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Show Notes & Transcript: 4 Tips for Hosting a Successful Event

Post | Jan 17, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

This is Episode #150 and we’re talking hosting successful events. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts Episode #150: 4 Tips for Hosting a Successful Event

Good or bad events can make or break your brand. You can’t always do everything perfectly, but there are plenty of things you can do to ensure your event runs smoothly. Hosting a successful event comes down to being clear on who the event is for, being organized but flexible, incorporating touches that will delight the guests, and having someone run the event who is not a participant in it. But what do you do if the energy in the room starts to fizzle out? How do you know how many people will actually show up? And what should you do after the event? We have hot-off-the-press experiences with all these aspects from our ForthRight Women (FRw) events, and are here to resolve your worries so you can rock that stellar event. This episode covers everything from hosting to engaging the audience. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you become a compelling speaker?
  • What do you do if things start to fizzle out or people don’t seem to be enjoying themselves?
  • How do you know how many people to invite and expect?
  • What do you do after the event?
  • How do you be clear on who the event is for?
  • What are psychographics?
  • How much should you stick to the run of show?
  • What touches can you incorporate to delight the guests?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at: ForthRight-People.com.

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 

Transcript

Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you miss anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it.

April Martini 0:29
Welcome to Marketing Smarts!

Anne Candido 0:31
I am Anne Candido and I am

April Martini 0:32
April Martini, and today we’re going to talk about a highly relevant topic as we are all back in person more often. And we may be a little rusty in this area. And that is we’re going to discuss tips for hosting a successful event. We’ve all participated in good ones and not so good ones. And now that we are heavily invested in running our own events through our subbrand, ForthRight Women (FRw), we thought an episode on this topic would be helpful to us and all of you.

Anne Candido 1:00
Yeah, and events can be an excellent way to bring people together for community or training or celebrating. And this was actually a lot of my life when I worked in PR at P&G. At times, actually, I felt like a glorified party planner.

April Martini 1:15
Because we curated on your job description,

Anne Candido 1:17
it could be honestly it could be. But we would curate these events in order to primarily attract and encourage journalists and influencers to write possibly about us. But whether your audience is journalist or someone else, the objective is always the same, which is we want to produce a memorable event that positively impacts your reputation through value creation.

April Martini 1:38
Exactly. And therefore the reason for this episode, so let’s get into four tips for hosting a successful event. Number one, be clear on who the event is for and who it is not for. Both are equally important. So one of the risks or worries of running an event is always what if no one comes. And when you let yourself swirl in this space, this ultimately leads to inviting everyone without targeting anyone in particular. So first, take a deep breath here, we have had to do the same. And then be super clear, super clear on who the event is for and who it is not for, because you want people to be able to see themselves or read themselves in your intentions and then immediately say, Yes, that is me or no, that is definitely not me make it easy for them to self select in or out so that you are getting the right people to come and then eliminating the ones that maybe aren’t such a good fit. We all get so many communications and really invites these days now that we’re kind of back on. There’s all kinds of invites coming through. So this setup is really critical because you want people to get excited and then opt right in like in that moment. Because we all have this thing where you’re right, we have the best of intentions to come back. We read something and we’re like, oh yeah, I think I do want to do that. And then 150 emails later, it’s completely buried and you forgotten. And how likely are you to go back and remember or even find that thing if you do happen to remember. So I said, you know, we struggled with this with our first forthright Women event because we ultimately made the decision that the event was going to be for executive moms that are quote unquote, in it, when it comes to parenting their children are forthright women overall sub brand has allowances to be more broad than that. But when we really sat down and we started to think about why we were doing this, and how to put on an event that would be relevant to everyone, we did some time reflecting on some past runs we had taken at ForthRight Women, and what that looked like. And what we came back with was when we allow more of a breath of folks to come in, it kind of waters things down. And it’s not any discredit toward anyone that was involved. And we are so thankful and grateful. Like don’t miss hear me for every single person that participated and entertain us and put up with all the trial runs. But what we came to is, you know, we are asking a good amount of time, I think it was what two and a half hours, people’s time. It’s real close to the holiday season. And like we said, we’re all getting invited to all kinds of things. And so we had to create something where these women could see themselves in the event and also see the value of other women in that profile coming to it as well. And what we realized and why we came to executive moms that are in it, quote unquote, not that that was our exact definition, but close enough was that this is an underserved market. There aren’t a lot of groups that are serving this particular group of women and so we opted to focus there really specifically and make it a really objective non emotional decision. I mean when we kind of ran it past someone to a networking event, I remember them being like, why don’t have kids? What about me? And we did give us pause. But we were like, Yeah, but it’s just not the same set of challenges then. And so we came to that objective place. And we decided we’re going to take a run at this. And if that means less people are going to come, but the quality of the people and the consistency of what we’re trying to get to is there, we felt like that’s where the magic could happen. And I’ll say one more thing, and then I’ll let Anne talk about this point. But we did have one person come back and tell me that when we sent out that email, she was like, it was so clear, and so decisive, and she was one of the targets. She said, she sent that out to her company, not as like an invite to the women. But as a, this is what we should be doing, when it comes to this type of thing. Because I was able to read that and take that in and know that yes, this is for me, and it’s not for these other people. And it just made my decision, super black and white.

Anne Candido 5:58
Yeah, everything you said, I think it’s right on. And I think the point that it’s not an easy decision to make, because we have a tendency, especially in this day and age to want to be inclusive of everybody. And I what I want you guys to hear is this stuff doesn’t mean that by refining your profile for your invitees, that you’re not being inclusive, what I’m doing is you’re making the event of value to the population of the people that are going to, to be there. Yes. So this is actually I think the demise of a lot of will disappear on the topic of female groups, or women’s groups of a lot of those were, a lot of these groups are set up by demographic, if you’re a woman, then you’re here, or if you have a job, then you’re here, or if you like, whatever that like basic demographic is, but what they fail to do is really hone in on the psychographics. So whether it’s a again, let me we’ve been talking from a female event standpoint, but this could be any event is think about what the psychographics are of the people who are going to show up. So I mean, as another example, we just went to the Northern Kentucky women’s event there. Now I said women’s event, this could have been any event. This is not was not a networking event, they could have posed as a networking event, but was an educational event. It was supposed to be more inspirational, there was a lot of speakers or a back to back, you had a couple minutes in between, but it really wasn’t a networking. But anybody who was trying to network or use at that event for that purpose would have been sorely disappointed. Yes. Right. So to say that it’s a networking event and how people actually invest their time to come there, with the expectations on networking and not having that facilitated in a way that you would expect it if it’s a networking event would be very disappointing. So I gave you those examples just to really, hopefully help you guys hone in on how important it is to really drill down on to psychographics, in order to really define a profile that’s going to appreciate what you have to offer that is what’s going to make a successful event, whether it if it’s like 10 people or 100 people.

April Martini 8:02
Yeah, no, I think that’s exactly right. And that’s the point at this point, right is to be crystal clear in the communication and not to hedge and make sure that you’re really are putting your stake in the ground. And then you hold yourself to that to be sure that it doesn’t waver anywhere along the path.

Anne Candido 8:20
Yeah, and it’s gonna be hard to say no to some folks, but I find the more honest, you could be, which is, you know, and we’ve had that conversation with several folks, not just those who didn’t have kids, but those who were younger and had kids are like, you’re just not in the same life stage as the rest of these women. Yeah, it’s not going to feel like colleagues, it’s going to feel like mentorship or you know, where these women are gonna feel like they have to take care of you versus being able to indulge on themselves for that, that amount of time, or they’re gonna feel like they’re got to teach or educate versus explore themselves. No fault, or no judgment on either side. It’s just not what the intent of the event was. So you have to be really honest with yourself on these things, or else you tend to have, like you said, an event that just basically delusive for everybody in the race, like what did I just spend my time doing? Yes, yeah.

April Martini 9:11
All right, number two, on the four tips for hosting a successful event, specify the run of show but be flexible in the moment. And I will take this one because this is one that I personally struggle with in the fact that I am a control freak. I know that shocks everyone. I want to cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s and run things accordingly. But the problem with that is that we’re dealing with human beings and you cannot predict human behavior. And so you have to really flex that emotional intelligence muscle in the moment and balance out the desire to stick to the run of show with what actually is happening and where there may be chemistry or opportunities in some organic situations in the event. Now, what we’re not seeing here, I just want to be clear is to kind of phone it in just kind of like throw the run a show out because you think things are quote unquote, going well, or running along or whatever we’re saying the opposite. So when you start to formulate your event, you really should plan everything down to the very last detail. And then plan for what you might not expect to happen and play out what you’re going to do if those things happen. But then also knowing that you just you can’t control it. All right, and so you’re going to have to make decisions in the moment because there are going to be on an unanticipated things. And what you want to do is make room for those unanticipated things. So if you’ve planned accordingly, and you’ve done every detail, and you’re in the minutiae, and then you have kind of your plan B of if these things happen, we’re going to do this, then when other unexpected things come up that are not so good. You’re much more capable of handling them, because you put all the work into place to getting there. At our event, we did this very thing. So we let the networking time go longer, because it was clear that people were getting to know each other and the chatter and the energy was really good. We were going around and kind of facilitating some introductions to folks or if anyone was standing on their own, but in large part when we would connect people they were starting to go themselves, right. So we thought good for them to have a little bit of level of comfortability before we make everyone sit down and we have the speaker. And then same thing we had had Logan Hines, the President and CEO of Mitchell Salon and Day Spa speak. And Anne and I actually had the conversation about do we do intros before she speaks or after? And we thought, well, if she speaks first we know she’s speaking with a level of vulnerability. So it’s probably better to wait and have people introduce themselves after because they’ll feel more comfortable saying more than just, I’m this title. And I have these children, right. But as people were more comfortable than we thought one of the participants was like, Oh, hold on, hold on. Can we do intros before we get into this? Now she knew she was really getting my goat with that statement. In fact, I think she said, April’s gonna kill me. But can we please do this first. And we did that and it was totally fine. And it kind of warm people up and got more of a chuckle and all those things. And then finally, because Logan knows I’m a control freak, we didn’t get to our list of questions or prompt questions for discussion. And afterward, she came up and she goes, all I could think about was, Oh, my god, April didn’t get to ask her questions. Is this going to be okay? Yeah, she’s black blacked out at that point. But the conversation was going really well. And so and I didn’t need to facilitate that. But what you’re hearing us say there, and the important part about that is we had plans in place that then allowed us to make informed choices on what we’re gonna do next. Because we were able to be a little more breezy in the moment. And we knew what the plan was maybe in more than me. But the point of this is, okay, so you have your run a show, but then being flexible. So really, it becomes less important and needs to be less structured, if the energy is going up in the flow is becoming natural, but also just make sure that you are paying off what you promised to people, and that you’re not kind of throwing things out because energy happens to be good. Because like Anne made the point in the previous point. You know, you want people to feel like it’s worth their investment of time. And I think just make sure that the things that are non negotiables do happen to pay off whatever you promised, as far as the experience of that event is.

Anne Candido 13:29
Yeah, I think those are all really, really good points. And I mean, I chuckled because April’s, I think her new year’s resolution is going to be to be more breezy. So we’ll see how that all goes. I don’t know more to come.

April Martini 13:40
I’m not a big resolution person. But I feel like if I, if I were to put that in place, I’m pretty sure by like week two after the Florida glow wears off, I would be back where I am. Yeah, well, sure. I

Anne Candido 13:52
have to say that you have adjusted, I would just yeah, yes, I have. I think what you said is, is all very, very important. And I think the run a show is basically a tool, but it does help things not get off the rails either. Exactly. So I mean, if we could have let that discussion go on all night and not content anything, right. And I mean, that would have been bad, it would have been bad, especially if we didn’t know how much time we really wanted to allow it to it in order to let everything else also have the time it needs in order to be fully developed, let people engage in it and logon make sure she had enough time to have to speak and then have questions asked and all those sorts of things. So I think the important point to take away here is that the runner’s show is a guide to really ensure everyone is on the same page regarding structure and content. That’s what it does it aligned it’s almost like a brief that aligned what the event is going to be like. Yep. And I kind of equate it to like a play right? Yeah, if you’re going to orchestrating thing Yeah, you’re orchestrating things if you’re going to go do a play you and just be like, alright, just just talk. Right? You have like a script that says okay, what you want people to say where they’re supposed to be what you know, basically Even the context of the tone, or the are the production, quality, all of these things are really, really important. Because the create the experience that you want to have, in order to bring this all together in order to create value, it’s also really important to use it to, to really fine tune logistics. And then also transitions. Yeah, which a lot of people forget. And then it becomes really important. And when you’re trying to move from one thing to the next, as also, just your point is the contingency plans. But what we also seen a lot of people neglect the overall performance value of it. And not that it has to be literally to like the point that you’re doing like a Broadway play, but you are in your ticket, if you have any elements of lighting, if you have anything elements of AV if you have, in some cases, music going, or introductions and really trying to map all those things out to make sure that there they go smoothly. It’s really, really important that you run your show encompasses all of those things. Yes,

April Martini 15:58
yeah. And there are just there are, you know, unlike and I’m not the master of events, I like to host and throw parties and things. So it’s not that I’m like alien to it. Right. It’s it’s some it’s in my wheelhouse. But the thing that I’ve known and recognized about myself over the years is that if I don’t plan it out, or almost play it out, I do miss things like the transitions, or how are we going to get from here to there. And I think that that is a common thing. I mean, especially as someone who feels like I’m pretty good with people. And I’ve been to enough of these things, I could easily fall into that, like, I’m good at this. And I’ve been to plenty, so I can just go ahead and do it. But I think that’s where people get in trouble. And they they fall off is they don’t consider all of the little moments and details that actually are the important things. And I’m pre empting a little bit here, but they are those things that make or break your event. I

Anne Candido 16:59
feel like yeah, I totally agree.

April Martini 17:01
All right, I really preempted to the next point. Number three incorporate touches that will delight the guests and and there you go, I set you up.

Anne Candido 17:10
Yes, yes, you did, which is totally fine. So this is like we were just talking about a sub point of the runners show. But it’s really important that we wanted to make a point of its own because it really is what sets the experience, right. And these are the things that you are going to be planning that may be outside of the the meat of the show, or the content of the show or the event. And those are things like the menu or making sure that people are having enough to eat or drink or for example, for me, I’m gluten free, are there things there that I can partake in the swag bags, you know, making sure things are personalized if you can, when we were talking about the event we hosted, we had personalized skin consultation. So that became very, very personalized. So these are about the little things that actually have a big impact. And when you tie them all together to create an experience that’s memorable, it creates something that people are able to recognize in glam onto in a way that builds your credibility, your reputation, but it also creates a minute that they want to actually share. Yes, and this is something you plan to have as a series like we are, we want people to share because we want people to excited to come back. We want people to bring other people with them, we want them to really advocate for us on our behalf because that word of mouth is really, really so important. So it’s really important to really think about how you’re going to curate this event. To really, again, I use the word personalize this for the people that are going to be there. And when you are really clear about your target audience and you can hone in on that target audience, this becomes so much easier because you know what they like you know what you’re going to be able to give them that’s going to be appreciated. And that is how you can create this event that’s not just you pushing out content, it is them appreciating the value of the experience that you’re bringing to them. So like I said in our ForthRight Women event we had the skin consultations that’s one element of doing personalization. We also had these really awesome collagen gloves which I’m finding takes now is taking the place of the paraffin wax yes that they actually took the fingers out of them so that we can actually hold our wine I mean it’s like these little touches that people so he were both going around with these like, like almost like little like plastic clown glows holding their wine and just really having fantastic conversations. But then the bags were beauty bags because it was Logan and we wanted to make sure it was curated in order to really promote the whole beauty element which it wasn’t the content was about beauty but she represented yes beauty in the company. And so had those elements but it also had tools of the trade that she uses, like a post it notes and things like that in order to really drive the connections of like, Oh, she’s like I use personas that were posted notes and are in To swipe back,

April Martini 20:00
it was a little bit of a happy accident.

Anne Candido 20:04
But it was like, Oh, it kind of just gave us a little bit of pause of like, thinking about how to make sure that those connections are made. So people can appreciate the event, but then also take it with them when they leave, because that creates more impact. Yep.

April Martini 20:18
And I think, you know, I mentioned the things that kind of carrier event along a couple just points to add on this is, these are the things that people go off and talk about. And that came back around to us. You know, we had a couple instances where people had to back out last minute for illness and other things. And we got back from them from other people like, oh, well, I heard I really missed out, you know, and it was these types of things that we’re talking about where it was like carefully curated, and targeting the women that were coming. And then also, I think the swag bag thing is a nice delight in and of itself. But drawing back the connection points. And then also and always talks about offering something that people can’t just get as a general thing out there. Right. And so Logan put 20% off certificates and everyone’s bag and one of a different woman came to me and said, and I really appreciated 20% off at Mitchell’s like, Are you kidding me? I’m scheduled for my facial next week. And so you can see how it helps to carry you on. And I think, you know, and you’ve said the thing before about being careful not to invite the younger women because then the more experienced ones feel like they have to mentor right? This event was very much about these women being able to come and take care of themselves. Right. Right, right. And so I think what we did when we built in all these moments of delight, the criteria became, how can we do that for them. So whether it was takeaway beauty products, or it was posted, because Logan talked about the fact that that saves her life on the regular, you know, it was continuing that along but the lens in our minds the whole time was, well, we’re the target, too. So what would we want to feel like we were cared for? Because that was the goal of this event, knowing that we’re all running around crazy and dealing with so many things as executive moms.

Anne Candido 22:13
Yeah, absolutely, really good point.

April Martini 22:16
All right, number four, in the tips for hosting a successful event, have someone run the event that is not a participant in it. And

Anne Candido 22:25
yes, so this is where you need to be very diligent in how you’re assigning roles and responsibilities to folks, because a lot of times you’ll try to have people double duty one to manage the expense of having people do it for you. Or to because of a control freak, which is like, only I can make sure this event goes off well, well, if you’re going to be the person who is making sure the event goes off, then it’s going to be very, very hard for you also be a host of the event. Yeah, because you’re going to be constantly distracted from making the connections, facilitating the conversation, all of these things that are really, really important to make sure your event comes off the way that you intended. Because you’re gonna be like, Well, why isn’t the food how, why are the lights not like working and like, who’s supposed to be checking in all these people. And so those are do very specific and very different roles. And so you need to assign them as such. And we got this in spades when our Laura who was supposed to be our person who was managing our logistics, got sick at the last minute. And so then me and April were like trying to double duty on our first event, all of the logistics and hosting it, we can tell you it was not easy. And it felt very awkward to have to step away from a conversation, because we had to figure out, do we have like the wine up on the counter or you know, whatever or so and so doesn’t have their wine, or it just became a really hard thing to manage. And it felt a little phonetic in a moment. So make sure you are assigning those roles appropriately and making it by having somebody who’s kind of your run a show master, if you will, it helps to make sure that somebody is keeping an eye on that. It from a time standpoint, from an energy standpoint, from like, hey, something’s missing standpoint, or this thing has just changed standpoint, that doesn’t mean that you don’t make some of those decisions. But it does help to have somebody who’s actually looking at it on a regular basis. It also makes sure that as you mentioned April that the event goes off as intended so that you can bring that value home because the last thing you want is to take advantage of people’s time as their most precious commodity and not be able to leave that event feeling like you gave it everything that you thought you could give it that doesn’t mean everything’s gonna go right it doesn’t mean like it’s gonna be perfect doesn’t mean everybody’s gonna like every single element of everything that you guys did, but it does make you feel good that I put the last event out there that I possibly could. Yeah, I

April Martini 25:02
think all of that is so true. And I, you know, I reflected on the fact that we didn’t have Laura. And I think my take away from it was the pressure that people were coming to be with women like them. But right behind that people were coming because of anime, right. And I’m not saying that in an ego driven way. But they understood what the quality of the event was going to be as a result of that, because they knew we weren’t going to let things go off the rails. And so when we had those moments of having to step away, I was very cognizant that people that all the people, all the individuals felt like they got the right amount of time and attention from you and I as the hosts, right, even if that meant going up to someone as the event was ending and chatting for an extra 10 minutes, or, you know, whatever that looked like, because the host should be integral in the experience of the event. So I think it just reinforces, yeah, we kind of fell into this, and you never want to do that again. But I think it’s it’s that point of that’s part of whether they believe it’s worth it or not. Yeah, I agree. All right. So just to recap four tips for hosting a successful event. Number one, be clear on who the event is for and who it is not for both are equally important to being able to self select on either side. Number two, specify the run of show but be flexible. In the moment, make sure you’re on track to cover everything you intend, but not at the sacrifice of natural moments that occur and are to the benefit of the event. Number three incorporate touches that will delight the guests these the things that make people feel extra special, that blow them away enough for them to share with others after they tie things up in a nice, neat bow. And number four, have someone run the event that is not a participant in it. This ensures things stay on track, and lets the host or hosts participate with their guests. And in our next segment, which is in the trenches where we give real world examples specific to industries and situations but with broad application, so any of you listening can digest and put them into action. Number one, what if things start to fizzle out? Or people don’t seem to be enjoying themselves? What do we do? Okay, first and foremost, do not panic.

Anne Candido 27:20
It’s easier said than done

April Martini 27:20
every year. And yes, we know that that is a big ask. As long as you don’t panic, every situation is salvageable. So take a deep breath, and then try to diagnose in an objective manner. What is happening, because a lot of times it’s in those transition moments, or maybe you spent a little too long in one plays those types of things. So is it just time to move on to the next thing? Have you been in this current space too long? Or on this current topic too long? Do you need to stand up and say something to the group or offer a conversation starter to get things back on track as the host of the event? Is it something simple? Like the lines too long for drinks? Can you or someone else jumping in assist? Or can you nominate someone to get things moving along a little better are people standing around awkwardly, you facilitate introductions, this is part of your role as host, we just talked about that. And what Ann and I were doing with our event, help people connect if they’re not naturally able to do so. And then also have some folks pre planned to help you in these instances, we said it can be hard to host and participate at the same time. So use some of your people and you know, strategically invite them to be around and to be a pair of hands if necessary. Use the staff at the event to help here by being your eyes and ears to prevent this type of thing from happening or to get in front of it having a major impact. I mean, I will say Susan was great leading up to the event. But she was also really good in the moment because she came up and she didn’t interrupt or intrude. But she found moments to ask me specific things like I think the music one out is that okay, I couldn’t even hear it because people were talking but I want to make sure you know, that’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about. And then also allow yourself some grace and knowing nothing will go perfectly the first time. If minor things occur, especially if you’re built like me, you’re going to have to just brush it off. As long as it’s not impacting the event in a major way, it’s probably okay, and most people aren’t even going to notice. Again, we’re managing human beings and human experiences. So you’re gonna have to be realistic that you can have it down to the second and everything set up perfectly just know something is going to happen, and you’re gonna have to be able to manage it and move forward.

Anne Candido 29:35
Yeah, I think that last point is a really important one is like because even the best laid plans can go awry sometimes because you just didn’t anticipate for the human factor. You know, you just can’t and you just have to be flexible in the moment and then realize that what seems like a disaster to you is probably not as much of a disaster to everybody else. Yeah. So keep that in mind too. So I like the whole point about giving yourself so Some grace. The other thing is, and I think you made this point. In your first point that you said about moving on to the next thing is like when you see things getting stale, even if it’s not, at time for it just Yeah, move on. I mean it, especially if it’s an agenda based thing, it’s just time to move on. And that happens a lot where we over Plan time for things like you said. So I think that that’s a really good one to keep in mind. But realize, too, that not everybody is going to like everything. Yes. Right. So you’re going to plan some things. And even though you have a really core group of based on a psychographic, your filter for your audience, I’m different than April, right. So we hear things differently, we see things differently, we like people differently. So a speaker, for example, may resonate with her and doesn’t with me, or might resonate with me and not with her, that can happen, and that can be totally fine. The thing is, sometimes you just need to get through it. And then you just take the feedback, and then you adjust for next time. But here’s where I will say also make sure you do your homework or you go and make sure you get the references for anybody like a speaker, or you make sure to get their talk or at least our talking points ahead of time you talk about and have a discussion with them about what the intent of the event is, and how you want them to show up and how you want them to present. And so get some familiarity with that so that you can feel good going in that it’s the right person for you don’t just take somebody else’s word for it. Yeah. Because you need to make sure that you’re again, curating this and cultivating it to suit the group, not just maybe what one person’s filter is.

April Martini 31:40
Yeah, yeah. And I think it is a really good point that we’re not all going to like the same things in the same way or the same people in the same way. And I think that’s what you’re looking for is for if you have the right target, and you’ve hit it, you want them to really enjoy 75-80% of it, right? And then the rest of it, it’s like, well, they don’t like the food, okay? Or they didn’t like your choice of wine. Okay, it’s not gonna make or break their experience if they get the overall key goals and takeaways of what you’re putting out there. Yeah. All right, number two, in the trenches on hand, this one to Anne, how do we know how many people to invite? And then how many people to expect?

Anne Candido 32:18
Yeah, so this is a combination of your target and our run a show. So it’s really about thinking about what does your target want? And what do you want to reasonably be able to cover in the event? Alright, so a good rule of thumb is to start out with an invite this twice as many people as you want to attend, it, this really helps you to be able to select the right group, as well as for people to opt out or may not be able to get to that email, and so on and so forth. So it just gives you a nice pool of people in order to pull from so that you’re not feeling like that you invited 10 people and only five can show and so is it even worthwhile having the event, which is generally what goes on the other side of the investment versus the value that you’re gonna get out of it. If you’re worried about having too many, you could put a cap on things and say that there’s only 20 spaces. And so the first 20 that sign up and paid, those are going to be the spot so most spots are filled as spots are filled, you can also do a vetting process, so you can have instead, so all out to a big list of people and say you’re having any event and if they’re interested in they can fill out an application or they can put in a request and that you’re going to be going through a vetting and you’ll let them know if they were accepted or not. So this is generally more of a thing that you can do when you’ve had more under your belt and there’s a little bit more of a pool for your events then there is a push for your event. But that’s definitely something you could do. But if you are trying to make the event intimate make sure that you are sizing it appropriately to so an intimate event is not 500 of your best friends. I mean thinking about if even if you think about it from a wedding standpoint, I make an intimate wedding is usually you know less than 100 people you can actually reasonably in a few hours be able to mingle with several you’re not gonna mingle with all of them but you you’re even at least it’s a loose and approachable environment they can at least talk to people right especially if you want to have group conversation group conversation might be less than 100 or might be breakouts to some extent. We can talk about whether or not I like breakouts but I think they sometimes work and they sometimes don’t work but if you get stuck with in a breakout with people that you don’t like it just becomes another level of complexity and another place where that your value can drop just think about when you get stuck at a table at a wedding with people you don’t want to talk to him like that’s going slower. Yeah. So just think about that. Now if you want a big auditorium event fine, that could work as well. But think about then your run a show accordingly. In like I said it’s really hard for people then in that standpoint to feel engaged throughout the whole entire event. Yeah, because you have to be more More general to the population that you’re, that’s there, even if it is your core demographic, because there’s more things to cover than or there’s more expectation to have more things to cover because you have more filters for which that you have to accommodate. So there’s just lots of things to think about. And it really comes to, what is the point of it? What’s the objective of it? What kind of value? Are you trying to communicate? How you plan to communicate that value? I mean, do you feel like it’s gonna be a bunch of people who are going to speak in Keynote? Or it’s going to be through a PowerPoint presentation? Or is it going to be one on one interactions, you really have to think through what you want to get out of it? And that helps you define what size it should be? Yeah, I

April Martini 35:40
think all of that is super important. And I think it goes back to making sure that you’re clear on your intentions. And then again, that target audience, because, quote, unquote, event can mean lots of different things. And there’s a huge range, right? And so, I think, you know, you just gave the example of like, Okay, what does intimate mean, depending on the type of event intimate means different things, right? If it’s a wedding, an intimate wedding is less than 100 people, if it’s, I want to have a speaker and I want us to be able to have conversation and everyone to sit at the same table. That’s not 100. Yeah, right. That’s what we have. But I’d like to 20 Right. And so I think you really do have to think about how it’s going to work best for the people. And then what are the goals of your event and kind of marry those two things together with a lot of intentionality in order to make sure that it gets off the ground in the right way, and you’re setting it up in the appropriate way. Only a couple of other things that I want to add here is definitely expect some last minute no shows or cancellations. And don’t panic about that either. So again, where people are dealing with people stuff happens, we lost a few people to illness and a family emergency, I think right up into like within an hour of the event. And so did it take us two fewer than we ultimately wanted? Sure, did it change the impact of the event? It didn’t, right. And so now those people are like, well shoot, and I missed out, I want to come the next time, right. And so I think that’s another moment where you just gotta expect that that’s going to happen. And then I think also, in speaking about the bigger events, like Anne said, you’re going to have to assume that everyone’s not going to stay for the whole time for those in a lot of cases. So if it’s an all day conference, or even a half day, people have to cover other things, they can’t clear their schedule A lot of times for those types of things. So you have to think about that, too. And how you do your run of show and where you think you’re going to have the biggest impact and are there moments where certain speakers might be able to keep certain people for you, all of that kind of stuff is important. And the last thing I will say is just also keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. So don’t just go and chase the numbers. All right, our third and final in the trenches is what do we do, if anything after the event, if anything should cross that out, you absolutely absolutely should do things after the event, you’ve got to capitalize on that momentum and keep it going. So at the very least send a thank you note to everyone that attended with everyone on the thank you note with next steps of what is to come. When is the next event even if you only know loosely when that might be? Are there materials that you’re passing along? Did you promise something to everybody coming out or some follow ups from the event, put all that out there send a survey on how things went and what people want to see. Next, it’s a great way to keep them engaged, it’s also a really good way for you, as the owner of the event to have some ideas, get some ideas, get it from the mouth of the people that you’re targeting, right. Let them know a general idea of what is coming next, not just from when the event is but other topics you may be considering or how often ish you think these things will happen. Just so that they have that in their head and can be keeping it top of mind. It’s not just about this one event. And then really reach out one to one to the people you really want to hear from and get some of that qualitative feedback, ask them to be real and honest, these are a lot of times you’re planted people, quote unquote, or the people that you would just say, are like, the crux of the target, right? If you get this right, these are the handful of individuals that better give you really good feedback, and or some ways to make it better, right. So you know, I mean, I’ve seen a few of the people since the event and just point blank asked, What do you think, what would you change? What do you want for next time and I got some great feedback, and then also some super constructive stuff like it was all women, but maybe we can be more diverse and the women that are there, right that is a fantastic point. And she wasn’t saying that to knock me down. She was saying this is how I would build on an excellent experience. Right. So be open to To the feedback, but go to those people that you really feel like are the ones that are the prime target and ask them for their input. And then also give people other ways to interact with each other on a continual basis outside of the events themselves. This allows them to make connections and build relationships that keeps you top of mind and getting the points of bringing them together. And it makes it easier than for the next round of events. Now, whether those same people are going to come or not, it kind of doesn’t matter, it can help the chemistry in the room at the moment, or it can help bring them back because they’ve built connections outside of that room that have continued to grow beyond that specific event.

Anne Candido 40:37
Yeah, I think those are all really, really good points. And I’ll add just a few more, which is to share on your social channels. So absolutely use your event as a way of doing credible market, reputation building, by using enough brand and marketing jargon all in one sentence. But it’s really about showcasing what you’re doing. And because a lot of times this is more industrial related, more educationally based, more community oriented, like we talked about before more celebratory in nature, make sure that you’re showcasing how you are promoting these things, because it does help to drive a lot of credible reputation back to your business and helps the people see you in a little bit of a different light outside just showcasing what you do on a day to day basis. Yeah, through your work, right. Yep. Another is give everyone a call to action and a follow up. So if you’re not even going to have another event, that’s totally fine. But you should still have some sort of call to action and a follow up that you want people to go do either as something of value for themselves, but in usually stat and is of value to you. So whether or not you want them to post or whether or not you want them to go watch a video and that you want them to buy a product events could be launch events, we’d used to do that all the time, whatever it happens to be or sign up for a 30 minute consultation, give them something that’s going to perpetuate further engagement with you because you don’t want your event to be like the thing that’s standing alone by itself in a silo your events supposed to spark something else, it’s supposed to spark, whatever you want to come next. It’s usually the lead not the bookend at the end, right? So make sure that you’re thinking about what that looks like. And I think that those are like that are really fantastic list of like how you can really use the follow up of these events to kind of create more news for your business.

April Martini 42:31
Yeah, and I’ll just say one final thing, which is make sure it’s authentic. Yeah, and doesn’t feel forced. So I’m the tone police all the time. Right. So but this is the way in which you say it, but also what you’re asking for and setting your expectations up properly from that standpoint to that what they got out of the event is worth whatever you’re asking them to do after the event. Yeah, absolutely. All right. And our third and final segment is a brand that is doing things well or not so well in the marketing space based on our personal observations and experiences. And I will take this one. And honestly, for the first time ever, it’s 50%. One way and 50%. The other is interesting. Yeah, I mean, I know that that sounds totally crazy. But hopefully as I as I go through this, you’ll see where I’m coming from. So my family has been going to some location in Florida since I was I don’t know 12 years old, except for the COVID year and maybe one or two otherwise. And so this year, we went to the Sand Key Marriott which sits between Clearwater and St. Petersburg on the Tampa Bay. And we went there over spring break me and my family and then my brother that’s right below me in line and his kids and we found it to be a really great experience both for adults from a Food Wine not sacrificing meals, you know, comfortability, good service, etc. To the kids having just a fantastic pool area. And they have a parent on property and lots of activities for kids. So you know, best of all the world’s given the life stage we’re in so we invited the whole family to come and true Martini fashion. Some of us made it for a portion of the time. And my family and my parents were there for the whole week. So the reason I say it was 50%. One way 50%. The other is for the following reason. So I will start with the good. And we’ve talked on the show before about how as part of where the workforce is right now and companies having to change their business models customer service, especially as it relates to food and beverage has not been fantastic, kind of across the board. And so when you get a good experience, it’s something that you call out so I will start there and I will say that the bar staff both inside and outside, were impeccable. And it’s not just because we are big eaters and drinkers which we are I will say not just because our barbells were big, and there were a lot of us, but I will say that they really did go above and beyond. So after the first day, the two that had us knew the drink quarters of the whole group, we don’t all drink the same things, right? They’re already interacting with us, they definitely had picked up on you know, you get some groups that want to relax and they don’t really want to engage. We’re one that wants to relax and engage. And so it was like, you know, my dad was met on the walkway down to the pool on day two with his tequila water immediately, right? Okay. Yes, it was noon, but no judgment here. And then you know that Sam has fallen in love with kiddie cocktails, which he’s only allowed to have on vacation. And they know he loves the cherry. So it was like, how many cherries did he get? And what count were we on for the kitty cocktails. And then I mean, really just the entire like, picking up on the on the things that we were proud of as a family, like the bartender, the one night inside was telling us how good the four kids were, and that you could tell that they have been taught how they’re supposed to act. And they don’t always get that there. And he’s appreciative of that, right. And so it just, it was one of the first times in a really long time and the fact that we were there for a whole week, and it stayed consistent and actually got better as they kind of became more in tune with us. I just found that to be so impressive. The other thing was the cleaning staff for the rooms. So all except for one day, which this will go on my bad one where we didn’t get service, we have the same woman. And she picked up on the fact that there were two little kids, she took the time to like put their stuff used to bed. She brought an extra pad understanding that Sam was sleeping on the pullout couch. And I said, Oh no, it’s okay. He’s a kid. No, no, no, no, seven days is too long sleep on that for anybody. So she brought like an extra mattress pad. I mean, again, just really getting to know who was staying in the room. We had a manager who we recognize from last time and he didn’t remember us right away. And it wasn’t like he faked it. It was like, Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. Thank you for coming back and brought over like this gift pack. And thanks for bringing additional people in, etc. He had like clearly gone and checked the reservation and known what he was doing. So amazing. Great on that side, above and beyond can’t say enough good things. The other 50% of the not so good. So the desk staff at first, the first two people, which we only saw on the first day were amazing. After that, it was horrible. So given the way travel went this season and sickness has been we did have some changes in reservations, we made it very clear on day one that we would rather just pay for the nights and have the rooms empty, that have something happened to those rooms because we didn’t want any members of the family to get down there and not have rooms. They messed it up with my brother that came late. Luckily, they had a room and were able to accommodate him. They messed it up with my other brother and his wife and two kids. And so my single brother had to sleep on one of the couches and one of the rooms one of the nights. Oops, yeah. So you can imagine how that went? Well, if he just made his flight, it would been fine. But well, that’s fair to you. That was a little bit on him. But the hotel didn’t know that. So anyway. And then the fact that in our group, there are three titanium Marriott members, which and and we had over the course of the week, some of the nights we had six rooms, right? So you would think that one would be like, okay, like, I get who I’m dealing with whatever. Unfortunately, the staff after the first day didn’t care. And so it was constant arguing, you know, they canceled the one reservation, they wanted to charge us almost double for the nights. So Bryce had to bring down his spreadsheet that he had built, when we first book the rooms and said, You’re not going to penalize us we offered to pay for the rooms, you’re going to charge us what we had signed up for. So it just became a giant headache. And then all the way down to the we were given the full service breakfast vouchers on the first day. What does what is the difference between the two options if you’re a member, you get only the quote unquote, cold breakfast, if you’re not you get the hot, the hot, just so we’re clear, is eggs, pancakes and hashbrowns. And some kind of meat, right? It’s not going to break the bank, whatever. They gave us the white ones the first day because we were bringing so many people and she said Come back anytime I don’t have a whole big stack for the number of people the number of days you’re here. Just come ask and said I say I said it was fine. So I went to do that and got pushed back in argument and had to again say you guys look at the bills. Look at the amount of people we have here. Do you really want to argue with me on this front? I don’t know what to tell you. You can see who checked us in call her if you really don’t believe me, but again, just making it harder for something that was so stupid, right? And then the final thing I’ll say is it’s a breakfast buffet. You can order other stuff, but they clearly have it like pre made and ready to go. 50% of the staff rolled with it was like look, I just got 10 tables, we’re happy to be accommodating and flexible. The other 50% were nasty. We’re getting like all huffy with people. I’m like you’re basically serving a buffet. Just take a deep breath one at a time get their drinks, they’re only we’re only reacting because of how you’re reacting. So I I bring all of this up because had they been consistent on either side, I feel like it almost would have been better versus this like Stark one way where we had a lovely, amazing time. And then the other was just like a complete headache. So I thought this was an interesting one, because we’ve never done a 50-50. It’s so drastic of a difference. And I think that they need to understand where they’re having some challenges and where they’re doing great and reward the employees that are doing great, and maybe find other ones where they’re not.

Anne Candido 50:31
So there you go, the experience is going to make or break your business. Yes, in 2023, is the only differentiating factor right now, especially when people are complaining about the price of everything that or they’re not going to be opening their pocketbooks as much as they want, the thing that you can really differentiate on is the experience and the consistency of experience from start to finish and not leaving any of that to chance is really critically important. So I think you exemplified that April in that, gosh, so with lashes, a little bit too much here. And it does extremely distracts from me like I don’t even know what to think about this. So if I’m going to go to make a recommendation, what my recommendation look like, how many stars would you give them, I mean, it starts to kind of go in the middle of the road. And all these people who really went above and beyond, are gonna now be like baby sucked down to be averaged out and diluted down by the people who didn’t. So somebody that you might have given a five for now is going to get a three, right? So you need to really think about that, as you’re thinking about everything. And even if you’re not like something they are business to actually get, quote unquote, ratings just think that people are actually rating you in their head, regardless if they could put it down into Google rating or, or a Amazon rating or anything. So go for those five star ratings. And people said, I think that’s going to be a really important point for 2023.

April Martini 51:51
Yeah, I mean, the final thing I’ll say there is one we booked a different property in a different part of Florida for spring break. Yeah, so not going back. And number two, the ones that were doing a good job we found out have been there for a long time. So I have to wonder how long to the point you just made, they’re gonna stick around if they start to see repercussions, right, how they’re being rewarded. Exactly. And the final thing I will say is there’s a restaurant tour that I think puts a good perspective on this in Cincinnati, Jeff Ruby, who has several steak houses even out of Cincinnati now he is famous for saying good service can make up for mediocre food mediocre service can’t be made up for with good food. So I think like that’s another another point here. I’m really smart. All right, so just to recap four tips for hosting a successful event. Number one, be clear on who the event is for and who does not for both are equally important so that folks can self select on either side. Number two, specify the run a show but be flexible in the moment. Make sure you’re on track to cover everything you intend, but not at the sacrifice of natural moments that just occur. Number three, incorporate touches that will delight the guests these are the things that make people feel extra special that blow them away enough to share with others after the event. And number four have someone run the event that’s not a participant in it. This ensures things stay on track and lets lets the host or hosts participate with their guests. And with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: ForthRight-People.com. We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now go show off your Marketing Smarts!