When producing and coordinating events, often times, people give up after the first fail. It’s common in the event industry to have challenges on the first try but with consistency and tenacity, your event will grow. The Plush Show 2014 is a great example of this. They started small and naturally grew larger.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of the Plush Show Expo last year, 2013 and I can’t believe a whole year has already passed.
We were invited to cover the event again and we were excited to meet all the vendors, experience all the great products and talk to the attendees to see what they thought of the event. Events in the City TV is all about giving you real feedback from the attendees so that you can decide for yourself if this is the right event for you to attend.
Here is the video for this year’s 2014 Plush Show:
If you want to check out what else happened that day, click here to discover the hashtag: #plushshow.
We just love covering events like this, not only do we get exposed to various industries, we also meet so many business entrepreneurs, we get to see great exhibiting ideas and most of all we meet so many connects! This particular expo is so much fun because it features the best baby products in the industry. It’s great to see involved parents and educated consumers really take the time to do their research and provide their children with the best and safest products.
Hosting events for brands or companies wanting to influence a crowd has been trending as of lately. Have you noticed an increase of facebook or text invites from your entrepreneur friends? That’s because people have finally realized that EVENTS is in fact, a marketing strategy that should be included in everyone’s marketing plans. I launched Events in the City TV for a few different reasons, but my mission is to deliver “real” feedback from attendees about the events I choose to cover.
As an Event Planner and Marketing professional and consultant, here are 5 different ways you can increase exposure through events:
1. HOST IT! – The host is exposed the most! Yes, as the host, you can pretty much do whatever it is that you want! You can put your logo on the flyer, on the invitations, on the tickets, on the backdrop, balloons, thank you letters, etc… You are in control and you also own the database that results from the event. You host it, you rock it!
2. SPONSOR IT! – If you find a local event that does not conflict with your brand, call them up and ask if you can be a sponsor of the event. Most likely, the host will be excited to receive your call as sponsors don’t really come around often. Call the host and ask what it would take to be a sponsor for the event then negotiate your brand/logo placement if there isn’t a sponsorship package. This one is a “boss” move!
3. WORK IT! – Be a vendor at an event! If sponsoring is out of your budget, you can offer to be a vendor at the event so you can have a table where you can showcase your products or brochures for your services. Once again, it’s important that you are non competing.
4. BLOG IT! – If you are a blogger and you would like to capture the audience, contact the host and ask to cover the event. Covering that event means you having to take photos or videos at the event then writing an article about it. When you publish your article, the owner will definitely publish it since people are normally excited to see themselves as a feature of a column or article.
5. VOLUNTEER AT IT! – Events normally need volunteers to help make the event go smoothly. As a volunteer, you will get to meet a lot of people whom you can tell or invite to check out your own product, while still keeping to the integrity of the volunteer job. Find great events that coincide with your brand or target market and get involved!
Below is an example of one of our tv guests who took advantage of an event to display her products and offer samples. Presenting SUGAR AND SPYKED:
If you’ve read my blog about how I got inspired to do what I do, you would know that I was born and raised in the Philippines. Particularly, in a city that seemed always behind on trends and definitely still accustomed to the traditional Filipino ways (at least that was the story of my childhood). It was a place where the man of the house was the bread winner and the mother was usually a homemaker. It was back when ladies required suitors and not this casual dating “thing” that Americans seem to prefer. In lack of a better term, my childhood has witnessed an “old-fashion” way of life.
I decided to support the #banbossy campaign because as a child, I remembered having to quiet myself a lot after a very defining moment that changed the way I behaved. Let me start by telling you all about how I became a “cheerleader” when I was in kindergarten. My school was organizing some kind of parade and our teacher wanted our class to perform a routine with pom poms and everything. At our first day of practice, for some reason that I can’t remember, I was wearing a whistle as a necklace. So my teacher turned to me and basically told me to be the “cheerleader” simply because I had a whistle. So we practiced for weeks, I was the only one on the stage and the rest of my classmates were behind me, following my lead. That felt amazing! I loved being the lead.
In elementary, my mom transferred me to a well renowned all-girls, Catholic school. The funny thing was, they allowed boys until 6th grade. I don’t remember all the details but I remember being the president of my class. I remember being so strict, possibly too strict. When the bell rang, it was a school rule that everyone has to line up outside of the classroom. When the teacher arrives, we all walk in class in a line formation. The boys were always playing too much. When the bell rang and I see some of them still playing, I remember scolding them or grabbing them by the shirt to make them fall in line. I laugh about it now because of how strict I was trying to be. I remember some of the boys making rude comments when I’m instructing them to fall in line and stay in line and I would snap back and remind them who the president is (I crack myself up now that I think about it)!
Long story short, the boys didn’t like the way I ran the class and of course they influenced as many girls as possible not to vote for me again in 2nd grade. I may have been too brash, but it changed me. It definitely decreased my self-esteem and I never really ran for any official position ever again in that school unless people appointed me. I started believing that nobody liked the way I lead and that they didn’t respect me as an authority. If someone would have just explained to me what was really going on, or that I just need to adjust my methods, that I’m doing a good job, maybe I never would’ve stopped being a leader. I can totally relate to the stories on www.banbossy.com – because of my experience, I started leaning back instead of leaning in.
When I moved to America, I slowly regained that leader inside of me because it was a fresh start, nobody knew me and most importantly, I had no history of being a strict leader. I was the secretary of our ASB and Captain of Dance Squad. I also held authoritative positions in choreographing the bi-annual gala and taking lead on assisting the art teacher during class.
Funny enough, one of my aunts from the Philippines visited me here in the states and after a long talk of why I’m still single in my late 20′s (a few years ago) she tells me “Well maybe you need to be more quiet. Your personality is too strong, no man is going to like that. You have to be more gentle and sit back a little….” – WOW! That is totally NOT who I am, which just means any man will have to work hard enough to get through to me! I am not leaning back again because males can’t handle me. Well I’m happy to say that a few years later, I now, have a boyfriend who loves me for who I am!
See, people who are born leaders will eventually show themselves. Regardless of all the discouragement, leaders can’t help but lead. We enjoy that responsibility and we thrive in it! Beyonce is a great example of a leader. She runs her business well, represents herself well, was the first artist to release her album independently and did well, etc… Oh, and she’s got haters! :) – That’s another important thing to remember. There is not one person on earth who doesn’t have “haters.” Even Jesus, Son of God, has haters. When you are a mover and a shaker, you are bound to have followers and also have haters. Sadly, that’s how human nature works.
Seeing this campaign means the world to me. I recently started teaching about Social Marketing and #BanBossy is one heck of a Social Marketing Campaign!
1. Qualify the people you meet at any event. When you are making simple conversations, figure out if they are a potential client, a potential referrer or someone who simply needs your help. These are the only categories that you need to worry about when talking to people. Ask yourself, do they sound like someone who would pay for your services, someone who knows other people who would pay for your services or someone who is deserving of your help.
2. Be personable by asking relative questions. The best way to break the ice is to introduce yourself first. Hi my name is Sweeney Mae and I’m here because I know the host and I’m hoping to meet a few contacts, what about you? Then they tell you their name and why they are there. Feel free to ask if they’ve tried the food, or how’s their drink or where they are coming from and if traffic was bad. Be personable. Ask them if they are here to meet someone in specific or just to network. Maybe you are their gateway to meeting someone they came to meet.
3. Be as valuable as you can be. Tell them about you and what you do or your business and ask them if there is anyway you can be of service to them. Don’t discuss money right away because if this person is a potential client, they will pay for your services, and if not, maybe you can be of value to them by helping them with your connections. If you are a marketing expert, perhaps you can offer a free consultation. If you are a graphic artist, perhaps you can offer them a free evaluation of their brochures, flyers and business cards. Offer any complimentary services to them. If you can’t think of anything for free that you can offer then maybe it’s time to design one for future use. Plenty of businesses offer free consultation or samples of your products. Don’t make them feel obligated to purchase, perhaps tell them you’re simply looking for feedback.
4. Ask for their business card. Instead of handing out your business cards so easily, ask for theirs instead. If you have something specific in mind that you want to follow up with them about, it’s better that you have their card. Giving them your card doesn’t guarantee that they will get in contact with you.
5. Keep it short and conclude your meeting with a firm handshake. For your own sake, summarize any follow ups that need to be done. For example: “Nice meeting you here today Jane, I have your card and within the next week or two, I will be sending you a link to my e-book. You will enjoy it and it will definitely help you at your upcoming event. I look forward to receiving information about your event!” Shake their hand and then write a note on their business card right away so you will not forget what the meeting was about.
I was raised in a humble home. “Don’t brag about your things, money, accomplishments.” We were taught by our society back then that bragging is rude. That the only people you should really show your accomplishments are your parents so they can be proud of you.
Hold up, wait a minute, let me back up my story: I was born and raised in Negros Occidental, Philippines - City of Smiles. I was an only child for about 9 years. I attended a Chinese Christian School in Kindergarten which was where my leadership skills all began when I volunteered to be the captain of the cheerleaders. But learning Chinese was too difficult and so I was transferred to an all girls Catholic School, where (I swear) 75% of the students were over achievers in one way or another.
Parental background: So my father was never around because he was in the States working to provide for me and my mother. He would only come home on Christmas for about a month. The rest of the year, we would just communicate over the phone. He would send us boxes of American goods a few times every year.
My mom tried to put me in Piano school but I was having complications with catching my ride home that I decided not to continue. Pretty soon, after the age of 9, my younger sister was born and my mom decided to go abroad as well to help provide for us. My parents hired a nanny for my little sister and a cook/house cleaner. For a couple of years, they also tried to enlist extended family members to stay with us as a guardian but that never worked.
Finally around the age of 14, my mom entrusted me to take care of household matters. They sent me a monthly budget, my mom showed me how to keep an accounting book. That’s a big responsibility for me when I was a kid. I took the public transportation, go to the bank, withdraw money, go to the nearest currency exchange, pay the bills, pay the school tuition, pay the help, budget for groceries, etc… When I tell people this, they are amazed but to me, it was my normal.
Let’s talk about my school life. As I mentioned there were so many over achievers that I had to make sure I kept up. That school taught me how to be competitive. Even in my parents absence, I continued to be in the honor roll, continued to excel in school and take care of business. Why? well because friends closest to me were excellent. Someone was always better than me and I think deep inside, I wanted to beat them! Someone was always a more technical dancer than me, someone can play the piano better than me, someone had a better sticker collection than me, someone always got a higher grade than me, someone was a better artist than me, someone can act better than me. Golly! It was so hard to find a niche, where I can really be recognized for. So I kind of started to learn how to do a little bit of everything… I can dance, play the piano, draw, get good grades, read well, etc… If there was something I couldn’t do, I figured out a way to learn it. Totally opposite of what they say NOT to do: “Jack of all trades, Master of NONE.”
Finally at 17, my parents were able to legally migrate my sister and me to the States. I was sad because I wanted to grow up with my friends but I had to be an obedient child and do what the parents told me to do. So I moved to Seattle, which just happened to be where my parents lived. My parents enrolled me at a high school nearby and sooner than later, I swept the student of the month awards, I impressed many teachers and hopefully inspired many friends. I EXCELLED. And, in my opinion, the American School System is way too easy. I was a straight A student and a Dance Captain, Yearbook Staff, ASB Secretary and more all at once. I finally felt like all the work I did to try and learn different skills was recognized and it felt great! I was the go to person for a lot of things.
Fast forward to 2010, after getting laid off from Macys and finishing my contract with Expedia, I decided to move to Los Angeles without real concrete plan. Luckily, I had half siblings that allowed me to stay with them 2-3 weeks at a time. After 3 months or so, I finally found my own apartment. I spent most of my time on Craigslist looking for things to get myself involved in. Sure enough, I found plenty of events where I volunteered at and met so many great people that have hired me to do work for them. I also found a Hollywood comedian who was looking for an event planner. Needless to say, I hustled and made it all work out.
Now, my company Events in the City is growing rapidly even though I only spend part time on it. I am a full time Marketing Manager at a shopping center and I do an excellent work bringing unique events and marketing the shopping center.
I am deeply humbled by all my experiences, I feel like I came from nothing, migrated to the US and now on this journey to take over the world. This is why I love to help so many business owners and professionals, I want to teach them how to be resourceful, how to learn certain skills to get them through their start up phase, I want to teach them everything I know about marketing and event planning because I do not want to hear people say that they do not know how to make things happen. To every problem, there’s always a solution. I love the way I’ve encouraged people to think outside of the box, to solve their problems by first realizing what box they have put themselves in. As my family member say: “Sweeney will survive in any situation you throw her in.” And I truly accept that truth as a compliment. I love making people feel that there are more than one solutions to their problems. NOTHING is impossible with time. Everything takes time. Great things don’t happen overnight but horrible things can when you don’t believe in yourself.
There is nothing wrong with being a Jane of all Trades because I have mastered the skill of resourcefulness.