This week we sit down with Twin Cities’ Brad Gudim, an event veteran. Listen to how he used events to gain exposure and now creates opportunities for those starting out to meet others!
Tell us about you and your story.
Well, the story is, I have been in events for a long time. When I was a little kid, I got an interest in magic. A guy pulled a quarter out of my ear and it just got me interested in the magic thing. So that was a hobby for me. My entrepreneurial brain kicked in and thought if I do magic shows in the garage and charge the kids a quarter and sell them a popcorn and Kool-Aid, I can make some money, so I was producing events. I would hang a sheet in my garage and play a super eight movies on there and used to do fundraisers for like muscular dystrophy and you get the little kit and turn the riding lawnmower into a train and tie a bunch of wagons behind it and charge kids a quarter to ride the train. I was the kid that bought by the candy and resell to the kids at retail. I graduated from Fridley high school, which is close to here and that was in 1975 and I tried the job thing and I got laid off and then I decided to go back in and be a full time magician. I didn’t want to chase after event planners. I created my own event back then it’s called the great Minnesota event show. It was done at international market square and it was a place for event planners to come and find all their resources for doing events. I would invite all the people from the corporations and then they’d fill out a little form that says, my name is Tammy from 3m we got a budget of $15,000. I go, there’s a lead. If they weren’t a magic lead, I’d just throw them away. But it built my database up. This was back in the 90s.
So you started this event for marketing, when did you realize there was something to it?
I started doing it with other companies too. There’s a trade show company that make trade show displays and their common market is they want to reach exhibit managers cause they’re the ones that buy the displays. They were just going to do an open house and invite their past clients and whatever. But what we did is we brought in other people that were complimentary and not competitive. So we brought in a cater that did an edible floral display. We brought in a photographer that took pictures of that, brought in a printer, and then the postcards were the invitation to the event. All of these different people that involved with this synergistic event are non-competitive and actually complimentary. So an exhibitor manager very possibly could use a trade show, display, a printer, a caterer, a photographer, and they’d all kind of work together. So it’s a little team that’s already there and the synergistic group of people are all inviting the same avatar of person. So you’ve got multiple people and that way you can fill a room much easier than trying to do it yourself.
How did that evolve into what you’re doing today?
My brain, because of the magic works kind of different than most people’s because I grew up with seeing behind the scenes kind of thing. So, especially with stuff like Facebook now to be able to, I mean I’m getting into the marketing part, so I use Facebook events, and then connect that with Eventbrite and you can boost the audience on Facebook and find whoever you want on a marketing level. Now it’s just like I want everybody that’s a meeting planner that lives within a 10 mile radius that has a birthday in December and I’m going to invite them into your restaurant and we’re going to have a party.
Tell us what you are currently doing now.
I’ve got a four expos. Two of them are scheduled and have dates. One is an event planner expo for the vertical market of the events industry. Another one is a business expo for a horizontal market of all businesses and they’re set up more as a networking thing with a lot of booths. The way I set it up is there’s booths are on the perimeter and then tabletops in the, in the center and it’s open air. There’s not a lot of pipe and drape that blocks your view. So it’s more of a social type of thing. And then got a thing, I call it synergy first Thursdays. And that is so that people can just put that in their head that it’s the first Thursday of every month. Now they just got to find out where, and this is just a casual happy hour, get together and just talk about events. Some of them are in the event profession, they might be planners, they might be suppliers, but then there’s just businesses in general that want to do an event, maybe a golf tournament or they want to do a a retreat and they don’t know where to go to get these things. So these events are to be able to go and have a happy hour and grab a pizza or something and then get to meet the person, live in person and go, I like that guy. So all you have to do is throw a happy hour and then find that those ideal clients that you want to make the connection with and then put them in the room.
Super Power: Keeping things simple
Any great pieces of advice for somebody who’s just starting out in the events world?
Yeah, I’d say get out, get to a live event, let go of the likes, the follows, and the shares, and start getting smiles, handshakes and hugs. At least get on video and talk to people.
Google Magic Brad
Twitter: The Meeting Minds