Beggars banquet

I'll begin by holding my begging bowl in my hand! As this blog won Gold at the Hertfordshire Digital Awards in September I have now been automatically entered for the the next stage. This is the inaugural Digital Awards Champions which is a public-voted event. I will be pitted against the best from all six of our Digital Awards schemes in 2016 in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Milton Keynes and Surrey. So, if you're reading this I'd really appreciate you taking 10 seconds of your time to vote for me. Just click on the the link below and select 'Deep Phat Digital' and I'll find out if I'm crowned winner in February at the ceremony at the BFI Southbank. Thank you!

Now, back down to business! This week has seen me both attending and assisting at events. The former was in our attendance at the 'Construction Marketing Awards' where we were shortlisted for team of the year. We didn't win but had an interesting time among the suppliers and agencies going for glory in the twenty-two categories.
The latter involved me putting my skills to the test in curating the communications for our annual client drinks reception. Historically this has been held at Lincolns Inn but this year building work necessitated a change of venue. The titular Banqueting House in Whitehall was chosen and the team set to work on the many arrangements to make the night go without a hitch. My role was to collate and send out over 3,000 invites and manage all pre and post-event communications. It sounds easy but required many skills which should be standard practice for all event marketing managers:
An excellent venue with some really rich history
  1. Design - The change of venue meant we needed a new design for the email invitations. It was important to conceptualise the right look and feel to appeal to the event’s target demographic. This also needed to be consistent across all collateral.
  2. Copy - In our multi-channel world different writing styles for each audience and medium is an increasingly important skill. We also were careful to correctly signpost any calls to action.
  3. Figures - Once invited there was constant monitoring of acceptances, declines and individual responses. Thankfully, we have a capable marketing placement student who I bought up to speed on producing the many reports required for the steering group. These needed cutting in many different ways and constant monitoring and refinement to ensure we didn't exceed the venue's capacity.
  4. Automation - This was essential to ensure smooth communication and to reduce manual work. We use Dotmailer and setup various programs meaning different communications were automatically sent to each defined segment. These included acceptances, declines, non-opens and various reminders.
    Meeting our actors portraying Charles I and Inigo Jones
  5. Organisation - We needed regular meetings outlining campaign dates, event roles, meeting planning and database building. Also, we needed to understand the use of our customer relationship management system (CRM) to keep detailed records of all our attendees for future event invitations.
  6. Teamwork - As with any small team we needed to be adept at working with colleagues across the business. On the night we pulled people from far and wide to help out. These skills extended to working with our suppliers (actors, florists, AV equipment) to make it appear seamless to the guests. We needed to be happy to assist wherever needed - even if this meant a quick run to Ryman to buy more name badge holders!
  7. Feedback - Once the event was over the post event communications needed to be sent out. This included separate surveys both to hosts and to guests. Collating the responses of these allows us to then learn what we can do better in the future. It also highlights the different priorities of each audience.
As with any marketing role the ability to switch between a variety of skills is essential. But in such a fast paced environment the most important traits to see you through are energy and passion. Despite my not having had a full nights sleep for the last eight weeks I managed two late nights in a row which was almost my biggest achievement of all. I haven't even needed to crack open my emergency Berocca which were given to us when we visited LinkedIn's London HQ in November for our team meeting!
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