This session highlights the importance of strategic event planning that aligns with business goals. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Focus on customer value: Prioritize customer needs and preferences throughout the event planning process. Gather feedback to shape event content and offerings.
  • Align with sales and marketing: Collaborate with sales and marketing teams to leverage events for pipeline generation and customer relationship building.
  • Personalize the experience: Segment attendees based on their needs and interests, and tailor content and communication accordingly.
  • Measure impact beyond attendance: Use data and analytics to track event ROI and demonstrate the contribution of events to business objectives.

By following these tips, event professionals can transform events from isolated experiences into strategic initiatives that drive measurable business results.

Katie. What's up?

Hey, Mark.

Good to see you again.

Great to see you. Thanks for having me.

Oh, my pleasure. We got fifteen minutes. Let's make the most of it. Have you do a quick intro.

And also, you mentioned you love red wine and chocolates, but I'm gonna ask you as part of your intro, what is your favourite red wine. And folks listening, if you like an adult beverage, let us know in the chat. Like, what's your favourite type of adult beverage? So Katie, go ahead, though.

Well, I'm gonna call you out on this one. And the reason is red vines – Red Vines, the candy as opposed to red wine, the drink.

I could have sworn that last time we talked, you were like, Oh, red wine and chocolate, which I'm like, oh, that's perfect together.

It was early in the day. It was probably not a good idea to have red wine.

Oh, my fault. My fault. Well, please do an intro. You got an amazing background, and we're gonna unpack some stories and examples from your just extensive background in the event space. But, yeah, have have you do a quick intro and we get right into it?

Career and Experience


So I'm coming to you from the Island Paradise Alameda, California.

And I have spent my career, mostly in software. I love me as software user. I just joined the events team, working on event content at CyberArk. So I will also keep you safe.
But prior to that, I was with, several companies. You may know them. Splunk, Alteryx, Del, those may ring a bell. So I have been in the events industry focusing on software for some time, and it's my favorite place to be.

Using Events as a Strategic Business Driver

Love it. So let's get right into it. This intersection of how do you get your go to market teams, sales, customer success, product, marketing, Really focused on using events as a strategic business driver. Chris talked a lot about this.

Katie talked about it. The last two sessions hit on it. So when you weren't Alteryx, you you were sharing this great story with me before, you had this example at Alteryx around how you got the company really invested in events. Can you just unpack that for us and talk about how you did that?

Story from Alteryx

Absolutely. So, you know, the story from Alteryx goes as follows. I think a lot of our companies talk about making customers first, bringing customers to the forefront of all that we do. Well, at Alteryx and they looked at customer on a year round cycle, which is something we and events just love. Right? Can you think of a user conference being focused for a year round cycle? Nothing better.

So, what they did was about nine months prior to the event they, surveyed all of their customers and they asked them to all the questions that they needed to know about their products, services, needs, hopes and dreams, And then we were able to use that information to help drive our topics and our themes for our call for speakers. Right? So we knew what to come to the customers with and what to offer them that would make our event that much more valuable.

Infusing the voice of the customer into that whole thing.

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Oh, man. It's it's so good.

Example from Splunk

You also talked about an example when we chatted last. It was with Splunk. And you and you did some very interesting things that Splunk. And I'd love to have you unpack these because when you think about Alteryx, I would call that example stage five maturity.


I mean, customer lifetime value, listening to your customers, Yep.

That's that's incredible. At Splunk, you also did something that was, like, stage four getting into stage five as well. Can you unpack that a bit for Sure.

You know, I think that we all know that the relationship with events and sales can be a great partnership or it can be a struggle. And the hope is always to make it a great partnership. And one way to do that is to put yourself in the mindset of those sales people. They're busy. They have a lot to do.

And so we need to make it as easy as possible to tee this up for them to hit a home run for all of us.

Creating Tools for Salespeople

Because if they make the sale, we as stockholders and stakeholders, We also win. Right? So at Splunk, we were really lucky to be able to create the tools around events that made things easier for those salespeople.

And that was that's not just at the front of the event where, you know, you give them an email signature, you give them an email you talk about it in newsletters, but additional tools to continue that relationship. The event doesn't stop once the event takes place. Right? It's the tools for on-site, and it's especially those tools for post-event. So I'm talking about those attendee insights.

Utilizing Attendee Insights for Sales

That can really change the conversation. This is a much more mature event. You're able to say that this customer went to the event, went to these four breakout sessions and then added a fifth one for a product they don't have.

Let's have the conversation as a salesperson and find out Why are you interested in the product? It's a great excuse to contact the customer. It's also a good motion for that salesperson to understand that that relationship and that product experience may be expanding into an advocate relationship or bringing more people in. And it sort of, you know, touches on the concept that I love so much, which is never event alone.

Never Event Alone Concept

Right? So if you're in a keynote session and someone says something amazing, you wanna be able to turn to the person next to you and say, Hey, that was amazing. We should bring that back to the office and make it happen. So always bring an event buddy with you.

It should have been the tagline for this event event different, never event alone.

Right? For sure.

But I love the point you just made about you enabling the salespeople with data.

Enabling Salespeople with Data


I mean, that's I think that's you know, sometimes obvious, but it's also can be hard. It can be hard to enable them with data. Can you can you give us maybe, like, a a pro tip on how you did that specifically. Yeah. I'm just curious.

Segmentation and Targeted Agendas

Yeah. I mean, I've been super lucky to work for data companies, so that's also kind of a nice nice to have But, you know, most of the folks that are on this call are likely with organizations that have some sort of CRM tool that can give you some information. And you have to be able to absorb that information and make choices and changes from that information. Right? So one of the easiest ways is segmentation.

Right? We don't just blast everyone and hope for the best. We actually have conversations about what a certain persona or a certain channel will need that is different from the person next to them and the company next to them because not everyone is the same. So it is important.

You can do that both from segmentation as well as those targeted agendas. Right? So if I'm a c level person and I'm attending an event, my agenda should look different. Than the administrator whose hands are on the keyboards all day.

So if we're able to give those things a place in our strategy and our timeline, we're all better for it. Right? The segmentation may be complex when I was at Splunk. We had lots of segmentation, you know, lots of emails in the millions go out. And what we found there though, is that the conversation was better. The content was clear, the copy was better, and the users were happy.

Personalizing the experience, contextualizing it, all those good things. Swoogo definitely makes that easier for sure. How do you How do you make it super digestible at the same time? Like, you know, when you were at Splunk or Alteryx or Dell, you know, right now, at your new company, how are you making it, like, so sales, like, to your point, doesn't have to think. Is there anything that you could share on that side of the coin?

Understanding the Motions of your Sales Force

Yeah. Absolutely. I think you have to be able to understand the motions of your sales force.

Right? A lot of companies are split into, say, what I call the smile and dial, the folks who are on the phone, following up on a lead, and they are trying to get volume. They are simply trying to set up a meeting. They are simply trying to get to an end goal.

Whereas your strategic account managers, your larger account managers, they have relationships. They know these people. They know the spouses and partners of the folks that they work with, and they do dinners and events and things. So you have to be aware of what their needs are and plan accordingly.

Right? Give them the tools, those tools we talked about. So one of them may be a script for those smile and dialers to say thanks for coming to the event. We loved having you.
We see that you saw this product in a breakout Would you like additional information about that? And so the more information you can give to those sales teams, the better their conversation is, the better their relationship is, the better their behavior is. Right? So that's kind of one way to do it.

If it's a strategic relationship, they wanna know as much about their client as possible. And so when you say to them, hey, they went to these four breakouts, and they added a fifth one with the product they don't have, I can see them picking up their phone and saying, hey, let's talk about that fifth product. We saw you come to the event and can't wait to tell you about it.

Love that. One other thing I wanna touch on is this idea that you just planted my head and I can't stop thinking about it, just like never event alone, which is what is the pipeline in the room? Not the people in the room, the pipeline in the room.

Can you unpack that for everyone for a little bit?

Measuring Impact and Pipeline at Events

Absolutely. So we were talking a little bit about the conversation of, you know, measuring your impact at an event and, obviously, Nicola, who was here before, has amazing strategies for that and great reporting. I've looked at our website myself, but one of the things that transitioned our conversation at Splunk from kind of those stages of the event maturity model was really that we stopped saying there are ten thousand people in the room. During the keynote.

Great. That's wonderful news.

If you were to say to sales and especially leadership, There were ten thousand people in the room, and those ten thousand people represented ten billion dollars worth of pipeline They would suddenly become animated and interested.

And it was because I think sometimes with events, we all know, the expense, etcetera, but to think about them as a true revenue driver as a means of getting out there and closing a deal with a customer. Events can do that. And folks were saying this earlier, which was you have to be able to have the conversation that executives are having. They're talking about pipeline. They understand how many people can be in a room. They don't really care about that much anymore. They really wanna know how much does that room represent for us?

And you could probably use that to your advantage as an event planner leader, because you could say, look, it's ten million in pipeline. Why don't we spend the extra 50K, 100K on this experience? It's gonna be worth probably, you know, right, Katie?

Leveraging Account Based Marketing at Events

And for some events, I think, what you'll find is some of these companies understand that As their event matures, and we all know that events themselves have a maturity level, year to year, especially for those user conferences, but what we also have to understand is the fact that some of these companies have as part of their GTM strategy an account based marketing plan or an installed based marketing plan. And if you're not leveraging those at events, then you're doing it wrong. And here's why because if your marketing team is saying things over here and you're saying something a little different or you're not speaking to same audience, then it's a real miss when you're saying the same things, your brand story, and you're saying it to the right audience, to that audience maybe at a client that has a hundred users with the hope of going to two hundred as opposed to a customer that may have one user and has been sort of barely hanging on.

It's not that you don't have respect for that other customer. It's that you know that the pipe and the opportunity is so much more significant on the other hand.
Well said, and I think we just end it right there Thank you so much, Katie. Absolutely.

So much wisdom from, you know, your is it how many years? Fifteen twenty? I don't wanna, like, you know, an age on it by any means, but, like, how much wisdom?
Lots. Lots of wisdom.

Evolution of the Digitalization of Events

Look, we'll leave it at lots of wisdom.

I mean, it's it's it's just you think about it. Right? And and you've seen something that a lot of people haven't seen as well, which is the evolution of the digitalization of events, which I think should be a follow-up session we do at some point, because events have just completely transformed, you know, over the last two decades through I mean, this, but even in the event experience, right, that the digitalization of events is fascinating to me.

Yeah. For sure.

Conclusion and Wrap Up

Big round of applause for Katie, everyone. Thank you so much. Don't forget to check out the two polls in the event as well. If you want your free event assessment, from Swoogo.

Katie at Swoogo is gonna do that for you for free, see where you are in the maturity. And now Patrick is gonna play amazingly fun game with you all, and there's a great prize winning some Apple airpod pros. Again, give it up for Katie. Thank you so much, Katie.

Thanks, everybody.

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