So much of event marketing comes down to the people doing it. It's a huge job, requiring serious intellect, commercial acumen and a diverse set of skills. In fact, event marketing is so unique, those that click with it as a job often remain in the industry their whole careers, addicted to the pace and variety of the work.
Building a great event marketing team takes more than just an assembly of talented marketers. You need the right blend of skills and attitudes to create a winning dynamic. Understanding where you are now, where you want to be and how to get there is useful for any marketing leader, but it'll be especially useful for those attending our Accelerator Labs workshops as it'll provide valuable background context for the exercises within each workshop, providing insight on how you'll implement all the great ideas, latest strategies and proven techniques you'll learn.
Here's how to build an event marketing team that'll deliver amazing results. To begin, evaluate what you've got already, then identify your "utopia" and decide what actions to take to get there:
1) Assess personality and attitude
You may wonder why this step comes first, before skills and results that are the normal lifeblood of any senior manager's assessment of performance. The reason is that skills can be acquired and results can be improved. But you're unlikely to radically change the personality and attitude of your team members, which if less than idea, will hamper all your subsequent efforts to improve your marketing performance.
The optimal team will have a good mix of personality types, some creative and some analytical, some dominant, some less so. If your team is all one type, your marketing will tend to be very one dimensional and you won't have willing volunteers to try and improve all the different areas of the process. A team of purely creative folk will never want to crunch the numbers and brainstorming with a team of introverted analytical types is a painful process.
When assessing attitude, you're looking for a more consistent pattern. There's no downside to everyone on your team having a positive attitude, but just one bad apple who's always negative can bring the whole thing tumbling down. It's as well to identify and deal with any problem people before you start any transformative marketing efforts, because they'll make the job far harder than it needs to be. Poor attitude can have its roots in resentment around pay, responsibilities or career prospects, all of which are within your grasp to address. However, if there's no justified grievance to fix, you'll need to manage that individual out of the business and quickly, before they can do any more damage.
2) Look at skills and results
Looking at who has particular strengths, interests and skill sets allows you to see where you've got potential leaders for particular initiatives. Looking at where you're already achieving big results will allow you to identify areas where a small amount of effort can yield some quick wins. This will be essential in getting buy in from other stakeholders and motivating your team to go on to experiment with less familiar and more long term marketing plays.
Mapping the strengths and weaknesses of each individual team member will enable you to do the same balancing assessment as you did with the personality types exercise. You're aiming to have at least one person who's good at each thing and not have a shared team weakness. Don't worry if there are lots of gaps on first look, that's why you're doing this exercise, to identify gaps and close them.
3) Take action to close the gaps
Your evaluation will have given you an accurate portrait of your current team and if things are nicely balanced and you have all your skill bases covered, good for you. But even in great teams there are often a few gaps that you can look to close using one of the three following methods:
Train: Training existing hires is the cheapest, quickest way to close a gap. You'll motivate them by showing them you're prepared to invest in them and you're putting the skills you need into people who're already completely up to speed with your organisation and ways of working. With new skills they're ideally placed to lead different parts of the change you're looking to make to your marketing.
Hire: If you have a very junior team, or more bad apples than you'd like, you might not be able to train your way out of the problem. A few strategic hires to close key skill gaps and add steady experience to the team might be just the thing. But it isn't cheap, or necessarily a decision you can make on your own so be prepared to present a solid business case and fight your corner.
Outsource: Outsourcing can be a good compromise between training and hiring if you don't have the in-house talent to merit training but hiring isn't an option. It's allows a fairly instant fix without the commitment of bringing in new staff. The downside is you'll need to make time to properly onboard the outsourced company so not only do they understand the SLA they signed, but you've fully immersed them in your working processes and culture.
Once you have your ideal team in place (or pretty close to it) you're far more likely to succeed with transforming your organisation's marketing efforts. Don't wait for the perfect team to start planning what you'll do with them though, you're much more likely to get the best from them if you already have a clear vision of where you want the organisation's marketing to go, along with a tangible plan to get there. Good luck!