Event lessons from a top partner marketer...

Joan at AKGroup is another one of our success stories. Back in September, she did her first event with us and had 18 people there.  Over the course of the year, she's religiously read this blog and joined our Best Practices call.

Last week, she had,

"by far this our most successful event; in fact hopefully not too successful. We have some internal people believing we can stop these events.  

My response: What? Are you kidding me? You guys are turning into marketing machines. Keep it up. Build off of your past event success? Use them as demand gen AND velocity engines. This can become an institution. Have those folks call me. Don't kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs! After all this hard work, you want to just walk away? I don't get it.

Anyway, I asked her to write in and share what worked...and what didn't. She did a GREAT job in doing so.

After you read this, you'll understand why the next time Joan asks me for support for an event...financial or otherwise, she's going to get it...BIG Time!

Check this out...

First the results:

  • 32 attendees form 20 different orgs.
  • 11 requested immediate follow up.

What worked:

  • Emailed 4 weeks in a row and had event  on my website for 8 weeks (see here)
  • Rental email list was very effective (much more than my own list). I spent $4K on the rental, but if any one of the groups from the list contracts with me, I will have a strong ROI, based on our model
  • Promoted small and big door prizes
  • Had Microsoft speaker – perceived accessibility to the company (more here)
  • Did demos as well as power point, including live customer demos
  • Served food – continental breakfast and lunch
  • Interspersed small prizes with big (done at end, with completed eval). Small prize winners were not excluded from big prize drawing [note: love this idea!]
  • Encouraged interaction – opened with asking everyone why they were there and how much SharePoint experience they had
  • AKG staffing level (we had 4)
  • I “uninvited” 6 registrants who were competitors (not partners). All but one were gracious and professional

What didn’t seem to make a difference:

What didn’t work:

  • Registration system (had 15 people say they had registered, who didn’t show on list) [a frequent sore point for Joan :-)]
  • Ran out of handouts (due to so many walk-ins) [good problem to have, I guess]
  • 3 speakers was too many – made each presentation too short [ yep, see here ]
  • Breaks were hard to keep short, as so many people were talking and distracted [maybe incentive to return? like giveaways for those who are back on time?]
  • Microsoft staff from another room ate our food before we broke for lunch (we were dangerously low) [unacceptable! I will find out who they were...I am serious]

Next steps:

  • Thank you notes to attendees
  • Sorry you couldn’t make it email to those who cancelled or couldn’t come (includes invite/link to next seminar event)
  • Promotional follow up item 2 weeks after note to all attendees
  • Special call to action (Risk Assessment) for those who indicated desire to work with AKG
  • All get added to my email newsletter list
  • Phone calls to those who raised their hands, to set appointments
  • Hire Account Rep!!!
  • [She learned well from here]

And don't forget to get your receipts in ASAP (see here!). Nice work.