Social Marketing Lessons for Event Marketers from SXSW

Even if you don’t know anything about film, music or interactive technology, you’ve still probably heard of SXSW – most likely in the form of #SXSW. The social media reach of this event is staggering and is likely part of the reason why this annual event continues to grow year-over-year. According to Synthesio, SXSW 2014 had over 2,200,000 global mentions on social media in 10 days.

As a marketer, I would love to tap into what makes it such a “talked about” event, but it also conjures the question of what’s next for SXSW? This blog post dives into the history of this event and how it’s changing in terms of the audience and its offering and becoming more sophisticated in nature: This unconventional event is truly a great study for event marketers and offers the opportunity to take cues for your own social marketing programs. 

Nth Degree Expands Automotive Offerings with New Experiential Division

Nth Degree Expands Automotive Offerings with New Experiential Division
Auto Industry Veteran Roger Ormisher Appointed Vice President

For more information:
Elise Simons

ATLANTA, GA/August 28, 2013/Business Wire/ — Nth Degree, a leading full-service global event marketing and labor management company, has expanded its portfolio of client services within the automotive sector with the appointment of Roger Ormisher as Vice President, Automotive Brand Experiences. Roger is based in the company’s Southern California office.

In this newly-created role, Ormisher will establish and direct a new experiential business unit which will uniquely combine strategic messaging, rich content and creative solutions to help bring brands and their products to life in 3D environments – all backed by Nth Degree’s established executional skills and exceptional client service.

Scott Bennett, EVP, Client Services, said, “There is an increasing focus on non-traditional experiential activities in the marketing portfolios of our automotive clients. Our extensive background in automotive, combined with experiential and event expertise in other market sectors, makes this a logical next step for our business.”

Ormisher brings more than 27 years of Global experience in both marketing and PR in the automotive industry, spanning three major continents – Europe, North America and Asia. He held senior communications positions at both Volvo Car Corporation and Nissan Corporate, and most recently ran Global Corporate Communications and PR for start-up Fisker Automotive.

Responsible for numerous event and experiential activities, including messaging and launching of ground breaking new technology products that included the Nissan Leaf and Fisker Karma, Ormisher also brings expertise in 3D communications, events management strategy, brand partnerships and product placement. He was a recipient of Ford’s Global Marketing award for the Volvo promotional campaign and treasure hunt tied to Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film franchise.

“I am delighted to be joining Nth Degree,” Ormisher said. “They are an immensely talented group with a well-deserved reputation for delivering client excellence over the past 34 years. This new experiential offering will be about connecting with our target audiences in person and offering them an experience that is engaging, authentic, relevant, and one they will want to tell their friends about.”

Nth Degree, based in Atlanta, GA, is one of the world’s leading face-to-face marketing companies. The company offers event and trade show marketing and management, and installation and dismantle services worldwide to more than 1,100 domestic and multinational clients and supports more than 7,500 proprietary events, trade shows, and event marketing projects annually. Nth Degree has 21 North American offices, including all major convention cities, and locations in England, Germany, and China. Additional information is available at


Nth Degree Expands National Accounts Team – Company Appoints Grant Howell to Account Manager Role

Nth Degree Expands National Accounts Team
Company Appoints Grant Howell to Account Manager Role

For more information:
Elise Simons

ATLANTA, GA/June 12, 2013/Business Wire/ — Nth Degree, a leading full-service global event marketing and management company, announces the appointment of Grant Howell as an Account Manager. Howell will be based in Nth Degree’s corporate office and will be supporting the day-to-day operations of projects for key clients nationwide.

Howell is a recent graduate of Augusta State University where he studied Marketing Communications and Public Relations. During his time as a student, he also undertook an internship where he helped promote and manage events such as concerts. Howell gained additional experience during this time as an Event Manager at a special events venue. His role included helping to plan and coordinate corporate, leisure and trade show events. His day-to-day activities included managing the logistics for each client and coordinating with vendors.

Scott Bennett, EVP of Client Relations for Nth Degree said, “Grant has the right skills, background and energy to dive into his new role. Grant started our immersive training program and has hit the ground running in all aspects of client service – both in the office and on the show floor. We look forward to seeing Grant put his experience to work for us.”

Nth Degree, based in Atlanta, GA, is one of the world’s leading face-to-face marketing companies. The company offers event and trade show marketing and management, and installation and dismantle services worldwide to more than 1,100 domestic and multinational clients and supports more than 7,500 proprietary events, trade shows, and event marketing projects annually. Nth Degree has 21 North American offices, including all major convention cities, and offices in England, Germany, and China. Additional information is available at


Thomas J. Petrella Appointed Vice President, National Accounts, Nth Degree

Thomas J. Petrella Appointed Vice President, National Accounts, Nth Degree
Industry Veteran to Help Strengthen Sales Leadership Team

For more information:
Elise Simons

ATLANTA, GA/March 08, 2013/Business Wire/ – Nth Degree, a leading full-service global event marketing and labor management company, has expanded its sales leadership team with the appointment of Thomas J. Petrella as Vice President, National Accounts. In this role, Petrella will provide strategic account management of Nth Degree’s top national client accounts and will also support sales activities and new business development efforts in key industries and markets.

Scott Bennett, EVP, Client Services, said, “Our toughest business challenge is finding the right people to add to our team. Tom was a long-time client and friend to our company for many years. He works hard and may be one of the most humble people I know. He is a person that understands that small gestures can make something better.”

Petrella has managed numerous high-profile marketing, trade show and public outreach marketing projects and has more than 25 years of executive-level marketing and communications leadership experience. As a former Partner with Avalon Exhibits, Petrella’s primary focus was on client development, product promotion, and creative sales strategy. For the past 6 years, Petrella has served the event and trade show industry leading business development efforts at Remline Corporation, a promotions and marketing communications firm based in Newark, DE that helps companies execute marketing programs.

In addition to Petrella’s client-focused responsibilities, he will also offer additional leadership to Nth Degree’s national sales team and support efforts to develop and implement new opportunities through both direct and indirect channels. He will also participate in long-range planning for product improvements, additional service offerings and further evolution of the company’s international operations.

“Nth Degree is a group of hard working people that care about each other and their clients. Somehow throughout the years, they never lost sight of this simple idea. They are a leader, have a strong management team and I’m humbled to be joining this team,” said Petrella.

Nth Degree, based in Atlanta, GA, is one of the world’s leading face-to-face marketing companies. The company offers event and trade show marketing and management, and installation and dismantle services worldwide to more than 1,100 domestic and multinational clients and supports more than 7,500 proprietary events, trade shows, and event marketing projects annually. Nth Degree has 21 North American offices, including all major convention cities, and offices in England, Germany, and China. Additional information is available at


Getting Partners Involved in Event Marketing

Marketing and attendee acquisition activities are rarely handled exclusively by the event organizer or lead sponsor and from our experience, getting the partners involved garners better results.  At Nth Degree we encourage our clients to see these activities as a combined effort – the event organizer brings the audience through the doorway, but it’s the partner’s job to get the attendees to their booth at the event.

Most partners understand the more people who attend and actually seek out their booth during the event, the better their chances are of making good contacts or actually lining up sales during a live event. However as an event organizer, you cannot rely on these partners to proactively promote your event – even if they realize it is to their benefit to do so – as they often do not have the tools or knowledge necessary to do so effectively. That is why you should consider it a part of your responsibility to provide them with those tools.

An active exhibitor marketing program can yield tremendous benefits for both the individual partner exhibitors and the event as a whole. Partner exhibitors often have contacts that the event organizers do not, providing a wider pool of potential attendees. In addition, partners are likely to have an existing relationship with these contacts, making it more likely that they will attend if invited by that individual partner directly. As an example, in 2012 one Nth Degree customer allowed us to provide exhibitor partners with marketing materials for their last event of the year after not doing so for previous events in the spring and summer. The result – registrations for this final event ended up nearly 50% higher than the earlier events.

To facilitate these activities, Nth Degree provides partner exhibitors at events we manage with Exhibitor Marketing Kits. These kits contain items such as a PDF invitation with live links to the event website, HTML files that can be sent as email blasts, banner ads to put on the partner exhibitor’s website, signatures that can be used in company emails, and pre-approved copy that can be posted on the partner exhibitor’s social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

In addition, event organizers can actually track all online activity through the use of tracking codes from websites such as Google Analytics in order to see which partners are actually driving traffic and registrations. These are the partners that event organizers may want to specifically engage with after the event to gauge what their experience was like and look for ways to improve marketing efforts for future events. Another way to effectively track activity is to provide the partner exhibitors each with a unique discount code, which they can give to their contacts. By tracking how many times a code is used, you can see which partner exhibitors are making the biggest effort to bring in attendees.

Providing marketing tools to partner exhibitors will boost your attendance numbers and make them feel more involved in the event. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be gracious and appreciative to them for taking the time to carry out marketing activities. If a partner exhibitor wants to change something or try a different tactic be open to it – they may have an idea that turns out to be effective. At the end of the day, working together will result in a better turnout and more positive event for everyone involved.

Corporate Technology Events a Boost to Industry

Proprietary corporate events are certainly not new in the face-to-face marketing industry, but they are gaining attention in the media as high-tech companies invest in this medium regardless of the current state of the economy. In an online article, The Wall Street Journal highlighted some big events this week including VMworld, the recently-completed event supported by the Nth Degree Events team, and took a closer look at what attracts thousands of attendees to these events. Read the full article here.

Atlanta Working Conditions

The summer is coming to a close and fall trade show planning is in full swing. We know that most of our event marketing clients attend more than one show and that they travel across the country and even across the pond to exhibit. With this in mind, we are making an effort to provide you with tools that will make this experience easier to manage and well, let’s face it, to survive! This month we are focusing on common working conditions and regulations in the Atlanta market. See a list of common questions and answers below that our labor operations team thought you might find helpful.

Main Facility: Georgia World Congress Center

Material Handling

  • Can exhibitor carry in merchandise/items into hall? Yes.
  • Can exhibitor use a hand truck or dolly/wheeled cart to bring exhibit materials into the hall? Yes. Exhibitors can hand carry exhibit materials or use a personal cart to do so ONLY if this is done through front doors/lobby. If unloading from POV on dock – limited amounts are acceptable using Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC) dollies, but large quantities and/or multiple trips must be turned over to GC.


  • Can shop supervisor or exhibitor work in this city or supervise ONLY? Both shop supervisors and exhibitors can work in this city since there are no union jurisdictions.
  • Can the exhibitor install & dismantle their display? Yes, since there are no union jurisdictions.
  • Can the exhibitor’s FT employees use tools to set up their displays? Yes, since there are no union jurisdictions.
  • Can an EAC set-up steel deck structures? Yes, as long as the structure is pre-approved by building engineering. Copies of approval are required on-site during install.


  • Electrical service – from overhead or floor? Both. Main power is supplied from floor ports. Ceiling drops are only made if requested for booth design; if booth power exceeds floor port limits; and for hanging signage.
  • Can exhibitor or EAC run electrical cords under carpet? No. The initial lay must be made by GWCC electricians. Also, all cords under carpet MUST be provided by GWCC – no exceptions. After initial lay cords can be moved/re-laid without calling GWCC electricians back into the booth.
  • Can exhibitor or EAC run electrical cords above carpet? Yes. Cords run in the booth above carpet can be supplied by the shop and/or exhibitor. However, it must be 14ga wire or lower – no 16ga.
  • Can exhibitor or EAC plug lights and/or other devices into booth electrical outlets? Yes, no restrictions.
  • Can exhibitor/shop/EAC place lights? Can exhibitor/shop/EAC insert Dura trans in light boxes? Yes, no restrictions.
  • Can exhibitor/shop use Genie Lift? Yes. This does however, vary depending on the general contractor and/or show association. You must consult exhibitor show book regulations.


  • Who can vacuum the booth carpet? The exhibitor can vacuum carpet (with their supplied vacuum) or order booth cleaning through the show contractor. EACs cannot vacuum in this facility.
  • Can exhibitor/shop have food/beverage brought into facility? No. Food/beverage (in small quantities) can be brought into facility through the install period only. From opening morning until the close of show, these items must be purchased from the house caterer.
  • Is there access to local specialty vendors? Yes. Note – some specialty vendors are not available on weekends.
  • Can EAC assemble hanging signage? No. This is the responsibility of GC rigging. EACs cannot assemble any hanging sign.

6 Ways to Integrate Social Media into Your Events Now

There are more avenues available today to market your event (or your participation in an event) than ever before. This is a good thing in that it gives us event marketers more tools to try to capture the attention of potential attendees, but it also means those audiences are being bombarded with marketing information from so many sources that your message may be lost in the shuffle.

With so much competition for the limited amount of attention available, your social media plan must be comprehensive and easy to execute. We’ve taken the time to narrow down 6 easy steps for integrating social media into your event marketing plan today. 

Before you dive in and take action, remember that conversation is the number one way to ensure your social media push is effective. It is best to have someone monitoring your various social media accounts regularly – even multiple times per day – and replying to any messages directed to your accounts. You can also monitor some networks, such as Twitter, for conversations about your brand or event, which you can then respond to in order to prompt further discussion.

 Now you are ready to integrate social media into your event and here are 6 surefire ways to do it:

  • Designate a hashtag (#event) for your event so those Tweeting about it can see what others are saying about it as well.

  • Tweet relevant quotes from sessions in real time.
  • Accept questions from live audiences – especially in larger sessions – via Facebook, Twitter or even your event blog. This offers a double benefit of keeping attendees more engaged while also showing social media followers who are not at your event what they are missing.
  • Hold a social media contest before the event with prizes such as VIP passes or free admission for registered followers and again during the event, with prizes given out live on the final day.
  • Throw out questions based on topics raised during live sessions to spur online discussion and demonstrate the value of the content your event offers.
  • Send out secret event or party information only via social media to ensure attendees check it regularly.

Overall, social media provides an ideal medium for communicating with your event’s target audience and keeping them engaged before and during your event at a minimal cost. If done right, the time and effort you put into your social media campaign will be repaid many times over.

A Newbie’s Trade Show Marketing Learning Experience at E3

I traveled last week for my first-ever business trip to Los Angeles for the installation of the E3 trade show. This trip was meant to be a major observation/educational experience for me. And that is the trip it was!

I received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Hospitality Administration so I wasn’t completely unprepared walking onto the floor. During school I took a course on Meetings, Expos, Events, and Conventions, but seeing is definitely believing with this industry. I got to see some incredible projects and exhibits and got a first-hand look at some innovative products for this lucrative portion of the entertainment industry. I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned last week:

  • Manpower – I’m not real sure who I thought installed and dismantled booths before I began working for Nth Degree. One of my co-workers said it best when she said, “I thought it had to be magic booth fairies!” Well, I wouldn’t exactly call them fairies, but they definitely have some magic! Nth Degree had 90+ very talented, purple-wearing people installing booths left and right and up and down. I had no concept of the sheer importance of a quality installation and dismantle company, before I began working for one. These guys work their tails off and it shows daily! One day it’s an empty space with electrical and carpet and the next day you can’t even see the booth next door because these labor teams have built buildings within buildings. Beyond the installation, it really is incredible to think of the impact a trade show has on a city.  Without ‘em, nothing would happen!
  • Labor Management – I was fortunate enough to see one of Nth Degree’s biggest project at E3 2012 being installed – the Microsoft Xbox exhibit. This is one of the projects that, as I said, involved constructing buildings within buildings – real, functioning buildings with 360-degree theaters, meeting rooms, event balconies, and even sprinkler systems (just in case!). It was like being at a construction site without the dirt! This booth, if one can even call it that, was so impressive. The on-site team explained to me their labor management pre-planning and on-site processes for this incredible space – the keys to successfully managing the labor for such projects. But I won’t tell any more than that because, well, our team is clearly good at what they do and I wouldn’t want to give any of their secrets away.
  • Connections/Relationships – Lastly, this trip showed me the importance of connections/relationships – good and bad. Apparently, this industry runs deep with lots of human history – (call me a cacklin’ hen, but human history is always the most interesting). This person once owned this business with this person, until THAT person wanted to go on their own to make that business which then became…you get my drift. Back to my point – relationships and connections run deep and I certainly witnessed those essential relationships at work at E3. Making new connections is vital to new business, while maintaining relationships is crucial to repeat business. It’s relationship marketing. Even within the company, it’s important for relationships to be maintained interdepartmentally. It’s a full circle when it comes to our labor team, customers, sales team, planning team, etc. as each depends on the other. So, if everyone effectively communicates through their various relationships to one another, then everyone will live in harmony…at least for that show, right? I don’t have many industry connections/relationships myself (YET), but I realized there is nowhere to go in the industry without them!

Aside from human history, labor management, and manpower, I learned a lot more – and could go on for days! But, I won’t. I’ve got plenty more lessons to learn and people to meet. Thanks for taking the time to allow me to share some experiences from a “newbie”!

Lessons from the Event Marketing Summit – A Customer-Centric Strategy

Last week I had the opportunity to attend my first ever Event Marketing Summit. It was held in bustling Downtown Chicago at the Sheraton, a picturesque location, overlooking the Chicago River. The three day event seemed like a great opportunity to get a pulse on the current status and forward-looking direction of the event industry, and of course an opportunity to network with other event professionals.

Each day began with a keynote on various topics, followed by a full-day of breakout sessions, with a few breaks in between to visit the exhibit hall or network with co-attendees over meals and snacks. While it would be impossible to describe everything I learned at the conference, a few noteworthy presentations were:

  • Making A Commitment To Experiential ‘Platforms’
  • General Motors Case Study: Redesigning The Experience and
  • Creating An ‘Emotional Footprint’ At Tradeshows

After reviewing my notes and taking some time to reflect on all of the information I had gathered, I began to see a consistent pattern between the presentations – a pattern that is applicable to both B-to-B and B-to-C events. The concept: customer-centric marketing – allowing your customer to tell your story for you, to develop their own connection, and share their story with you and others around them.

In the past, a brand had a story to tell, and would push that story on their customers. Described in the General Motors case study presentation, imagine a circle…in the middle is GM, and all around them are their various customer types. A marketing campaign would be developed and was then pushed to the customer without regard to a key insight…did the customer actually understand the story being told? Were they even connected to the message? Today, those very questions are considered. Instead of GM as the center of the circle, the customer is the center, with all of GM’s car types and various divisions as the outer ring. Instead of  pushing a story to customers, GM now focuses on pulling those stories from their customers to build the most effective marketing campaigns to date…campaigns that the customer has helped create from their own experience – Customer-centric marketing.

Another example of this customer-centric, “pull marketing” was described in Creating an ‘Emotional Footprint’ at Tradeshows, presented by Intel. Their tradeshow experience came in the form of a large, technologically-advanced booth called, The Intel Connect to Life Experience. It was a 3-D virtual life simulation where attendees could create shapes using their hands (or just about any object) to create a bioluminescent life form on a towering 168-foot projection screen overhead. Instead of using the space for product advertising, they chose to allow customers to create their own unbranded experience, just for fun. In turn, attendees developed an emotional connection to the brand, creating their own individual Intel story. Pulling from customers, rather than pushing the story to them, with remarkable results and glowing reviews from attendees.

I left the Event Marketing Summit with some real food for thought. How will I implement this customer-centric approach to my future marketing strategies? How can I apply this to my day-to-day marketing activities?  How will I move into this new direction?