On this episode of Meeting Minds we sit down with Lori Pugh Marcum, the Events Content Director at EnsembleIQ and former Head of Meeting Innovation for MPI. Lori asks the question: If we can gather such great consumer analytics, why don’t our events have that capability yet? From there, we dive into the best ways to build events that give people what they need, and discover ways to build a customized event experience from start to finish. Listen now to this great episode!
On this week’s special episode of Meeting Minds we welcome the wonderful Kathryn Frankson, Director of Event Marketing at Informa, for an IN-PERSON recording! We talk about making your attendees feel welcome as events return, why attention to detail really does matter, and using empathy to build outstanding event culture. You don’t want to miss this episode of Meeting Minds!
This week is a real treat! Brad Lea sat down and shared with us practical things to do during this pandemic and how we can use it to grow. Listen as he shares 5 pro tips and more.
What is Lightspeed VT?
A web based interactive training system used by a lot of different companies. 20 years ago I was running a car dealership, I took a lot guy making minimum wage brought him upfront and taught him to sell. I was very good at teaching, ultimately showed him how to do it. I watched his whole life transform. I decided at that time, I want to help other people learn to make money. I quit my job and started a training company. When I went out on the road I discovered, it wasn’t as effective and I couldn’t figure out why. I was saying the same thing, doing the same thing. When I started to do the comparison I realized there is four key ingredients to train people. 92% of companies are unaware of this, it’s been my mission to get the knowledge to the people who need it. Light speed is a platform, technology that allows me to create interactive content, deliver, track and measure it online 24/7.
1. Good Content
When I was on the road I was giving the good content but I wasn’t there long enough to give the repetition. I went in and said what I normally say, problem is I didn’t do the other three: Repetition, Practice, and accountability. I realized there had to be another way to do this where I wasn’t traveling living out of a suitcase. People were paying me $10,000 to teach their sales team, once I realized it wouldn’t work I invented light speed. A web based interactive training platform. Ultimately I can emulate what I would have done in real life.
I believe people fail because they don’t have the right information. The reason people go out of business is because they don’t have the right information. My whole mission in life, because I have the tool to do so, is to get the knowledge from the people who have it to the people who need it.
Are your attendees able to pause and ask questions? Or take polls?
It does a couple of things.
1. We can live stream to where people can interact like we are doing on this call.
2. You can create interactive content that is on demand. Meaning they can’t ask you a question because you may be sleeping, but there are discussion boards and chat windows.
3. It allows leaderboard gamification.
If you created an interactive course, it’s meant to be on demand, it’s learning, being tested, role playing and practicing the information. Of course the system is tracking that. The only way to ask a question is in the discussion board.
As a sales person, what can I be doing now (Amid COVID-19) to get a head start?
Ultimately, my recommendation to anybody in the world today, is to pivot or make adjustments. If you sell events and there are not any, you’re not going to sell any. You need to switch or provide a solution. In the sales world, train, practice your skills, get really good while your quarantined, and just skill up. But adjust. Online is where it’s at. Take some of the money you have and ear mark it, don’t call it spend, call it invest. Invest in something currently so you can make money online. That’s what we do. Maybe you have to lower your price. During a rough time like this, if you have knowledge, if you were to bottle that, put it into a training system and give people access it, you could have people paying for that.
Yeah I keep seeing ads for E-learning. What a great time to be offering E-learning.
A lot of times, I talked to someone who had a system but didn’t have content yet. Now his office is closed and he says he can’t do anything. I said open a zoom, hit record, say what you do, hit stop. That is a chapter. Now download that. Boom do it again. Literally with a zoom subscription you can make content. It’s not going to be pretty but now people are not concerned with pretty.
You have 2 years of podcasts and each contain information. Ultimately what I did was hire someone to go back through and take bullet point notes out of, I call it the nuggets. There is a lot of information and next thing you know I built a syllabus and curriculum. Even if I sell to you or not, we’re going to build a relationship. If you literally have confidence, and you understand what you are doing and your product, you’re not going to have a problem, you’re just going to work remote. If you’re selling something that’s not selling. Don’t fret, just shift, adapt.
People are using this to chill and others using it to make it their time to get ahead. Aside from the self betterment, what are things we can be doing to come out the other side in a position to be more successful?
I’d work on mindset. With the right attitude the whole world gets better.
1. One of the things I teach my people is gratitude. A lot of people are panicking, complaining. At the end of the day, I wake up every morning, I open my eyes and think how grateful I am to get another day. I’m 51 now, that’s getting more true everyday.
If I just pretend this wasn’t going on. If I gave you both 5 million each, would anything for the next couple of days or weeks bother you much? No the petty things would go away. If I said I’ll give you the 5 million but you can’t wake up tomorrow, neither of you would want the 5 million. What you realized, is the day you opened your eyes is better than getting 5 million dollars. If you believe that, when you open your eyes in the morning you should be that excited. You just got something more valuable than 5 million dollars.
2. Confidence. People don’t realize subconsciously they don’t like themselves. They have an ego and walk around like they’re cool and love themselves, they don’t. They hate themselves and deep down they don’t understand it. They don’t understand why every decision they make is steering them to nowhere. Overtime our subconscious says this person doesn’t deserve to win and it affects your decisions. This is how you correct it.
1. Forgive and apologize to yourself.
2. Commit to do what you say you’re going to do. If you don’t do this it could have the opposite affect. You are the one’s controlling yourselves.
3. Get up and set 10 small goals. You’re trying to win. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between winning big or winning small. Set 10 small baby goals and hit them. It starts to replace the information in your subconscious. You can’t erase you replace.
4. Block out negative people
5. Continuously improve everyday.
How do we care less about what people think?
Repair your confidence. The reason I don’t care what you have to say is because your opinion is none of my business. I am not worried about what you think of me. I want you to like me but if you don’t that’s ok. If got online everyday and talked trash about meeting planners, all the meeting planners are not going to like me. Do I want them to like me if I don’t like them? No. They would all stop watching me, stop talking to me. That’s what you want. I’m using that to make a point. Most people are afraid the hate they can’t see the love. Just be authentic.
What kind of hope can you give the audience?
This too shall pass. Humans’ first instinct is to survive. You’re going to survive. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to grow.
In the morning the Million dollar morning
1. Wake up grateful
2. Focus 15 minutes on your health
3. 15 Minutes on your money
4. Read a book 15 minutes
Twitter: The Meeting Minds
The event industry is a passion industry! How do we move people in the midst of a pandemic? Nick Borelli, an event strategist, sits down and shares how we can make the pivot!
Tell us how COVID-19 hit you?
I have been asking this question a lot to my friends too. Many of them are dealing with this in immediate ways, and others are being cautiously optimistic. Personally I work for organizations that represent a lot of events. The ones most affected by this and the least likely to bounce back quickly. Everyone on our team self-quarantined. It’s been a moment of reflection before we start working on solutions in the strategy world for our clients who are hurting pretty badly. When it comes to content there is a lot of work to be done now.
There is pain right? There’s very obvious to find pain. It’s just determining where you have authority, what your lane is, and addressing the pain of the people who are most important to you, in order for you to use your skillsets to improve and help. That is where I am coming from and the work I am doing now. How can we prepare people for massive disruptions so they have systems in place to make better decision making based around design thinking.
How do you strategize when you don’t know if something like this is going to happen?
I will address that we are in uncharted waters for the most part. I am not going to say there is this case study to follow. The best case studies are from 1918, not exactly a lot of road maps for success in the midst of a pandemic in the live events industry.
We can rely on frameworks for thinking. Sit reps, something the military uses on what you know, what you don’t know, what to communicate. There is things like what should you be putting out to the world. It’s not about the products you have but you should be talking about your mission and how you can in the midst of this contribute through your mission.
Create benchmarks, tipping points. If this happens then we know it’s too late for this. Lots of listening. This is an unparalleled time, especially in marketing. The best sales and marketing people know it, and the rest of the world is weak on it. You need a chief listening officer right now. You need someone who has their thumb on the pulse of your community and the world.
Most of us are cheerleaders and believe in live events into our soul. We could make more money doing other things but it’s a passion industry. We’re thinking always with our passion in regards to this stuff. Often times our clients are not. They are not as passionate about what they see as one stream. You need to divorce yourself from that and see it is their perspective. We’re a bunch of believers, you should post-pone, I believe that too, we will get through this people will gather again; the problem is, will that message resonate right now? Is that the message we need to hear internally, yes! Is that the message that resonates externally, I don’t know. I think they are thinking, how can I be made whole? We can become partners and use our skills in different ways and address bigger problems. It may be outside of live experiences. Facilitating the goals of our clients should be something we start thinking a little more flexibly about.
How do you do that?
Look at the client’s mission, and really understand it and understand what they are put on this earth to do. And how can you be a facilitator with one less specialty (events)? If your mission is to connect the world, or service this community, how can I use the skills I have in order to facilitate that? I know how to help people achieve goals through design. I do that with architecture and with props, and with things that engage senses. Whatever your contribution is to live experience is, consider how that can be applied in a useful way in this economy and create new lines of revenue in the short term. That’s one option.
The other option is collaboration. There are lots of people hurting. How can you put together a bunch of different skills and create a new product in the interim.
The last thing I want to see is a bunch of people lowering their prices. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s harder to come back from that. Better to create new things that didn’t exist before and those could dissolve after word.
What is the purpose of strategy and how does it work?
Events have phases. There’s an entrance, engagement, and more. Above the phases there are three umbrellas.
For the longest time were were executors, in the late 90’s we got into true sophisticated planning. There’s planning planning planning and it evolved into a conversion of experiential.
What advice do you have for newbies?
Outside of this atmosphere, get out is something people have said. The first people I want to address is the people who have been in the industry for a while and cut that out. Your problems were of time, and building their problems are intellect and we can’t scare away talent. They are going to stand on your shoulders but don’t have your initial thing be “this is a tough industry”.
No matter your contribution, not everyone gets to create the strategy, but everyone should think strategically.
Figure out what you’re good at besides the thing you do. What are you good at the way you think?
Give us a little hope.
I am a generally pretty optimistic person. I do believe a little bit in business darwinism. As much as a recession is a terrible thing to waste. Everyone on the other side of this is going to be smarter and more educated. We might be able to evolve faster than we could. There’s an ability to overcome things that makes you resilient. This is the time to stretch.
Twitter: The Meeting Minds
Tell us how you got to where you are.
I am one of 9 children. The middle child, born and raised on Cape Cod. We were the ultimate party family most of the time. My mother loved to entertain. I learned how to cook with either my mom or my grandmother from age 12 on. I catered my first wedding when I was 15 years old. My grandmother took me in her Cadillac, we loaded the front, back, trunk, and loaded my mother’s station wagon. It was a wedding for 125 people, a little more casual but still I got my start at 15 years old catering weddings. I catered parties through summers and I dove into the world of cooking. I wrote my first cookbook in 1994 and published it in New York City. I went down to the city and never left since 94. I started early and it’s in my blood, it’s something I love. Have been through tough times and boom times. I was a big event planner for Wall Street. It was the world of waste. Then ironically I was a participant in the big climate march. You’ve never seen so many plastic water bottles left on the ground. That was my turning point, when I started inward point. A zero waste event business.
We basically developed an analytics and metrics to measure the carbon footprints of every event. How do you create a zero waste event?
How much extra work is it to do zero waste?
There is a fair amount of extra work. At the end of the day lets do something right and change the world in a positive way! Why get out of bed everyday if you can’t make a positive change. SO yes we are adding an extra layer. It’s not that difficult to call your rental companies and talk about social and environmental impact. Get them thinking. Climate change is real and we can be a part of saving the planet.
Let’s say someone is new, what is one thing they could do that is impactful?
Here’s the irony, of course I am the king now of sustainable events. But I am most famous for freeing up 200,000 plastic water bottles. I was not responsible for that. I’d eliminate plastic from events. That’s not hard, one baby step.
Listen to podcast to hear the FYRE FESTIVAL STORY.
Event Pet Peeves: Poor Service: The customer is always right.
Superpower: Willingness to do anything.
We need to think about what are our own superpowers. What can we do to change this event industry to engage this time right now of quarantine and social distancing? Your going to see a lot of cool stuff come out.
Advice to newbies.
Fail take the risks. Be humble. Get in there get your hands dirty, was them a lot too 😉 but be willing to do whatever it takes. That is going to be the secret ingredient.
Twitter: The Meeting Minds