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Using Marketing Events to Grow Your Your Business

In this episode of On Main Street, Dr. Lisa chats with Chief Organizer of Khaos Bibi Williams, of Organized Khaos Events. Tune in to learn more about using marketing events strategically to grow your business.

Transcript

Dr. Lisa (00:19):

Hello. Hello. Hello and welcome to on main street with our fabulous guest today, we have BiBi Williams of Organized Khaos events. Bibi. Welcome. Thank you for joining us today. How are you?

Bibi Williams (00:34):

Oh, thank you for having me, Lisa. I am awesome. How about yourself?

Dr. Lisa (00:39):

It is not sunny, but I brought some with me, so we’re good.

Bibi Williams (00:43):

There you go. There you go. Yes, absolutely. I love it. <Laugh>

Dr. Lisa (00:48):

Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Well, today we are talking about growing your business with marketing events and because you are an expert in this field, particularly with your history in corporate events and planning. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into corporate events versus socials weddings and so on.

Bibi Williams (01:10):

<Affirmative>. Well, I, well Organized Khaos events started in 2010, and I was actually working in corporate America at the time, and we actually started off doing weddings and things of that nature. And it was…I had a full time gig working in global sales, and also as a team manager in global sales and operations, kind of behind the scenes of a major hotel corporation in the global sales division. And so I was able, OK kind of started off as a part-time weekend gig type of situation. Right. And so I would do weddings at night planning weddings at night, planning weddings on the weekends. So as we progressed during that time, and it seemed as though almost for like the first, what, five or six years of organized chaos, it seemed as though every time I would just kind of move forward.

Bibi Williams (02:06):

We were like, oh, you know, let’s take this up a little higher. I got a promotion at work <laugh> so I was like, okay, cool. Alright. So each time the promotion came, of course travel came and my director knew my passion and my love for planning events. So she then entrusted me with, doing our sales associate conferences and team meetings. And other managers started asking me to assist them with their team meetings and so it kind of grew from there. And I was like, you know what, I really, really like this because sometimes when you’re dealing with weddings and social events, you know, all those emotions come with it. So, you know, after spending a lot of time with brides and their mothers and the tears and all the emotions that pour into that you know, I was like, you know what, maybe we should start transitioning, but I didn’t actually transition to corporate – excuse me, I’m so sorry.

Bibi Williams (03:09):

I didn’t actually transition to doing corporate events until I started operating Organized Khaos full time in 2016. When I took that giant leap head first – that giant leap of faith to say, okay, you know, while the company is reorganizing, let’s take this as an opportunity with, let’s be honest with the severance <laugh> package. Let’s take this as an opportunity,to,do Organized Khaos full time. And so, although I did love doing weddings, I loved all the social stuff, the parties and things like that. In the climate where this now becomes your bread and butter, let’s take what we learned and all of that project management skills and all those corporate event planning skills from our previous job. And let’s put all of that in here. You have the basics, you have the structure, you have the education, you have all of that. So now let’s take this and do corporate events. And I’m telling you, I have not looked back since. <Laugh> have not looked back.

Dr. Lisa (04:17):

Well. That is awesome. And of course that’s a benefit to us because we’ve worked with you on several occasions and we look to more event working more events with you.

Bibi Williams (04:27):

Absolutely.

Dr. Lisa (04:29):

We don’t do social. <Laugh>

Bibi Williams (04:31):

No.

Dr. Lisa (04:33):

So our, our emotions are very permanently in hand over here. Right.

Bibi Williams (04:36):

<Laugh>

Dr. Lisa (04:39):

Okay. So when we’re talking about growing our businesses with marketing events, what kinds of events are considered marketing events versus of course we know conferences and training, but what’s a marketing event where you’re supposed to grow your business.

Bibi Williams (04:57):

So I would say that in that event that gives you the opportunity to showcase your products and showcase your services by, you know, either by presenting them doing presentations by doing maybe some sample giveaways, if you have a product or maybe by creating a type of experience for any of the attendees of that event to come and experience your product, or experience your service. So I would say any kind of event can be that, especially these days, I see a lot of events that are kind of giving space and opportunity to people to come and market. So that could be either training seminars, sales, seminars corporate conferencesany type of, like I said, any type of event can really give one the opportunity to market their product or their service.

Dr. Lisa (05:57):

All right. So now we know marketing events are, what does it mean to use an event as a marketing opportunity? How is it different than just kind of bringing folks together to talk?

Bibi Williams (06:09):

Right. So I would say as, as someone who may be looking to market a particular product or service first, if I have an opportunity to do that event, I’m going to wanna know what is the target group of that event? What is that event all about? What are the objectives of the event? And you wanna make sure that your product or your services, that you are marketing coincide with that, with that particular event and what I do with some agencies that I consult with, when we’re looking at doing something like brand like a brand activation, for instance we always look at what type of event it is, what the, the end user, the client is trying to convey or trying to get out. What’s the messaging behind what they’re trying to do, and to see if that event coincides with that, because sometimes if you are marketing, I know let’s say a you know, your brand new donuts or desserts or sweets, you know we wanna make sure that the type of event that you’re in, it might not need to be an event where they’re doing you know diabetes awareness, you know, that might not be, that might be sure.

Bibi Williams (07:30):

We wanna make sure that the product and the services coincide with the event itself, and because that’s gonna be a benefit for both, you know, we don’t want you know, cause clients make a, make an investment to do these type of events. And we wanna make sure that we are providing them the expected ROI, you know, our goal is not to meet expectations, but absolutely. To exceed expectations. So so yeah, I, that those are the things that, that I would help or kind of advise my client to look into when they’re thinking about marketing. And then also on the other hand, if I am on the other side where I am actually planning the event, and we’re looking for people to, you know, either ven or we’re looking for people to do product displays, that’s also on the other side too, does it match what your event goal is and what you want to give or or provide to your attendees? What, and does it coincide with the experience that you want your attendees to have? So, okay. Yeah.

Dr. Lisa (08:30):

Well, that, that flows right into my next question. So you mentioned brand activations. Tell me a little bit about how a marketing activation works. What does it do for the business? Why do we do it, what is an activation to begin with?

Bibi Williams (08:45):

Well, there’s a couple, depending on who you ask. So there’s a couple of different types of activation. So there is a difference between an experiential or marketing activation versus a PR a brand activation. And so what we look at when we get into brand activations are it’s, it’s basically generating awareness to the attendees of wherever we are festival event whatever brand awareness or awareness about that brand about what’s coming what’s about what’s coming out, because some of the agencies that I consult with, we do brand activations for screenings, for you know, to promote, you know new seasons new new season premieres of series, a new movie, or a new product itself. And so it’s, it’s identifying, and then it’s providing brand awareness. And then you also want to create type of a, kind of a a personal experience.

Bibi Williams (09:46):

And what I mean by that is how does this audience, how can this audience relate to this product or this service? So a lot of times when we look at you know movies, or, you know, getting awareness out about, you know, something that’s coming out, you know, two or three months from now, when we do go over the strategy, we’re trying to identify, how would this audience, how can we get this audience to relate to what we’re trying to convey or what we’re trying to promote? And then you want to connect them because if your audience or your potential customers doesn’t have a connection with the brand with the service, the product, or the services that you’re offering, that creates a gap, there’s a gap somewhere in there. And so we try to fill that gap, make a connection with the product so that when it’s either out or when the movie is out, we’ve already garnered enough awareness about it so that people are excited to see it. Or, you know, if we are at an event and we’re doing you know, any type of BA brand promotion or something, and we’re doing giveaways, you know, we also wanna push them, Hey, you know, don’t forget to take a picture and post on your social media, you know, how are, how can we garner that audience capture their attention for that moment? And then how can we get them to spread the message?

Dr. Lisa (11:01):

I like the idea of getting the folks that you invite, to spread your message for you.

Bibi Williams (11:06):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>,

Dr. Lisa (11:06):

That is the best ROI I can think of.

Bibi Williams (11:09):

Absolutely. ‘Cause then they become, you know your extended hands in helping the awareness gets out. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And then, you know, there are different strategies that you put together on how to do that, you know? So because sometimes, you know, we wanna get the message as far out. A lot of times what I talk about and what we discuss internally is how do we get this messaging from these, this event? How do we get, get to go further? And so that’s when, you know, you utilize tools like social media or some other tools, you know, to, to cause people again, to, to, to be your advertisement really <laugh>

Dr. Lisa (11:46):

OK. So what kind of incentives make folks want to share what they were doing? Is it just cause the logo is hot or I mean, what part of it is the part that says, that kinda triggers – Oh yeah. I want people to know, I was a part of this.

Bibi Williams (12:01):

Right.

Bibi Williams (12:03):

Sometimes it’s it’s by giving them a really, really great experience. Right. We talk about having people experience your product, having people experience your service. So that could be in a lot of different creative ways so that we wanna make that experience such. So they’re like, you know what, this is really cool. Let me, let me take a picture. I wanna tell people about this, let me post this. It could be through giveaways, really cool. Like you know, anywhere from basic items, like t-shirts to hats, to bags, to something that’s or putting together some gifting, some gift items that they take away. We did a, a one event with the client and we put together a really great kind of giveaway bag where our gift bag, where it was not really, it wasn’t really promoting them, but they wanted to amplify other African American products and services.

Bibi Williams (12:57):

And so what we put in there was just so unique and not something that you see every day, you know, people were they’re like, oh, let me take a picture and put this in my stories on my social media. It’s also about again, you know, we’re always wondering, like what’s gonna be that next trendy giveaway. That’s not gonna look like anything else. What’s gonna be that next level experience. We’ll work with a a client with a brand activation, promoting a certain movie and we partner with a music festival and that particular client, one of the strategies that that was offered was to sponsor a rap a DJ battle. It was appropriate for that festival in addition to all of the other giveaway items and things of that nature. So you know, it, it, it all depends on how creative you can be with what, how to mold and cultivate that experience for that, that, that moment when you have their attention.

Dr. Lisa (14:02):

Okay. So let me throw you a curve ball then.

Bibi Williams (14:04):

Yeah.

Dr. Lisa (14:05):

How do you make that? How do you engender that kind of feeling, or, or impetus to do something when you’re a B2B brand and you don’t really get to show off at a festival, or, you know what, how do you get people excited about accounting services or website management? <Laugh>

Bibi Williams (14:27):

Mm-Hmm, <affirmative>, you know, I always say one thing that I learned, and especially in corporate America, and I’m just, and this is, and I kind of take this into what I kind of advise my clients on in corporate America. Literally my last two promotions were for a title and a position that didn’t exist. But what I did was I point out and brought the attention of the need that they didn’t know they had. So if I am a website manager or a, a accounting person taxes bookkeeping, then I want to make sure that I tell people, okay, this is a service that you may not, that you may have wanted, but you didn’t know you needed. So now let me point out why you need, and don’t point out the obvious, you know, sometimes, well, the obvious is good, but you know, oh, you know, website presence is, is important, but why is it, how does that garner?

Bibi Williams (15:24):

What does that give me that I, that I’m not currently getting. And sometimes it’s because me as a business owner, I just, you know, I’m like, okay, yeah, website is important, but I also got other, you know, priorities, but why should that be a priority to me? And am I at the stage where I necessarily need a website? Because if I have a product, can I just, you know, put my product on Instagram? Okay. Yes. You can put this on Instagram. <Laugh> yes. You can put your product on Instagram, but this is what Instagram can do. And what is for, this is what a website can do for, so making those distinct, tho the, the distinct differences to me also makes a difference because, you know, when you approach people about why they should hire an event planner, I get all the time where clients will call.

Bibi Williams (16:14):

Literally, I have one of my, my, my, my most, it’s not a word, but I’m putting it together. This phrase, my most awesomest client we they tend to call me about maybe a month to two before the event. Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> it’s because at that time that’s a pivotal time where people are like, yes, I thought I could, but now all these details are coming in. All these parts are now in motion because sometimes you think, well, if I set this up, if I set these up, then I’m good to go. But see, all of those have sub things that you have to manage. And then those subcategories that you have to manage, it takes time and detail and attention, and you might need a few more hands and you originally thought, so that’s when this particular client, that’s when they call me like, oh my gosh, B, we need you we’re at this point.

Bibi Williams (17:01):

And so then, you know, we come in and we, you know, we save the debt <laugh> but I think it’s about creating making the end user aware of the need. And if they don’t think they need it at this point, oh, I’m only a two year old business. I don’t need a bookkeeper. Okay. But yes, you do. Because when it comes to the end of the year, and you have to put all this stuff and your taxes wrong, and they calling you, they doing audits and you know, all this kind of stuff, because your books are looking crazy, your receipts are looking crazy. Because that’s where I was at two or three years, I, I had all my stuff in next Excel spreadsheet. And when it, and I dreaded tax time, when I had, then I had an accountant to do my taxes, use a CBA. And so, but it’s gathering all this information. So, you know, it’s it take baby steps. So you gotta identify the need and why they need it and why they shouldn’t do it themselves. <Laugh>, that’s most important

Dr. Lisa (18:02):

Bothered

Bibi Williams (18:07):

D to the table can bring a different skill set to the table, you know, so, you know you may can get, grow your business to a certain point by doing it yourself, but in the midst of that growth, cuz right now, at what five years of doing organized chaos events full time. Now I have a bookkeeper because I realized that I, and then I also I’m, I’m, I’ve left the Excel spreadsheet, thank God. And moved to a system that I can understand and use. But even now with that system, now I find myself not having the time to even manage that. So now, now I pro I should have hired a bookkeeper two years ago. Let’s just be honest, but you know,

Dr. Lisa (18:47):

And speaking of few things <laugh> OK. So yes, there, there are definitely professionals that we need to have

Bibi Williams (18:56):

Yes.

Dr. Lisa (18:57):

That at the very stages of our business, at the highs, the lows, the growth and so on yes. Where we’re focused on so many other things.

Bibi Williams (19:04):

Yes.

Dr. Lisa (19:05):

Is there a such thing as too small for a marketing event?

Bibi Williams (19:13):

I, no, I, I don’t, I don’t think there’s, there’s a such thing as, as too small for a marketing event, if you are just starting out then be strategic on how and where you market, you might not be able to do the trade show or the event that’s asking vendors, you know, to pay, you know, $2,500. You know, you may be able to do the event where you can pay $500 or whatever the case may be. And sometimes when we’re starting out, because that’s how I was, we were, it is like, sometimes we tend to just go after everything. Just, just everything. Yep. Yeah. I can do this thing. Yeah. I can do this. Yeah. I can do this event and maybe that’s what you have to do for a short time. But in that you kind of hone in on what works best for you. You kind of learn those, you know, take those lessons learned. Sometimes you come out at a loss. Sometimes you get, you put more in than what you get back, but but I don’t think there is as such thing as too small, I just say, be structured and have strategies surrounding where and how you market. But definitely not too small.

Dr. Lisa (20:32):

Okay. So, let’s see. So you talked about your awesomest client.

Bibi Williams (20:40):

Yes

Dr. Lisa (20:41):

<Laugh>. Do you have a specific process that you use for Organized Khaos to guide clients through the process?

Bibi Williams (20:49):

Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Lisa (20:50):

Before we start, I want, I, I wanna throw the most magnificent conference in the world for web management. How do I go about doing that? What happens when I pick up the phone and call Organized Khaos?

Bibi Williams (21:05):

So first we have to have the client identify what their goal is for having the event. We find out what, at the end of the conference, what does success look like to them? We have them identify what experience they want the attendees to have and walk away with, and also what they as a business, what do you want and need to gain from this event, which kind of flows back into what the goals and the objectives are, are for the particular conference. From there, we would then draft a strategy and a plan and and how we want to go about doing that. And then once we get the green light from the client, then that that’s where the project management, before the event management happens there.

Bibi Williams (22:01):

And so then what we do is we gather, you know, what resources we need because everything that we do every step of the of the event planning has to coincide and lead back up to the, the golden, the objective of the conference. Because once you get outside of that, then you kind, you start you, it becomes, it becomes great, it becomes hazy. So we always wanna make sure that everything from the layout to what breakouts, to speakers, to whatever the case may be systems and tools that we use, it all leads back to the objective of the conference. And then we bring in any additional resources that we need you know, any additional skill sets PR if you need PR any kinda technical are, will you be using an app? Do you need for us, you know, for us to manage that process for you and any of those other things that come with with event planning and the resources that you need for that.

Dr. Lisa (23:03):

Okay.

Bibi Williams (23:04):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>

Dr. Lisa (23:05):

All right. Well then tell me, cuz I know you’ve done a whole lot of events. What’s your favorite kind of event to produce? Take that one.

Bibi Williams (23:17):

Oh wow. So first of all, at Organized Khaos. We love all events. We love all events. I would have to say personally, my favorite events, I have a thing for corporate conferences. I don’t know what it is about corporate conferences that I love. So anything corporate conference, I love, you know training seminars, but I think doing brand activations helped me bring out – not that corporate events don’t – but it helps me bring out that creativity. It helps me tap into that. And kind of, your brain can kind of go and your, your ideas can kind of go just all, just, you know, beyond and say, okay. And then sometimes it’s like, that’s a crazy idea, but let me write that down. Let me, let me see how the client feels about this because you know, the one thing is like, when you, when those creative juices are flowing, you get an idea.

Bibi Williams (24:15):

It’s just like, you just go and go, you start researching, you start doing this and try to put it together. And especially if it’s something that they’ve never done before or, you know, they’re taking a chance to, to kind of go outside of what they normally do. I, I like those types of events that, that were, that allow us to, to do that brainstorming and just to kind of be as creative. And’s colorful, <laugh> in our thought and in our planning and, you know, it’s it. And I love those brainstorming sessions with my team. It says, oh, wait a minute. ‘Cause sometimes like, there’s a certain look, I get it’s like the light bulb goes, off’s like, oh, what if everybody just think about it? Just, just open up our minds. What if those are the moments that I love the best? And sometimes they sound really far fetched, but I’m telling you, when you, if, if the client gives us a green light, like yeah, we like that. We strategize it, we plan it. We, we put some tactics behind it and we execute it. It’s just, that brings me so much joy that does, it brings me so much joy

Dr. Lisa (25:21):

And it is an amazing thing to be able to do what you love.

Bibi Williams (25:25):

Yes.

Dr. Lisa (25:25):

Have hard joy every day.

Bibi Williams (25:27):

Yes.

Dr. Lisa (25:29):

Okay. So I’m throwing in another question. Okay. So, as someone who does a lot of conference tables and especially when those big humongous get all the vendors in the room you can kind of events.

Bibi Williams (25:49):

mm-hmm <Affirmative>

Dr. Lisa (25:50):

How do you turn your six by eight table into a mini event inside of another event? Just off the top of your head, how do you do that?

Bibi Williams (26:08):

I would say, because the thing when you’re in a sea of other people who are trying to bring attention to their, their products and services…

Bibi Williams (26:18):

Think about number one, what makes your product or service unique, right. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and then try to take that idea or that thought and then make it into something tangible and executable. So I was at some years ago I did an event and there, you know, a few other vendors there. And instead of, and I was like, okay, you know, instead of, so instead of having just that regular six by eight table, I said, okay, I don’t need a table. But what I did was I went at the time, these were like really trending. I, at the time I rented two kind of like high boy, not tables, but two high, two high high tables. And what I did was they, they were oh, what’s the what’s the Plexiglas, they were white Plexiglas. And I had, and I did the L E D lights underneath.

Bibi Williams (27:17):

So one haD blue underneath, and one hat orange underneath. Those are our brand colors. And then I had our logo on both of them and then for the blue because the one reason we chose blue was kind of the, I, I always look at the meanings of colors, you know, blue is dependable. It’s, it’s, it’s peaceful, right? Orange is that vibrant kind of sassy type of creative side. So what I did was on they looked different cuz number one, people were like, Ooh, they came to the table. They was like, what is this orange or blue table? What do you do? Who is, you know, and even though some of them couldn’t use the services, it still brought attention to the table. If so I would say something that draws attention. So that can be some type of lighting that could be something unique and different that that all other tables don’t have. And you know, of course always doing a little bit of a giveaway, but how do you even set your side yourself apart and different by your giveaways? As well. So I would say as creative and as outside of the box, as you can be I would say anything to bring attention to, because again, when you go into a conference and you literally see walk into an exhibit hall and you see 150 tables,

Dr. Lisa (28:37):

Mm-Hmm, <affirmative>

Bibi Williams (28:39):

Depending, even depending, even if you have really great positioning as a person who’s walking in there, I’m like, oh my gosh, who do I go to first? And so you find yourself kind of walking around, but I want you to, even if I’m all the way at the end of that exhibit hall from the door, I want something, it could be up lighting, it could be something swirling. It could be whatever the case may be. I want you to be like, whoah, what is that? What is that over there? So it’s always in the back of your mind because now it sparks your curiosity. Well, I’ve gotta go by all these tables, but I gotta get over to see what that is. So, yeah.

Dr. Lisa (29:19):

Well, that’s very exciting and thank you for the idea. So now I’m gonna some tables,

Bibi Williams (29:24):

Honey, do it, do it.

Dr. Lisa (29:28):

I come off the screen and give you a little chance to talk about organized chaos and what you do to help small businesses or, and large business cor and large corporate entities. Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> grow their businesses with events. I’ll see. Give one second, cuz I’m gonna do this real fast. OK. All right. I come down

Bibi Williams (29:52):

<Laugh> well, hello everyone. Again. I am BiBi Williams with organized chaos events. It is definitely my pleasure to be here. I wanna give you guys just a little bit snippet on what Organized Khaos events is and what we do. We are an event planning agency and we assist you in meeting your goal, whatever that goal may be by having events. And what we do is we help you through that pre-planning process, which I love to call the project management process because it’s a project up until the actual event management and execution, everything every step of the way we provide resources the skill set and tools to help to help your conference or your event, meet your goals and everything that we do from strategy to planning, to execution, to systems and tools, all feed into your objectives for your conference.

Bibi Williams (30:52):

We can also provide those other skills and services that you may not know that you need like like event app management, like PR representatives to help promote and market your conference as well. Everything down from registration staff, so whatever is needed at an event, we are here to assist you in helping you meet your goals for your particular event and as well as providing a really great experience for your attendees. So if you ever need organized chaos events, you can check us out at OrganizedK.com or Organized Khaos on Facebook and Instagram. And that’s Organized Khaos with a K, not a C. <Laugh> You can also feel free to email me at BiBi@organizedk.com. We stand by ready to be your front line for your upcoming event.

Dr. Lisa (31:54):

That is awesome as usual, Bibi. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for joining us On Main Street.

Bibi Williams (32:03):

Thank you.

Dr. Lisa (32:03):

We look forward to working with you again, as I said, and absolutely, of course, I hope that the on main street audience comes through and shows Organized Khaos, lots and lots of love.

Bibi Williams (32:15):

Show us lots to love.

Dr. Lisa (32:17):

<Laugh> bring you some more clients as

Bibi Williams (32:18):

Well. Yes. And we look

Dr. Lisa (32:20):

Who doesn’t love a, a, a nice corporate party.

Bibi Williams (32:23):

<Laugh> who doesn’t exactly. Well, we all, we always love working with main street, Dr. Lisa, you are absolutely a joy to work with, and I always, I’m always, always learning something new whenever I work with you. So thank you for being that. Thank you for being what I didn’t know. I needed <laugh> and thank you for helping me see the importance of it. <Laugh>

Dr. Lisa (32:49):

All right. Well, that is that for this episode of On Main Street, see you soon. Our next guest is going to tell us all about marketing, not marketing, but the stuff that we didn’t know we needed in accounting. So join us for our next episode, where we, we talk to Delicia about bookkeeping, accounting, and keeping your numbers straight so that the IRS does not come for your millions.

Bibi Williams (33:20):

Yes, please.

Dr. Lisa (33:22):

All right. See us. Good, everyone. Thank you for joining us for On Main Street.

Bibi Williams (33:25):

Thank you.

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