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, Belinda chatted with Sarah Shaheen, Director of Corporate and Strategic Events at Amplitude.
Sarah is a motivated and accomplished event marketer with 15+ years of experience in complex event and program planning. With an impressive resume, Sarah has built programs at Oracle, Infor, Okta, and Amplitude.
Explore Sarah’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 ⤵️
Sarah has a strong background in marketing, with companies such as Okta and Oracle dotting her resume. While she spent her college years studying hospitality and tourism, Sarah feels like she fell into event marketing.
While events weren’t her core area of expertise, the leadership team at Oracle allowed her to grow her experience as a Field Marketer. By drip-feeding events to her, the team gradually increased her knowledge, giving her the confidence to handle more complex events.
Events aren't just about the organizing and logistics anymore—they are a proven channel to success, a goldmine for lead conversion.”
But it only takes that one event that shows you the power of marketing. Sarah was going through the motions of caretaking the logistics of an event when the VP announced her event resulted in a business deal. This was that “Eureka” moment we all long for in our careers, where what we do starts making sense.
Sarah realized that events weren't just about the organizing and logistics anymore; they were a proven channel to success, a goldmine for lead conversion.
Event marketers were now more than the drivers behind events — they were also drivers behind the company sales pipeline.
Organizations need several inroads of leads. When demand generation is paired with field marketing, it's that sales acceleration fix that companies need. Field marketing is the secret sauce of demand generation.
A field marketer should be considered their region's Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This elevation in responsibility can open up new areas of lead generation. Marketers must work closely with the reps to develop inroads into potential lead pockets. Still, they should also communicate in a language reps understand.
With this kind of collaboration between marketing and sales, there's a good chance sales reps will be better equipped. This leverage will undoubtedly set them up for success. To successfully implement a marketing strategy, they need the buy-in from sales.
Sales and marketing should be in constant communication, and everyone needs to be on board with the organization's objectives. For example, what are the pipeline and revenue goals for the next quarter? Marketing teams need to avail themselves to the sales team to keep the lines of communication open. Ultimately, marketers help sales teams reach their goals.
A field marketer should be considered their region's Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This elevation in responsibility can open up new areas of lead generation.”
Marketers also ensure that events are about more than just brand awareness. They must also serve as lead generators to ensure the organization hits its goals. To be successful, marketers have to rely on the data to ensure the events generate a sufficient return on investment (ROI).
For marketers, event marketing is different from the past. The focus is not solely on what competitors are doing but on whether an event will generate sufficient ROI to be worth the investment. It's not just about pitching up because that's the way it's always been done before. Instead, it's about carving out a fresh approach to events that will support sales, drive pipeline, and convert faster.
A networking opportunity is not just a sales call; it's a chance for your marketers to foster relationships with potential clients.
A networking event requires proper groundwork. For the sales team, this is an opportunity to warm up prospects by reaching out ahead of time.
A recent change is the upward trajectory of digital events. Networking events can still provide the same level of support even when hosted on a digital platform. The chat function is a digital bridge that connects people, and this chatter during networking drives communication. And for attendees of a function, networking is an integral part of the attendance, not just the event content.
A networking opportunity is not just a sales call; it's a chance for your marketers to foster relationships with potential clients.”
For Sarah, the Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) Summit transitioned from content to networking effortlessly to allow participants to gain as much value from the event as possible. They hosted some fun slots and other slots for restoration, offering a safe space to foster new friendships, which are vital for effective networking.
The move to digital networking is especially helpful now as access to physical events still poses a challenge. However, the leads tend to be very top-funnel, and attendees are less invested than they would be if they attended a physical event. At an in-person event, attendees are usually considered mid or lower-funnel, which means they're a bit more qualified. Virtual events often make better sense for audiences not yet aware or advocates of your brand.
Not every event can be a digital one, however. If you're looking for numbers and want attendees to be present physically, the event has to have a unique drawcard.
Sarah notes that you want to create a fear of missing out (FOMO), which will drive attendees. Their conference this year included a race car driving experience, which could only be enjoyed if you were there in person.
Thanks so much for joining us, Sarah! That’s all for now, but we’ll see you soon for another episode of Event Marketers Live.