to-face experience we have is one of the most important channels at Facebook, and for our business, because they help provide those personal connections and help us build trust with our clients and partners. Our priorities are maximizing all of the face-to-face experiences within the team. Through these events, we leverage those experiences that help us showcase all of the various possibilities on the Facebook platform and also reiterate our commitment to driving those best in class solutions that our customers are looking for.
EM: How does the team prepare for an event?
JH: We move very, very quickly… We meet regularly with stakeholders, so various events have different areas of focus. For example, if we’re producing something for the auto industry, we will meet regularly with the auto team to make sure that we’re aligned, both in terms of what we’re delivering from a content perspective, but also experientially to make sure that those activations map back to what we’re doing.
EM: How involved is the team in the creative process?
JH: Event marketers on our team have a seat at the table when we are talking about producing an event. I think that’s one of the biggest changes that I noticed coming into Facebook. It’s a really important distinction to make between what we do and a typical citywide event. At Facebook, we are all about connecting the world and that is our mission. We use that as the foundation of everything we do when we go to produce these events. It’s all about connections.
EM: What are some of the challenges the team is faced with?
JH: We’re experiencing some of the same challenges our advertisers are facing. There’s a lot of disruption in the industry and we live in this mobile world where everything is being done online. Five years ago, virtual events were a hot topic and people were panicked within the industry with the fear that face-to-face is going away. I think because we live in this mobile world and everything is so accessible, people’s expectations are higher. So, the onus is on us to be able to come up with really relevant and authentic ways to engage people.
EM: How often does the team formally meet?
JH: My leadership team meets weekly. We also have individual teams within the three groups and those folks also meet on a weekly basis. As a global team, we come together for an all-hands once a month. That really helps us keep the communication open and helps us deliver more consistently because we know what everybody’s doing.
EM: What factors contribute to the success of Facebook events?
JH: I would say the relevancy factor for us is very critical. Based on our business and how quickly we move and the number of people who are on Facebook today, we want people’s time to be well spent on our platform and also at events. Every single minute of the day is accounted for and we need to make events very relevant.