The right hire in this key role will bring your events to new heights. But how do you find the right candidate?
It’s the age of Event Experience, and events are being planned and executed in a whole new way. The importance of an Event Experience Manager can’t be overstated. An events team works on logistics, operations, and customer lifecycle. But while everyone is fulfilling their role, who is looking at whether or not the experience itself is worthwhile? Who will ensure the experience delivers?
“It’s important to have someone auditing and connecting everyone’s role as the common nucleus of the team, vetting every moment and touchpoint, and confirming it will come out the way the investment was intended to,” said Devin Cleary, Bizzabo’s VP of Global Events.
That’s why hiring the right Event Experience Manager can be the key to your event success. When Cleary conducts interviews for this type of position, he focuses on functional expertise, executive function skills, behaviors and drivers, leadership capabilities, and understanding human nature.
The job of an Event Experience Leader is to look at all the touch-points — to audit and make sure the event is doing two things: meeting and exceeding the expectations, and driving the underlying business outcomes. Aside from the core competencies regarding event budgeting, partnerships, working with suppliers, hybrid events, and general martech knowledge, dig deeper to determine if the interviewee can deliver on soft skills. Here are some of the questions that will help you determine if your candidate is the right fit for this anchor position:
1. How Do You Measure the Success of an Experience?
Anyone fit to manage a team of event organizers to bring the company’s vision together must have a deep and empathetic understanding of how those people work together, and where the gaps may lie. An event manager must be able to translate the needs and requests of various stakeholders, and they need to understand the limitations and opportunities of current martech in order to make those requests into reality.
“I’m looking to see if they have a formula or system they use to evaluate,” said Cleary. “Can they connect that back to strategic business KPIs outside of the number of registrations? I want to know, did your NPS go up? Did you increase brand loyalty?”
2. How Do You Present Creative Ideas or Experiential Work to Internal Stakeholders and Executives?
An Event Experience Manager, Cleary believes, “needs to be able to dig deep and pull out ideas that have an experiential impact.”
Their focus should be on elements like frustration management, surprise and delight, and other variables that perhaps the core events team are aware of but have not put front and center. Having oversight of the entire event from conception and pitch, to execution and follow-up means they carry the through-line of the customer journey — and today that journey leans heavily on new, exciting ideas. Those ideas can seem risky to stakeholders, especially when that means they have to spend more money to try something new, which is where this question comes in.
“I want to know if you can put a business case behind something and present it in a way that doesn’t just resonate with all parties, but motivates and inspires,” said Cleary. “Can you be the Pied Piper?”
3. In a Recent Event or Project, How Did You Alter the Behavior or Pattern That Your Audience Previously Gravitated Toward?
An Event Experience Manager does so much more than just make an event come to life. They need to get in the minds of attendees and clients well before the event ever takes place. “With the disruption of the past 18 months, the technological advancements, the remote work adjustments — experience has been the one constant, and that’s never going to change,” said Clery. A truly great manager will leverage those changes to add to their success, turning hindrances into benefits.
“I want to know if you’ve been able to identify patterns and trends in your audience experience,” said Cleary. If you look at survey data that shows most people don’t label your event as content-rich, but you want to be known as thought leaders, what did you do to uplevel and pivot what you’re bringing to market in order to meet those business objectives? Understanding human psychology goes a long way to predicting those trends, and adjusting until you get the outcome you want.
Digging a bit deeper, according to Cleary, past the resume and into the way candidates see the world, will make a huge difference in the impact your events can have.
“People use experience to share, it’s the way we identify ourselves to the world,” said Cleary. “If we’re not doubling down and prioritizing experience, we are missing a key human function and the opportunity to connect with our audience and drive impact.”