When Data-Backed Strategy Meets a Passion for B2B Events: Meet Vivi Forny from Okta

January 18, 2023
Reagan Hochmeister
Reagan Hochmeister
Community Growth at Goldcast

Maximize Your Marketing ROI

Join 10,000 other marketers already getting the best tips on running engaging events that boost pipeline and create raving fans.

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 Vivi Forny, Head of Events Marketing & Strategy at Okta.

Vivi Forny is a values-driven leader focused on driving impact through growth marketing methodologies. She’s committed to leadership that is inclusive, transparent, and accountable in order to help high-performing teams that thrive on actionable impact. Vivi is passionate about being deeply connected to data that drives business.

Explore Vivi’s top takeaways below, and be sure to catch all of her insight in the full episode.

Want to join the conversation? Register for the next Event Marketers Live event!

Here are the Top 3 Takeaways from this episode ⤵️

1. Vivi’s team has research-backed tips to share on how to get virtual attendees to be highly engaged

Vivi and her team were tapped to map what a fully-online portfolio of events would look like. They organized Dreamforce, a massive virtual meeting space that was the perfect answer for bringing businesses together during and after the pandemic.

Their biggest challenge was to overcome the idea that important business deals can only be done in person. However, with Dreamforce, Vivi and her team found ways to preserve that same level of personability in a virtual space.

The following are just a few ideas they implemented to keep virtual attendees just as engaged and motivated as they would be in a brick-and-mortar building.

  • Don’t pit departments against each other—instead, be their champion and amplify their power. Find things that each department can agree and collaborate on.
  • Care for their well-being and ask how everyone is doing. Don’t let business feel like business. Instead, make it feel like you’re coming together as a team.
  • Leave them wanting more. Are your virtual attendees coming back because they want to or because they have to? Make them excited to come back and share the progress they’ve made on their projects.

2. Look to the broader event marketing community for inspiration on thinking outside of the box for your next b2b event

Vivi’s big piece of advice here is to hire an event agency and trust what they have to contribute. They provide a ton of tools and resources that will allow you to quickly pivot your approach to customers and clients alike. They have insights into how several businesses do things, which is vital information for you and your business. Learn from them as they learn from you, too.

It’s important to be a part of your community, as well as to include others. Communicate with vendors as they interact and conduct business with customers on the ground floor—they know more than anyone what these customers are looking for. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your leadership questions.

Above all else, remember to be kind to yourself and others. Understand your boundaries and stay where you’re celebrated. After all, you only succeed when you bring others with you.

As Vivi answers viewer questions, she provides more advice about her line of work, as well as some specific tips and tricks:

  • Repetition is important—your clients are busy people, so be prepared to repeat yourself to get the message across. Your message has to be extremely tight and memorable. Ask yourself, why should people pay attention to this? Why should they stop what they’re doing to listen to you? Speak like a salesperson!
  • Build trust with your leadership—Sometimes, it may feel like your boss is calling all the shots, leaving you without any agency. When that happens, it’s important to show them that you know what you’re doing. Then, once you’ve proven yourself, your leaders will trust you to make some of the bigger decisions for your department.
  • Foster open and honest communication with your team—Hold “No surprises” meetings where everyone can be open and honest with each other so that issues are identified and resolved. That way, everyone can feel like they’re being heard and understood.
  • Give your marketing department some power—In Vivi’s experience, the marketing department works best when it can stand independently. Let them take charge of certain things like event organization.
  • Have your sales representatives document their work at events—Incentivize them to record what succeeded and failed, as this is important information, especially at events. You may even have the folks from the event agencies help with that.

3. Driving event demand is “a team sport,” so it’s critical to create good partnerships internally

Vivi expects marketers to look deeply at the data and determine where the prospects and customers are. Match up the products’ release schedules with that data. The most important part of your job as a marketer is audience acquisition, and the best thing for that is events and event planning. That’s why building a good relationship with event agencies and planners is important.

The product or content you’re trying to sell has to be worth it, too, as the marketing department shouldn’t be driving demand alone—it has to be quality. Then you can educate your audience: What do they want to know about your product? What new things do you want to tell them? What should be exciting for everyone?

Technology leads are the champions of experiences, either virtual or in person. Their work amplifies the value of a moment. Field events are like magic because of the technology used to make them so fun. At all times, you want your events to match or exceed our most successful moments.

Everyone in the marketing department should be present for these events, as they provide a lot of data. The more eyes on the data (especially as it happens), the more insight your team has moving forward.

If events are the buckets that gather an audience, be the funnel that focuses them.

Thanks so much for joining us, Vivi! That’s all for now, but we’ll see you soon for another episode of Event Marketers Live

© 2024 Copyright Goldcast, Inc. All rights reserved.