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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.
In this episode, Kelly chatted with Michelle Cogliano, Senior Director of Global Field Marketing and Events at Transmit Security.
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Michelle shared her career path in event marketing (spoiler alert: she was quite the “planner” at a young age), her perspective on the most critical skills for field marketers, and so much more. Check out our recap below, and be sure to catch the full episode on-demand.
I’d say my event aspirations go way back to when I was a kid. I was 10 years old planning family vacations, like where we’d go, what we’d do when we got there, where we’d eat—all of it.
So, I guess you could say I was a “planner” from a very early age.
“I’d say my event aspirations go way back to when I was a kid. I was 10 years old planning family vacations. So, I guess you could say I was a ‘planner’ from a very early age.”
I decided to go to school for marketing, and I landed my first role at a public relations firm. At the time, I had no idea what conferences and events were or what it meant to have a speaking engagement. But, I was tasked with managing events for my clients. I learned how to advise clients on which events they should sponsor and speak at. It was very new to me at first, but it started to resonate quickly, and it was really fun.
From there, I moved into a Marketing Generalist role. Despite the title, I was thrown into managing one of the largest tech conferences in North America. So, I had to learn the ropes very quickly and transition into large-scale events. I was responsible for managing sponsorships, speaking sessions, and everything that entails. It was mostly centered around logistics, but that did expand as I grew into new roles.
I was eventually managing around 20 events per year. I had to learn how to work with sales teams, set events goals, build pipeline, and engage leads. We worked together on things like post-event follow-up, who sales should and shouldn’t be talking to, etc.
I’ve had roles that sit between marketing and sales for a few years now, and it’s taught me a ton about how events support both teams. There wasn’t necessarily a term for “field marketing” at the time, but that’s essentially what I've been doing this whole time.
Transit Security never had a Field Marketing team before I joined in November, so we're building everything from scratch. We’re currently hiring a full Field Marketing team, and those folks are going to be part of something that we're building together, which is really exciting.
In general, I think the role of Field Marketing is to work with your regional sales team on a very regular basis. You're helping to build and accelerate pipeline through various in-region marketing activities. And you're working really closely cross-functionally to build and communicate different sales plays and prospecting tactics.
I think the job of Field Marketing is to help set sales up for success through communicating marketing activities that they can use in their sales conversations, content that they can leverage, etc.
For example, we are about to launch a major campaign in a few weeks here at Transmit. It's been all-hands on deck for a couple of months now. It's unique, and it's different from what other people in the industry are doing. We've totally revamped our messaging and all of our marketing collateral.
One of the jobs of the Field Marketers is to communicate that to the Field Sales organizations and make sure that they understand why we're doing this campaign, what it means to them, and what's new for them. So, what sales plays are new, what content is new, and ultimately make sure that that campaign and any other changes that occur within the marketing organization are communicated very clearly.
First and foremost, Field Marketers need to understand all aspects of marketing and how they impact the sales organization and pipeline achievement. It's understanding what demand gen's role is, what the content team's role is, what media's role is, and what marketing operations is. It’s understanding all of marketing, because ultimately as a field marketer, you are a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of your region.
“Field Marketers need to understand all aspects of marketing and how they impact the sales organization and pipeline achievement.”
It’s also very important to know how to work with sales, how to communicate with sales, how to speak their language, how to execute pipeline tactics, and how you can help accelerate pipeline.
I also think understanding account-based marketing is really important for us in particular because we work off of named and strategic accounts. So, if you've got named and strategic accounts, then ABM makes total sense.
Another important skill is knowing your region. Every region is very different. For example, what people want to do in Texas, like ax throwing or shooting events, is not what people want to do in San Francisco. Certain events and tactics resonate well in certain areas of the country, but not so much in other parts of the country. So really understanding your region is key.
“One of the most common misconceptions that I see is that field marketers are event coordinators. And that is not what field marketers are.”
One of the most common misconceptions that I see is that field marketers are event coordinators. And that is not what field marketers are. Field Marketers really need to know and communicate everything about marketing and know how to work with and communicate with sales.
At the end of the day, it's pretty simple. We're trying to help generate and accelerate pipeline.
Thanks so much for joining us, Michelle! That’s all for now, but we’ll see you soon for another episode of Event Marketers Live.