Friday, July 31, 2015

What All Meeting Planners Can Learn From C2-MTL

When Daniel Lamarre, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cirque du Soleil, came to the SID LEE agency in 2010, he wanted a corporate event where business leaders could instill creativity and innovation into their organizations. And out of this collaboration, C2MTL was born – an intensive three-day event now into its fourth year. With 75% of the event sold out with three months to go, no wonder BizBash upholds it as a "must-attend conference" model.
Here are seven takeaway items you can put into your conference planning process:
  1. Take risks with your budget.
    60% of C2MTL's budget is dedicated toward the tried and true items, while the remaining 40% is available for testing of new ideas. "They expect to make mistakes and feel that to innovate you have to be wrong," stated Emmanuelle Legault, Vice-President of Marketing for Tourisme Montréal. Mickey Drexler, CEO of J. Crew said it best, "Every good idea started out as a bad idea."
  2. Engage your attendees before and after the event. 
    Here are the things an attendee can do once they register for the conference:
    –  Access C2MTL's networking platform, up to eight weeks before and after the conference, to create an online profile, plan one-on-one meetings with other participants and define their meeting demands;
    – A designated Concierge helps tailor the experience to meet the attendee's business priorities
    – Participate in discussion forums with other meeting participants, event organizers and speakers
    – Access to the conference videos, photos and reports after it is over
  3. Attendees crowdsource the agenda.
    C2MTL created an app where attendees could suggest speakers and topics. "The delegates felt they were part of the process and they became engineers of the conference," stated Legault.
  4. Speakers are expected to deliver original content. 
    As you already know, many presenters like to give the same presentation over and over again. C2MTL mandates that all approved speakers create original content only for their event. And with the ability to search the speakers website, YouTube account and talk to peers in the industry, it is easy for determine if the content is original or not.
  5. Hire a storyteller to deliver introductions.
    Rather than having boring intros, C2MTL makes it personal by having someone deliver a story from the speaker's life that is relevant to the audience.
  6. Music makes the conference fun. 
    The event organizers hire local musicians instead of piping in background music. "It wasn't that expensive and wasn't hard to find," stated Legault. Hiring local suppliers, including when renting audio visual equipment, will save you money on transportation, storage and/or accommodations. Local companies support the local economy, grow the tax base and are considered to be a "greener" alternative.
  7. Give your guests air. 
    Having areas where attendees can retreat outside just take in the scenery or providing inside living room spaces where they can recharge themselves and their mobile devices, helps keep the conference fresh in their minds. 
SmartSource Rentals is your event planning partner and has LCD projector and screen rentals, sound and lighting rentals and Wi-Fi network arrays available for your next conference. Don't delay, contact Smart Source today!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

6 Reasons Small Business Owners Should Be Blogging

After being in this industry for a little while, it always amazes me the amount of business owners that don't understand the importance and advantages of a company blog. So, I have compiled a short list of reasons why business owners need to take advantage of blogging.
  1. Share what you know! Blogging is a great way to become a thought leader in your industry. You can build your brand name in your market and start to become recognized.
  2. Optimize the search engines. Blogging is the easiest way to generate hits on your website. When you constantly create new content, Google will recognize this and start ranking you higher. In fact, companies that blog 16+ times per month will increase their traffic 3.5X what it was before.
  3. Generate leads. 61% of businesses attribute blogs to their lead generation. When you constantly update your website and your ranking increases, so will your leads. Not to mention it's much cheaper than buying leads!
  4. Interact with your audience! When you post your blogs to social media platforms, it becomes a great way to interact with your clients or future customers.
  5. Grow your network. Consistently blogging with relevant, interesting content will draw people to your website and create a following for your blog that will return every time you post.
  6. Become trustworthy! 81% of consumers trust information and advice from blogs. People will begin to trust you and get a warm, comfortable feeling when they keep coming to your website. It will help build your reputation and create more business!
As you can see, blogging is very important for any company to drive traffic to their website and grow their business. It is one of the easiest ways for small businesses to create leads and increase their revenues!

Mulligan Management Group Can Help!

Mulligan Management Group, LLC is an expert in digital marketing strategy, especially blogging. We know the best practices for writing blogs and want to help you grow your business! Give us a call today at (330) 472-7673!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

5 Fantastic Ways Meeting Planners Can Be More Like Olympians

With the Winter Olympics underway in Sochi, this is an exciting time for us to watch professional athletes all over the world compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. And while most of us watch in awe of these individuals who do things beyond the average person's capabilities, you might be wondering what the meeting profession can learn from these competitors. Here are my thoughts on the five things we all can do to be better meeting planners in 2014 and beyond. 
  1. Get a coach. 
    A coach or mentor is someone you trust, who can guide you in your career and give you honest feedback about your meetings and events. This might be someone you work with, an attendee who has become a friend or an outside consultant. Whoever it is, this person is most interested in helping you and your meetings improve.
  2. Practice. 
    The only way you get better at planning and executing meetings is to plan and execute meetings. If you only plan one or two meetings per year, you might want to outsource these events to someone who is continuously in the business. This is true when renting audio visual equipment as well – either outsource the presentation services audio visual equipment or become better in working with it. One way to get more practice is to volunteer for non-profit organizations and sit on the events committee.
  3. Use the latest and greatest technology
    Olympic athletes are always testing and utilizing the best in clothing, helmets and equipment that will give them a competitive edge. After all, it is about winning and sometimes they win by less than one point or nanosecond. So if something will make them faster and better they will use it, no matter what the cost.
    What if you took that attitude about your meeting? You are going to implement the best interactive technology tool rentals because that is what is going to make your meeting stand out and be competitive. And after all, you want to win the heart and mind of the attendee, so they come back time and time again.
  4. Take calculated risks. 
    Yes, I said calculated. Each athlete still has make sure they are as safe as possible. However, if they don't take any risks, they will be just like all the other athletes and they will not win. So, they have to have some tricks up their sleeve to differentiate themselves.
    Are you taking calculated risks? Are you trying out different things to win over your attendees, sponsors and exhibitors? If not, now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone and try something different.
  5. Grace under pressure. 
    Athletes listen to music, audio books and affirmations in order to loosen up and do their best. They smile even when they don't want to and talk to the press when they'd rather be back in the Olympic village. They talk to their mentors and coaches. Anything to relieve stress and help them do their best.
    What about you? Do you listen to music, meditate or smile even when you don't want to? Do it anyway and learn have grace under pressure. 
With fully-staffed and equipped branch offices in 21 major metro markets, SmartSource Rentals has the largest national footprint in the computer and audio visual rental space. Give them a call today at 800.888.8686 to learn more about what they have to offer! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Using Hashtags Effectively for Your Digital Marketing

As a business owner you spend a lot of time and money on digital marketing. You post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, the list seems to go on and on. There's so much of your content out there that you want to be found, you need it to be found. The time and money need to be worth it, but how do you make that happen? By using hashtags.

Hashtags, when used effectively, are the best organic way to make your content found. There aren't a lot of rules surrounding them, but there are a few key guidelines to use them in the best way possible.

Limit the Number of Hashtags

Don't simply put the hashtag symbol in front of a lot of words in the post. Research shows that 1-2 hashtags is the perfect amount and will drive up your reach. Once you get to three hashtags, your engagement will actually drop by 17%. Your post will get too cluttered and people don't appreciate the obvious message that you are using hashtags just to use them. 

Choose Your Hashtags Wisely

Choosing hashtags wisely is one of the keys to making your posts effective. You want to use a hashtag that is already in use and relevant to your content. Make sure you use it in the right context so that you don't use it incorrectly. For example, DiGiorno Pizzas once saw the hashtag #WhyIStayed and tweeted out "Why I Stayed: You Had Pizza." It turned out that the campaign was being used by survivors of domestic abuse to explain why they had stayed with abusive partners. So, be sure to check what the meaning behind the hashtag is, maybe even using #tagdef first to find out the definition.

There are several tools online such as and RiteTag that can help you choose the right hashtag. If your business is local, use Trendsmap to figure out hashtag trends in your geographic area. These tools will help you figure out hashtags that are already in use so you can utilize your social media effectively.

Know Your Platform

Each social media platform responds to hashtags differently, so keep this in mind when you post to each one. Twitter was the originator of hashtags, so guidelines that I have discussed above fully apply. On Facebook you should be a little more cautious with the amount of hashtags you use. A lot of research shows that hashtags bring your engagement down, but you still want your content to be found. So, choose the right hashtags and do not overuse them. 

Pinterest uses hashtags the same way that Twitter does and it is highest revenue-generating social site so utilize it as much as you can! LinkedIn does not use hashtags at all so it looks very unprofessional to include them in any posts. Finally, Instagram is unique in that the more hashtags you use the higher the engagement you'll get. The posts with the highest number of interactions sometimes have 11 hashtags or more.

Mulligan Management Group Can Help With Your Hashtags!

Mulligan Management Group, LLC is an expert on making your digital marketing strategy as effective as possible. Give us a call today at 330-472-7673 to see how we can help!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pros and Cons of Holding a Meeting around a Holiday Weekend

With Labor Day weekend around the corner; have you given any thought to combining your meeting or event with fun family time? Wedding Planners do it all the time – they hold the nuptials over a long holiday weekend so family from faraway places can plan to attend the ceremony. 
The question is: Does this translate to corporate or association events? Below are several pros and cons when considering such an option.


·         If you clearly spell out “work time” and “fun time”, attendees will join in.

Years ago, when I worked for IBM they had ½-day business meetings followed by ½-day fun times. This way, employees knew they were to work their hardest from 8 to noon during the three days we were there, but from 12 pm on was family time.

You can do the same. Perhaps have work time from 9 to 3 and let the employees knock off early to enjoy the surroundings, their co-workers and their family.

·         You will have negotiating power with your suppliers.

Generally speaking,
AV and computer rental companies are slow over the holidays and welcome business during this period.

·         The event can be sold as a family function.

The employees or attendees do not have to take off personal time to come to the event because they are bringing their family along with them. While they are in a meeting, their family can enjoy an amusement park, water slides or the day spa. Whatever the perk, the family receives benefits as well.

·         Employees can experience a venue or attraction they might not otherwise attend.

Holding the meeting or conference at a unique destination or somewhere near multiple attractions can be exciting for attendees. If you
rent iPads for your event, the computer vendor can prepopulate the iPad with social channels such as Yelp and Four Square where attendees can look at reviews of local attractions, scan the web and even buy tickets.


·         According to Andrew Jensen, President of Sozo Firm, Mondays and Fridays are the least effective days to hold a meeting.

Therefore, planning for a Friday meeting around a fun-filled weekend may backfire for you because attendees may already be in “weekend mode”. Something to consider for sure when planning an event.

·         You won’t get 100% attendance.

Some individuals plan their holiday weekends several months or even years ahead of time. In fact, according to
AAA, approximately 11% of the US population hits the road over Labor Day weekend.

·         If your attendees don’t have a family, they may feel out of place.

This is where you really need to do your homework and find out the demographics of your audience. How many have family at home? Are married? Have a significant other?

You may need to find other things for single attendees to do so they can enjoy the outing just as much as the rest.

·      If the event is not positioned right, attendees will think it is over the top.

Make sure attendees know what the company and association will pay for and what it will not. Attendees should not expect the company to pay for an upgrade on their room, meals for the family or anything they decide to do during fun time. It is up to you to have this spelled out long before you invite them to attend the meeting. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Small Meeting? Small Budget? 7 Steps to make it a Smashing Success

Believe it or not, most meetings are small. According to the Convention Industry Council, of the 1.87 million meetings that take place every year, 70% of them are corporate business meetings consisting of 20 or less individuals.
Even though most meeting planners probably think this small of a gathering requires little thought or planning, I would disagree. Small meetings set the tone for larger ones and if you are new to the industry, they can help you build the confidence you need in planning big events.
Here are 7 tips to make sure your next small meeting is a smashing success without breaking the bank.

Small Meeting Success Factors

1.      Focus on Your Goals.

What is the end game of the session? Is it planning for an
event, getting ready for trial or conducting a peer review? Whatever the goals, you will better understand who needs to be there, where the event should take place and what audio visual rental equipment you need.

2.      Set up a Budget.

Even small meetings need a budget for AV, food, beverages and venue. If the meeting is held onsite, make certain the space is conducive to fulfilling your objectives.

If you are holding meetings that will last one hour or more, don’t skimp on food and beverages. Having premier coffee, pastries, fresh fruit, salads and/or desserts sets the tone for the meeting and says you care about the attendees.

Make your meeting special, by taking care of those who are invited.

3.      Obtain the PowerPoint presentations at least a week in advance.

This will allow you to do two things: 1) Load and test the configuration on the
computer rental and projector rental and 2) put the presentations in the order of the agenda, forcing your speakers to be ready the day of the event.

4.      Send out the Agenda.

Put on the agenda the start time, end time, agenda items and who is responsible for which portion of the program. Send out the agenda electronically at least two business days before the meeting and ask for feedback. Reswizzle the agenda if needed and resend to the group.

5.      Test for Sound.

If your meeting has over 30 individuals, obtain a
microphone rental. The last thing you want or need is for attendees to strain to hear the message. Ask your AV provider for their recommendation and then spend the extra money if warranted.

6.      Start and End Your Meeting on Time.

This is where you will earn the most respect with attendees and upper management. They will see you are not interested in wasting your time or theirs. You have an agenda, the presentations are loaded, the room is set and you are ready to roll.

7.      Send Out Actionable Items to Attendees.

As soon as the meeting ends, take your notes and create an action list of items that need to be completed or questions that need to be answered, who is responsible for them and a due date. Determine if another meeting needs to occur to address those items and plan accordingly.

About Hartford Technology Rental

Hartford Technology Rental is poised to help you with your next small meeting! We have Microphones, Projectors, Sound Systems, Teleconference Equipment and Video Conference Equipment to meet your needs. Give us a call to at 888.520.5667 today!