Welcome to Event Marketers Live, a fast-paced series where we shake off the jargon and get real with the humans behind the scenes of our favorite B2B events and experiences.
Christi has been in the tech startup world for over 20 years. In her career, she has been responsible for global events and programs. She’s managed a program of 80 annual events globally and has created user conferences for some of the tech world’s fastest-growing companies.
At Pluralsight, she is responsible for executing a yearly Presidents Club incentive trip, managing the global alignment of the sales team through SKO, and externally facing corporate events.
Explore Christi’s top takeaways below, and be sure to catch all of her insight in the full episode.
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Here are the Top 3 Takeaways from this episode ⤵️
If there’s one thing event professionals know, it’s that a lot of learning happens through trial and error. Yup, working in this industry, you get used to navigating situations as they come at you. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta run with them. In the chaos, that’s where the real learning is.
Christi, and her team at Pluralsight, oversee all their customer-facing meetings and events. When chaos happens, Christi responds and takes notes.
She’s been working in event marketing for over 28 years. After training to be a nurse, Christi realized it wasn’t for her. She took a job in marketing and sales for a tech company, and the rest is history. She’s grown into a leader in her field. She remembers, even in the early days, the importance of asking a lot of questions—something the past couple of years has prompted a lot of.
For Christi, the pandemic gave her and the team a chance to step back. They reassessed what they’d been doing, and it was a great time to ask important questions. The pandemic prompted a review. They wanted to consider how things were going and where they wanted to go.
Covid changed everything for everyone, didn't it? At first, Christi and her team saw immediate challenges. They were a little over a week away from a big in-person event in London. The world went on lockdown, and they were spinning. They’d need to pivot fast.
If there’s one thing event professionals know, it’s that a lot of learning happens through trial and error.”
Like all great event professionals, Christi leans into learning. The best learning has a tendency to come from chaos. Christi started asking some key questions, including:
Christi and the team were 10 days out from the event. Things felt uneasy, and everyone was wondering if they were going or not going. Then, the lockdown happened, and everyone had to go home. They knew they weren’t going. Thousands of attendees relied on them to figure out what to do next.
If you think that flipping an in-person event to a virtual one in 8-10 days seems impossible, you’re not wrong. But, the chaos and challenge of the impossible were drivers for Christi. They figured it out. There wasn’t much time, but they knew they would need to capture the content and send it out to attendees. The world went virtual.
It’s important to be intentional about how you deliver your content. Choosing the right event format for the audience makes a big difference in the outcomes. Experimenting and playing go a long way. It comes back to trial and error. Sometimes, you don’t know what’s missing until it is.
Events started to take a new shape during the pandemic. Christi had a big user conference coming up. Over 30,000 people were to attend. Everyone was very excited about this event. The team realized that the way things were, there wouldn’t be a full attendance. They needed to ask more questions.
They brainstormed on how they’d deploy the content. It ended up being a morning show style set up, and most people attending were virtual, including the speakers. The event ended up being too long. People tune out when the sessions drag on, even if the information is valuable. The team learned that short content and sessions work better. It's easier to hold the attention of the audience with smaller bites of information.
It’s important to be intentional about how you deliver your content. Choosing the right event format for the audience makes a big difference in the outcomes.”
There's a lesson in everything. This event resulted in incredible change as the team moved forward. Christi saw the need to change the content delivery. The way content was delivered needed an overhaul. There was a better way to keep customers and potential customers engaged. The team optimized the content. They shortened things up and got clear when it came to communicating with the attendees.
Attendees need to know who’s speaking, what they’ll learn, how long it’ll be, and anything else they should expect. Virtual events do well when the information is front-loaded.
The biggest change was to deliver on-demand recordings. People tuning in virtually want freedom over when they attend.
Now, things are progressing from a pandemic to economic uncertainty. Moving forward, Christi pauses to take stock of the bigger picture. She's a huge fan of data and tracking—the team started looking.
When the team looked into the numbers, they saw an opportunity. It turned out that a small percentage of their audience was driving the ROI of the events. In fact, 10% of the current audience was driving the goals. They'd get better results by catering to a smaller audience.
It's easier to market to a niche audience. By scaling back, the team could focus on delivering targeted, engaging content. They knew what to do because tracking the engagement data made it clear. Great event marketers look at the attendee journey. They know at the micro level how to engage or re-engage someone.
The data supported a change in content delivery. Now, the team could focus on an intimate group. They shifted away from large conference-style talks (speaker on stage). They delivered content through interviews, customer panels, and audience participation. They’d reach a targeted audience more directly.
Great event marketers look at the attendee journey. They know at the micro level how to engage or re-engage someone.”
Make it a priority to understand the impact of your event in the bigger picture. Set goals that are not just related to headcount but what happens after that. You want to ask, "What is the value of having the customer?"
Christi starts every day with data. Especially during peak event times. Pluralsight uses its own dashboard that tracks attendees. They see how attendees are engaging during events—this enables the sales team with post-event follow-up.
When it comes to event marketing, data shows the key indicators of success. Christy explains that event marketing teams should build great relationships with the marketing and sales team. You want to know what the sales team is closing and how the events help the sales team.
Thanks so much for joining us, Christi! That’s all for now, but we’ll see you soon for another episode of Event Marketers Live.