5 Keys to Launching Custom Events

Last year, UBM Tech reorganized its marketing services unit. One of the biggest changes was the build-out of a team dedicated to custom events. Robyn Duda, vice president of events, was named to head that team, and she shares five of the key things she has learned:

1) Involve events people in the sales process. As the head of UBM Tech’s custom events team, Duda is often involved in sales calls where custom events are pitched. Once the contract is signed, phase II involves bringing in the events management team that will organize the client’s event.

“It’s important for our internal teams to feel they’re an integral part of the event from the beginning,” Duda says.

2) Prepare for a longer selling cycle. While media salespeople may be used to quick wins in selling advertising or signing sponsorships, they must learn patience when selling custom events.

“For the client, a live event means they will be shaking hands with people who can influence their revenue, so this is a big decision,” Duda explains.“You need to expect lots of iterations, revisions, draft proposals and conference calls.”

3) Give the client one point of contact. There are multiple functions involved in executing a custom event—meeting planning, program planning, marketing, etc.—but the client should be connected to one person who can be the client’s champion internally.

“This strategy has been very successful for us in taking programs from concept to implementation,” Duda says.

4) Learn to be flexible. Because the clients own these events, the team executing them must sometimes relax their usual procedures and timelines.

“Customer success is paramount and, in order to achieve that, we may have to manipulate the logistics a bit,” Duda points out.

5) Remember that the client is not always right. Because UBM Tech can leverage its editorial resources, audience research and other institutional expertise on behalf of their clients, “It’s our duty as good partners to tell them when something they want to do will not resonate with the audience they want to reach,” Duda says.

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