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Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Day in the Life of an Event Planner

You would not believe how in love Yishai is with trussing. What’s trussing?

This stuff. Aluminum structures meant to hold things that need to be up in the air. And that’s really all their meant for, but Yishai loves the stuff. Why? He says it gives events the kind of “finish” they need.

See, when you get to an event, you’re more worried about hydration and registration and whether stuff is set up the way you need it to be than whether we have shiny aluminum around the finish arch, but at the same time, it sure looks good in those finish line photos. It’s also one of those subtle details, like when a gal with long hair gets a trim, the makes something look finished.

So what Yishai spends his days doing, for the most part, is dreaming up not only how an event is going to go, but what’s going to make it just that tiny notch higher than your expectations.

Take the Mud Mash, for example. We got a bag piper for the top of the hill. I was really worried that after all these obstacles that “the hill” would be kinda lame, so . . . voila. (That’s how you spell “wa-la”, in case you didn’t know). Just that little touch you weren’t expecting that we made awesome.

Sometimes it’s not the surprise, it’s just the feel. We’ve worked really hard to have a clean consistent feel with colors and design (that we do in-house) on everything. It’s simply not just the experience, but those touches that make us happy with our product.

So it’s 11:53 at night and that’s what we’ve been doing after a short break for dinner and some Bob’s Burgers (what an awesomely weird show).

Actually, that’s not true. Yishai met with the head ranger that we work with at the lakes, whom we like a lot (heck, we like everyone, head rec planners for SLO, head forestry, you’re all swell), negotiated the purchase of a bunch of kayaks for races, and worked on our climbing gym. And then he went out with our right-hand man, Blake Rowan to dig some mountain bike trails.

But what did I do? Well, I’m a part time English prof, so I spent part of my time today professing English. In between and after, however, I spent in the wonderful world of marketing. I’m kind of a jack of all trades – good at financial planning, business planning, but I LOVE me some marketing and promotions. But only if I love what it is I’m selling. And trust me, I do.

You see, All Out has been homegrown on our parts by self-funding and staying pretty broke while we grow events. We do it for the love, but as we’re getting more events, we need bigger numbers so we can pay staff (and ourselves) adequately to keep the morale high and professionalism where we want it.

Two ways I’m working on this (as this is my end of the team) is by obsessing about marketing and by preparing the Powerpoint-Of-My-Life.

See, there’s this thing called a "T-bid” in town, which is a self-imposed tax on the local hoteliers that use that money to give to folks like ourselves to promote events that bring out of towners in. We vaguely knew about it, but didn’t pursue it until this year. Maybe we are better organized, maybe stars are aligned, I don’t know. But basically, this one presentation we have to make could mean a huge inflow of cash for marketing and staff payment that takes us from “home grown” to truly top-notch professional. In the preliminary meetings, I mentioned that our Coast to Crest 24-hour race was flipping awesome promotion for the area and we need TV coverage but can’t afford to get it there and they were like, “Tell us more, please!”

So, yes, PowerPoint of my life. Good thing I teach and use PowerPoints every day.

The other half of the equation is learning your audience and giving them what they want and need. I do this by surveying, reading a gazillion marketing blogs, and thinking of ways to connect to my people, my lovely, athletic, outdoorsy, SLO county- and adventure-loving people.

So I made a marketing plan. I’m making a list, I’m checking it twice, and if I’m not naughty, the turnout should be nice.

In case you are interested in these blogs I read (amongst other books and such), here are a few of my favorites:


Event Manager Blog


Duct Tape Marketing

Seth Godin

1 comment:

  1. Yh, Like you said about thinking how you can go that extra mile is very important as you want people that attend to aknowlege you.