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Hidden Marketing Talents: Event Email Gatekeeper

May 17, 2011

“Voice from the Trenches” is written by Alex Moore. Alex Moore is a freelance writer and the Marketing & Communications Manager at Prellwitz Chilinski Associates (PCA Inc.).

Marketers can officially add “event gatekeeper” to our list of responsibilities. This new role hit me in the middle of an email purge last week. Scrolling down my inbox, about every 10th email looked the same: a colorful header with an acronym on it, a few half-downloaded images, a list of names and an urgent call to action. Time to register, time to sign up, etc. While I sifted through my sea of event promos, a Principal forwarded something else to add to the pile. Same format, new acronym. “What is this? Should I go?” the email asked.

In the past, it wouldn’t have fallen on me to click the link and find out more. The sponsor organization, nature of the event, and networking opportunity would be obvious. Not anymore. Now, every publication and professional organization out there is hosting events, crowding the market. And they all publicize them the same way: template emails. LinkedIn and other social media, seemingly an ideal alternative publicity channel, often simply comes across as static. Seeking refuge from the information bombardment, overloaded business developers are turning to their marketing staffs to help make sense of it all.

Those of us early in our careers or new to the industry should embrace the challenge. Researching various events helps us better understand the resources we have at our disposal: professional organizations, publications, public forums. And becoming the gatekeeper for the various networking functions and events is a great way to add value to your firm and start to climb the business development ladder. It may seem purely administrative, but it also places you on the frontlines of any business’ most important function: winning work.

Embrace the Email

Principals and BD staff recognize the inherent value of professional networking events and professional organizations. They’re just fed up with relentless promotion, and can’t tell who is sending what anymore. Because we often have a hand in creating email campaigns and publicizing our own efforts, marketers are better equipped to sift through the static. Put your discerning eyes to use by inviting Principals and BD folks to forward you the emails they’d otherwise be likely to delete. Make it a habit to actually read them, and follow up on promising opportunities.

Start the Discussion

Now that you’re the gatekeeper, don’t be afraid to report on what’s coming across your inbox. If an event seems at all worthwhile, it’s worth following up on (again, BD leaders don’t hate networking, they hate email!). Putting events on people’s calendars in Outlook and mentioning them around the office will foster discussion and yield insights – everything from who’s a good speaker to who’s got the hot dealmaking hand in the industry.

Go.

Being the gatekeeper doesn’t preclude you from joining the party. Chances are your office will support your efforts to be involved in the BD process. Ask to come along to events. You’ll learn who’s who in the industry, and you’ll get a better sense of how to reach them through your own marketing efforts – you know, all that stuff you do when you’re not sifting through your sea of email invitations.

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