Thinking Outside the Booth with Arthur Castillo

Thinking Outside the Booth with Arthur Castillo
Listen to this podcast via your favorite podcast player

Episode description

At a trade show, a lot of time and effort goes into making sure your booth can make a strong impact in a matter of moments. It’s important to connect with your audience, providing them both information and an experience. But what can you do to take it a step further? How can you leap beyond the 10x10 booth?

In this episode, Arthur Castillo, Head of Dark Social & Evangelism at Chili Piper, joins the show to share his insights on taking the guest experience to the next level at trade shows. Arthur describes the “deposit versus withdrawal mindset.” He explains that it’s important to make sure you’re “depositing” something to everyone that visits your booth. Give them more than the “withdrawal” of information from your demo. You’ll also discover how booking a demo with someone on the spot can go a long way towards continuing interaction post-event. And by implementing a hybrid aspect to your booth through video content, you can widen that reach even further.

Show notes

  • The importance of standing out from the rest of the “noise” at an event
  • How knowing the event’s audience can inform how you operate your booth
  • How to break through the “solicitation stigma”

Things to listen for:

[02:37] Getting to know Arthur
[05:15] Planning before the show
[09:18] Making your booth stand out
[13:54] Knowing which events to invest in
[18:16] Establishing a connection on the spot
[23:52] Getting your audience’s attention
[34:34] Hybridizing your booth experience

Meet your host

Alyssa Peltier, Director, Market Strategy & Insights at Cvent
Paulina Giusti, Senior Manager, Meetings & Events at Cvent

Meet your guest speakers

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

Episode Transcript

Alyssa: 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, a podcast by Cvent. This week we are going to be talking about boosting and activating your brand beyond the walls of the traditional 10 by 10 trade show booth. I think we're all so familiar with the 10 by 10. I am joined by my fellow host, Paulina Giusti and a very special guest this week. Today I am super excited to introduce you all to our guest speaker Arthur Castillo. Who is the Head of dark social and evangelism, very fancy title here, at Chili Piper. Arthur, welcome to the show.

Arthur: Thank you, Alyssa. I can't say that was perfect pronunciation of the last name. 

Alyssa: I tried, I tried really hard.

Arthur: Yeah, no, it was really good. I'm impressed. So I'll, I'll give it a go Peltier. I don't know if I did yours as well, but I was super excited to be here for this call. 

Alyssa: Well, that's the New Orleans pronunciation, so that's really fancy. Yeah. Welcome to the show, Arthur. We're really excited to have you. I wanted to give a quick background to our listeners as to why we chose Arthur to join us today. I will say our own marketing team is major fan girls and fan boys of the Chili Piper brand. I think we have a pretty solid partnership that's been going on and have had other representatives from Chili Piper in the past on Great Events. If you're interested in that, check out some of our past podcasts here. But we came across a really interesting blog post that Chili Piper put out into the market. I want to say a few months back, maybe at the end of 2022, where the headline we booked a hundred plus meetings at three events in three weeks, which was a really interesting headline to see in a trade show space where typically Cvent sees our customers quantifying success of trade shows in terms of lead, lead captured, lead metrics. And so I found that headline was really interesting when we dug a little bit deeper. We saw that Arthur specifically was doing some really cool content capture onsite at the events, that what I expect is driving some of that meeting's behavior and extending the brand, like we mentioned in the title of this podcast beyond that 10 by 10 footprint. So, Arthur would love for you to just give the audience a little bit more background to who you are, what your story is, what you do at Chili Piper, what you did before Chili Piper, so that we can kind of get an idea of who you are in this space.

Arthur: Yeah, of course. So to start back, sometimes I feel like a little bit of a fraud in the marketing space because I actually came from sales. So that's where my journey at Chili Piper started as an Account Executive. Long story short, had a coffee chat with our director of Demand Gen and she came to realize how much I like marketing. Basically came a full on recruiting effort and at the time we really didn't have a field marketing department, so they said, Hey, why don't you take a shot at standing up our field marketing department? And that's really where I got to learn a lot of marketing to start off. From there, we started to expand the program to the point where we brought in two additional field marketers, and that allowed me to now go into this weird title that I have, Head of Dark Social and Evangelism. I think what's really cool is that coming from field marketing and events, I think it's shaped a lot of how, let's call it, the dark social marketing that we're doing, because what we realized is that people really, it's so hard to replace the in-person face-to-face. And from that, I think what we're trying to do from a dark social lens is how do we create these peer-to-peer type of events where we're not necessarily pitching how awesome Chili Piper is, but they actually get to hear it from a peer that maybe holds thatr exact same title. So, yeah. Super excited to, to get into this conversation around events and kinda how we've looked get, 

Alyssa: Yeah, it's really interesting to make this parallel right now. I've never really thought about events in the context of dark social, but if I really kind of step back maybe 10, 15 years, I'd say events was kind of the OG dark social. We've now digitized the channel and we're able to reap deeper insights, through some of the technologies that Cvent puts out in market. But if I really kind of boil it down to it, like Cvent kind of started, not Cvent, that events kind of started that notion of dark social. And so we see a maturity happening in a lot of those other more social oriented spaces. So really interesting parallel there. All right, so we're really excited to see what Chili Piper's doing. We thought that some of these innovative ideas or innovative approaches that Chili Piper is taking when it comes to trade shows would be really helpful to our listeners. So I'd like to orient our conversation and kind of a pre, during and post trade show, strategy, planning, execution, kind of framework here. So let's start with that pre-planning phase. How does Chili Piper and Arthur, how do you go about even tackling your trade show programs, the trade shows, the events that you attend? What's the mindset that you guys get into kind of before a show happens? 

Arthur: Yeah, this is, it's such an interesting question. I'm like going back to when we first started this field marketing department and how we went about doing it. I think a lot of it was just understanding where marketers and sales specifically in the tech space, what types of trade shows they were going to, putting a short list together, asking for feedback from the team if they've heard of any or ones that they're excited about, and that's how we kind of landed on, I don't know, let's call it the 10 to 15 trade shows that we did the first year in existence. And then from there it was more about. Hey, did we have a little bit, were there early indications, signs of success at some of those events that would warrant us coming back to them? And now when we're looking at it individually, I think one of the first things we actually look at is the sponsors of each show. So either historical sponsors, we've actually had a lot of success, and I think part of it is because in ways Chili Piper helps field marketers event marketing with their programs in terms of generating ROI. In terms of the sponsors, we typically looked at that to see, I guess, are there any competitors? Are there people on our tier one prospect lists that are going to be sponsoring this? And as a result, felt pretty comfortable of like, cool, this is going to be the audience that we attend, that we know we want to get in front of. From there, I think we would put a short list together of obviously the vendors, start reaching out to them. I think a distinction I'll make Alyssa, is, I think everybody's reaching out, trying to book demos or calls prior to the event, but I think like it just gets lost in the sea. Sea of sameness, right? Of like, hey, booth 532, you should come by and book a demo. And part of how we wanted to stick out, even from the pre pre-planning phase, was to take this deposit versus withdrawal mindset. And what I mean by that is when you're asking for somebody to come by your booth and get a demo, that's a withdrawal. You haven't really deposited anything into their so-called bank account for you to be at a positive balance. Right. So it's a very take mentality and we try and switch that around by providing more of a give mentality. So a lot of the trade shows we would do, we would have some sort of offsite activation. It could range from, let's say a more intimate executive dinner type of micro event with 25 to 30 attendees to something a little bit larger, like we did at Dreamforce and Inbound, where it was, let's say 200 plus attendees, more of a networking thing. But I think the key there is that that was our first deposit type of play, right? We're not asking them to come by Booth 321. We're saying, hey, by the way, a bunch of your peers are going to be joining here after, after the event here. Thought it might be a good idea for you to come by and that's our first brand touchpoint. In terms of getting in front of them or at least getting somewhat awareness of like, okay, Chili Piper and maybe a couple other friends are having a party. Cool, I'll keep this in. 

Alyssa: You're additive in their experience as opposed to you taking time away from them, you're basically giving them something interesting. 

Paulina: Can I jump in and ask a question here? And I apologize for kind of going off the cuff, but what you're describing is kind of giving me pause to say, wow, it sounds like Cvent is doing a lot of the right things. But I think it's interesting because the timing, since we're talking about pre-event right now, when you're looking to offer that additive, complimentary experience and obviously looking at the total show schedule, right? And thinking about the concurrency of programs, the multiple calls to action that the conference is asking the attendees to do, what's the balance there? Are you working with the show organizer to envelope your experience into it? Or are you kind of saying, you know what, let's go head to head with some of the dine around experiences or head-to-head with other content and you know, we'll do the best that we can because we know we'll offer a great experience. I'm curious about how you manage that balance and the complimentary experience

Arthur: Yeah, sure. I think there's always some sort of initial major event that the conference itself is putting on. Maybe it's a musical guest, maybe it's some sort of, I don't know, opening networking event. So we typically keep an eye out for that and try not to interject with that because we figure most of the traffic is going there. I can tell you there's really only been one other event that I've known of a pretty popular offsite activation that we've planned around. So typically, I'd say outside of the conference itself, in the event they're organizing, we're not really looking that much, Paulina, of what else is going on. Maybe a risk at first there's always competing events, but I think even after the, what we are calling the big three in this past September, 2022, Dreamforce, SaaStr and Inbound, that almost gave us some sort of reputation in the tech space of like, oh, chili paper puts on good events, so, I guess I would have answered your question differently, maybe pre September 2022 versus now where it seems like it's almost people are recognizing that, and now we've been associated with, oh, chili Piper puts on pretty cool, fun offsite activation, so let's keep an eye out for theirs. So prior to that, I'm sure we would've been much more, okay. Where's the events? Are we competing with anyone? Now it's like outside of the conference major event. We're like, cool, we'll put together an event with some other partners, and typically we get a pretty good turnout. 

Alyssa: Well, what's interesting there is, it's almost like if you're going to do it, do it big, do it bold, because if you don't, you will be more noise, right? And so what you guys did was invest heavily in those experiences and it’s paying in dividends, it sounds like, right? Your brand is standing out and it's kind of starting to snowball. But that might not have been the case if you were like, let's just dip our toe in, right? It was kind of we got to go hard at this strategy because if not, we're just going to be seen as yet another thing that's competing for attention versus this was loud, it was bold, it resonated, and it's continuing. So, really interesting. 

Arthur: Such a great call. And I know that that exactly was the mindset, knowing that it was kind of our first time going to Dreamforce or SaaStr or inbound and exhibiting there. So we knew we wanted to make a pretty big splash and it definitely helps with founders that support this and have maybe an eye for the unique and extraordinary in trying to come out a little differently than other people did. So that was you spot on. That was the exact mindset of like, if we're going to do this, let's go all out and hopefully reap the rewards later down the line, which has happened for us. 

Alyssa: Paulina, I want to ask you a little bit about that evaluation process too, that Arthur was talking about. Cvent’s trade show program, candidly, is I expect a lot bigger than Chili Piper’s. We are a larger organization. I think we do, Pauline, give me the exact number or a rough ballpark.

Paulina: I think we do about 175 shows globally. I will tell you, when I first started at Cvent, we did 350, and I did 90 alone. 

Alyssa: That's a good segue to this evaluation process. Arthur was calling out some of the different attributes that you would assess in order to determine, you know, sponsorship being one of those, not ability to sponsor, but who is sponsoring. So I'm curious, Paulina, if you can harken back to the 350 days, how we were able to make cuts and more strategically invest our dollars in shows that we're paying for the output that we were looking for. 

Paulina: I think, I mean, we're talking nine years ago, right? So it was definitely a volume play. So much of the goal or defining the success around the event was how many leads did you walk away with, right? And you know, number of leads per rep or cost per lead for reps time on site. There was a lot of digging into the numbers and the investment at each show. But to kind of back that up a little bit, I like to think of our trade show program as a very well-oiled machine, but able to be agile and modify with certain priorities as they change over the years. And our roadmap mapping structure, our roadmap mapping process is a tiered process. We look at shows tier one through tier three. And the tiering is indicative of investment. It's indicative of attendance or audience. Are they utilizing our technology perhaps? There are certain different checks and balances that we take into consideration for the tiering structure, but aligned to that tiering structure, we also think about the activations and what's truly happening, like we said in the 10 by 10 space. And then what are the additive elements that we're doing to extend that footprint, and we've done a lot of trial and error, especially over the last year. I can certainly speak to my team has been owning our activation strategy for our tier one events, and we have about 15 to 20 of those in North America that we activated on last year. It's been really interesting because as we look at each show, obviously every show is different, every audience has its own priorities, and that's kind of why I asked that question. Do you try to find the sweet hole in the program to fill the attendees time? Do you work with the conference coordinator to say, hey, you know, can you weave us in? Can we be a part of something that's already existing? We've done a lot of trial and error with that, and we've found some interesting findings. I think there are the big industry shows, like you mentioned, the three in September. Ours are kind of anchored, if you will, in the spring and summer. I mean spring and summer, in the spring and fall.With Imex America and Imex Frankfurt for one of the biggest industry sourcing shows. And so we're really trying to think outside the box of how we can be complimentary to the program, but also have a unique Cvent experience. And we don't want it to be just another reception with cocktails that just sort of, it doesn't feel sexy enough, it doesn't feel innovative and to your point, having the creative stakeholders who are saying, let's invest, let's do something important. We're kind of just getting those wheels moving. And so what we've done for maybe those not tier one shows has created this packaging system and we've attributed to, in booth activations and un-booth activation kind of concept and come up with three to four activations that are applicable to some of our ongoing campaign strategy. So we've got to give you an example, a Event Tech Live is coming up and we're doing get the scoop on Cvent and it's, this ice cream truck delivery kind of experience, right? So we're trying to play off of some of the ongoing marketing campaigns that are out and bringing those to the footprint on site, but then extending them across the show floor with the activation. So we're trying to get a little more strategic with it, staying fresh, staying creative, but ultimately as we look at measuring the success of the event, I'm trying to find ways where we can differentiate lead attribution from someone just stopping by the booth and someone who's getting the ice cream coming to the booth for the ice cream experience or whatever the experience may be. And so the technology that you leverage to kind of separate or segment out those leads has been critical in how we've been mapping out our strategy too.

Alyssa: I’d love to ask your opinion on that too. I know in our prep for this conversation you had some perhaps controversial ways of thinking about lead gen at trade shows, and I'd love to discuss that for our listeners.

Arthur: Yeah, and this is, I recognize maybe this is me coming from sales and I think there's still value there, but to me sometimes I think, like even hearing you talk about it, Paulina, in the early days, like the leads that you got, there are cost per lead. To me, it's still too top of funnel to determine whether or not this was like, at least a successful immediate investment. Right. And I know we have to, we've kind of measured this a little differently in terms of like direct attribution, what we book there and then we're monitoring that. But we've also taken a look at going the whole year back and then running a report of like, hey, how much pipeline was created through all of the events we ran, whether it was trade show, offsite activation, micro in-person events, executive dinners. But I'd say the common thread throughout all of this is that it wasn't enough when I was really building this field marketing department to come back and say like, hey, we scanned 300 leads. Because I was on the other side of that, being in sales, being like, cool, what's the context like, am I reaching out the same way and hoping that they remember whatever connection was made at the trade show to be like, yes, I want to evaluate Chili Piper. I also recognize this kind of goes along to what we do here as a tool, which is help people book meetings. So a lot of the time I think like, I'm trying to pressure test these conversations while they're happening in person. I think everybody is open to maybe checking it out, but to me, if you have a really good conversation with someone, why not try and take the next step right there? Because guess who else is following up with every other single lead, right? You're competing amongst so many folks that are saying,hHey, thanks for stopping by our booth. Would love to take this to the next step and maybe have you evaluate our product. It's so hard to stand out there. So I'm pressure testing that conversation right then and there and saying, Hey, you know what, Alyssa, it sounds like this might be pretty interesting for what you're working on. Are you open to booking a demo? And then we'd book them right then and there. So to me it was just like striking while the iron is hot. Knowing that in terms of differentiating our outreach, even post event, that everybody else was doing the same thing and it would be really hard to differentiate. Seeing how willing they'd be actually to take that next step right then and there. Some people would say, you know what, just follow up with me. And that's pretty much their nice way of saying, Hey, I'm not interested at all. But I think for those folks that are saying, yeah, this is pretty interesting and I can see how it would work within my role, my company, take the step right then and there and try and book a demo. So, I don't know if that's controversial.

Alyssa: Not controversial, but I guess a follow up question I have, that is, what are some of the other ways that you might measure progress or success at a trade show? Right? Lead generation can be one of those outputs. I think it's one of the most traditional ways. It's easy to say scan equals conversion or business card equals conversion, even if we doubt the quality of that lead, it's a one unit of measurement. Right. But there are other ways. So I'd be curious, Arthur, what are some of those other KPIs that Chili Piper might look at? 

Arthur: Yeah. It's a good point because now that I'm talking about this out loud with you both, I'd say it was more like direct demos booked from the trade show booth. We're not necessarily doing that at our offsite activation and being like, hey, thanks for coming by, by the way, let's book you for a demo, like, that's not even a-

Alyssa: It’s sales qualified lead. You're already kind of bypassing a phase of the funnel, if you will. So it's that in and of itself is proving value of the event experience and the in-person connection.

Arthur: Yeah. And I'd say even for, for that is like, it is probably more of a lead gen, right? And we're trying to see the titles that attend these offsite activations and I think through that we're looking at it more of a longer term lens of let's run the report at the end of the year with all of these leads that we so-called collected, whether they're from the booth, from our offsite activation, and then actually see if, did whatever event they attend, either lead to pipeline or in, or in some cases close one revenue and then tying back that success to saying, Hey, yeah, this event was great for us. Let's definitely do this one again this year. Or, hey, it wasn't as successful as we thought. Maybe we could get away with a lot of what we got in the past just by walking the event and, and shooting content out events, which I'm sure we'll get into shorty.

Alyssa:  Right. Let's talk about that. That's actually a perfect segue. I just want to talk about, you know, during the event experience, like what's working and what doesn't work. Like what generates those types of conversion, that traction, that brand awareness, that brand resonance with individuals. You know, what things are you guys doing at Chili Paper? And then Paulina all also opened this up to you. What's driving the eyeballs?

Arthur: Yeah, so I think when we look at trade show direct attribution, we typically are looking at show rates of those demos. So I will say despite us booking, let's say a hundred demos at some of these shows, which is a great indication, not all of them show up. I know even for offsite activations, we try and be pretty targeted with who we're inviting to these in terms of a title perspective, but we know that it's going to probably make its way throughout the conference and other people are going to be attending. I'd say we probably take more of a long-term approach with those offsite activations and giving them a wider range of time, because this is just like an additional touchpoint on their journey. There was maybe no direct conversation, so we're not going to measure it as a direct attribution piece. But I guess like determine, based on your philosophy of field marketing and events, you could maybe say, that's not working right. We put on this offsite activation and it's not like people are coming out of there being like, oh my God, I need to buy Chili Piper yesterday. It's a longer term approach, but I think, and maybe this goes back to dark social and how I view it, we can't put too much emphasis on one single touchpoint, whether that's in-person or digital. We know that it's going to take several touchpoints. So even in our event strategy, we're trying to differentiate in terms of how many touchpoints we have compared to maybe other folks that might just get a chance to speak with them or exchange some swag at the booth, we incorporate another touchpoint with that offsite activation. And then obviously, with some of the content at events that we're doing, that's a long-term asset that we can use to post on social. We often send that to our SDR team to use in their follow up and say, hey, by the way, it looks like someone from our team got a chance to speak with your VP of marketing. This is actually how we helped do that. Are you interested?

Alyssa: Do you find Arthur that with the combination of the events channel, the event as a forcing agent or an accelerator, or you need less touchpoints, if you will, in order to drive that longer term strategy. I guess something that Cvent talks a lot about is integrating events into your broader marketing mix, right? Events are just but one of many tactics that help drive the customer experience. And when they operate in silos or there's a team that operates in silos or that data doesn't make its way into your broader marketing strategy, you're not able to see if the event is a forcing agent, if the power of face-to-face actually is an accelerator for that experience. So I'm just curious if that's something that Chili Piper is looking at, it sounds like you do have an integrated approach to your events, but if you're noticing that the outcomes are that events help drive things further and therefore you're investing more heavily in your event  programs. 

Arthur: Yeah, that, I think that's exactly it. In terms of like, if you asked, and my opinion probably would've changed coming out of a trade show being like, was that successful? It might have been like, I don't know. Based on the immediate outcomes, I'm not sure. But once we ran a report based on event campaigns to see what actually came out, it's changed my mind quite a bit. So I think it's such an important piece that I think each event, they can work in conjunction and they can take an integrated approach. But to what you said earlier, I think maybe there are different goals for each events. And I know for like our executive dinners, and those are great accelerants for inopportunity deals, right? And I can't tell you how many times I've seen reps being like, hey, this deal is stuck. I don't really know what to do. I saw we were hosting a dinner here. Do you think it's worth us inviting them? I'm like, heck yeah. And lo and behold, this is part of the dark social piece, we try and put together our customers right beside our prospects, so they're hearing it from each other and I heard one of our customers spew out. I still wish I had it recorded like three sentences to this founder and he said, oh, that makes sense, Chili Piper's a no-brainer. And lo and behold, the deal closes like three weeks later. So that I would say is more an accelerant. I'd say the offsite activation is probably more brand awareness and giving us a secondary touchpoint to those that we've already engaged with at the booth. And I think the booth in itself, it's the environment of solicitation, right? They're getting used to that. So that's where we can maybe measure more direct attribution? See, cool. The folks that visited us that we had conversations with, did they turn into anything? So each of them have different goals, but in conjunction, we kind of looked across the entire year and then said, hey, this strategy is working because we drove over 7 million dollars in pipeline and our average contract value is like 10K. So people are noticing us and I haven't even, I guess, necessarily talked about the term brand halo effect, that's now starting to come up from our events and people seeing us there. The last event I went to Adobe Summit, somebody actually stopped me and said, hey, aren't you that guy that does content at events and posted on LinkedIn? I said, yeah, you want to shoot some content. So it's cool to see how that's compounding and 

Alyssa: You’re famous now 

Arthur: Apparently. 

Paulina: Was it our girl Carisa?

Alyssa: Probably. Paulina, I wanted to ask you kind of similar sentiments here. You know, what is some of the stuff that Cvent’s doing within our trade show program? I know your team is almost exclusively associated with this experiential programming. So was what Arthur was talking about resonate with our team as well?

Paulina: A hundred percent. I think you nailed it when you said, You know, these events, these experiences are individual touchpoint that always aggregate towards the total customer journey. I think what's interesting for us is we also think about the different customers or potential prospects that go to each show and how we can appeal to each of those, whether they're personas, so if it's perhaps an event marketer show, but also as traditional event planners, right? How do we appeal to both audiences to show how we're able to provide value to them? So to your point, being able to just kind of force the next part of the conversation, would you like a demo? We offer call it three experiences at the booth, right? And it almost maps to where they are in the customer journey. So if you've never heard of the brand or if you're completely unfamiliar with the total scope of Cvent, there is that sort of, oh, come over here and kind of get the, call it 10 minute feature flash pitch of what Cvent can offer you. Over here have a one-on-one appointment with a customer success consultant, perhaps if you're an existing customer. And then over here, you know, whatever, right? Like we think about the unique personas going to each event and how we can solution for or appeal to the prospect customer persona. I think you also touched on a really great example of putting happy customers with prospects in a room. We do something very similar with a customer success group program that we run, where originally we were thinking let's fill the room with happy customers for a knowledge sharing experience and perhaps yield upsell, cross-sell opportunities, but what we found was we're kind of limiting ourselves by keeping it customers only. And so we started to invite prospects, maybe they were customers, but prospects for new features to some of these success groups. And to your point, absolute fire ignition, right? Like people were just really starting to navigate the experience themselves and do some soft selling on our behalf. So I think you touched on something that I think is really important and complementary to what the trade show, field marketing experience is like, right? Those customer success groups aren't tied necessarily to trade shows, but I will tell you, when we look at our overall trade show strategy, we're looking at the shows that are taking place in certain regional areas and saying, okay, let's do a customer success group tandem to that event, right? Maybe it's a couple days before, maybe it's a couple days after and we use it as a way of extending that 10 by 10 footprint that we see taking place on site. So a lot of complementary strategy scenarios happening between us. 

Alyssa: Yeah, I just think like the big sum of the parts here is that it's not a one size fits all for any event, even within one event type. And we've been talking almost exclusively about trade shows today, but even trade shows within one experience can be multi-objective depending on what it is that you're trying to do. It also could change year over year. If, let's say this year you're trying to enhance the customer experience or just showcase status quo, perhaps the next year, it's a product launch and you're trying to tap into new markets and you have a new persona that you're going after. So taking that audience first approach to every event that you do is super important and you don't want to become complacent, which I do feel like we have the tendency to do in the trade show environment because they are routine, they are cyclical, they happen every year. We do this often in events, right? We just kind of get stuck in a rut and we keep doing the same thing, but to challenge ourselves to think really critically about our audiences and then what we ultimately need as a business to retrieve out of that is, is super important. So that is a perfect segue to the post-event strategy conversation that I want to have here is just how do we reap the maximum value from that event that we've discussed.

Alyssa: Arthur, you mentioned this digital halo, which I really love. I refer to things, the digitization of events as this digital mesh that we're now able to tie everything together. That really underlined what we were talking about earlier of how events kind of merge into the broader marketing strategy and I think Digital Halo was somewhat aligned to that as well. So can you explain that concept a little more and address some of the content capture, program strategies, activities that you've been doing onsite that enhance or actually create that digital halo? 

Arthur: Yeah, so this started back at Dreamforce actually, and we chose not to exhibit and have a booth there, and we flew down our Head of Video and we're just like, hey, what if we started to capture content here? Right? We had some customers there. Cool. We could maybe get some quick clips of what they liked about using Chili Piper, and we had a question for marketers and sales leaders and determined based on who we were talking to there, and I think we were shocked at once we started posting that footage, our head of video also had this idea of like, we wanted to curate the event experience for those that weren't there. So from that perspective, it's like he wanted to ship them out quickly. And also, I guess we're about speed to lead now. We're like about speed to speed to content to give this effect of like, holy crap. Like, okay, day one, there's already coverage going on. And what we noticed after the fact when we started posting them was like even people would come up to me and be like, oh, I loved your cover coverage of Dreamforce. I'm like, wow, okay, this is like working and even internally, I couldn't even. We met employees for the first time in Morocco and they're like, oh yeah, you're like the video at events guy, which was, I didn't even think of that, especially for you guys too, that you have such a large company, like people understanding what you're doing, even internally and we looked at the numbers in terms of LinkedIn engagement from like impressions, people watching the videos. It was so much higher than what we were seeing on YouTube. So we realized, okay, there's something here and why don't we try it out in the next trade show? And then we got a little bit more advanced where we're like trying to think of what's our strategic narrative or what's the type of content that maybe we go in with a hypothesis and then we interview people around. And again, through the lens of curating the event experience, it almost felt like people were now on this journey with us of like, hey, we just got here, this is what we're going to be asking people. So, yeah, from that point after Dreamforce, we recognized that we got a little bit more advanced and not like thinking of questions on the spot. We thought, Hey, what's the narrative going into this? Can we take the audience along to this hypothesis we have of we're going to be speaking with sales or marketing leaders and this is a question we have for them. And I guess like one, nobody was really doing that, so it allowed us to stand out. But hearing the qualitative feedback, seeing the engagement we got on LinkedIn made us realize this is actually a way for us to even extend our investment in these trade shows by capturing this content. Not to mention, there's sometimes where I've dropped videos that we've done from like a year ago, and they, people still are like intrigued by them or I know when trade show season kicked off, there were like three tips that we had in, in terms of making the most of your trade show. I reposted that and people were like, this is great content, good things to think about coming into it. So it kind of happened by accident in ways or like, we had constraints of we don't have a booth.

How are we going to get creative here? And then we started capturing this content that really helped us create this. How do we take what we're doing in the investment we're making at these conferences to extend them and then allow people to join in with us? It hasn't resulted, I don't think as much as like the meetings and direct attribution, but the topic we're talking about this integrated marketing approach and making the most out of your 10 by 10 conference investment. This has really helped us, and it's also allowed leadership to view field marketing and events through a different lens of like not just one-to-one direct attribution, but we're actually capturing content here. We're actually discussing co-marketing partnerships.We're getting these people of videos we're taking to post on their specific social media handles, and now this is like really what we're trying to do, which is. It's one thing for us to say it, but if now we're getting other people kind of joining in and either saying, chili Piper events are awesome, or, this was a really great interview. Now it just allows our presence from that point forward to like, yeah, people wanting to call us out and seeing us like, come by, or maybe we stop by the Chili Piper booth and see if Nolan and Arthur there are capturing content

Alyssa:. What I find really interesting about this is we've been in this kind of two to three year vortex of trying to redefine or define even what is a hybrid event and a hybrid program, and what I find really interesting is what you guys are doing is probably, without even recognizing this, almost executing a hybrid event experience and the events that you're attending by amplifying the brand voice, the brand messaging, the content strategy, or you have a content strategy onsite. Two a, I'll put in quotes, virtual audience, right? But it's an audience that is not onsite, but you're trying to bring the in event experience to a broader network to foster this notion of community, of Chili Piper, enthusiasts of Chili Piper evangelists, if you will. And it's really the mechanism that you're using is the event experience, whether that's the Dreamforce brand, whether that's SaaStr, I think you had mentioned SaaStr, brand. We have individuals within our community of planners that leverage the event connect in that way too. They message back out. They use that as the epicenter to kind of have their messages be heard. And it goes beyond what Cvent is putting in market. It is now our customer is creating this echo, echo effect, echo chamber of things. And so I really love the notion of digital halo, because it really means there is a focal point, right? In a halo, you always have something to center around, right? And to us, we see that as the event. But how big can you make that ripple go? How big can you make that halo go? I think that's the challenge for all of us and or the opportunity that we all have in this new digitized landscape of events, both that we host, but also the ones that we attend to try to get the maximum value to hit on all of these outcomes, all of these objectives that we talked about here. Lead generation, conversions, engagement, brand awareness, brand affinity, all of those things are doable, but you've really got to take that strategic approach. So, Paulina, I don't know if you want to give any parting words. I know we're running short on time here, but I'd love to hear your, your perspective on that as well before we wrap up.

Paulina: Yeah, no, I think you nailed it. I think we're constantly talking about how to extend the engagement of an event experience and. From a traditional event planning view, we take a similar approach, but we're facilitating it on site with a Connect TV, right. A TV stream approach where we're liaising, like you said, with customers, with sponsors, and giving them the opportunity to speak their experience to our virtual audience. And I think it's just really, we need to double down on it. It sounds like how you are doing it from a third party perspective onsite at event, us as show organizers, as conference planners, how can we better facilitate this for our attendees, for our sponsors to make it have even more impact? So I love all of the ideas that you've shared with us today. Arthur. Really appreciate your time. 

Alyssa: And I love that notion of not even having to wait until after the event. Right. And I think that's like, we've been very linear a lot in our planning process, but what I think that Chili Piper's doing a really great job at is almost thinking of this access where you've got the linear approach, but you're also thinking about the depth and breadth of the reach of the engagement during the event experience too. And that that reflects that digital halo that you were talking about, Arthur, which I find such a compelling visual to think about. I think we've used kind of the shockwave, if you will, of like an earthquake happening. So it's a really similar notion, but are there any closing words before we wrap for our listeners today?

Arthur: You two have been fantastic. You've even got me to look at the programs we're running in a different mindset, like yeah, it's true, I guess we are kind of doing a little bit of hybrid and this is a new age in which we went back to trade shows. Because I think we've always traditionally done that and it's something safe and we're accustomed to, but I think it's also a very exciting time to try new things and understand how you can create this  digital to physical flywheel where you are in front of your ICP. You're in front of incredible folks. Can you do anything to capture content there and make your investment last longer? So thank you both for your time. I feel like you've given me new ways to look at what we're doing here, and it's been a great conversation. 

Alyssa: Well, that's fantastic because that's what we hope to leave all of our listeners with as well. We hope that you found some inspiration, some new key takeaways, some ‘aha’ moments, if you will, and really think about the time and the investment in your trade show program and your broader field marketing strategy for that matter. As always, if you have any topics or people or recommendations that you'd like to see represented in our 2023 season DM us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send us a note at greatevents@cvent.com. Once again, I'm Alyssa and this is Paulina, and thanks for joining in to great events. See you next time.