How Event Managers Can Earn Recognition and Get Promoted

We’re in the midst of a pandemic and a recession—is this the right time to think about your next career move? If you’re an event manager who wants to get promoted, the answer is YES! In fact, there’s no better time than now. This extended break from live events allows you extra time to prove your value, plus earning a promotion takes time. Why not start now?
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We’re in the midst of a pandemic and a recession—is this the right time to think about your next career move? If you’re an event manager who wants to get promoted, the answer is YES! In fact, there’s no better time than now. This extended break from live events allows you extra time to prove your value, plus earning a promotion takes time. Why not start now?

Short-term: Demonstrate your resourcefulness in the face of the pandemic

Event managers need to be creative right now, particularly those who work for companies that rely heavily on trade shows and exhibitions for leads and brand recognition. This is your time to shine, especially since we probably won’t resume large scale live events until later in 2021, when vaccinations are widespread. In the meantime, take the time to:

1). Find alternative ways to promote your business. Options include:

  • Exhibit at smaller, regional events when available and include virtual ways to interact and engage with clients and prospects.
  • Hold your own small, private, socially-distanced events for VIP customers and highly-desirable prospects.
  • Launch a mobile sales tour. If you want to get out and meet clients face-to-face, consider buying or renting a branded mobile trailer with meeting spaces to connect with clients on the road. Learn more about mobile tour options here.
  • Go direct to customers online and via live streaming when you can’t reach the distributors you normally would through B-to-B exhibitions. Learn how Farmhouse Fresh partnered with QVC to do just that, here.
  • Beef up traditional marketing efforts with special promotions via email, social media and direct mail.
  • Start a podcast. You’ve always wanted to, right? Podcasts offer a terrific way to boost recognition and trust for your thought leaders and brand, while providing endless sources of new, relevant and branded content. (If you need help getting started in podcasting, we can help.)
  • Arrange for sales reps to take a crash course in virtual selling ASAP. Engaging and building rapport via Zoom is a whole lot different than face-to-face. Mastering virtual selling will pay dividends now AND later.

2). Fine tune your face-to-face marketing strategy, so you can maximize ROI when we get back to the business of big, beautiful trade shows. Take time to:

  • Analyze which shows delivered the most and least for you in years past.
  • Consider investing more in exhibitions that delivered more ROI and skipping shows that underperformed.
  • Think about what can you do different to make a bigger splash. If you’re not sure, survey your sales team and clients to get their thoughts on past events.
  • Dive deep into research on face-to-face marketing trends and what resonates with attendees. For example, we know millennials prefer experiences over monetary rewards. Our 2020 Event Marketing Trends white paper is a great place to start. Grab it here.

3). If you haven’t already, learn how to calculate trade show ROI, so you can prove the value of your trade show efforts (and YOU). If you want to get recognized and promoted, you’ll need numbers to back up your plea. Many trade show managers have difficulty calculating ROI but it’s really not that difficult to do. If you enjoy gathering data and have a calculator handy (bonus points if you know your way around your CRM system), no problem! Search our site for trade show ROI and you’ll find plenty of resources.

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Mid-term: Set yourself up for success—and a promotion

Getting a promotion may not happen the first time you ask. It may not even be appropriate to ask for a promotion during the pandemic, especially if your company has gone through layoffs and financial challenges. In truth, it often takes more than one “ask” to get a “yes” anyway. Now is a terrific time to set the stage for that “yes”—here’s how.

1). Do your research. Take time to review the qualifications required for the role you desire and understand the responsibilities your dream job entails. Reach out to mentors and top achievers in your industry to find out what steps they took to get ahead—their insight and tips will prove invaluable. Speak with them regularly.

2). Analyze your short comings. Are there any job qualifications or responsibilities you don’t meet currently? If so, develop a plan to gain knowledge and experience in those areas. That may include taking on extra responsibilities or identifying problems to solve at your current job that would have an impact on the company’s bottom line.

You should also invest time in ongoing self-improvement in areas you need to grow. Plenty of resources exist, including taking skills training courses, reading everything you can about leadership and your industry or watching TED Talks, podcasts and videos by leaders you admire.

In addition, take a look at what qualities high-performing employees possess in general. Therese Fauerbach covers seven common qualities of high performers here. Tap into the self-improvement strategies mentioned above to address any areas you need to work on.

3). Schedule time for an initial meeting with your boss to level set. It’s important to let your boss know you’re interested in advancing your career and getting a promotion at some point. As noted above, getting a promotion on the spot is rare—it usually takes time and a series of follow-up conversations.

During your initial conversation (and follow-ups), brief your boss on what activities you’ve been working on (special projects, training, etc.) to help you improve your skill set as well as any accomplishments that have had an impact on company performance. Ask him or her to help you identify any areas where you would need to improve in order to advance. Schedule follow-up meetings as appropriate (monthly or quarterly).

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When the time is right: Ask for a promotion

Some event managers may be ripe for promotion right away, while others may need more time to fine tune their skills and gain the experience needed to demonstrate their worthiness. Once you feel confident YOUR time is right, schedule time with your boss to ask for that promotion.

Before you send that meeting invite, it’s critical to prepare a business case beforehand that outlines your achievements and proves you have the goods to meet the demands of the new position. Simply showing you excel at your current job won’t cut it.

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Details of your business case for promotion may include:

  • Your desired goals and how promoting you would provide value to the company.
  • Detailed descriptions of solutions you’ve delivered.
  • Concrete metrics detailing the impact you’ve had on the company.
  • Financial benefits to the company tied to your efforts.
  • Transition plan (propose a replacement for your current role or transfer of duties to other team members).
  • Ninety-day plan establishing what you expect to accomplish during the first quarter of your promotion.

During the meeting, walk through your business case and periodically ask your boss if he she has any questions. Once you’ve addressed any questions and concerns, go for it! ASK FOR THE PROMOTION!

Considering you’ve done your homework, demonstrated your value and the timing is right, you may get the “yes” you’ve been hoping for. If you don’t, ask what’s standing in your way, then decide whether it’s something you can overcome. Even if a promotion isn’t available at your current company, all the work you’ve put in could set you up for success somewhere else—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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