Nick Bennett & Mark Kilens 23 min

Bethany's 8-Step Event Marketing Framework


Bethany Murphy (Event Marketing, 6sense) shares her 8-step framework for creating events that drive real impact in this exclusive conversation.



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Thanks for tuning into this exclusive edition of GTM News Desk presented by the

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TAC Network. This show is hosted by me, Nick Bennett, and my co-host, Mark Kill

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ins.

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Now let's get to the goods on with the show.

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Welcome to the exclusive content with Bethany.

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This is where we're going to dive deep into her actual playbook of how she is

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having so much success with Sixth Sense.

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So we've got a few questions to further the conversation.

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First one that we'd love to dive into is tell us about the most successful

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event

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that you've executed in the past couple of years.

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I mean, I know we've talked about breakthrough, but I would have to say that

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it was breakthrough 2023 for many, many reasons.

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But it was my first breakthrough that I kind of managed to soup to nuts.

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At Sixth Sense, it was the largest one yet.

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We had a thousand attendees with us in lovely Frisco, Texas.

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It was three and a half days of amazing content and experiences.

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From the hotel, we had a buyout at the new Omni PGA Frisco.

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Shout out to them. It's an amazing property evening events, like cowboy hats.

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We had a corporate Coachella theme party.

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We had a drone show in the content, right?

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12 general sessions over 50 breakouts, 75 speakers.

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And it all just kind of came together and really exceeded my expectations.

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So I've got to say that that's my favorite.

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And of course, like I've got to put a plug in on the metric side, but, you know

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from a metrics perspective, again, breakthrough is a huge line item for us.

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And so we need to make sure that we're hitting all of our goals to be able to

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secure budget year over year.

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But we hit our attendee goal.

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We hit our goal for a number of accounts on site.

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We hit our influence pipe goal and we held over 500 meetings with accounts.

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Onsite at the event, which is pretty awesome.

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But I think my favorite statistic of all, the last two years for breakthrough,

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we've had 100% of accounts that attend breakthrough renew with Sixth Sense.

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And so that for me is so awesome because it's a huge motivator internally for

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our sales and customer success teams to like want to get people to break

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through.

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Right.

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It's like get your account to break through like your golden, right?

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And that's super cool.

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For an event to have that much impact on the business.

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I have a little bit of a follow up question there.

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So like when I, when I worked for Alice, we actually were, you know,

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Sixth Sense was a customer and we would do the gifting station every, every

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year.

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I'm curious, like what made you switch from where breakthrough was to that new

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location?

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I didn't make it last year, but I did see the property and it looked amazing.

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I'm just curious because there's a lot of thoughts and questions that go into

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like,

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Hey, if I've been at this property for so long and it's been successful, like

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why switch?

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Yeah.

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I mean, I love venue sourcing.

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I could have a whole podcast alone talk about venue sourcing, but I think for

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me,

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it's like finding unique venues, right?

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It just kind of changes.

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It just changes the event, right?

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And, and then there's certain hotels that I love and I would do events there

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year after year.

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I think for me, like having finding this Omni PGA for scope, super random,

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right?

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It's, I mean, outside of Dallas brand new hotel, we were able to take over the

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whole

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hotel, which from an event's perspective is super cool, right?

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Like branding.

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I mean, we could really kind of have, have a run of the place, which you don't

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often

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get when you plan events.

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Um, so I think that was a huge motivator for me and just having a resort where

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we

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could have like almost everything outside, right?

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I mean, we had all our meals outside, every evening event was outside.

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And that's hard to do, especially in Phoenix when it's hot, what is usually

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hot.

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And, you know, I, I just think it adds to the event when you, when you move it

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around.

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That's not to say that every year we will be moving because it's just getting

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to

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the size that that becomes difficult, right?

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But I think you have a lot of flexibility when events are between, you know,

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under

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500, 600 attendees, like you have a lot of options.

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And yes, is it easier for my team if I do the same venue every year?

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Sure.

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But it's not as fun.

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Got to keep it exciting.

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Stask, quote, break that status quo.

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You're going to get to the proven method of how you did this event.

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So before we get to the next question and how, and that question is going to be

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about

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how you impact like this amazing event, you know, you do it every time.

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You just create an amazing event no matter what it is, you know, an elevated

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dinner breakthrough.

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My question and I challenge you, Bethany, 50 plus sessions, it seems like too

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much

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content.

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Would you have that same amount of content next time or is it going to be more

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or less?

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We are cutting one track.

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So we're going from four tracks to three tracks.

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And, you know, I, it is a lot of content for sure.

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I mean, it's definitely a lot of content, but every year we're kind of changing

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things up.

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This year, every year, we do this session called six, six street live, right?

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So it's how six cents uses six cents.

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And it's become like the most popular session at the event.

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And it's always on the last day.

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And so it's the last morning, the night after our party where people go crazy

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and

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we'll do like a late kind of brunch with bloody mary's of amosas and then we'll

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go

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into six street live for this coming breakthrough.

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I had an idea to change it up and do that session before the welcome reception.

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So start at like five o'clock, go from five to six 30.

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We'll probably have some fun drinks and maybe past apps and stuff during the

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session.

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And then we'll kind of go straight into the welcome reception so that Thursday

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we

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can really keep that content really in the weeds, like more workshops, people

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that

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want kind of in depth content that we don't really have time for during the

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main event.

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Right.

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So and it gives people the opportunity if they don't want to stay for Thursday,

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that's fine.

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You know, stay for the party and then go home Thursday morning.

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But I mean, to your point, it's, it's hard, right?

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What's the right amount of content?

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I mean, I think that's really hard.

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We always get, we spend a lot of time reviewing attendee feedback.

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And it's like there aren't enough, you know, beginner sessions.

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There's too many advanced.

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I mean, you can't please everybody.

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But I think we just want to make sure that we're giving our customers a

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platform

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through the event to tell their story with six cents.

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And that has a huge impact for other people to learn.

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Right.

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And so it's a work in progress, I would say.

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OK, that's fair.

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That's a good answer.

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I give you an A on that answer, Bethany.

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It's good.

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I like that.

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I like that.

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I was stressed.

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So I got like golden pen now.

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Next, where's your pen?

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I expect you to take notes like myself with a tack notebook.

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Give us your proven framework, Bethany, to never have a shitty event.

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What do you need to do?

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To never have a shitty event.

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That's that's my goal, really.

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Um, so I think number one, and we've kind of touched on this in our segment

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number one,

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but you really need to have executive support from the onset, right?

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And so you can't have a successful event without starting at the top and making

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sure that the executives are aligned, that everyone has support, that you have

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secured budget, right?

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I feel like a lot of people start planning an event and they're halfway down

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the road and they don't even have budget for it yet.

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Like don't bother.

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Make sure you have buy in and budget like before you do anything.

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I think that's number one.

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Number two.

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And again, we talked about this, but define your event goals, objectives,

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and metrics for success.

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Right?

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Like this is crucial because if you don't do this really early in the planning,

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you're going to lose sight of why you're even doing the event.

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And likely you're not going to be successful and not going to hit your goals.

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So that I think includes creating an event brief marks.

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Favorite.

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He drove me nuts about this when we were at Drift together.

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Where's your event brief?

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Make sure you have a brief, make sure that that aligns all internal

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stakeholders.

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Right?

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It has an event overview, your target audience, your timeline, your KPIs,

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your messaging.

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That is your kind of go to document to make sure that all teams are aligned.

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And that's important before you even again, kind of start that in depth

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planning

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process.

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Then we talked about venue sourcing, right?

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You got to have a cool venue that works for the event.

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I think that's number three, right?

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You got to figure out where the event's going to be and then where all of your

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evening events or ancillary events are going to be.

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And that's got to happen pretty early, right?

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And I think sometimes, you know, we struggle here with like planning ahead,

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like in this environment, like you really got to be planning ahead for many,

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many

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reasons, engage your attendees and your sponsors throughout the lead up to the

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event.

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Right.

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I think that's really important.

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It's like we have people register.

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We've launched registration for breakthrough 24 in December of 23.

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That's a really long time prior to the event.

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Right.

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And so how do we come up with ways to engage those people and keep them excited

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for those 10 months leading up to the event, right?

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And sponsors too.

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Sponsors play a huge role in a lot of our events and go a long way in offset

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ting

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our spend.

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And so how do we make sure that those sponsors are engaged?

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They're helping us promote the event, right?

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I think that's super important.

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Use your your partners to promote and help you get attendees there and just

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make

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sure that's happening.

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And then that that's not forgotten about throughout the process.

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Event promotion, right?

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This is kind of a line with that.

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But again, like have a really in depth audience acquisition plan.

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And I think, and I talk about this a lot, like I am super lucky here at Sixth

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Sense

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because our internal CS and sales teams are obsessed with Sixth Sense events.

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Like we launch registration for an event, a dinner, whatever, like sells out,

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right?

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And that's amazing.

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But I think they are so on board because we've proven again and again the value

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of events on the business, right?

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On the pipeline, on the upsell, cross sell, whatever it is, we've proven the

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value

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and we've proven that we're going to create amazing experiences.

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And so I would really try to, you know, and I'm lucky.

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I stepped into Sixth Sense and that was already kind of here and in the culture

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But if you don't have that, it could be really challenging, right?

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Like Mark and I went through this at Drift like you got to get sales on board.

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Like sales has to understand the value of getting prospects to events.

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And that is hard.

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And I think we spend a lot of time

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during that this kind of attendee acquisition period of enablement.

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So I would say internal enablement is also a huge component of what we do here.

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And we spend a ton of time on enabling our internal teams.

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We have like 50 slide decks with links and resources and past, you know,

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Salesforce campaigns and all this data that we can give them.

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Try to help them drive attendance to our events.

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Step six, I would say, is design the experience, right?

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I think again, it all comes down to the experience that you're going to create

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on site at these events.

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And so think about and, and yes, like I'm lucky.

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I have a healthy budget.

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I know everyone does not.

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You can create really cool experiences and personalize things without a lot of

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money, right?

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And so just think about creative ways that you can do that and that you can

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make

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the event memorable and fun for people and networking, right?

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We get constant, like there's not enough networking.

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There's not enough networking.

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So think about ways that you can, I'm not a fan of forced networking.

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But think about ways you can organically create networking experiences

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on site, you know, during your event.

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I think seven execute the event, right?

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That's easier said than done.

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Everyone wants a flawless event, right?

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Exclude the event, do the best you can.

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And, and I would say, like I spend a lot of time with my team in advance of an

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event

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walking through the attendee journey, right?

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They go from the hotel lobby.

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They get to register.

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What happens, right?

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Where do they go?

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Just think about all the things that happen on site and, and where can you put

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like fun activations and experiences throughout again and create that amazing

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journey on site.

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And then eight, which I think most important from an event marketing

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perspective,

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measure and analyze the data post event, right?

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Collect as much data as you possibly can.

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I'll give a quick shout out to Bizibow.

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Bizibow is our event platform and we have these, we use these super cool badges

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through them called click badges.

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They're basically like give us heat mapping information.

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It tells us how long people were in each room, where they were, how many people

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entered each session, like super cool.

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It's also lead retrieval for our sponsors and for six cents.

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Does a lot of cool things.

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Collect as much data as you possibly can.

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So that that will inform your strategy moving forward.

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And then I think this, this also goes to the follow up plan, right?

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Have a very in depth thought through follow up plan.

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A month before the event, don't wait to figure out what your follow up is.

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When the event's over, right?

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It's too late at that point.

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You need to have a follow up plan in place a month before you need to start

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getting those emails, those blogs, like as much as you can possibly do in

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advance

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so that the event is over and the follow up goes out immediately, right?

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And then you can watch the money flow in, right?

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Watch that pipeline come in, hopefully.

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So that's it.

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Eight steps can have a great event.

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So easy.

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I mean, come on, how can this be?

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Geez.

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Oh, speak speaking of someone that hasn't doesn't have an event background,

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right?

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Well, well done.

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Yeah, I completely evaked it in my entire bed.

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Expert.

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I have no idea why I was in high-risk, see mode air meat.

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I mean, like, I mean, sure, I was thrown into events.

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Luckily, I had Bethany on my team at drift.

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Shout out to Jana to, I mean, Jana was there and then then Bethany came in.

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I mean, my God, like I, I would have been screwed if I didn't have the two of

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you.

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But you missed the most important thing, Bethany.

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You missed the most important thing.

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Dress to impress.

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That's the most important thing when it comes to events.

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Dress to impress.

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Okay.

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I like that.

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You guys, you get to take a page.

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I'll add nine steps.

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Number nine number nine.

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Actually, that should be zero.

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You dress to impress.

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I mean, I'm half, half kidding.

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Kind of.

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All right.

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That was incredible.

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That was just incredible.

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Nick, do we have other questions we want to ask Bethany because I feel like,

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you know,

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we're going to over like thousands of dollars for this, this masterclass in

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events.

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So the next question is, so let's do you, you talked a little bit about data.

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I'm a huge believer of data.

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And I think that, you know, data as a, as an event marketer, the field marketer

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as anyone in revenue marketing, if you can paint the beautiful picture using

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the

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numbers, one, you get more budget and two, you get more headcount and you get,

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hopefully the ability to do a lot more cool things.

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So this is a two part question.

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The first part is what data in multiple things helps you inform your event

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strategy.

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And then the second piece is what are the KPIs that are most important to you

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and

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that you think plays, you know, what feedback plays a role in that?

14:55

Yeah.

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I mean, I think I talked a little bit about the sources of data, right?

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But we spend a lot of time.

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Again, pre event setting up dashboards and we have an awesome mops team, right?

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But we have really complex Salesforce dashboards that help us kind of compile

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all the data in one nice buttoned up place, right?

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So pre event, we're looking at number of accounts registered customers versus

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prospects, ICP, right?

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And then, you know, I think we're, we're starting to transition into,

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we used to have a pre event dashboard and a post event dashboard.

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Now we're just kind of trying to centralize and, you know, KPIs that were

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super focused on registrations.

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I mean, breakthrough, like we have a registration goal.

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All of our like large proprietary events, we have a registration goal and, you

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know, almost more importantly is the show rate, right?

15:58

I mean, virtual events, I think we all know it's like 40% of you're lucky.

16:03

We strive for like a 95% show rate for all of our events and for breakthrough,

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we pretty much hit that every year number of accounts in attendance.

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So we look at our total number of accounts and we say we want 60% of all of our

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accounts to attend breakthrough, right?

16:19

And that's important for us because again, we want these accounts to renew and,

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and we see huge success with accounts that attend breakthrough.

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So that's a huge metric for us.

16:29

Number of meetings on site and we touched upon this a little bit, but

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I've never seen this before.

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I came to sixth sense, but we are super focused on getting a meeting booked in

16:41

advance with every single account that attends breakthrough.

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And that takes a ton of enablement and a ton of time internally to do that.

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But we last year, we had a goal of 500.

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I think we had 539 meetings on site at breakthrough.

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It takes a lot of time.

16:56

And to Mark's point earlier about the agenda, it's hard to fit that many

17:00

meetings in the agenda, right?

17:02

Like we don't want to overlap with keynotes.

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We don't want to overlap with the evening, right?

17:06

Like it's hard, but it really helps us understand the account and,

17:12

and build those relationships, which again is a huge part of what events

17:15

do for the business, right?

17:17

Is that relationship building sourced and influence pipeline, right?

17:20

Like these are the two kind of metrics, I mean, especially sourced.

17:23

We aim for 10x ROI for source pipeline, which is really hard, especially

17:31

at our user conference, which is 98% customers.

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That's really hard.

17:36

And that goes back to what I talked about earlier is like every event can't

17:39

have

17:40

the same goals, right?

17:41

So the goals for breakthrough, I mean, that 10x again, like we're not

17:45

with the ACV of a new deal, like that's not the same as a 20K, 50K upsell,

17:52

right?

17:53

And so the source pipeline for breakthrough, we do dip below the 10x.

17:57

Although maybe not this year.

17:59

Well, we're going to try and influence pipeline, right?

18:01

I mean, it's super interesting to watch that number

18:05

and to see again the overall impact that events can have and how many people we

18:10

can touch through our events.

18:12

And then lastly, I would say revenue, right?

18:15

Like I have huge revenue goals, especially for breakthrough, but from a

18:20

sponsorship perspective and a ticket revenue perspective, this is a huge way

18:24

for me to like offset our events spend, right?

18:27

And again, like that money isn't going in my pocket, unfortunately, but it's

18:31

going toward creating a more amazing attendee experience, right?

18:35

So the more tickets we sell, we get a lot of requests for comp tickets and

18:38

free sponsor and all the sense like, no, we got to make money, right?

18:42

Like that's part of what this event does for the business is, you know, get

18:46

that revenue and offset the event spent.

18:49

So those are kind of our key KPIs.

18:53

Absolutely.

18:54

Yeah, that was fantastic.

18:55

So people first go to market, you know, we're big believers and, you know,

18:59

advocates of that events.

19:01

I mean, arguably one of the most people first things you can do as part of

19:05

your go to market.

19:06

I mean, seriously, what though is the most epic event when it comes to the

19:15

people involved and just the people experiencing the event together that you

19:19

think you've ever, you've ever done.

19:22

And then I'll give you maybe a two part question.

19:23

It's up to you if you want to answer it, no pressure though.

19:25

The most epic event does not have to be B2B by the way, FB2B, screw B2B,

19:30

that you attended.

19:32

That was an amazing people first experience.

19:35

So the one you hosted that was amazing and the one you attended.

19:38

My favorite event that I've ever planned was in 2019.

19:44

Um, I was working for LogMan at the time now go to, we had our sales

19:49

incentive in Dubai at the four seasons.

19:52

And it was crazy.

19:54

I mean, Dubai is so, everything is so over the top and Dubai to begin with.

19:59

And the final evening, I had 95 four wheel SUVs pull up to the four seasons.

20:07

We loaded people like four by four drove out to the desert and did dune

20:11

bugging for like 30 minutes out into this like amazing, like the middle of

20:16

the sand dunes, basically.

20:18

And I had a whole event set up there with like fire throwers and camels and

20:22

this like amazing entertainment.

20:24

And it was just super cool and so different.

20:27

And it was just one of those experiences that I, I hope people will never

20:31

forget.

20:31

That's tremendous.

20:34

That's, uh, that means, or Nick, I mean, that's what we'll do next.

20:38

Just put it on the left.

20:39

But we're going to do my.

20:40

Yeah.

20:42

Yeah.

20:42

Perch the tickets are not sure.

20:43

It's just my old money going to Dubai, but like, if someone was paying for me

20:47

to go

20:47

there, like, sure, why not?

20:49

Could be a tack six cents event in Dubai.

20:51

Who knows?

20:52

I like it.

20:54

I like it.

20:55

Okay.

20:56

And then did you answer the question though?

20:57

Did you, did you want to answer the second question?

20:59

Like, what's the most big non B2B events?

21:01

Like, yeah.

21:02

I mean, I think for me as like, you know, being an events professional, I think

21:07

Dreamforce to me is always one of those events that's just so cool to go to and

21:13

see come together.

21:14

Like it's just, I used to go back in the day when it was like a hundred

21:17

thousand

21:17

attendees and it would like take over it.

21:19

Now it's much smaller and I think different.

21:22

But it was just so cool.

21:25

Like when I was younger in my career just to go and see like everything they

21:29

did to

21:29

take over the city and just create these like amazing experiences in this crazy

21:36

expo hall.

21:37

And again, they're selling sponsorships for like millions of dollars.

21:40

It's just like super impressive all around.

21:42

Bethany, they do so much.

21:45

You are a.

21:48

I was going to say prodigy.

21:49

Maybe that's not the right adjective.

21:51

A queen of events, you know, give yourself whatever you want.

21:56

You deserve it.

21:57

Your event execution.

21:59

When I was at drift, we did flash.

22:00

The first event, by the way, that a company pretty much in our space did after

22:05

the

22:05

pandemic, we did this in March 2022 and we went for it.

22:10

And I thought it was great.

22:11

I thought people loved it and that we set the toll in the momentum for the next

22:14

, you

22:14

know, nine months of that year because of what we did at flash, Bethany.

22:18

So it really not we as you.

22:20

I didn't do anything again.

22:21

I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to events.

22:22

So again, Bethany, thank you so much.

22:24

Yes, of course.

22:26

Honestly, thank you, Bethany.

22:28

I learned a ton again as someone that has done this.

22:31

I learned even more from you.

22:33

So might take you up on that mentorship, but hopefully you like this exclusive

22:38

content.

22:39

Make sure to tell a friend, subscribe to tacknetwork.com for not only this

22:44

exclusive content, but lots of other exclusive content on how to match how

22:48

people buy today.

22:49

So that's it.

22:50

And hope you enjoyed episode one and we'll catch you at the next one.

22:54

Thank you for joining us for this exclusive edition of GTM News.

22:59

If people first content like this is your jam, you should think about joining

23:03

tack insider, our community and resource hub for GTM tech folks like you.

23:08

You can find more info on our website at tack insider.com.

23:12

And until next time, keep it people first, everybody.

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