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Event Mastery for Event Leaders: Insights from Keri Ibbitson, Events Lead at Phillips

"Clarity in goals and a focus on sustainability are key to impactful events. Align every aspect of your event with these principles to ensure success." Keri Ibbitson quote

Are you harnessing the full potential of your events to drive growth and brand engagement? Many entrepreneurs struggle to make their events stand out in a fiercely competitive landscape.

In this insightful blog post, Keri Ibbitson, Events Lead at Philips, shares her expert strategies for mastering event planning and execution. Innovative approaches are essential as event costs rise and sustainability becomes a priority. This post delves into Keri's tips on setting clear goals, prioritizing sustainability, balancing budgets with creative vision, and leveraging thought leadership.

Drawing from years of experience, Keri's insights offer invaluable guidance to event leaders aiming to elevate their event strategies and achieve impactful results.

Expert Insights

Understanding Target Audience and Goals

Keri stresses the importance of clarity in event goals. Whether it's generating demand or educating attendees, knowing what you want to achieve informs every other decision. She recalls her journey from unexpected beginnings in college to leading Philips' North America and Latin America events, highlighting how a clear focus has been pivotal to her success. Real-world examples provide context for how well-defined goals shape event strategy, align stakeholders, and drive targeted outcomes.

"Event measurement starts with defining goals. For demand generation, success is often measured by scans converting to leads and deals. For longer sales cycles, key metrics include engagement, sales pipeline influence, and social media reach." - Keri Ibbitson

Here are some actionable steps to have a clear focus for your events:

  • Identify your specific event goals early.

  • Align every aspect of the event with these goals.

  • Regularly review whether each element of the event serves the overarching objectives.

Navigating the Challenges of B2B Event Activation

In the context of B2B events, aligning event strategies with your company's overarching goals is essential. Ibbitson's experiences at Philips demonstrate that whether your focus is on demand generation or brand awareness, the metrics you choose to evaluate success must reflect your event objectives. One revealing statistic from the B2B marketing sphere notes that live events account for 18-36% of B2B marketing budgets, proving their critical role in the overall marketing mix. Ibbitson advises that event leaders should meticulously plan and tailor their events to ensure they resonate with targeted audiences while enabling measurable returns on investment.

Here are some actionable steps to overcome the challenges of B2B Event Activation:

  • Define the event's purpose and ensure it aligns with your company's strategy.

  • Identify KPIs like lead conversion rates and attendee engagement.

  • Understand your audience's needs and design the event accordingly.

  • Track the event's impact and follow up on leads using CRM tools.

Prioritizing Budget vs. Vision

Keri reflects on the challenge of aligning budget constraints with an event's creative vision. With rising costs and budgets remaining static or shrinking, event leaders must invest wisely and creatively to achieve desired outcomes.

Action steps to prioritize budget: 

  • Opt for impactful yet cost-effective event elements.

  • Consider hybrid models or scaled-down versions to maximize reach and engagement within the budget.

  • Communicate regularly with financial stakeholders to ensure alignment between expenses and event goals.

Why Sustainability Matters in Event Planning

Sustainability is a rising trend in the events industry. As events move toward more eco-friendly models, balancing attendee experiences with environmental responsibility is challenging. Keri points out that European events tend to be ahead regarding sustainability measures, posing an opportunity for North American counterparts to catch up.

"Sustainability in event planning is becoming a top priority. At Philips, we focus on using reusable materials, minimizing waste, and selecting vendors committed to sustainable practices. By integrating sustainability into your event strategies, you aim to reduce the environmental footprint and set a standard for the industry." - Keri Ibbitson

Important steps to keep in mind are: 

  • Research and partner with vendors prioritizing sustainability.

  • Explore creative alternatives to traditional, wasteful event elements.

  • Leverage innovations in technology that minimize environmental impact without compromising experience.

The Art of Thought Leadership and Networking Events

As entrepreneurs, commanding a presence on stage or facilitating discussions that showcase industry expertise can substantially raise an event's profile. Events are not just about flashy demonstrations but about valuable content and connections. According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 96% of B2B marketers believe event marketing is the most critical tactic for lead generation. By positioning themselves as thought leaders, event leaders can leverage events to establish credibility and nurture enduring relationships with stakeholders.

“Attending sessions and engaging in the events environment will give you valuable insights on what drives the most impact at events.” - Keri Ibbitson

Important steps to keep in mind are: 

  • Develop content that positions your company as an industry expert.

  • Focus on educational and informative presentations and panels.

  • Build relationships with industry leaders and potential clients.

  • Maintain contact with attendees through emails and social media.

Harnessing the full potential of your events is more than just planning; it's about strategic execution, sustainability, and thoughtful leadership. 

The insights shared by Keri Ibbitson provide a roadmap to elevate event strategies and ensure they drive growth, engagement, and brand recognition. By defining clear goals, prioritizing sustainability, aligning budgets with vision, and leveraging thought leadership, you can create impactful events that resonate with your audience. Take these lessons to heart and transform your events into powerful platforms for success.


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