I view myself as a marketer, through and through, helping the businesses I work for drive pipeline and revenue. When I was in the association world, the focus was on events and membership to drive association revenue to help support more professionals. My corporate background and professional upbringing was primarily in the event and experiential roles, but with stints in operations and an eye on the results of our marketing spend.
With a background so deeply engrained in events, I have a strong affinity for theatrics and creating shared moments. I assumed that every moment I created at an event was intended to help sales-makers have a stronger follow-up opportunity with customers and prospects.
When I led the global event team at Dell and we launched Dell World back in 2011, we created insanely authentic and emotional moments throughout the event... primarily because we thought they would be cool (a secret band made up of off-duty rock stars!), or because they were all that our budget would allow (a low-rent street party in downtown Austin with a U2 cover band). But they ended up creating a more authentic corporate event than our competitors were offering, which were prim and proper, crisp and well-scripted, and almost over-produced for perfection. Inadvertently, we had crafted an experience that was a shared moment for participants to experience and remember.
When I led events for a business unit at IBM, I created one of my all-time favorite ancillary events that was crafted around comic book super heroes. The experience was extremely story-based and immersive and we really amped up the "fun" part by bringing in celeb Paul Rudd (right before Ant Man was released!).
Was there any real business value to paying for a celebrity to sign autographs? Would that event have been even half as successful in generating pipeline and revenue if we had skipped that seemingly-superfluous investment?
The truth is, we'll never know. We know that the event was targeting 150 people and we had over 900 come through it and 18 months after it happened, it was still seeing pipeline and revenue logged against it in our tracking tools.
Fast forward to the strangest year in my career history - 2020. Having never run any of our Spontaneous Think Tanks virtually or really crafted any kind of stand-alone virtual event before, our Haute team produced over 100 virtual experiences for our friends and clients that brought participants on mind-blowing adventures, from live skydiving to live sharkdiving. From the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar in Turkey to the mountaintops of Patagonia. From kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland to bathing elephants in Thailand. From petting camels in Morocco to feeding giraffes in Kenya.
Did these experiences have any impact on our business or our clients' business? ABSOLUTELY. Can I tell you the results? No... not really. Clients are obviously tracking pipeline and revenue with each campaign so they can tell you that they are successful and they are hiring us to do more of them. For our own Haute Dokimazo events, we're adding followers, gaining new business, and having a great time, but would we be just as successful if we were holding webinars and hitting the speaking circuit with some serious biz dev efforts? Maybe...(though I doubt it).
So the real question is: how do we measure what makes these experiences different?
It took us a while, but we finally figured out what we really do. For years, we've been saying that we inject conversation into events or create a welcoming, barrier-free environment for problems to be solved. But what we've always done as part of that is create a shared experience; a moment that brings people together. At first, we didn't do it on purpose. We did it because we wanted to catch people off guard and set the tone. (Sessions in a literal sandbox? An attempt to break the world record for the most sticky notes on a face in under 30 seconds? Live armadillo racing?) But over time, we realized it was part of our formula for success. It works and we're being hired over and over again to do it for people. So now we have to measure it.
This is our funded research study to actually measure the impact of a shared experience on pipeline generation and deal acceleration. Proving the value of the "experience" part of virtual and in-person event is quite an elusive metric, but we're making the investment and we need your participation to measure it.
The program and research study consists of four quarterly summits that are set up to include the two things Haute Dokimazo is best known for: Spontaneously-curated peer discussions and mind-blowing virtual adventures.
Event professionals have long known the value of Haute Dokimazo events and peer conversations, but have struggled to sell it up the chain of command. When your VP of marketing or sales is trying to push content out and get the sales team to follow up on leads, it seems wasteful to them to put money into a frivolous adventure and create rudderless conversations without a list of topics or an SME to lead them.
That's why this program is for them.
We are inviting marketing and sales leaders to experience something they've never experienced before to see if (read: prove that) it works. How do they feel? Was it worth their time? Was the experience impactful to the conversation? Did they make new connections because of it? Did they stumble upon a solution to a problem they've been working on?
The program consists of one summit each quarter, beginning February 23rd, from 10am to 1pm Central. The February summit is all about marketing and sales data and analytics.
February 23, 2021, 10am-1pm Central.... Data and Analytics.
And Great White Sharks.
We could create a webinar about data and analytics and throw together a great roundtable discussion and invite lots of people to watch it, but that's what everyone does.
Instead, we'll start the event by crowdsourcing the challenges that participants are trying to solve in their business and the challenges that they have already solved and can share with others, and then we'll embark on a virtual adventure.
We'll be live on the Fins Attached research vessel Sharkwater off the Pacific coast of Mexico. We'll meet Alex Antoniou, Founder and CEO, who will explain how the migratory patterns of Great White Sharks and other apex predators affects eco-conservation efforts world-wide. We'll experience the world's first live Zoom open water Great Water Shark dive, witnessing the tagging of Great Whites with trackers. We'll talk about the data they get, how they analyze it, and how they use it to make the world a better place.
Live on Zoom. Zoom meetings, too... not a webinar. Participants will be able to talk to the divers as they are underwater with the sharks.
Then we'll break into peer discussions about the data challenges that participants are facing in their businesses, sharing successes and challenges with each other. Your data may not be changing the world, but it's definitely impacting YOUR world.
So what are we measuring?
This adventure is just the first of 4 virtual summits to be held in 2021 for marketing and sales leaders. We encourage participants to enroll in the program with their complementary peer (VP of marketing, bring your VP of sales with you). Our research study will measure a number of factors over the course of the year that we will publicly release in February 2022. It is our objective to create a new, usable business metric that can be incorporated into software dashboards to measure the effectiveness of shared experiences on generating more profitable relationships.
It's a large undertaking and we have no idea if it will work (that's what "Dokimazo" is all about! Proving that something is real!), so we'll let the scientific process guide us. We have a hypothesis. We're testing it with this program. We'll share the results!
Join the Convo
If you are a leader of a sales or marketing organization at a commercial or enterprise company, apply to be part of the program. Applications are being accepted for one more week, closing on February 1st.
If you are interested in being a program partner and gaining access to the research results, strategy sessions, and program insights, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2022, we hope to share our findings of 1) how much shared experiences impact pipeline and revenue generation, 2) which emotions need to be ignited/evoked to drive those results, and, 3) that profitable relationships are sparked by genuine connection created in this type of environment.
If you are a leader of a sales or marketing organization, apply to be part of the program!
Liz Lathan, CMP is co-founder and CEO of Haute Dokimazo, sparking profitable relationships anchored in genuine connection through rousing shared experiences and conversations. Explore the #HugLife community for event professionals and Convo, a new year-long program for marketing and sales executives. Subscribe to our Journal of Human-Centric Marketing to get weekly content.
Haute Dokimazo is part of Haute Companies, a family of companies that believe in human connection, from events to media (podcasts, videos, and more) to direct mail to swag to entertainment talent management to strategy session facilitation. Contact Liz at email@example.com