Designing a brand experience that influences and inspires has always been a passion for Stacey Gromlich, senior director-audience engagement and global events at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Her career began in journalism and eventually led to roles on both the agency and corporate sides of events. Today, she oversees more than 300 events annually for Siemens, ranging from small meetings to massive trade shows, such as CES and Hannover Fair.
EM caught up with Gromlich in the Siemens booth at CES 2024 to talk navigating the world of trade shows and events as well as career success.
Event Marketer: In your role, you work with multiple stakeholders who bring different perspectives. What is something you’ve learned about coming together to create a successful experience?
Stacey Gromlich: I think it’s making sure that from the senior stakeholder perspective, the North Star objective is solidified early on and that we all know what we’re working towards and what we want the outcome to be. Then there are a lot of discussions that takes place on what are the right stories to showcase, gathering them, assessing how they fit with that North Star objective, and aligning the messaging in those stories to be the most compelling for our audience.
Our company is fairly new to CES, but now we’re bringing the whole message together. It does require us to work across business units and find workstream owners in each of those business units so that we are maximizing the ability to have very intentional meetings here.
This brings up the question about measurement. How is that evolving?
We have a pretty robust measurement strategy. There are a number of different ways we measure the success of something, which, of course, is 100 percent based on our overall goal and objective. For this particular experience, we used an outside company and a benchmark list of questions we’ve standardized for use for our third-party events. This way we can truly benchmark based on the audience, the goals, and the impact on the business, among other criteria.
Unlike most exhibitors, we don’t capture leads, but we focus on how and where the meetings [held at the booth] get back into Salesforce and how that impacts our sales productivity within three, six, and nine months and if it actually influenced someone to use more of our technologies.
We look at all that data based on the ways of measuring and the different streams and can aggregate that and get very specific about what’s working and how it compares to previous years and other third-party events. We can also get granular, down to the persona level and whether one experience moved the needle compared to others.
Taking a wider view, how do you see trade show activations changing post-pandemic?
In the trade show space, we’re, obviously, seeing an increase in attendance but we’re getting better at targeting the personas that are coming to those third-party events, really understanding who we want to target from the audience and how to communicate with them. If we get brand awareness and extra people in, that’s great, but I think third-party events are even getting better at giving us accessibility to data as much as compliance allows so we can have impactful interactions.
For your third-party events, are you doing anything different in terms of how you activate there?
Social is huge for us. With the influx of the younger generation, the audience shifts. There’s an evolution of how people learn, so understanding the ratio of different generations and what’s important to them determines how we’re going to activate.
What is something you would had said to yourself at the beginning of your career?
Don’t be afraid. If someone tells you no, but you’ve done your research and you have a valid case, stay passionate and don’t be afraid. All people can say is no. Present the information to show the value. Don’t be afraid to be bold and take a risk.
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Featured photo/Siemens at CES 2024: Freeman