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Episode 88 / February 12, 2024

Maximizing ROI and relationships through micro-events with Aleksandra Panyukhina

Tune in to hear Aleksandra Panyukhina share her expertise on leveraging micro-events for an ROI boost and building solid and lasting connections in the events industry.

Say hello to Aleksandra Panyukhina, the Director of Experience Marketing at Pixelz, who brings more than 12 years of expertise in the events industry to this episode of Event Experience. Listen in as Panyukhina (pronounced Pan-YOO-keenah) discusses the importance of creating intimate, memorable experiences — aka micro-events — that foster genuine connections and trust. For Panyukhina, these smaller events contrast with larger-scale events where such personal engagement is often lacking.

She also shares her approach to experience marketing, which encompasses events, account-based marketing (ABM), partner marketing, and community building. The conversation also delves into the logistical and strategic aspects of organizing micro-events. 

Here’s what you’ll hear about in this conversation:

  • The macro impact of micro-events in creating lasting relationships and trust with target accounts
  • Why small-scale events require a deeper audience understanding and a focus on creating comfortable, engaging environments
  • How collaboration with sales teams and internal stakeholders is crucial for aligning event goals with broader business objectives

Mentioned in this episode

Transcript

[00:00:09] Rachel Moore: Welcome to Event Experience by Bizzabo, the podcast where we bring the best and brightest Event Experience Leaders together to share stories, tips, and lessons learned from creating some of the world’s biggest events.

I’m Rachel Moore, your podcast host. 

For our listeners who design smaller, more intimate Event Experiences — or would like to get started – this episode is for you! Our guest is Aleksandra Panyukhina, Experience Marketing Lead at Pixelz Inc., and she’s about to usher us all into a focused discussion about why she believes micro events – and we’re talking very micro – are the best for ROI on target accounts and boosting brand awareness. Get ready for a very VIP vibe in this episode of Event Experience!

[00:01:13] Rachel Moore: Our guest today brings yet more event experience to the microphones and to you, our dear audience. With over 12 years in the events industry and leading events, our guest’s most recent roles include Head of Events for parcelLab, UserLane and SEMRush. And currently she is Director of Experience Marketing at Pixelz and I’m really excited for our topic today too. I think you’re all gonna dig into this. It’s definitely something we’ve been hearing kind of bubbling up in the discussions within the industry. I will not give anything more away. I will introduce today’s guest, Aleksandra Panyukhina, and welcome to our microphones. We’re so pleased to have you on the podcast.

[00:01:57] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Hi, Rachel. My pleasure to be here.

[00:02:00] Rachel Moore: Thank you. And I was joking too offline. I’m both have our game faces on and you’re joining us because it’s afternoon for you. Where are you joining us from?

[00:02:08] Aleksandra Panyukhina: I am based in Prague in Czech Republic. Joining from my home office slash kitchen slash living room. Been here for the past four years, except for when I’m at the events.

[00:02:18] Rachel Moore: Yeah, I think we all can relate. For anyone listening, you should definitely go, comment on our social on when we drop this on the podcast, but where’s your home office? I’m actually in a somewhat converted storage room in our basement. So that’s my home office too.

[00:02:31] Aleksandra Panyukhina: It does look like a studio, like a music studio. I must say the guitar in your background really gives it away. 

[00:02:36] Rachel Moore: Thank you. As people who have listened to this podcast may know that is a purely cosmetic guitar at the moment. I am super slowly trying to learn it, but it’s one of those things where I’m like, I need to be a little bit more disciplined about spending daily time with it. But we’re about to spend part of our day’s time with you.

[00:02:51] I know I just gave a super brief introduction of, anyone looking at your LinkedIn could learn what I just learned. I’d love to turn it over to you. Can you describe a bit more for us? What about your role as Director of Experience Marketing at Pixelz and what all is involved with that?

[00:03:04] Rachel Moore: What do you do on a daily basis?

[00:03:07] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Absolutely and with pleasure because I think the current role that I have and have had for the past year and a half is the most exciting one that in my career because. It’s not event marketing, right? It is experience marketing. And the reason for that is because I am overseeing not only events, but also our account based efforts and our partner marketing efforts and our community since recently, and to me, these four really make up such a perfect combination and this really should work as one ecosystem because one impacts the other and informs the other. And I would say ABX in particular at Pixelz is our mindset, I would say, how it needs to be. It’s not just a marketing tactic or a strategy, it is a company way. It’s like a go to market, basically how we approach things.

[00:03:58] But then events play a huge part of it, but also we work with partners closely and how we engage our partners through these events and some of the other activations that we create for our audience. And then obviously through all of the efforts that we’ve been doing, we’ve been building community. And even though we already have a dedicated Slack community, but also community as a whole where you think about the points of engagement through your social media, through various events, not necessarily flagship events, through different experience focused projects that are designed to highlight and promote your audience and your people. So all of it is so deeply tied that I am really, I think, in a lucky position to be able to dip my toes into all of it and be spearheading it.

[00:04:50] Rachel Moore: It does sound really intriguing and I love all the things you brought up about it too. 

[00:04:54] We wanna get to know you a little bit better and want our audience to get to know you a little bit better.

[00:04:58] So I have some questions that are a little bit, they’re not about events particularly, but they’re tied, but can you name an item that you forgot for a work event that caused you some panic?

[00:05:09] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, I did forget my hairbrush. That’s ridiculous. I was on a trip, had three trade shows in a row in three different countries, and I literally had no time in between them to run to a store or anything. No. I packed from one, went to the other in the morning. I was already building the booth there and so it goes. Yeah, it was a bit unfortunate, but luckily, my hair type allows to just put it in a bun and a little bit messy thing up there. And managed through that, but not the experience that I want to repeat.

[00:05:39] Rachel Moore: Is there anything you’re listening to, watching or reading these days that you can’t put down?

[00:05:46] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, it’s not another book about developing, habits that make it productive. Definitely not. So I really, I am really into fashion and I really enjoy everything around it. I find it very inspirational for the work I do. So now I’m reading Christian Dior biography and it’s super, super interesting.

[00:06:04] Yeah, it gives a lot of context around the, just the times in the 20th century and how things were, what people experienced, and how it affected different developments, not only in fashion, but in life overall.

[00:06:17] Rachel Moore: What are your go-to shoes for a full event day? 

[00:06:20] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, my go-to with some exceptions are usually sneakers and I’m lucky that it’s all the fashion right now and there are so many different models to choose from and I have quite a few as well. Even if I wear a blazer and like usually would be like an oversized suit and so on, then it really pairs well with sneakers and it allows you to run if you need to run and really makes you comfortable. 

[00:06:46] Rachel Moore: I know we’re just entering a new year. We’re recording this podcast in January 2024. New Year means new ideas, also brings all the thought leadership with it, which is a big reason why we do this podcast.

[00:06:58] We wanna gain all of that from our guests with so much experience. You are a strong advocate and have been for a while for the smaller, like micro — smaller events, the small-sized events. I’d love for you to share with our audience your philosophy around why you think small, smaller events should be on everyone’s radar.

[00:07:17] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, that’s true that I’ve been advocating for this for a while. Even in the times when everyone went for scale and the bigger, the better, the prospectus around the event and LinkedIn posts would be like, we had a thousand attendees. Last year, 3000. This year, 5,000. So we have 30 speakers. We have a hundred speakers.

[00:07:40] We have 48 keynotes in 12 hours of the event day. So it was all about the numbers and at that time even it already seemed not the right way for me. The reason being, since I started with the B2B marketing and in tech, I had pleasure obviously and experience of both the arranging our participation in large scale trade shows or large scale conferences.

[00:08:06] Also producing the conference that was closer in a larger scale to what I would say, obviously for some people that’s like peanuts. If you’re thinking it was not 20,000 people. No, it was less than a thousand. But still it was pretty big for where I stand. And then I also had an opportunity to produce small, highly impactful events for very curated audience. And I could just see the difference in the effect and the impact that they had on people, even on people’s lives, I would say. For example, six years later, no one would remember that big conference that I produced. It was a good event! Organized, the content was there, the happy hour was there, everything was there, but nobody would remember it. But the event for 15 people that we organized, if you ask any of the participants right now, it’s been exactly six, six and a half years. They would all say it was one of the best events in their life.

[00:09:04] Still six years later. 

Building trust for business relationships at micro-events

[00:09:06] Aleksandra Panyukhina: This to me is the true impact and the relationships formed at these events, even for myself, I could see, it allowed to form true friendships with some of these people. And years later we would still meet up when all of a sudden we are in the same location in the world.

[00:09:25] And there’s just that bond that cannot be created at a large scale event. And relationships are everything because relationships means there is trust. And if there is trust, you can build up the conversation further in whatever direction that might be. And obviously business conversation also requires trust, especially if we’re talking about large scale enterprise style deals.

[00:09:50] And here, I must say the disclaimer that my experience in B2B has been with the companies that at least have one sector of the enterprise customers and the event efforts would mostly be tailored to them. And obviously some of the companies are fully focused on the enterprise. I’m sure that events and small events can be also very impactful for PLG style of companies, but let’s say everything I’m gonna talk about is specifically tailored to the enterprise style.

[00:10:21] Rachel Moore: Yeah, that makes sense too. I think everybody’s listening to this saying of course you wanna go for enterprise. A lot of times it’s the big bucks, right? It’s like that’s where a lot of the revenue comes in. You’re saying that value though is still to make a micro event. That is, it’s not the thousands of people. And can you describe for us too, and we might, I might be jumping the gun here a little bit, but just can you describe for us one of your like that 15 person event, what was the environment like?

[00:10:45] Was it a dinner and how were you crafting that experience so that it did become something they’re still talking about and remembering six years later?

[00:10:54] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, so that’s 15 person events. That was a over the weekend, which is not normal for a work event, but the whole idea about it was to not work during that event. We did have one session for 40 minutes, talking just a little bit about the cool things we’ve accomplished this year. Some of the teasing, some of the plans for the next year, but it was super short.

[00:11:19] And after that we went for extreme driving lesson on ice and all that. And before that we have a gorgeous dinner with like view of the mountains. And after that driving lesson, we actually went up into the mountains on exclusive ride, like cable car ride, for exclusive dinner above the clouds and with the fireworks and snow.

[00:11:42] And it’s just been like, you can’t, 

Pro tip: No business talk at micro-events

[00:11:44] Aleksandra Panyukhina: you don’t think that someone will create an experience like that for you, and yet here it is and you are not talking about work. You were talking about life and obviously work just comes up because all these people that like your life is deeply intertwined with work.

[00:12:00] Let’s be honest. But you’re not talking business. Let’s put it this way. You’re not negotiating contracts in there. That will come in later. And obviously that event was geared towards people, towards thought leaders, towards experts in the industry to ensure that we build that trust and level of relationship that will allow us to tap into them when we need their support so that they also feel comfortable to go to us when they need something.

[00:12:29] Is it a data or is it something else? So really it was a relationship building, was trust building exercise that we all listen, still think about, and we all still have Facebook memories every year and you’re like, oh, I should reshare that or send to someone. 

[00:12:45] Rachel Moore: Yeah. You do think in the work context you’re making it far less transactional and like you said, you’re making it relational.

[00:12:53] Anyone could obviously go up, say, Hey, I’m gonna go order something from this company, and that’s it. I exchange money and I get the thing. It’s a lot different when you’re saying, Hey, I’m gonna go spend a day with the person selling me this thing. We’re not gonna talk about the sale of that thing.

[00:13:08] Rachel Moore: We’re gonna actually just go enjoy the environment we’re in. Super different. And you actually, now you see that brand, that product or service more in the light of that person or the people that you engaged with, right?

[00:13:21] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, and other people who are engaging with the brand and you see who puts the trust in these people and in this brand. So this is a huge win and this is something that I think has been a huge accomplishment with our events at Pixelz, with our Flow event series, where we are slightly bigger event compared to my 15 person experience, we are around 150 in total at the venue. That’s including speakers and partners and our own team and all the attendees. So still for someone it will be like, that’s not even an event anymore. Where is the thousand people in there. But yeah, people come in and even if they had doubts, they were not ready to have a sales conversation, for example.

[00:14:05] They were not ready to jump on a demo. But because this event is completely not about the company, it’s not called Pixelz user conference, it has its own name, it has its own brand at this point, the conference, like the content is true value. No. Nothing is being sold. Nothing is sold on stage. It’s just valuable.

Achieving super soft sells through events

[00:14:27] Aleksandra Panyukhina: The conversations that we are having, they’re not related to like through the product unless someone really asks and wants to have that conversation. But people are able to be in that safe environment and observe and see that these are real people. And most of those people are actually pretty cool.

[00:14:45] That is obviously prerequisite for a successful event, right? Your team gotta be cool, but of course your team is cool. And they see also other members of the audience and they say, oh, that is a cool brand that we’re looking up to, and they look very friendly and familiar with this team. So probably if they trust, why shouldn’t we trust?

[00:15:03] These are the things that create the real effect.

[00:15:07] Rachel Moore: And you’re so right. Goodness, today’s purchasing decisions are so much impacted by not just Hey, how much do I trust? How much I trust that brand, how much I trust that provider, but can certainly be greatly impacted by just the crowd, almost wanna call it peer pressure, right?

[00:15:22] Where it’s I see all these peers who are like, okay, they must be onto something. I should jump on that.

[00:15:28] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah. It’s nothing new, right? Since middle school everybody wants to be a part of the cool kids gang. Or if the other maybe not so cool, but a very particular gang, right? That they feel relatable to, that they feel like these people understand me. They share my interests, they share my vision and point of view.

[00:15:47] I want to be with them. And that is a part of decision-making process.

[00:15:52] Ad Break In: We’ll be right back with more Event Experience after the break.

[00:15:59] Ad Copy: From backstage to the spotlight, the Event Experience podcast by Bizzabo gives you a front-row seat to the event industry’s most captivating stories. 

Want to get more out of each episode? Visit bizzabo.com/podcast — that’s B-I-Z-Z-A-B-O dot com slash podcast — for show notes, transcripts, links and resources mentioned in each episode, and more. 

The Event Experience podcast by Bizzabo – where events become unforgettable experiences!

[00:16:34] Ad Break Out: We’re back with Aleksandra to pinpoint why 2024 might be a big year for super small events.

[00:16:44] Rachel Moore: Now when we’re talking about these smaller events, and I think we know that they’ve been out there. We’ve seen activations and, whether it’s around trade shows or, even if it’s the event, it’s something that’s intimate like this. It’s a smaller, more focused group of people you’re putting an event on for.

[00:17:00] Why do you think, why is the focus now? Why do you think that we need to be focusing on this now, going into this year of 2024?

[00:17:09] Aleksandra Panyukhina: That is so true that it seems like it’s been a boom off, oh, let’s focus on this small scale events, side events, intimate events. I could see so many CMOs posting on LinkedIn saying, this is the direction that we are going with. It’s been super helpful. Like one of the biggest revenue drivers. I was like yes, I’ve been saying that for years.

[00:17:29] So good to see that. The reasons there are I think quite a few that make total sense. One of them is obviously we are out of the pandemics and people were back to the events. So the importance of the events was not content because we learned, I guess by now, how to consume content online, right?

[00:17:49] Webinars, podcasts, virtual events, blah. All of it so much. If you really want to get content and to learn, you will be much more productive in front of your laptop, in a calm environment at home or coworking, whatever that might be. Really learning, not in the, at the event where things are chaotic, sometimes chairs are not very comfortable, and you haven’t had enough coffee yet and things like that.

[00:18:14] It’s all about in-person connections and prove me wrong. 

Meaningful connections are hard at 1,000+ person events

[00:18:19] Aleksandra Panyukhina: If any of the listeners want to prove me wrong, please message me and we’ll talk about it, but I don’t think that meaningful connections at scale beyond one to three people happen at a 1,000+ event. Mostly you can see people who are walking through the corridors being a little bit reserved and a little bit afraid and pretending to be very busy on their phones because that’s, this is just the way -I’m guilty of that as well. I’m speaking from my own experience. You feel a little bit like, oh, everybody’s as a group or something, and here I am alone, so I’m gonna just check these emails once again.

[00:18:56] And it’s harder to talk. So people are in for connections. Connections can only happen when that networking experience is actually curated and there are a lot of mechanics and different techniques how to curate networking. And I can speak about them as well for a lot of time. But 

Understanding the “like-minded” prerequisite

[00:19:17] Aleksandra Panyukhina: I think the prerequisite for successful networking, whatever games you’re playing there with people, it’s gotta be the same crowd.

[00:19:24] It’s gotta be like-minded people really narrowed down and segmented audience that, even if you just put them in the room, they already will have something to talk about. So that is a prerequisite, and you are not gonna get exactly 1000 like-minded people that have exactly the same way of thinking. Just not really gonna happen.

[00:19:46] They will maybe within the same industry, but they, the challenges that they have, it will be slightly different. And this is also slightly different, like I always felt a little bit odd at different, let’s say, event management conferences that are tailored at destination management or event agencies and so on.

[00:20:05] I don’t share the same challenges. You may say that I’m part of the event industry, but I, my thoughts are, and I feel more as a part of the group at a B2B marketing conference than at event conference. So this is just one of the examples. So you would think that I totally belong to that event.

[00:20:23] The other one, definitely ABM for example, has been around for a while and everybody has been raving about it, but I think more and more companies are actually adopting it in the right way, not from technology perspective, buying fancy tool, paying a lot of money, building segments and running ads to that.

[00:20:40] That has been ABM for a very long time. But now I think more companies are transitioning into really focusing all of their efforts around these highly targeted accounts, understanding their audience, and curating everything around that subset that they’re going after. Then also I think the tactics that used to be winning strategists, let’s say six, seven years ago, everything, what used to be called growth marketing, I imagine growth marketing has been a bit of black box, what it is really is, but ads retargeting, personalized that all like black magic that happened there.

[00:21:19] It’s getting more expensive and budgets are down. We all know it. It’s getting harder because of all the data security, privacy bans, GDPR, European laws, California privacy, like all of that. It’s getting harder. And then there is AI and just increase number of every, everybody doing the same thing.

Events get you the email and their attention

[00:21:44] Aleksandra Panyukhina: So events are that one way of actually getting people to voluntarily hand in their contact information and pay the attention to you like we live in the world where gating, like gating your content is not normal. I’m not gonna put my email to get an ebook. That the time has passed. So event, yes, I am gonna give my email because I need to get the ticket, and I also wait for your emails with important information about the event.

[00:22:11] This is a unique situation when someone’s actually anticipating you to contact them. So this is just such a differentiator for events. And then also for small events in particular, it’s something new.

[00:22:23] So everybody’s used for an event to be convention style ballroom at the hotel, no windows, carpets.

[00:22:31] It was mandatory aspect of it and yeah, or a trade show. Lots of booths, non appealing. You don’t know why you are there. Probably just to do something different than being at the office. Now, like people are not gonna spend their time on that. You need to surprise, delight and really entice by saying what this event will be, and by saying that there will only be 30 or 40 people.

[00:22:56] That’s already something interesting.

[00:22:58] Rachel Moore: Oh gosh. The exclusivity, I’m sure is a big, it’s ooh, there’s only so much space sign up now, you don’t wanna miss your spot. Maybe that might be more appealing too to some attendees to be like I’m not gonna find myself in this big, like you just mentioned, huge swath of people. I guess I better go find my people somewhere in there. But it’s really on you to accidentally, either run into someone you know, or strike up and meet someone. It requires a lot more effort, whereas you’re doing all that for them in a small event where you’re you’re naturally, you’re just gonna talk and they’re right there.

[00:23:28] And that’s it. That’s the expectation. 

[00:23:30] Aleksandra Panyukhina: But actually you also curate that. So the only thing, like my idea of that is that the only thing people need to do, the only effort they need to do is get to the event. As soon as they’re in there, everything is taken care of. They don’t need to think about what their next step needs to be. Everything is already designed for them.

[00:23:48] They just need to go with the flow and yeah, and enjoy the process.

[00:23:53] Rachel Moore: Everyone’s thinking right now. Hopefully you’re thinking about if you go to a large event, you plan your day and you’re like, I need to be tactical. You’re planning your footsteps, you’re planning what events, sessions you’re gonna go to. I hope I don’t choose wrong, and instead this is radically different ’cause you’re taking all of that off them.

[00:24:09] You’ve mentioned so many great differences between large scale events versus the smaller, more intimate ones. It’s definitely such a big value add. What should eventprofs, what should they keep in mind as they do plan these super small focused events versus a more traditional, large one? What are the main things that you want them to keep in mind as they’re planning that?

[00:24:32] Aleksandra Panyukhina: I think the very first one is really understanding who they’re planning the event for, kind of niche it down. And here I think there is a lot of overlap with ABM. The first step is always understanding who you’re going after, who is your subset of accounts that you want to pursue, and then how, ’cause once you understand the audience that you’re creating for, the how comes in much easier because then you understand what their needs are, what they’re expecting, what they feel comfortable with. Getting someone out of their comfort zone can be an efficient way, and in fact, quite impactful. Maybe you don’t wanna do that right away, right? You still want to make people feel comfortable there.

[00:25:16] If someone is used to an environment, I would bring our example of a photo studio because our events right now are tailored to the e-commerce photo studio professionals. We don’t want to put them in an environment that stresses them out. They’re already stressed out because normally they don’t go and meet people.

[00:25:34] So this is already a big step. So we choose venues that are often photo studios that some of these people have already worked at and did some shoots. So once they step in, they feel at ease because they know how to navigate this space. It’s not making them uncomfortable. It’s one of the small things that you can think about for your audience experience.

[00:25:58] The next one, I believe, and I’ve experienced it myself, that especially if you run the first event and it’s extremely successful, there will be a huge push internally: let’s increase the numbers, let’s make it bigger, let’s scale. It’s been so good. And that’s when you need to explain that. It was so good because it was of this precise size, and it will be not once, not twice, but it will be a repeated thing that people will be coming back. And I had surprising experience that if you say many times that no, this is why it’s so successful, we need to keep it of this size, this is the maximum size that we can go to, to keep that magic of the event, that once the there is an option, okay, should we increase the size? And your stakeholders will be like, no, we actually think that it’s perfect right now. We don’t need to go after that. We need to keep it as our exclusive aspect of the event. And then it’s about really thinking super carefully about that whole experience, really thinking it from the attendee point of view, not your stakeholder, not your partners, not your sales team, not even your own ’cause sometimes we can make things easier for ourselves, but that will mean that we sacrifice some parts from the attendee experience and when it’s a small event and you really need to highlight that attendee experience as we already chatted, right? Taking away that work off their shoulders so that their day is absolutely seamless.

[00:27:31] And definitely maximizing the pre, during and post event promotion to make it to increase that ROI by showing the organization as well, that look, we are doing a small event but we are increasing its impact because we are doing this and that beforehand and during and then afterwards. And this is how we are also working with our revenue team to ensure that they are well equipped and they are achieving their goals as well.

[00:27:58] Rachel Moore: All great points. Yeah, and I love that you talk about pushing back on, you start getting Ooh, people, we’ve got a lot of interest, let’s make it bigger. And really fighting for standing for, Nope, let’s stick to our guns, let’s. make sure we’re keeping it to a size that maintains that intimacy we’re striving for. And that brings me into asking you about stats. So obviously we all care when we design experiences. What are the results, are, was what was the return on investment?

[00:28:32] So can you tell us like what do you typically see as far as like results after you design these smaller events?

[00:28:39] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Sure. So the key metrics that I’m looking at for the events are the number of target accounts that have been engaged through the event. And obviously you can also slice it down and see how many of these target accounts have never been a part of your system, or there hasn’t been a contact established.

[00:28:57] How many of them have been actively in a conversation and how it has helped or accelerated the deal. If you really want to get nerdy, you can look at how the deals were accelerated and were they closing faster or not compared to the deals that haven’t been touched by the event. Also obviously looking at the pipeline that has been built after the event.

[00:29:20] So really looking at how that has helped the sales team to start the conversation and to open up those deals. And obviously we are all interested in the closed one. So without going too much in depth into the numbers, I can say that for our past events here at Pixelz, we are looking at the positive ROI for all of them was in like six to 12 months period. We’re talking about enterprise, right? It’s a long cycle, so there is an element of patience that needs to be involved, and this patience must be shared by all the stakeholders. If you know it, but your CMO, your CRO and your CEO do not have that patience, then do not understand that, it will be tough, honestly, like it’ll be tough. I’m lucky that we’re all super aligned and understanding how things work here. Yeah, and then the pipeline, obviously you need to calculate, if you want to get to this specific ROI, then what is your pipeline that it needs to be after the event, given your normal closing rate and so on.

[00:30:26] But, these are the key metrics to look at. And all I can say is, yeah, we have positive ROI for all of them and things, otherwise we wouldn’t be getting budget for these. 

[00:30:34] Rachel Moore: I think that’s what people, they’re always gonna ask when, if people start trying to pitch, especially if they’re trying to pivot from doing a larger scale event to say, can we try doing some of these smaller ones?

[00:30:44] Being able to tell their stakeholders, this’ll be a, this will be a solid bet to invest in and then seeing those results, and like you said the customer lifecycle, super important to care for, but those are worth it for those, especially if it’s enterprise, for those larger revenues.

[00:31:00] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, so you just, you really need to know when, for example, you’re building the business case to run a small event, you need to know exactly what your metrics are across the organization. So you can say, look, we are gonna run the event for 100 people. We are going to engage at least 40 target accounts through that, like we will open with 50% of them, we’re gonna open the deals. This is how much pipeline will be created. Our normal closing rate is this, our bets knowing the stats from industry events or our previous experience is that our closing rate for deals coming from events is this is what we are expecting from the ROI perspective, but we are expecting it in nine months because this is our average and great, like hopefully, coming up with something solid like this that builds trust again, even with the organization that you’ve thought about these things, that you’re not just, oh, let’s do an event because everybody’s doing them now. This is what your company wants to see for your client. I’m always talking from the in-house perspective. Maybe if you’re with the agency, then these are also the things to ask and to show to your client. Yeah. And then but obviously the first one is gonna be bad.

[00:32:18] Rachel Moore: Yeah. 

[00:32:19] Aleksandra Panyukhina: And you need to work hard to make it worth, and that is when collaboration with the sales team really comes into play because you need to be on the same page and you need to be committed to making it a success.

[00:32:31] Rachel Moore: Thank you for bringing that up. ’cause yeah, I think you can have all these notions of how the experience is gonna go, but that sales team, and that’s always that, magical, sometimes fraught, but very impactful relationship between sales and marketing. They have to be on board and know how this event’s a little different than boothing at a big trade show.

[00:32:51] And be able to carry forward that intimacy that is required in this event. 

[00:32:55] When it comes to that small event, can you share with us a little bit about the team that you find that you need to put these events on?

[00:33:02] And then our event professionals obviously can take notes from that. But who helps you put these on?

[00:33:08] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Yeah, and I believe that especially for these smaller and intimate events, if you are putting them on as a company, it’s so critical to have your team, your internal team, even. You won’t probably have 20 people for organizing events. No. But you’re gonna have sales and customer success and marketing and the other functions, whatever that might be.

[00:33:33] It is so important to have them as a part of the team at the event and have them as the host. Think about it as a dinner party, right? You are playing the host, and as a host you must be, and you can’t create it artificially, you must be genuinely happy to see everybody who’s coming through the doors so that the first impression you’re so glad to see you here. Like we are so excited that you came, oh, thank you for sharing the post on LinkedIn and yes, this and that. Meet them with a smile. Be genuinely interested in who they are. You can’t fake it honestly. I know for our team, and this is a huge part of success, is that everybody is just so hyped for the event that everybody is so excited to see people and to create that friendly atmosphere that once you get 20 people at the venue who are super friendly, super excited to see everybody, very genuine, ready to build the relationships and the trust and be open and be vulnerable, then it creates the atmosphere where everybody follows and opens up.

[00:34:43] I don’t wanna say don’t hire external people, but if you hire, make sure that they can follow that. Because if it’s just the person who is checking in and scanning your code, here is your badge. That’s not the way to welcome people to your events. That’s not gonna create the magic right from the start.

[00:35:02] So these are the small details that really play the role into making your event magical.

[00:35:08] Rachel Moore: Love it. I love magical events. They’re fun. 

[00:35:10] Like you said, they leave lasting memories that you’re still sharing on Facebook years later. Where can our listeners find and follow you online?

[00:35:19] Aleksandra Panyukhina: Definitely on LinkedIn. I’m there every day sharing both about events, but also you will learn a lot about Flow by following me. And hopefully we’ll pick up a few things that you might use for your social media promoting your events ’cause I really think we’re doing a pretty good job with social media promoting the events.

SkillUp

[00:35:48] Rachel Moore: SkillUp with Aleksandra reminds us why we really do events, and also why the best events are so successful.

[00:35:57] Aleksandra Panyukhina: ​I would say always design it from the attendee experience. I think this is the key to creating something truly special and something your audience will be raving about and that would differentiate a great event from an average industry event. And I truly believe that if the audience leaves your event in, absolutely fascinated, then the business will follow.

[00:36:26] Rachel Moore: Thanks again to Aleksandra Panyukhina for joining us on Event Experience, and thank YOU for listening. 

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You can find transcripts of each episode and key takeaways on bizzabo.com/podcasts.

On behalf of the team, thank you. We’ll gather again soon for a new episode of Event Experience.

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