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Top Five Lessons from CEMA Summit 2019

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It was another amazing year at CEMA Summit. The Hubb team was thrilled to take part as a sponsor and connect with our fellow event marketers. Each year I come away having made new friends, gained a fresh perspective and learned something I didn’t know before. For those of you who couldn’t make it (or would like a recap), here are the top five things I learned this year at CEMA Summit:

  1. Innovation is not about doing things a little better. It’s about doing things differently.

This was a big ah-ha for me. As marketers we’re always optimizing—looking for that small % increase in conversions, opens or click-throughs. And while I remain a firm believer in continuous improvement, it’s important to take a step back and look at things through a different lens. Ask yourself “How can we continue to stay one step ahead?”.  According to speaker Shane Snow, the key is to engage in lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is defined as: the solving of problems by an indirect and creative approach, typically through viewing the problem in a new and unusual light. He gave a great example of a hospital that was stuck trying to improve one of its most important processes and wasn’t able to learn anything new from their industry peers. Until one day, a member of the team was inspired while watching a car race and noticed how the pit crew functioned. This led the hospital to go out and learn from a professional racing crew, which gave them a different perspective and enabled them to enact changes that radically improved outcomes for the most vulnerable patients at their children’s hospital. So, ask yourself, where can you look that is outside your company, or your industry, for inspiration? Because why settle for 10% when you can get 10X?

  1. Content is more like a brutal dictator than a benevolent king

And if you’re not creating content, you don’t exist. Karen Flores from Salesforce talked to us about how experience creators must become master storytellers. When it comes to content, you need to chunk up event content to use and re-use throughout the year. A big part of this is understanding your story assets. Take the below example of a keynote. The keynote is a single, story-asset and its content journey might look like this:

You can see how that single asset can be used for pre-show education, for creating a great live moment, for creating bite-sized content, for sharing with the community on social, and for extending the event via targeted email.  

  1. Greening your event doesn’t have to cost a fortune

Sustainability is the key to a bright future and is not something the event industry can ignore. Below are some helpful tips for greening your event:

  • Create opportunities to give back. Rather than consuming during your networking activities, look for options that allow attendees to give back such as planting trees or packing backpacks for disadvantaged youth.
  • Digital signage has many great benefits—including  ensuring that your published content is always up to date. It also helps to eliminate paper waste.
  • Food waste is huge in the events industry. Find a local non-profit to help you make use of that extra food rather than having it end up as landfill.
  • Go local to reduce your overall carbon footprint.
  • Create a scorecard to identify the areas where you can be green and to keep your team accountable.
  1. Stop being average and start thinking for yourself

Breaking the wheel of common wisdom and best practices to figure out what is best for you with Jay Acunzo. Wow. Not only is Jay incredibly dynamic, but his framework for getting at a unique strategy is brilliant. The crux of the process is looking at three key areas and asking yourself the following questions:

  • Your Organization – what is your aspirational anchor? What is your unfair advantage?
  • Your Customers – What is your first-principle insight? Who are your true believers?
  • Your Resources – What are your constraints? How might you expand?

By looking at each of these areas and asking ourselves these questions, we can get at what the right decisions and strategies are for us, even if that goes counter to common wisdom or what are considered best practices. These are excellent questions to keep in mind when you're engaging in quarterly or yearly planning.

  1. ESports is a thing

For real. I was blown away by the stat shared by Simon Temperely of Allied Esports International that while about 110 million people tuned in for the most recent SuperBowl there were 360 million people who tuned in for the League of Legends World Championship. What?? The lesson for event marketers:  Consider incorporating some kind of esports engagement at your next event. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a hit.

Did you miss Hubb's Innovation Unveiled at CEMA? You're in luck! Watch as Hubb's COO Josh Vande Krol walks through the latest and greatest innovations from Hubb.


If you're looking for more actionable advice for creating the Best. Event. Ever., download our guide to Advanced Content Strategy.

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