In our April issue, we will feature our picks for the 2016 B-to-B Dream Team—the event marketers we’d hire if we were building our own brand. From organizing global conferences to handling trade show strategy and overseeing internal meetings, this year’s Dream Team does it all and does it so well, they’re setting the standard for the entire industry.
What does it take to succeed in this ever-changing world? Here are eight skills or attributes that our Dream Team marketers have at the ready. We’re not going to tell you who they are—you’ll have to read all about it in our April issue. But we can tell you the qualities they say marketers must have in order to succeed in the world of b-to-b events.
1. Enjoy It
Hands down, this may be the most important quality, as talking with customers, sales people and agency partners is a big part of the job in event marketing. “You have to be fun and have an interactive personality,” says one of our Dream Teamers. “I don’t think you can enjoy this space for what it is if you don’t have that outlook. You don’t have to be super boisterous and outgoing all the time, but you need to enjoy it.”
2. Pitch In
That also may mean handing out snacks with the sales team or picking up trash from the floor from time to time. “I don’t ever think I’m above anything,” she adds. “I may be the lead person, but it falls on all of us to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
3. Know Your Team
A member of our Dream Team who hails from the tech industry stresses the importance of knowing your staffers’ strengths and weaknesses. Recognize that subject matter experts aren’t always comfortable in public-facing roles. “In our industry, 80 to 90 percent of the people may be good at technical things like coding and engineering, but that doesn’t mean they are good at promoting and being conversational. Be sensitive to that,” he says. He prepares a 30- to 40-page brief to help staffers prepare ahead of time.
4. Understand the Attendee Journey, Literally
Attendees often travel long distances to get to your conference or trade show, and may be jetlagged the first day. Factor that into the experience, he adds. Understanding what happens before and after the event can impact the results.
5. Be Passionate
Successful b-to-b marketers bring passion to their job, and all of our Dream Team members have it in spades. One Dream Teamer said she looks for that passion when hiring staffers and will remove them from the team if she doesn’t see that quality in them.
6. Put Yourself in the Attendee’s Place
Understanding what attendees want to hear, see and do at your event is key to creating a customer-centric experience. “In the past, people were coming for training, now they are coming to keep ahead of the competition,” she says.
7. Get Analytical
Be very open and get used to research, says another Dream Teamer. “Lots of people don’t treat the analytics of the event as important. We’re all good at project management, but analytics and the research part is extremely important because that will open your eyes to the changes. Only then you will know what is new,” she says.
8. Above All, Keep your Cool
Train yourself to be able to resist the stress of the event environment. “This is a one-time trial,” she adds. “The event will happen whether you are ready or not. And you will be measured on what you have delivered. There is no second chance. Either you are brilliant the first time or you’re not. That’s the climate we work in.”