Katie is the Europe Regional Marketing Manager at Eventbrite, the largest self-service ticketing company and global marketplace for live experiences, which has hosted millions of events since 2006, processing over 200 million tickets worldwide and over $3 billion in gross ticket sales whilst raising $200 million in funding. Having joined from the BBC in 2011, Katie was Eventbrite’s first employee in London and is responsible for overseeing local marketing campaigns and partnerships, and manages a growing community of event organisers and attendees in the UK. Katie was included in the MiaList top ten in 2014 for her contribution to the events industry.
“…Are the most insightful and charismatic people in the industry really all from the same mould? And even if they are, do they reflect the diversity you aspire for in your industry? Not only will a more diverse set of speakers help a variety of people connect with your brand but it usually brings with it a much more interesting mix of views and examples to learn from…”
First impression is the common theme
Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time planning and attending events all over the UK. It’s the highlight of my job and has allowed me to participate in a wide range of live experiences, from a street food pop-up, to yoga in the park, to a business networking breakfast or a tech conference. I’ve learned many things about the wild world of events, but one common theme across all live experiences I’ve attended is the impact of the first impression.
You can tell from the moment you find out about an event whether it’s really going to be any good or not, and I think diversity plays a big part in that. So I wanted to share some thoughts on planning and organising events that should help make the difference between it being a massive triumph or falling flat.
Get creative with your content
I’m always telling people to think carefully about the audience for any event. The personalities, motivations and influences of these people should feed directly into your plans for content. What is going to entertain, educate and inspire them? Why are they going to be compelled to come along?
While you can’t cater to everyone all the time, you can have a clear picture of your core target audience and build content that taps directly into their needs. If you feed them the right stuff, then you’re doing your job.
Speak to your diverse audience – and aspirations
How many times have you been to a conference only to see a panel of five people of the same gender or ethnicity sitting in front of you? This is something I’ve seen time and time again, and found so disheartening.
Are the most insightful and charismatic people in the industry really all from the same mould? And even if they are, do they reflect the diversity you aspire for in your industry? Not only will a more diverse set of speakers help a variety of people connect with your brand but it usually brings with it a much more interesting mix of views and examples to learn from.
Think carefully about how you market your event
Think carefully about the topics and people you highlight in your newsletter, on your blog and on your social channels in the run-up to the event. You want to be targeted with your audience, but you want to maximise your reach and appeal to that targeted group.
Just last week I got an email invitation for an awards event that highlighted the judges – none of which were people who resonated with me. If you looked at the full judging panel there was a huge variety of people on there that could have been picked to create a more diverse and inclusive picture in the marketing materials. Finding the nuggets that spark interest is what marketing and communications is all about – so think about maximising interest by speaking to the full potential audience.
Use visuals to build anticipation and accurately reflect the mood
A picture or video really does speak a thousand words and can do wonders to capture people’s attention before, during, or after your event. It doesn’t have to be an edited two-minute commercial with uplifting music; it just needs to reflect the energy and mood around your event. The quality of photos and videos from a smartphone or a camera these days is so good that you can even refine your own skills in capturing the atmosphere and help build anticipation and excitement that is authentic. Take a step back and really look at what makes your event stand out and try to capture that in the way people picture your brand.
These suggestions might be subtle, but they are important. Focusing on diversifying your content and event speakers allows you connect with more of the audience, and leave a lasting impression. At the end of the day, events are a key way to enable people to connect with your brand in a meaningful way, and gives you an opportunity to show what you stand for.