Why Events Teams Shouldn't Answer For Pipeline and the Great Gate (or Ungate) Debate

April 29, 2024
Lindsay McGuire
Lindsay McGuire
Associate Director of Content and Campaigns at Goldcast

While we don't travel for our Event Marketers Live events, we felt like we went around the world with this last one!

Belinda Joseph, our Head of Events and Community, talked to Nikki Sherin, Head of Marketing and Corporate Events at Broadcom and Kathryn Frankson, Global Director of Marketing at Money20/20. Both leaders have deep experience running global events, albeit for different industries—and we couldn't wait to hear their hot takes and POVs on events.

Money20/20 runs a series of global conferences and trade shows for the FinTech market, but Kathryn's background in events started long before this role, with jobs in sales, BDR, enterprise, and operations. Nikki, on the other hand, has worked for Broadcom (formerly VMware) for the last ten years, running flagship programs like VMware Explore (formerly VMworld).

Read on for:

  • Hot take: Don't make marketing responsible for pipeline
  • Don't do all your living in the middle
  • Repurposing and the great gate debate 🚧
  • Grab as much content as you can on-site at events
  • Is it time to hire a dedicated content marketer?
  • Highlight your value prop to the sales team
  • Check out the Event Marketers Club

And if you want to watch the full episode of EML before you review the takeaways, click below!


Hot take: Don't make marketing responsible for pipeline

We know that many marketers are responsible for pipeline goals and analyzing how events further pipeline. This is a big reason why we revamped our annual compensation report to focus on demand generation roles instead of exclusively on event marketers.

In Nikki's case, however, she thinks it's better when event marketers don't have to answer for pipeline.


Broadcom is looking to engage and enable existing customers at events with technical training, education on new product features, and opportunities to connect with experts and peers. The events team is tasked with providing the platform and the programming to make all of that happen, but they don't have to worry about pipeline.

When you take pipeline away from the events team, you're allowing them to focus on what they're really experts at, which is putting on world-class events and making sure that people are consuming content, building engagement, and continuing to grow their relationship with the brand.

That means that Nikki's team is responsible for KPIs around engagement, NPS scores, and session scores—and while pipeline may be a result of that, it's more of a secondary sales motion and a sales/demand function. Nikki has found that it's a relief to be able to think about just event execution and KPIs that her team can actually control!

Our take? We're definitely seeing event roles continue to shift, and we're curious if other companies will follow Broadcom's lead and uncouple events and pipeline/demand gen. (PS: Another reminder that you can learn more about demand gen roles and what they are paid in our Demand Generation Compensation Report!)

Don't do all your living in the middle

It's no secret that events are a huge lift. You're thinking of a million different things, all at once: how to appeal to potential attendees, how to engage folks once they're there, who to partner with to amplify your message, how to capture content you can repurpose after the event … the list goes on.

Try not to get so caught up in those parts of the process—what Kathryn calls "the middle"—that you forget about everything else.


Of course you have to build an event that's worthy of people's time and attention and provides value. But don't forget about the things that can sometimes fall by the wayside: namely, extreme creativity and product build.

Do you know what product you're building? Why is it creative? What makes it different from other products? Is it interesting? Is it world class? It's important to make time to reflect on these questions so that you don't get sucked into the events-planning-and-hosting machine that we can all fall prey to and lose sight of the big picture!

Repurposing and the great gate debate 🚧

A great way to let your repurposed event content live on is to build out an on-demand library, but the age-old question arises: Is it better to gate or ungate?

Gating can be beneficial for lead generation, but it can also cause people to leave the page without signing up. There's a balance marketers have to strike between lead capture and readily providing valuable, accessible content to an audience—but the balance isn't always clear.

As with many things in marketing, the answer is: It depends. If you're at a place where you're trying to grow your potential customer list and you need people to sign up, maybe gating makes sense right now.

However, even then, it might make sense to offer some content ungated so that people can get to know your brand and get motivated to sign up for more. Ungated content will always potentially reach a wider audience and meet people where they're at, which are great benefits!

Broadcom, on the other hand, is solidly Team No Gate for most of their assets. They want to connect with people as much as possible, and they're not focused on lead generation in a traditional sense.

Nikki's team's hope is that by giving people tons of free, valuable content, they'll be excited to sign up for Explore when it comes time. Where she does use gated content is for exclusive webinars or interactions with key speakers—in other words, more focused events or offerings for their community group.

Grab as much content as you can on-site at events

There's also the question of what type of content is best at capturing the true essence of live events. Should you go for videos? Blogs? Both?

If you host IRL events or attend conferences, we recommend capturing content on site and then repurposing it after:

This has been an area Money20/20 and its sponsors are focusing on this year.

How On-site content creation helps marketers - kATHYRN fRANKSON, mONEY 20/20

Next time you've got a booth at a conference, think of it as a goldmine for future content. You could set up chats with people and record podcasts, create video clips, have customers do testimonials, and so much more. Think about how to involve your key personas while you have them available and willing, so you can reach other people like them afterward.

Start with the end in mind: What stories do you want to tell with this content? Getting lots of footage from the event is always awesome, but if you clearly know your end goal, you'll be laser-focused on having the right conversations and securing the perfect shots.

Is it time to hire a dedicated content marketer?

If some of this sounds like a big lift, you can always consider outsourcing certain roles to a freelancer, like a contract videographer or an editor.

Who knows? You might end up hiring a dedicated content marketing person, like Broadcom did.

Historically, Broadcom posted all of its content in the on-demand library, which meant there were years and years of sessions on there—not the most user-friendly place to be. The first task for the new content marketing hire was to curate the library. She analyzed data and discovered which content people were looking at the most; then she met with the UX teams to build a tool to serve up relevant, in-demand content.

Going forward, the new hire will be thinking about how to get more people to come to VM Explore; the company has found that when people attend, there's a natural acceleration for adoption that happens afterward, so the more attendees, the better.

The bottom line: Content marketing should be taken seriously, and sometimes an investment needs to be made because it's a lot of work for even a dedicated, full-time person to handle, let alone spreading it across a team who already has other responsibilities.

However, if you're budget-strapped or working with a small team, that doesn't mean you can't succeed. Start small and think about the baby steps you can take to get started with a smart content marketing strategy.

Highlight your value prop to the sales team

A big shift that the Broadcom team made this year to sales enablement was to ask themselves the question: What's in it for sales?

It's natural to focus heavily on what's in it for your customer, but what about flipping the narrative a little like Nikki's team has done? Make it clear to your salespeople why something is important for them to do, versus focusing on churning out assets for them to use without context.

You can even use this to get salespeople excited about attending events. If a hot lead is going to one of your events, it might make complete sense for sales to attend as well to move the deal forward.

Thinking about why sales should care—in a sense that goes beyond "because customers will like this"—has been helpful for the team, and it's something we can all try. Broadcom also eliminated their field marketing team when they restructured, giving them a direct line to sales, so they're able to get that feedback from sales about what support and resources are needed.

If you're thinking what Broadcom does sounds interesting, but it would never work for you, we actually ran into an unexpected bit of serendipity during the event:


At Money20/20, they've put a resource directly in with the sales team so marketing can understand sales in terms of what they're goaled on, how incentives work for them, etc. Kathryn was fully aware that oftentimes, marketing gets credit for everything when in reality, salespeople are the ones constantly trying to move the biggest rocks behind the scenes.

With a marketing resource actually embedded in the sales department, the teams communicate more about what matters to them and how they can help each other. It makes it easier to see when things are actually helpful or not—for example, a 50-page handy guide for how to upsell your clients may sound (and look) great to us marketers, but it's probably not the most user-friendly resource for a sales team member to navigate.

Check out the Event Marketers Club

~BTW~ have you seen the chat over in the Event Marketers Club? đź‘€Folks are getting into the nitty-gritty of conferences and how they're attracting booth visitors, as well as dissecting the recently released Demand Gen Compensation Report.

Plus, marketers are hiring and they're posting alllll the hot jobs! To learn more or to join us, click here.

Don't forget you can always watch the full episode of EML for even more in-depth advice from these two global events masterminds!


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