Planning Events with Ummph

Events. Love ’em or hate ’em, if you’re an AEC marketer, event planning and execution are bound to fall under your role at some point in your career. Luckily, I (Kate) fall into that category of “love,”  Laura, not so much. Today we’ll be chatting with Jen Newman, CPSM, CEO at Ignite Coaching & Consulting and some of the amazing and value-driven events she has pulled off in her 20 years of AEC experience.

CQ: According to Forrester Research and BtoB Magazine, 30% of the average B2B marketing budget is spent on tradeshows, events and webinars, and the #1 reason for hosting these events is to generate leads. But 1 in 3 marketers have no idea what their event ROI is. Are you surprised by this statistic? Why do you think there is such a disconnect?

JN: I’m not at all surprised. Rather than return on investment (ROI), I prefer to use the phrase return on relationships (ROR). It’s an important investment. While you may not be able to tie specific project wins to an event, you can determine the number of client touches, and the number of relationships enhanced by an event.

CQ: What role have events played in your marketing strategy?

JN: Events have played a huge role! As my career has progressed, events have taken a more important role because they have become strategic. Events that have come as a result of capture planning have been extremely successful. It allows for strategic and specific client focus, while also bringing in other clients who would benefit from attending.

CQ: How would you describe a good event from a marketing perspective?

JN: Client touches. How can you get the best client touches and enhance the relationship? I like events that stand out – it doesn’t have to be big or bold, but it should stand out. This mindset even carried over into my wedding recently – it turns out that the smaller, personal touches are the things that our guests remember most. But aside from client touches, it is most important to know your audience and plan accordingly.

CQ: Did you run into any hurdles in engaging technical staff in networking based events?

JN: Of course! My life for four years was teaching technical professionals how to network. It started out as a battle, but ended as a competition among them! Keep in mind, it took training – I was the mama bear that had to teach networking skills including asking questions like: Who should you talk to? What do you want to know? How do you uncover the type of information that fosters relationship building? What are their challenges? Once they understood that they didn’t have to flat out ask for work right away, it became much easier.

CQ: What mistakes do you see other marketers making in relation to events?

JN: Underestimating or overestimating the results, and of course: not knowing you audience. Always remember, it is All. About. Strategy.

CQ: Have the events you’ve coordinated affected your professional credibility?

JN: Absolutely! You HAVE to build credibility, and you HAVE to show results to do that!


Want to hear more from Jen? Listen to the full podcast to get the skinny on how she redefined successful client events in Florida! (hint: it was NOT by organizing a golf tournament.)

Music by SONGO 21 – Studio sessions 2003 by SONGO 21 is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

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Links and Resources

About Jen

Jennifer NewmanIgnite CEO, Jen Newman, CPSM, has successfully served the professional services industry for over 20 years. Her background as an innovative business development executive with a proven track record for increasing market share, revenues and penetrating new markets is a great asset to her clients. She is an effective professional with a strong ability to maximize industry and community involvement for client outreach and an idea generator with the ability to create unique opportunities. Jen is extremely skilled at building and retaining high-performance teams through training,  developing and motivating skilled professionals. Additionally, she is an expert in implementing strategic business development programs that result in penetrating market sectors and increasing revenues. With a knack for being able to push people out of their comfort zone, Jen loves helping others overcome their fears and obstacles, to discover that they can indeed achieve any goal they set. Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Jen serves clients across the country.

“To me, there is no greater satisfaction than watching someone succeed and having a part in helping them achieve their goals.  I founded Ignite so that I could do just that every day.” – Jen Newman, CPSM.

Have questions or want to chat more with Jen? Post your comments below or connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Double Dip with Jen

Join us Thursday on the podcast when we catch back up with Jen to learn about her career path, and her latest adventure of becoming a consultant!


Next week, we’ll welcome Joanna Hoffschneider, Vice President, Business Development and Marketing at Grimm and Parker to talk with about the advantages to building vs inheriting a marketing team.