Welcome to backstage with Zuddl. I'm your host Kishore from Zuddl’s very own marketing team. And this is a podcast where we share eventful stories from thought leaders across industries to give you epic insights into the world of events and beyond.
What's good everyone. Welcome back to backstage with Zuddl. We're up at episode 18. That's pretty awesome, right? Thank you for those of you who have been listening and those of you who have tuned in today. This episode is super special because it's going to help anybody who has anything to do with event marketing, right? So whether you're starting off or you have been doing events for a few years, the conversation we have today is going to add value to you and that's a given. Why? Well, because we've got an industry veteran who has 25 years of event experience under her belt. That's right. Not just that she's also one of the world's top 55 event technologists. So she has keenly seeing how event technology has evolved and not only that she's also seen how the role of the event marketer has evolved with that. Her name is Sharyn Fitzpatrick. She currently works as the events marketing manager at Sysdig which is a cybersecurity company. And Sharyn has amazing stories from her years of running events to how events are run now. So this is gonna be a great journey and chronicling of how event marketers and even technology have evolved. So without any delay, let me just take you to her conversation with our VP of marketing Ketan Pandit.
A few years ago, event folks just had to worry about the content and making sure everything was in place and they had a team that did it. But now event folks are expected to know about the technology that runs that event, right? And that has not been and it's not been an overnight thing. Sure. The pandemic probably accelerated it, but it's been some time coming, right? So do you, do you think a lot has changed from what an event marketer or a field marketer role used to be to what it is now?
Oh, absolutely. And it goes back to what we talked about going to where the people are and where they want to learn information that could be in person, it could be virtual. And then you have to understand how do you create a better experience that gives them the right call to action that they're gonna leave your event and go do something? So it could be, you know, taking a test if you're trying to, to test people and give them an idea of what their credibility or their certification should be. It could be really great information about a research that you've done or research is out there. It's an industry discussion to try and make sure that you are known as a thought leader. You wanna present thought provoking conversations, you wanna start that conversation both online as well as post to back. OK. So if so for folks getting into this space, who are just starting off as event planners or event marketers or field marketers, how, how, how do they go about learning about technology? Because there's just a lot of technology out there as far as events go and it, it can't be easy. So where, where does one start? You know, that's a good question. I belong to an event technologist kind of community and, you know, we laugh about it. It at one point during the pandemic, there were over 200 platforms and everybody had a different platform. And so it became, how can you be the king of many instead of the king of one? And so you've got to look at it. I think you, you have to take, especially if you're in meetings and planning, you take what you've learned there. And that works really well and translates to both webinars and virtual events. I think you have a lot of opportunities for learning as much for my own education because I feel it's important that I know how to fix things because things break. So I always have a plan A, A Plan B and Plan C and Plan D and oh, there's a plan E somewhere as well. So you have to know how to handle it and it could be a technology problem, but it could also be a person problem. You know, one of the stories I love telling is when we did this Charlie Miller webinar in February, I got a call at 4 a.m. that one of our system speakers was sick and couldn't attend. And he was so we had to scramble in a couple hours and figure out how to fix them from eliminating them on the platform at finding a new speaker, adding it. So you've gotta have kind of a backup plan for the different things that you do. Yeah, event marketers you know, live with that thrill. I mean, what's life without that kind of action? Right? And plan a Plan B. Plan C is I think event marketing 101. Yeah, the event Leadership Institute which is also PC MA is a really great place to go if you're trying to figure out what your event skills should be. There's a good community of us. So we all kind of gravitate towards solving problems this morning. I'm part of the on 24 webinar community and they had a, they once a month, have a coffee round table with webinars where you can ask questions, bring in problems how to solve things. And I think finding a way to also walk a day in somebody else's shoes and learn what they've done is another way to build your education. It's not like you can go to event technology college and come back with a degree. A lot of it is by understanding what your audience strategy is and the experience you want to create and then making sure that the event platform that you choose matches the need for that experience. So, you know, that reminds me of one of our guests early on in the event, he wrote a gentleman called Rich from ETB, they're a production agency. So he was telling me that when he started off in events, the, the guy, he was, he was supposed to just learn how to coil wires for one month straight. He didn't do anything, he didn't lift any other thing. It was just roping in and roping out day and there. And it's like by the end of those 30 days, I felt like a cowboy. And it was my rite of passage and that is what it was true for everybody who joined at you know, a similar role and you know, from there to this, you know, it's, it's come, we've come such a long way. So my first show or program project with ABC was the Lake Placid Olympics and I pulled a lot of wire and I was freezing for days. So I totally get it. You've got to pay your dues. You have to understand and you also have to learn from failure because failure is an option and failing is ok if you learn from it. No, I completely get that. So coming back to your role at CD and how you think about building your webinars and your event programs, how do you start? So you, you've got 12 months, you've got 18 months of planning to do. What's your ready start? Not that often. We try and do 6 to 8 weeks, but I would say that the world has changed registration looking at the benchmarks from like 1 24 and bright talk and some of the others from el I, you're finding that most people are registering, it's really just in time registration, they're registering that 5 to 10 days before you actually attend a webinar. So I think I'm planning now for the rest of the year, but that may change based on, you know, a new business need that will come up. I like a minimum of 8 to 10 weeks because I, I have my own process. I, I use a webinar worksheet that is mine that kind of puts in. Here's the title, the abstract, here's all the information. Here's our internal logistics, whether it be the Google Drive where I've housed material or, you know, and sales force links, pictures and then I create custom folders in Google Drive for each event and I do it by day. So, you know, I have a process that for me to set up making sure we get on their, their calendars. Making sure I've ordered enough time for banners for the website or on 24 which is what we use has banners for their red and on demand and lo lobby page. So you have to create those imagery as well. And then working with the speakers making sure that it's not two point type that it's got an image and that they've got a script to run with it. I bring in an old broadcast tool which is a runner show. I use a run of show where I put in the slide and add the notes and if there's an action like launching a poll, you know, I will include that in the runner show. So the speakers know exactly how that is gonna be used. So my, my question was that, you know, you've got a checklist right up today. Zero. W what do you do with the content that you generate after that? How is that used? That's, that's a great question. I think you can reuse the content if you want to replay it. I think it's a good example for people to understand why you're asking for the information you're asking for. I use it a lot whatever the abstract is to go back and use it for the post event communication, the email, follow up with the link to the recording or, you know, it's an idea. I use them for ideas. So there's a lot of ways you can use the content. I think it's also good to go back and look at. Why was this webinar or event successful was a description. Let's reuse it. Let's update it for this year.