CEMA Newsletter November 2019

Dick Wheeler

Dick Wheeler

ProGlobal Events
CEMA Board Member

It’s November – a time for us to reflect on our blessings and give thanks. Our country, despite many issues, remains the best place in the world for starting new companies and growing existing businesses. For us in the event industry, 2019 has been another strong year with lots of opportunities. We have learned so much from being part of the CEMA community and we are grateful to be part of such a diverse organization.

On a personal note, I would like to thank all the women in my life starting with my Mom, my beautiful wife and daughters, the amazing and talented women within our companies, all the women on the CEMA board and of course, where would we be without Kim, Olga and Stacey leading our CEMA community?

Wishing you all a safe and blessed holiday season with your loved ones and friends!

Member of the Month

Member of the Month Name

Terri L. Meyer, CMP

CMA Planners

Living in Las Vegas you get used to all the bright lights and incredible events. But that doesn’t compare to the bright light of being featured as CEMA’s member of the month!

Terri Meyer, CMP is a veteran in the hospitality industry with decades of experience and leadership in events and meetings. After cutting her teeth in the Las Vegas hotel industry for over 15 years, Terri branched out on her own and founded CMA Planners. Her first client was Hewlett Packard and they are still with her after nearly 24 years. Terri has had the opportunity of working with a myriad of corporate clients like Pure Storage and Oaktree Capital sprinkled with celebrity and professional sports player events. In 2016 CMA took over the association management for the Travelers Education Group. Since then, they have increased attendance from 300 people to over 2,000 and maxed out the exhibit hall…a good problem to have. Terri is widely known as an expert in understanding the complexities of national and international conferences, meetings, events, and trade show management.

Being the middle girl of a large Midwest family of three boys and three girls, Terri affectionately calls herself the “Jan” of The Brady Bunch show. As a teenager, she dreamed of buying a hotel where all of her family could work which lead her to Las Vegas for a B.S. degree in Hospitality Management at UNLV. While Terri didn’t buy the hotel, CMA Planners has become a platform for her to work with her many siblings and extended family and friends. In fact, #1 son, Kyle, has been full time for the past five years. Terri started Kyle out at the early age of five years old, with the ever-important paper shredder duties and now is the lead website developer, data analysis manager, and events research coordinator.

When not working, Terri loves to spend time with her family, friends, cooking and traveling the world with her husband and cohort in fun, Chris. They are always looking for their next adventure in exciting destinations paired with beautiful wines, interesting cultures, and incredible food!

High Five to CEMA’s e-Newsletter Sponsor for November
2019 Platinum Member of GES Events


GES Events is driving transformative change in the events industry. Its teams, tools and processes enable GES Events to create unique experiences that activate brands and connect them to clients across the globe. By reimagining a brand’s story as a great adventure and activating it through a real-world experience, the team at GES Events helps attract not just an audience, but friends, fans and evangelists.

GES Events believes that experiential marketing, when done well, is the single most impactful influencer of brand beliefs and behaviors. Its mission is to deliver high-value, high-impact experiences to event attendees and the people they influence. GES Events manages experiential programs for brands worldwide across a diverse industry base encompassing technology, professional services, consumer goods, retail, and automotive. For more information: GES Events.

Executive Profile – Platinum Member of GES Events

Dan Hilbert

Dan Hilbert
Executive Vice President
GES Events

Joined GES: 2015
Years of Experience: Since 1999

With more than 30 years of experience in the event, agency and entertainment business, Dan possesses a deep understanding of true experiential marketing and knows innately how to partner with clients to innovate and transform their business.

Prior to joining GES Events, he successfully led client engagement and strategy at TBA Global as senior vice president. An accomplished leader, Dan has held senior level positions on both the client and agency side including the National Football League, Live Nation Entertainment, Ryan Partnership, Unilever and Labatt, USA.

Dan earned his MBA in Marketing/Management from the University of Connecticut and his Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Business Analysis and Statistics from Pennsylvania State University.

A recent transplant from the East Coast, Dan and his family now call Dallas home. When he’s not solving clients’ experiential marketing challenges, Dan’s free weekends find him playing alternative music in venues in the city’s Arts District.

Join/Renew Your Membership with the Most Exclusive Event Marketing Organization in the Country

Renew your 2020 CEMA Membership Today

We often hear from our members at this time of the year regarding memberships, because –with budget dollars left in 2019—now is the perfect time to either sign up or renew memberships for next year. If you have budget dollars left in 2019, act now to renew your membership. All CEMA 2019 memberships expire 12-31-2019. New in 2020 is an opportunity to for client- side event marketers (EM) to reserve their Summit 2020 registration at the time of renewing their membership.

We have both an exclusive 1 Platinum and 1 Diamond Membership available. Click here to see our membership benefits.

If you have any questions on your 2020 membership, please contact Stacey at Stacey@CEMAonline.com.

CEMA At Microsoft Ignite

CEMA at Microsoft Ignite, November 5-6, 2019, in Orlando, FL

Ignite 1
Ignite 2
Ignite 3

To say our Study Tour at Microsoft Ignite + the Disney Institute was a success would be a major understatement. We kicked off the event with an amazing Welcome Reception at the Disney World Coronado Springs hotel in the brand new Gran Destino tower, hosted by Disney Meetings & Events (thank you Linda Woo!), which included a complimentary pass to Walt Disney World. Not even the rain could dampen the fun these adults had at Star Wars- Galaxy’s Edge and the Toy Story rollercoaster, to name just a couple rides. Wednesday was a packed with incredible industry insights by the Microsoft Ignite team. Our visionary panelist included: Vivian Eickhoff, Director of Event Marketing, Microsoft; Angela King, Senior Executive Producer, Microsoft; Mary Hiemstra, Creative Director, Freeman; Michael Kophs, Senior Production Marketing Manager, Microsoft; Ron Hamlin, Executive Producer, Microsoft; and Aaron Pitts, Creative Strategist, Microsoft. Each attendee walked away with powerful knowledge to share with their organizations. Major thank you’s to Vivian, Angela, Jamie Timperley of Dynamic Events and April Walsh from Freeman our amazing partner. Then we were whisked off by Visit Orlando & the Orange County Convention Center (thank you Joseph Kempa and Kathy Hogan) to Disney Springs for a wonderful progressive “Dine Around”. We walked more than 18,000 steps that DAY alone! We ended our program with a half day at the world-famous Disney Institute (again thank you to Linda Woo) with an inspiring behind the Curtain of Magic at the Costume Department at Epcot, the underground at Magic Kingdom and the Laundry Facility. Sorry, no pictures for Epcot or Magic Kingdom. It’s top secret!

Destination City of the Month: The City by the Bay

SF Travel

Each month, we will feature one of our special cities, a perfect location for your next special event. These cities are favorites of our members, and information on our website will help you see why they are the high on all of our lists for meetings, conferences and special gatherings. We’ll provide you with Top Attractions, a Photo Gallery and links to vital information relevant for your event and meeting planning purposes.

Check out the November DMO of the month- SF Travel.

For more information please contact Stacey@CEMAonline.com.

CEMA Thought Leadership

If you missed the innovation workshop in Chicago last month here is a recap:

How Playing Leads to Better Work: Lessons from a Crash Course on Creativity and Innovation

Rediscover your creative core. Build on new tools to break down creative barriers. At a recent CEMA Roadshow workshop in Chicago, former Disney Head of Innovation & Creativity, Duncan J. Wardle, led the CEMA team in becoming TRULY creative. It was an amazing experience, and a reminder of why we #lovewhatwedo. Check out the coverage of the experience here.

CEMA Members Questions Asked, Answered By Professionals-Another Great CEMA Benefit

CEMA members have the opportunity to request input, feedback and sage advice from our experienced group of CEMA professionals. If you have a question to ask of our CEMA members, ask your question by submitting it here, and we will request advice from our member base.

Following is this month’s Ask CEMA question:


We are looking to grow our annual user conference and are looking for recommendations for audience acquisition. Our user conference is under 3K attendees and it seems like we can’t break the 3K mark. We are in the tech space and feel that attendance at similar conferences is higher than ours and we know we can grow but need the right partner to get us there. We need help with overall audience strategy development including personas, and a marketing plan. In addition to wanting to increase overall attendance we want to get the right attendee. We know there are full service B2B, ACM agencies out there but after speaking to some of them we don’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars in the budget for this type of solution. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Answer #1:

We have spent a lot of time on audience acquisition for our user conference in the past and the partner we used for this project is Event Marketing Partners. They really except and helping develop the customer journey and matching it up with the content strategy for our events. They are not super expensive, and charge based on the hours they put into a project. They will help you learn and understand what knowledge your audience / customers are looking for and then help you figure out the best way to deliver that content.

We learned that we had to offer our content on two different levels in order attract the influencers (who were looking for training) and another level for the decision makers (who were looking for more of a business view / how to solve the current business issues view of the content. They can also help you build a marketing plan to reach the different customers you are trying to reach – they really helped us get more targeted in our messaging and delivery methods. I assure you they do not cost hundreds of thousands and can customize a program to fit within your budget and needs.

I don’t have a straight answer, but our team has helped quite a few companies grow their user conference in the past few years. If the member/requestor is interested, I’d be happy to set up a meeting to chat more about their needs. There are so many questions we’d need answered before we could really give any advice… challenges like this don’t have black and white solutions. Anyway, let me know!

I would recommend Gordon with EMP, we have been having his agency help with our own conference now for a few years! He and his team are great!

Gordon Stake
Managing Partner / (o):1.732.927.2450 / www.eventmarketingpartners.com
Past Member, CEMA Board of Directors, Corporate Event Marketing Association
Event Marketing Partners/ Managers of the ABM Convention of the Year

Answer #2:

In response to the member looking for audience acquisition help I think it would be worth their while to speak with MDG. A number of our clients have had success with their services. They have a great track record of growing event attendance and they take a very strategic and data driven approach. I can’t speak to the member’s concern about budget but think it is worth their while to at least have a conversation.

I suggest them contacting Vinnie Polito who is a principle in the business and very knowledgeable. He also has experience with tech industry events. His email is vincent@marketingdesigngroup.com, and his phone is 203 500 1586.

Stagnating attendee growth is a common challenge across technology companies and their user conferences.

When digging into this with clients, we typically find the hurdles to — and opportunities for more — growth fall in three areas:

1. Attendee Realities.

For some clients, their total addressable market – the total attendees they could even attract – is smaller than they may expect. And, in turn, the friction in their conversion funnels may also be higher than they realize. For example, is your user base mostly SMBs? Their budgets only let them send attendees on every three-year basis. Is your user base typically individual people within a larger company? Their managers may be worried about having them out of the office. And so forth.

2. Event Value.

For nearly all events, people attend for primary, interconnected reasons. On rational basis they come for Content (education and skills development), Networking (community affiliation, new connections), and Experience (location, entertainment, activations, etc.). On an emotional basis they come for Curiosity (discovering a first, ahead of a trend), Community (pride in belonging, where peers are), Fear of Missing Out (on all of the above, and more).

When we are involved in the event design, we make sure that what we do at the event will be highly marketable before the event. We sometimes need to rejigger the event design (per the reasons people attendee) in order for the event to be more attractive – more valuable – for people to invest in attending.

3. Channel Mix.

The tried-and-true driver for user conference registrations remains email — blast emails, one-to-one drip campaigns, sales force incentives, attendee-to-attendee incentives (e.g., BOGOs), and more. Social and display advertising – especially programmatic, retargeting, and lookalike matching – is a common response-centric channel. For the right B2B audiences, general cross-media awareness advertising provides air cover and support ROI (depending on how you structure/value your attribution models).

If your brand is already optimizing this tried-and-true channel mix, we then look for untapped opportunities (e.g., unexpected sales incentives, user group leader gamification, Viral Loops-like referral campaigns) and unexpected partnerships (e.g., bringing a same industry’s trade pub’s annual awards dinner into the event; therefore, have the trade pub both as an advertising and audience-driving partner). We look to see if there are new channels and creative opportunities to put into the campaign mix.

Of course, across all three of these categories, there is of course business- and audience-specific realities that need to be work through.

At our agency, Opus, our audience acquisition team has a mix of our own methodologies and approaches for this. From intensive workshops to deep research to test-and-iterate, our partnership model is designed around each clients’ specific realities.

If you would like to dig more into any of this, I know our strategy team would love digging into this more with you.

Answer #3:

First, I would ask yourself what are our attendees telling us? Though you see a ceiling of 3k attendees, are they YoY the same attendees or what pattern can you tell by either company, role or person. I found this can help in first step of identity behavior to then lead to next steps. Next, look at how you market – does it truly speak to your audience. For example, we too are in the tech space and found our marketing was just that, too marketing and not ‘speaking’ to the audience in an authentic way. In a way that when they read about our event, they see themselves wanting to be there…instead it could be just one of many events and didn’t entice them to purchase a ticket. I share this as sometimes these first steps can save you from hiring and spending thousands on a supplier. If still looking for a supplier to do this work, I have found it does not come without a price tag especially if you want to do some competitive analysis.

Happy to share my contact information if this person would like to discuss my response further or just have another peer to discuss through. Can also share some suppliers we have used.

Save the Date for CEMA Summit 2020

How will event marketing evolve beginning in 2020? What are the critical components to ensuring your event is engaging, impactful and stays within your budget? And where will the best event marketers be in late July? Be sure to Save the Date for CEMA Summit 2020.

July 26th – 28th, 2020
Hosted at the JW Marriott
Nashville, Tenessee

Summit 2020 Registration will open in March, 2020

CEMA 2020 Calendar of Events

We can’t wait to announce the 2020 Calendar of Events next month! We’re offering even more exclusive Study Tours and thought provoking peer-to-peer discussions in 2020! Just another reason for you to renew your membership.

Coming in 2020–Mixed Reality in Event Experiences

Case Studies by Honda, HBO, Cisco and Salesforce

Sponsored by: CEMA and George P. Johnson

Date: TBD

This workshop will explore some of the most successful live experiences that utilized emerging technology. We’ll uncover the secret recipe for success with a panel of brand champions including Honda, HBO, Cisco and Salesforce, who will navigate the complexity of discovery, ideation and creation to deliver awe-inspiring moments. Attendees will receive 3 CMP credits.

We Have the Best New Job Opportunities for You

Each month, CEMA provides members with information on new career opportunities. If you have a job you’d like shared with members, please send details to stacey@cemaonline.com. Include a detailed description of the position, all contact information, as well as the location of the position. CEMA will post the job opportunity until the position is filled. Visit CEMA Careers for current job postings.

Check out the Job Opportunities recently posted:

CEMA Members Moving On Up!

Congratulations to Michelle Olmstead for her new position as Senior Marketing Manager at Attivo Networks.

Happy Fall, and Welcome New CEMA Members

As the weather begins to cool (in most areas!) and we prepare for the busy holiday season, we welcome a number of new CEMA members including: Colleen Bisconti, Kada Sigl, Dee Hall, Kristin Keene of IBM; Margaret Launzel-Pennes and Jenna Linnekens at Extraordinary Events; Libby Opsahl at Microsoft; Candice Berry at Dell; Tracy Kinsey and David Bishop of Bishop McCann; Denise Wallhermfechtel of Anheuser-Busch; Meagan Maloney of MacMiller; Alison Mengerink of Quantum Health; Gold Member Motivaction-Kari Vrba, Mike McWilliams, Rhonda Sucharda, Amy Sharratt; Danielle Thompson of T-Mobile; Kate Gilbertson and Matt Gillam of Enterprise Events Group; Justin Mounts of Cloudera; and Sabrina Eder of Rockwell Automation.