Monday, 18 July 2011

Management of Large-Scale Events

This blog is brought to you by BrightBlue team member Amy Vercruysse. Amy is an Event Director for BrightBlue Marketing.

Events of all sizes have a number of things in common: logistics need to be worked out, production value is key, hiring the necessary staff is critical, and of course programming is the hook that draws the crowd. There are many moving parts to events that need to be coordinated. For large-scale events – which, for this article, can be considered outdoor events that host over 10,000 guests per day – these elements grow exponentially.

Production is the root of all events.

“Production” refers to the infrastructure of the event and will include such things as fencing, permits, traffic control, crowd control, security, staging, lighting, tents, porta-potties, installations, electrical, phone/data and water supply. There are many things an event can’t do without, like staff, sponsors and volunteers, but without proper and well-executed production then there is no event and poorly planned production will kill any event.

Getting production right means hiring the best person for the job, someone with experience who understands the details as well the big picture and can manage all the elements and staff that are necessary to implement the production needs. This person will have to be highly organized and able to multi-task like no other.

What roles should be filled by staff and what by volunteers?

All of the management team should be paid staff, as these are demanding positions that require experience and know-how. Staffing should include:

  • Producer in charge of the entire event

  • Production director

  • Programming manager

  • Volunteer coordinator

  • Marketing and PR manager

  • Sponsorship manager

These folks may wear more than one hat, and will have teams that work under them which could include additional paid staff, volunteers, and interns. Volunteers can be assigned to handle onsite duties such as:

  • Gate/line management

  • Traffic control

  • General event assistance

For insurance purposes, volunteers generally do not do heavy lifting or operating of machinery.


Insurance will be required and can be pricey depending on the nature of the event. Vendors and suppliers at the event should be required to carry insurance as well, naming the producer company as an additionally insured. There are insurance companies that specialize in entertainment insurance and those will generally be less pricey than an agency that does not specialize.

Getting the word out

Because events typically depend on ticket sales as a revenue stream it’s necessary to get the word out about the event using a multi-faceted marketing and PR campaign. This can and should include:

  • Social media

  • Radio

  • Print

  • Online

  • Television advertising

  • Promotional ticket giveaways

  • Media sponsors

Media sponsors come in very handy and are great for conducting promotions which should showcase sponsors and the exciting programming going on at the event. A good PR campaign could consist of ongoing outreach to the media that also showcases sponsors, such as a check presentation photo opportunity. PR is also a great way to enlist sponsors and volunteers, in addition to the regular promoting of the event and its various elements.

Sponsorship is the primary revenue stream for events and as such should be a top priority. It’s not enough to find sponsors, but taking good care of them and treating them as the partners they are in the event is essential in order to ensure a smooth relationship with them and have them return for future events. They should be a strong focus in marketing and PR as well as onsite. To avoid “logo soup” it’s best to concentrate on and find high-level sponsors who will bring value to the event and be enjoyed by the guests.

Planning and executing a great event requires many months or longer, due to the complicated nature of large-scale events and the time it takes to acquire sponsors. Most large-scale events have year-round full time staff and ramp up their staffing as the event draws closer. By event time there could easily be a couple hundred staff and volunteers involved.

Looking for the best people to run your event? Contact BrightBlue Marketing!

-Amy Vercruysse

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing - How Better Cooperation Fills the Pipeline More Effectively and Efficiently

The topic for our Think Tank call this month was:

Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing - How Better Cooperation Fills the Pipeline More Effectively and Efficiently

The call was facilitated by Andrea Lamarsaude, with BrightBlue Marketing and was Co-Hosted by Candace Miller with BrightBlue Marketing, Bob Howard with Contact Science, and Barry Caponi with Caponi Performance Group. Also on the call was one the co-creators of the Think Tank call series - Narciso Tovar from Big Noise Communications.

By way of background - the Think Tank conference call takes the format of an open discussion that allows for everyone to share best practices and experiences relating to a relevant topic. For those of you who attended the recent web seminar on this same topic our latest Think Tank call will serve as a follow up to that seminar.

BrightBlue Marketing and Big Noise Communication have been conducting Think Tank calls once a month for over a year, with each call focusing on relevant and timely Marketing and PR topics. You can visit BrightBlue’s blog to see summaries of previous calls and links to further reading on the respective topics. Just go to and click on our Blog link.

The following topics were discussed on the call:

1. Some of the causes for gaps between sales and marketing:

Unspecified expectations, and not agreed upon expectations

Lack of communication between sales and marketing

Both departments are expecting the other to do more than what they are

Sales and marketing have different goals and may even be targeting different audiences

Lack of trust between the two departments

Lack of collaboration and connecting both departments’ efforts

Lack of understanding of what each department does and their respective value

No integration of technology when they do try to communicate

Marketing needs reports to see what has happened with leads that a campaign has generated, but sales only gets paid when they are selling so it is hard for them to take the time to create the reports

There is not a process in place to pursue the activity that marketing supplies to sales

2. Level of accountability for feeding the pipeline between marketing and sales:

Sales thinks marketing should be solely responsible for generating leads, but marketing knows that they cannot produce the full amount of leads for sales and sales must do prospecting

If marketing could fill the pipeline alone, then sales would not be paid as much; sales get paid because it is not easy

Can’t have over reaching expectations for each side

They both have to be willing to work together

3. Responsibility for bridging the expectations gap between sales and marketing:

It has to start at the top

Managers should encourage and facilitate it by conducting joint meetings with sales and marketing

Invite sales to marketing meetings and vice versa

Each department needs to understand the challenges and limitations of the other department

Upper management should create collaboration between the two departments to reach the common goal

Both departments should be accountable for the same goals

Measure the goals as a team effort with both departments

Initial appointments are measurable to keep everyone accountable

4. Nurturing the lead – whose role is it?

Successes have you seen when lead nurturing is part of the lead generation process. (As a general definition - Lead Nurturing is the process of communicating to a lead on an ongoing basis in order to educate, inform, continue to qualify and build a relationship until the lead is sales-ready)

Marketing generally has the major role in lead nurturing at the beginning

When the lead is nurtured, it becomes sales-ready for the sales team; however, marketing cannot always do all the nurturing without any help from sales

Sales has responsibility when they don’t get a sale. They then need to ask if marketing can continue to communicate with them

Sales must give some background as to why this lead is still worth nurturing for the future

5. Improvements marketing can make to improve the number of appointments set by sales:

Prioritize the list of leads for those that look like the easiest to close

Once sales has exhausted their efforts they can then turn it back to marketing to try to re-nurture

Sales must communicate why a lead is being turned back to marketing so marketing will know why this is still a potentially viable lead for the future

Make sure that sales knows the messaging that marketing is using and what audience they are targeting

Make sure that sales is using the same messaging

Create small business cards with the company’s messaging in bullet points for sales to refer to

Senior management of both sales and marketing should go out with sales on some sales calls

6. Have you been a part of a coordinated marketing and sales effort, and if so what effect did this coordinated effort have on the business aspect of telephone prospecting?

Very important for marketing people to join with sales on their update calls as well as periodically joining them on their sales calls with customers

It helps them to see what sales needs more of & what customer feedback is with the marketing effort

It helps if marketing gets to see and hear the techniques and processes that sales use to close sales

The value proposition doesn’t matter unless you manage to get them to the point of really listening to it

How and when sales can apply the value proposition may be unknown to marketing

7. The costliest and the least costly way to convert a target into an appointment:

If marketing and sales are working together and marketing is getting the type of leads that sales need, the costs drop dramatically.

Cold, purchased lists are the most costly way to do sales

Some final thoughts:

It takes time and patience as you start to integrate marketing and sales departments. It is a new concept to most companies so it will take some getting used to on both sides.

Think of your top 3 customers:

What did they buy?

What was the reason they bought from you?

What were the benefits to that particular customer for the reasons they bought from your company?

What are the challenges that you helped that customer solve?

Our next Think Tank call is scheduled for August 5th at 9:00 am CST and the topic is Branding your company as a Jack of All Trades vs. branding your company on one single focused offering.

Please let us know if you would like to be a part of our next Think Tank call. If you can’t make it then please look for a summary of the call on the BrightBlue Marketing blog.

For further reading:

The Statistics of Lead Nurturing for B2B - by Paul Mosenson

Together – Sales and Marketing - by Mary Sullivan

Creating a true partnership between marketing and sales
Karen J. Bannan