How to Reach Your Audience Without Being at the Event

How to Reach Your Audience without being at the event
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Episode description

Attending a trade show can be a great way to get more eyes on your business, but what if a booth isn’t in your budget? How can you still make an impact and get your information out there?

In this mini-episode, Arthur Castillo, Head of Dark Social & Evangelism at Chili Piper, is back to share his experience at Dreamforce 2022. When faced with the event’s high booth prices, Chili Piper decided to find a new way to make their presence felt. By coming together with other companies and communities, they were able to put on the Dreamforce Press Club Party, an event that left people more interested in all the event had to offer.

Show notes

  • The strength of community collaboration
  • How Chili Piper made the most of the hand they were dealt at Dreamforce

Things to listen for:

[01:24] When booth prices are too high
[02:13] Creating an alternative experience without a booth
[03:35] The impact of the Dreamforce Press Club Party

Meet your host

Alyssa Peltier, Director, Market Strategy & Insights at Cvent

Meet your guest speakers

Arthur Castillo, Head of Dark Social & Evangelism at Chili Piper

Episode Transcript

Intro: Great events create great brands, and it takes a village to put on an event that engages, excites and connects audiences to your brand. And we're that village. I'm Alyssa. I'm Paulina. And I'm Rachel. And you're listening to great events, the podcast for all people interested in events and marketing.

Alyssa: Hello everyone. What has been going on in this wide, wide world of events? My name is Alyssa and welcome to this week's episode of Great Events. This week we are gonna be trialing something a little bit new. We have the opportunity to bring to you guys this mini episode of sorts, so we'll be pretty short today, maybe around five minutes. But hopefully super impactful as you maybe start your day or end your day or walk the dog. But I am joined by a familiar face, you just heard from him in a previous week's episode, Arthur Castillo, who is head of Dark Social and Evangelism at Chili Piper. Arthur, the last time we spoke, we chatted about kind of maximizing the trade show opportunity by going beyond the traditional 10 by 10 booth, and thinking differently about the trade show program. We talked a little bit about digital and maximizing the booth footprint, doing some things with content capture. I wanted to take the time in this mini episode to just kinda ask you one question, and we can go really deep on this, but to talk specifically about one of of Chili Piper's best offsite or onsite, I guess I'm not really sure exactly how to, to classify it, but an activation that you guys did at a trade show that really worked, that delivered the results you guys were looking and just describe it in detail for us.

Arthur: Yeah, I'm going take us back to Dreamforce 2022, because I think that that event in itself sparked so many ideas and the direction of, I guess, the field marketing program that we're doing here and trying to do it a little differently than what we saw folks in the industry do it. So we saw some of the booth prices that Dreamforce was charging and we said, okay, we can't do that. So how do we still make a splash while not having a booth presence there? And we decided to do a full buyout of the press club. It was like five minutes away from the Moscone Center. And this was interesting because one of the ways in which we typically get people to go there is invite them at the booth. But we didn't have that. So we were one of, I think the first companies that really invested a ton in community and we wanted to marry what we were doing with community into this events program to ensure that it was successful. And my manager at the time, Dan Samalia, we had this idea that if we could align enough companies, it would almost be like the cool kids club, right? The place to be of like, oh my God, everybody's sponsoring this. Like I have to be there.

Alyssa: I can just see you guys in like your planning phase being like, we're going to be the cool kids. Like this is going to be us. Like that's the strategy. Be cool.

Arthur: Exactly. Yeah. Going back to high school days, it's like we never were cool, now we get to be cool. And I think we got probably something like eight to 10 communities to agree to use this as an extension of their online communities and say, “Hey, we're going to promote it across our Slack communities, on LinkedIn.”

We gave them free promotion and free access to the event, in hopes that they would kind of advertise it out to the masses.

Alyssa: And Arthur, these all had a similar audience profile, like who you'd be going after from a Chili Piper customer opportunity. Is that right?

Arthur: Yes. So that's a good delineation of like, we brought together like sales and marketing communities because we have sales use case, marketing use case, even CS use cases in some cases. So it was not like, “Hey, all the sales communities, let's join and do this,” it was like sales, marketing, marketing ops, like everyone you could think of.

And I think that was the first time people even saw eight to ten communities come together and join forces to support this event. Then we even had individual vendor sponsors that came in, and this was the first event that we even pitched them, this idea of “We're going to set up a mini podcast studio within the press club so you can actually bring your customers or grab some sound bites from within the event.” So it really gave birth to this idea of like, one cross community evangelism. We know that these online communities want to meet in person, how do we allow them to become an extension of that? It was really the first time that there was a big emphasis on selling sponsorships to our own event, to offset the crazy Dreamforce costs that a lot of these restaurants charge. And it was the first time we started to incorporate media at the specific event location. And not to mention the first time me and Nolan, our Head of Video and Creative, got a chance to be at a trade show together, which gave birth to really content at events and the escalator Hot take. If any of your listeners are familiar with that, now we have to do one at every trade show we go to. So it was unique in that we had the constraints of we don't have a booth, we can't actively solicit people and expect to get direct attribution there. So how do we make a splash? How do we bring other peoples, other communities vendors into this so that they can use it as an extension of their brand? And I don't know if it was, we can necessarily say this, but it did kind of feel like the cool kids club where everybody was talking about it. We had a line probably three blocks long at one point to come into this event and everybody was like, what the heck is going on? Is this the Chili Piper event? 

Alyssa: Arthur, was this event time bound? Did you have a moment in time or was it kind of open throughout the duration of Dreamforce? How did the agenda footprint look compared to Dreamforce?

Arthur: It was just the one night, I believe it was a Tuesday, from like 6 PM to 11 PM. So it was time bound and we only had one shot to make a splash and get everybody there. And of course, tons of competing events at Dreamforce. And I think we had throughout the night, probably four to five hundred people walk through.

And that was the first time that we started to hear the initial rumblings of this like, digital halo, this brand effect of like, “wow, your guys' coverage of Dreamforce was amazing. That party was amazing. The folks I met with were awesome.” Tons of co-marketing partners came from that event. So it was pretty distinct, I think like it was a major milestone in our field marketing program in that we decided to not invest in a booth, go big with this party. And I think it really like allowed us to stamp our name in terms of, oh, Chili Piper knows how to throw a party. Now people are really looking forward to it when they see that we'll be sponsoring an upcoming trade show.

Alyssa: Well, Arthur, I really appreciate you going deep with this story here. I think this will really help our audiences to understand what it takes to put on a really big, impactful kind of satellite experience. I like to call these events within events. So, once again, we hope you enjoyed our chat today, we're trialing this new mini episode format.

So we'd love to hear feedback on, you know, do you like the short format? Do you prefer when we talk long-winded about our event strategy? So if you've got topics or people that you'd like for us to add to that 2023 season, you can always DM us on LinkedIn or Instagram. Send us a note at greatevents@cvent.com.

Once again, I'm Alyssa and thanks for tuning in to great events. We'll see you next time.