Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don't—How To Prioritize Event Investment, Diversify Your Event Experience, and More

March 4, 2024
Lindsay McGuire
Lindsay McGuire
Associate Director of Content and Campaigns at Goldcast

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As we forge ahead into 2024, we're still doing quite a bit of reflecting over here at Goldcast, thinking about what worked well for us last year in terms of event strategy.

If you're in the Event Marketers Club, you've probably seen the discussions about what's "in" and what's "out" this year. (And if you're not in EMC, please join us!)

We recently welcomed Tavar James, Global Head of Field Marketing & Events at Riskified, and Mayra Rivera, Senior Event Marketing Manager at LeanIX, to the Event Marketers Live stage to discuss productivity hacks, sales and marketing alignment, and more.

Tavar has 15+ years of experience in the events space; he began his career in hospitality and then worked his way to corporate events. Mayra's been working in events for 12+ years, after beginning in field marketing and recently making the jump to corporate events. With almost three decades of event experience between these two, we knew we were in for a good time!

Read on for these insights:

  • Simple and sweet productivity tips
  • Diversifying your event experience
  • "Big moments in pocket-size environments at scale"
  • How to decide which events to invest in
  • View sales as an extension of marketing
  • What conferences do event marketers attend?

You can also check out the full episode here:


Simple and sweet productivity tips

Mayra's favorite productivity hack involves almost the opposite of productivity—taking a moment for yourself. Whether you choose to go for a walk outside, brew your favorite cup of tea, or take some deep breaths, it's all about creating a moment to sit and think about your priorities for the day.

For Tavar, Sunday is a reset day. Though many people like to avoid any type of work on weekends, he prefers to spend half the day resetting personally and professionally. He sits on the couch with his dog, logs on to Monday (the irony of this platform name is not lost on us here!), and runs through all of his tasks for the week.

Tavar has found that taking the time to do this on Sunday sets him up for a great first day back to work. He's ready to go, and he knows exactly what he's going to start working on. He recommends that if you want to try this, you start with 15-30 minutes of your Sunday and see if that has any positive effect on your week.

Finally, try taking some of your calls outside. You can even ask to turn a call into a walking meeting and go for a stroll while you're chatting. Studies about walking meetings have shown that participants are more engaged and can benefit everyone, so why not give it a try? Walking while you work can boost productivity and creativity and help you source new ideas.

Diversifying your event experience

You don't accumulate this much time in the events world without learning how to execute amazing experiences! One thing Tavar always keeps in mind is how to diversify the experience across the entire events portfolio.

That means that even if he's working on a third-party trade show, Tavar is thinking about the before-, during-, and after-event phases. He's thinking outside of the trade show floor to identify ways to network with people and engage his audience.

Diversification requires you to realize that events are never a one-size-fits-all type of deal. You will have all types of personalities in your audience, from introverts to extroverts, from young to old—and everything in between.

How can you find a way to touch all of those different people and make sure there's something for everyone?

Think about an artist like Usher. When you attend an Usher concert, there's a plethora of experiences. You can attend the main show, of course, but you can also pay to snap a picture with the artist, or spend some time backstage with the VIP crowd. Artists do this because they know that everyone's different, and they're trying to offer something for everyone.

"Big moments in pocket-size environments at scale"

At LeanIX, Mayra's team is focused on being very intentional with all company engagements and trying to bring in small group interactions whenever possible. If she's doing a sponsorship, for example, Mayra might try to schedule all of the 1:1 meetings on intentional preset conversations, or perhaps she'll host a small 10-12 person dinner.

How prestting the engagements maximize sponsorship - Myra Rivera, LeanIX

Tavar refers to smaller events as creating "big moments in pocket-size environments at scale." Even in small spaces and small environments, you can be creative and innovative. While many marketers balk at going smaller because they think it's going to mean a less fun or exciting event, that's not the case at all—you just have to think creatively.

How to decide which events to invest in

As budgets continue to be cut and event marketers look to produce more with less resources, a lot of us are wondering how to evaluate which events to invest in.

How are events not equal - Tavar James

Some tips here:

  • Meet with your stakeholders. Find out what success would look like to them, and identify what your goals are. It's smart to go into this meeting with a proposal to maximize everyone's time; because many of your stakeholders are usually salespeople, you don't want to take too much time away from them being able to sell.
  • Align your budget with your revenue targets. Some areas might get more funding because they need to bring in more revenue. This is appropriate and necessary!
  • Look at your pipeline. Are there regions that are struggling and need more attention? This could be a good place to direct your event efforts. It might also make sense to double down on the areas that are doing well to bring in even more ROI.
  • If you're considering a sponsorship, you want to make sure that your audience is actually going to that event and that it makes sense for you to be there. If you're questioning a specific sponsorship, you can ask to meet with a prior sponsor to get feedback on how it went for them.
  • Remember those small events we just talked about? Try starting out with virtual engagements, like a virtual wine tasting or online cooking class. These are great ways to dip your toe in the water and get to know people without having to go on a big trip.
  • Don't overcommit yourself. Think about your team and your realistic bandwidth, and try to get clear on what your capacity is. You don't want to commit to 20 events in one year if you've only got a team of 2-3 people; you'll all burn out that way.
  • Lean into your partnerships. See if there are any chances for partnership opportunities where the partner covers more of the cost than you do; this can help you save budget while still pulling off an awesome event.
  • Always save some of your budget for ad hoc or pop-up requests! You never know what wild ideas will come up throughout the year, and you want to make sure you have some flexibility.

At Goldcast, our Head of Marketing does an internal "roadshow tour" when it's time for yearly planning. She hits all of the departments and shares the full picture of the events we're hoping to do in the coming year. This gets everyone aligned on the same page and creates momentum for the exciting events to come.

View sales as an extension of marketing

It's critical to build trust with your stakeholders in finance and sales; you can make this happen by viewing sales and marketing as extensions of each other. It should never be a "sales vs marketing" mentality, but rather a "sales and marketing" view.

Always equip sales with all of the information they need to do their job successfully. Whether it's ready-to-go copy they can use, info you provide them through their existing team calls, or even a dedicated weekly update email, making their lives easier is always appreciated!


Decisions should never be made in a vacuum, so be sure that your sales team has a seat at the table from the very beginning. Create spaces where the teams feel integrated; maybe this looks like presenting together during certain meetings so that you're seen as a unified front instead of separate entities.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it's inevitable that there's a conflict between what your sales team, marketing team, and the business itself want to happen. The one thing that can bring that all together? Data.


In the words of Jay Z, "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't." Not much to argue with there! Be sure that you always have the data available when you're assessing what to move forward with and where to spend your money; this can help resolve conflict and reorient everyone to the same goal.

What conferences do event marketers attend?

We love a good audience question, and we got one during this session about what conferences and events marketers should be looking out for. This is a great inquiry! We're always wondering where event marketers go to learn about the latest in event promotion.

Tavar enjoys IMEX; if he had to choose between the Vegas and Frankfurt events, he finds Frankfurt to be a bit smaller and more intentional, but he's had a lot of fun and been inspired by both. He also went to SEMA for the first time last year and enjoyed the healthy event planner to vendor ratio.

He also recommends looking into local, smaller meetups in your geographic area. These can provide a more intimate environment and help you meet other professionals who live near you. And don't be afraid to get highly specific!

For example, Tavar recently connected with The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals, which is dedicated to the training needs of Black meeting planners. There are nuances when it comes to language and culture and things you can do to influence event attendees, and getting this specific with a group can help you become more creative and diversified in your own planning.


Mayra loved a recent training she did through The Chartered Institute of Marketing; the organizer talked a lot about thinking about the customer journey at all points of the process—from the giveaways to the venue, just keeping that customer journey top of mind is a powerful thing to do.

Now we want to hear from you: What did you think about this episode of Event Marketers Live? Do you have a conference or event you want to recommend? Let us know, and don't forget to catch up with the full replay on demand!

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