The New Normal For Event Professionals


There’s no question that the climate has shifted at in-person events since 2019. But last year, Director of Event Marketing Melanie Smith noticed a temperature change in her office at the supply chain digitization platform Tracelink. Executives seemed to take on a new, vested interest in her line of work. Why?

To put it bluntly: face-to-face interactions were sorely missed.

“Seeing how conversations went when folks didn’t have the opportunity to meet in person, how it required people to completely shift their sales and organizational strategies to still close business…I think the loss spoke volumes and demonstrated the value of events,” Smith explains.

“We’re seeing a lot of demand-gen professionals and marketing leaders picking up on the importance of events,” she continues. “Leaders are getting behind the budget, and events are getting the recognition they deserve and need.”

It’s an exciting time to be an events professional, particularly for Smith. She favors a highly collaborative approach that can be traced back to the start of her career. A mentor was instrumental in helping her find her footing and set forth on the path that has led her to where she is today.

At Tracelink, Smith is responsible for developing an end-to-end events strategy each year. She works closely with sales and marketing teams to not only discuss goals but also to ask targeted questions and solicit feedback. What are reps seeing on the floor? What are brands and organizers doing well, and how could Tracelink do things even better?

“I think it helps to build trust and establish consistency between the teams, and that’s so key,” Smith says of open dialogue.

On the flip side, Smith also makes it a point to share intel when she’s conducting research with event tech. When she clocks a pattern among clients or prospects, she alerts colleagues and helps them tailor communication for outreach.

“Sales are so busy being the number one contact and being the face of the brand for customers,” Smith says. “It’s my job to make their job as easy as possible.”

Evaluating events happens on a case-by-case basis.

“There are so many different variables in the event selection process,” she explains. “The one consistency is that there’s never a shortage.”

To narrow the selection, Smith investigates details like associated organizations, reach, and alignment with Tracelink’s ideal customer profile, or ICP. Conversations with executives are especially helpful in determining if a year’s program is balanced in terms of organizational goals and budget.

“It requires sitting down with the leadership team and understanding the business goals for this year and upcoming years,” Smith elaborates. “What’s the long-term vision so that we know we’re in the right regions and addressing the right audiences?”

As an experienced event professional, Smith also possesses unique insights that factor into the decision-making process. For instance, lately, she’s been keen on pursuing engagements outside major hubs.

“We’re in a place where everyone has been to those cities now,” she reasons. So I think we should be considering fresh destinations.”

Innovations in event tech are also prominent on her radar.

“Everything we do involves data now,” she says. “There’s so much opportunity in integrating some of that data into the standard marketing tech stack that organizations have.”

Suffice it to say Smith is feeling more supported than ever before as an event marketer. The recognition boost doesn’t just make her job easier and gives her the latitude to perform it more efficiently and effectively, to greater returns.

Share this article

Subscribe to our newsletter

Level Up Your Event Marketing

Invest in Conferences That Drive Revenue

More you might like

Event Marketing

How to Handle a Crisis

Global Events Strategist Katie Sacco leans on tech tools and peers in times ripe for transformation. When the pandemic hit and leveled the in-person eventscape, …

Read More →
b2b data
Event Marketing

B2B Data: The Ultimate Guide

B2B Data is the Key to Unlocking the Power of Business-to-Business Information for Growth and Success – Read our Ultimate Guide to Learn How.

Read More →
Event Marketing

10 Steps for B2B Event Sponsorship Success

Event Sponsorship can be an effective way for your company to connect with your target audience and build customer relationships.

Read More →