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Corey McCarthy, Socio, virtual events

Corey McCarthy, Socio, virtual events, virtual event, hybrid event, marketing pivot

 

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Before the pandemic, 64% of all event planners had never held a virtual event or a hybrid event before. Moreover, about 60% of attendees had never been to a virtual event or a hybrid event. These numbers are from just a couple of months ago – let that sink in.

As large gatherings were canceled for safety’s sake, plans for upcoming events were very much in limbo. Many event planners had a difficult choice to make: cancel, postpone, or move the entire event online instead.

With all the time, effort, and money already invested in these events, it’s not shocking that many are choosing to pivot a live, in-person event to a virtual event instead. And it’s not just field marketing teams and internal event planners looking to generate conversations and opportunities and to reengage customers on site. Some entire business models are built around live events.

With this process being new to so many people, another question remains: What makes a virtual event successful?

Today’s guest on The Customer Experience Podcast, Corey McCarthy, has helped her company and her company’s customers pivot to virtual events.

She’s founded her own strategic marketing firm serving clients in SaaS, hospitality, financial services, and other verticals. She helped pioneer the “orange glove service” at her current company, Socio, where she also makes virtual events as close to live as possible.

Corey is the CMO at Socio, a team dedicated to creating the best event technology for clients like Microsoft, Pinterest, and Harvard. As a fully remote employee when hired, Corey is uniquely positioned to bring extra insights into how the remote work life has forever altered our notion of what makes a great virtual event.

In this episode, we talk about…

What it took for Socio to pivot their offering for virtual and hybrid events
What it took for Socio to help their customers pivot to virtual and hybrid events
What hybrid events look like
How marketing teams should approach virtual and hybrid events
What the characteristics of a great virtual event include (including why you need an emcee)

 

 

How To Successfully Pivot To A Virtual Event

Hear the entire conversation with Corey McCarthy on hosting a virtual or hybrid event right here:

 

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Corey McCarthy, Socio, virtual events

 
 

Full Transcript: How To Successfully Pivot To A Virtual Event

Ethan Beute:
So many individuals, teams, and organizations have to pivot at one time or another. Sometimes it’s by choice or opportunity. Other times by force or circumstance. For example, in reaction to a global health pandemic. Today’s guest is rethinking the entire customer journey in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. As her team helps companies shift from physical events to virtual events and get as close to live as a virtual event can. She founded her own strategic marketing firm, serving clients in software, hospitality, financial services, and other verticals. She’s held several sales and marketing leadership roles over the past decade. Today, she serves as chief marketing officer for Socio, a team dedicated to creating the best event technology for their clients while providing them with world-class support. Their clients include brands like Google, and Microsoft, Pinterest, and Pepsi-Co, Harvard, and Hyundai. Just to name a few Corey McCarthy, welcome to The Customer Experience Podcast.

Corey McCarthy:
Ethan, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Ethan Beute:
Thank you. And before we get going in earnest, and I think the pandemic is going to be a theme here because it’s so critical. It’s driven pivots at Socio, and of course, for all of your clients, as we have to go virtual from physical. But just give me a quick drive-by, set the scene. You’re in San Francisco, the rest of the team is in Indianapolis. What’s the situation regarding the pandemic for you? How’s it affecting you, your team members, your customers, just give me a quick drive-by on that.

Corey McCarthy:
Yeah, absolutely. I was hired as a remote CMO, so my life, other than it’s awkward going to the grocery store, hasn’t changed much. For the team that I’m leading remotely. I don’t get to get there in person. I only started in January and so I had two touchpoints with them before we went into the pandemic. Luckily it’s a tight-knit group that has really bonded and solidified our working relationship over the last couple of months. And so having worked from home for most of my career, I was able to help pivot the team and help them kind of get up and running a little bit more quickly than usual, into that new cadence of working from home. From a company and our customer’s perspective, we were always set up to do virtual. However, most of our business was coming from live events.

Corey McCarthy:
And so we have a couple of ICPs that we’re working with, associations, major event, organizers, enterprise, and tech companies. And it’s been very interesting because you can take those two segments and divide it into two, one half whose revenue completely relies on producing live events, and the others that do events as part of a new marketing initiative. So when you drop into the associations and the event organizers, they’re really struggling right now. Especially the associations, because they’ve never had to think outside the box in quite this way. And so what’s really interesting is we’re finding that it’s not necessarily a pivot from live events to virtual events. It’s actually a pivot from events to marketing because any virtual event is marketing. And what a lot of the association managers don’t understand is that the opportunity to reach far outside your existing account base or, your existing membership base is there.

Corey McCarthy:
And there’s a really great opportunity to grow and to accelerate the associations’ mission. And they’re not understanding that yet because they’ve never had to think like marketers, they think like event planners, which is very detail-oriented, very process-oriented. And so we’re asking them in this moment to use an entirely new skill set that either they haven’t used in a long time, or were never asked to. So my team and I have been doing a lot of education around that to make them feel more comfortable with that pivot.

Ethan Beute:
Really good. I’m so excited for the rest of the conversation now. I mean, I’ve been asking that question a lot, just to get to know people and situations and markets and customers differently from different seats in the organizations, and from different industries and things, this one obviously lends itself to a lot of the conversation. But that divide there between a primary and support. What is the role of the event for these people is so, so interesting.

Ethan Beute:
And you’ve really teed up an interesting conversation around transitioning from just being a service provider. We provide an app, we provide tools to you, to being a true partner in how do we make sure that you stay successful? So I don’t want to get too far ahead. So we’ll start where we always start here, which is a customer experience. When I say that, Corey, what does customer experience mean to you?

Corey McCarthy:
Customer experience means from the very first time you see or meet a brand, how you feel about it and how you continue to feel about it after you interact with all of the multiple touchpoints that that brand has to offer. And at the end of that journey, are you willing to recommend that brand to your friends and to your family? And so I guess the idea of customer experience is, results in that end goal of the NPS score.

Ethan Beute:
You captured there what I did in an entire 10-minute episode of this podcast. I do some shorter episodes where I just kind of share some of my own thoughts and experiences, typically based on what I learned from smart and kind folks like you, who spend time with me on the podcast. And it’s this, it starts with a feeling, and then it becomes thoughts. And then it becomes stories. And the stories are what we tell in online reviews. It’s what we give an NPS feedback. It’s what we provide in terms of word of mouth. I’m right there with you on that whole definition. Thank you for that. So before we go farther, for folks who aren’t familiar, we’ve already kind of previewed a little bit, but for folks who aren’t familiar, tell me a little bit about Socio, who is your ideal customer? You kind of define two large groups and then what do you solve for them?

Corey McCarthy:
Sure. Socio is an event platform that works with a number of different companies, anything from an enterprise organization, all the way down through the associations. And we work with anyone who is looking to pull together and events. Used to be a lot of them have live events, of course. But we’re really taking a holistic look at how events fit into the greater MarTech space. Historically, events have represented about 20% of all marketing budgets, and it is the most difficult to provide ROI stats to feedback into your CEO about and to justify. However, the brand awareness and everything else that goes along with it is extraordinary, which is why marketers continue to do it. So our goal with our event platform is to make sure to capture enough attendee data and allow organizers the tools that they need to communicate with their attendees and give that really great attendee experience.

Corey McCarthy:
So when you’re talking about customer experience and push that into an event, what does that look like? What does it feel like? So it’s been a lot of fun over the last couple of weeks here because we have been doing pivots not only with our clients but also with our technology as well. And going back into the idea that we’re no longer working with just events, this is marketing 101 that we’re working with here. A lot of people spend so much time bringing everybody together into an event. And once you get them into your app, what you’ve already done is you’ve created a community. And so now we get an opportunity to interact with that community, or the people in the community, not just during the event, but 365 days a year.

Corey McCarthy:
And so while we can’t meet with each other face to face and getting together for an extended period of time online, doesn’t make a lot of sense, bringing together that community holistically allows brands and marketers to engage very continually over a longer stretch of time, through that app or that platform. Which has been really exciting for us to stretch our legs and get into.

Ethan Beute:
So good, really, really interesting this idea that the app isn’t just for those, I guess back in the day three days that I was physically onsite, maybe today, the day and a half that I spent, on Zoom or in some other platform. So folks are continuing to use the app over a period of time as a place to essentially host a community, get together perpetually, and probably provide content and create some engaging pieces, polls and surveys, and things.

Corey McCarthy:
Absolutely. And what’s really great is it’s a mix of our ABM targets, our prospects, and our existing clients. And so what’s really cool about that is our existing clients really love the Socio brand and getting them in there and having conversations. They do such a great job making recommendations and giving ideas to non-Socio clients that they accidentally sell the platform for us. Which makes it feel a lot better all the way around. And when you’re talking about customer experience, it’s a lot more authentic in that community environment. As long as it’s curated properly. I’ve had to fight to keep my sales guys out of it, just so that they don’t kind of take that good feeling.

Ethan Beute:
Yeah, that’s awesome. There’s so many conversations to have off this. I’m really excited to get at it. I guess let’s start with the pivot that you had to make and your team had to make as CMO in a marketing team. Obviously, okay, at a minimum, our message has to change. You already talked about making some changes to the tech and continue to probably lean into the virtual event even more. I would assume that you were probably doing, supporting some virtual events already, but talk about, start with talking about the pivot that you and your team had to make in terms of, when I show up on your homepage, for example, how does it communicate to me today? Or when I did this a couple of days ago in anticipation of our conversation, it was very, obviously all about virtual events. Talk about that process. When did you realize it was all happening and what was that process like for you all to make that pivot?

Corey McCarthy:
Yeah, it happened first, very early on. I’ve been in the event space for quite a while, and having produced enough events I know that getting attendees to come to your event is a really finicky thing. When I was flying from San Francisco to Indianapolis in early February, the pandemic was already here, and everyone was already aware of it. So it was very interesting being in the airport at that particular time because you could see already a couple of people wearing face masks, and people kind of looking at each other strangely. So it was in that moment that I realized that, oh crap, this is going to impact attendance. Because if I’m thinking about it and I’m a little concerned about it, so are a lot of other people and potentially more so than me. So when I got into Indianapolis, I called my team together.

Corey McCarthy:
I’d only been there a month, and I’m like, “Hey, this could be a real problem for our company. If people stop going to events, that’s revenue for us gone. So we need to start writing… We need to start adjusting all of our content and writing about hybrid events.” And I was even questioning the name hybrid events. I’m like, ‘Did I just make that up? Or is that a thing?” And so it’s actually a thing. But at first, that’s what we were talking about. And so we started pivoting and my team looked at me like I was absolutely crazy. But I know, this is something that all event planners are going to have on the radar and start to worry about. So as soon as we got content out there, that’s when the CDC really started shutting down live events.

Corey McCarthy:
And my team started to look at me with a newfound sense of perspective. So we started that pivot very early on, and we ended up going back and continually updating and changing a lot of the content that we got out there with. Because early on it was, yeah, throw some hand sanitizer on everybody, it’ll be fine. Just be careful. And maybe do a hybrid event just in case. So after everybody went into lockdown and actually a little bit before that, we went through everything and we toned down any sales page. We actually, we completely removed all of the sales pitches. We went into complete education mode, and went back and revised anything that was written a day or a couple of weeks before to take out any of the stuff that just sounded dumb. Given at that point, the daily circumstances that were being unfolded and unveiled to all of us.

Corey McCarthy:
So that had a major impact with how we moved forward. And then obviously trickled down into our website. We’re a little hesitant to make too many changes on our website, just because of SEO. We weren’t sure at that time how far the pandemic was going to go, what sort of impact it was going to make. And so rather than make a knee jerk reaction, we did a lot of really great content on the blog and took it a little bit more slowly with the website. The other thing that we needed to do is while all of this was happening, I was going through and figuring out, oh my God, from a product marketing perspective, where do we fit? Why do you absolutely need to have an event app? And so it was a really great experience to go through because I was able to figure out that with all of the technology that comes into a virtual event, you need one thing to string it all together.

Corey McCarthy:
And that event app actually did become the event because that’s actually where all of the sponsorship opportunities lie, and a number of other things. So going through that, we were able to make a lot of slight tweaks and product to make the virtual version better, but now I’ve got a product release that I needed to do. And how the hell do you do a product release in the middle of a demo when you can’t sell anything? So we’d already been leaning in pretty hard to the thought leadership vein of marketing, and really taking on that consultative approach to working with our existing clients and prospects, to try to give them ideas about how they could make that pivot themselves. So instead of doing a product launch, I hosted a hackathon. Where we reached out to 16 different industry evangelists, and influencers who all had very great followings on Twitter and invited them to hack in four teams of four.

Corey McCarthy:
So we got them all together. It was an hour and a half event. They all talked about it. They all came up with some really great ways to think about virtual events. So we’re a Series A company, we are doing a lot of things, right. But somehow we got about 2,500, actually no, I think that the number was more around 3000 registrations for the stupid hackathon. It wasn’t stupid, it was so much fun. People are still talking about it. Because we were able to, as an event company really make that leap, figure out engagement, figure out networking, and come up with something that was unique, and truly a wonderful experience. Not just for our clients, but for the influencers and a lot of other people in the industry as well. So we’ve been able to find great ways to not only pivot but do it well and have a lot of fun and inspire a lot of event planners who’ve been struggling along the way.

Ethan Beute:
Really good, so many fun places to pick up their first one, being the trust that you built with your team by being visionary, this is going to affect us. Really? Yes, it is. Here we go. So I’m clear, when you created the hackathon, it was let’s get creative about how we can make this even more useful and friendly to a virtual situation.

Corey McCarthy:
Yeah. My COO has endless ideas and he’s constantly coming to me. Hey Corey, what about this? Hey, Corey, what about that? And one of the ideas that he wanted me to do was true hackathon, and it didn’t feel right to get tech involved yet. Because nobody knows exactly where to go. And I think that there was at that particular time, still a lot of wayfinding happening and people want it to be a little bit more cathartic and talk.

Corey McCarthy:
So I had been a part of a company with headquarters in Switzerland and a home base in the United States that was just sales marketing. And so our participation in hackathons were just ideation sessions. And so I took that ideation session idea and put that into the event space. Because these event planners are incredibly creative, very charismatic, and have a lot to say. And so getting them together to discuss and define different solutions to take and make that pivot from live events to virtual events, really hit the mark. And we got a lot of really great takeaways from a platform perspective, different ideas and different things that we can add into the platform. But more importantly, we were able to get everybody talking and figuring out how to save their own businesses, because it really is an ecosystem that is dependent on one another.

Ethan Beute:
Yeah. Which kind of tees up where I wanted to go next was, and you’ve already alluded to it several times. It’s the pivot that your customers have had to make, and let’s just separate them into two customers. And I guess I’ll add one more kind of comment question before I let you go on. Just some basic tips on assisting them through the pivot. I guarantee there are people listening right now that are either, their company is doing a, they’re planning an event, or they’re not sure if they’re going to do an event. And so how you’ve aided some of these other companies make the transition, whether they’re all events all the time, or whether events are just part of what they do for sales and marketing.

Ethan Beute:
A hybrid event is just the comment question I wanted to make first hybrid event is maybe where we are doing a live event, but we’re also for a much lower cost, probably doing a stream for hundreds or thousands of people back at their offices that didn’t want to make the journey to Las Vegas or wherever. Is that true? And then also then just go on some of the education that you’re providing to help people make the transition to a virtual event.

Corey McCarthy:
Absolutely. And as far as hybrid events, I think that that is our future for the next couple of years, maybe more. Because typical event planners, their KPI was the number of people that were attending a live event. And so they didn’t want to do a virtual event and a live event because they would cannibalize their live events KPIs. Now, after having the experience of doing a virtual event and understanding the greater impact and greater level of awareness and participation that you can get from the greater community. I think that, from a business model, I think it elevates any event business model. It’s inclusive, and it makes just more sense, I think, to carry into the future. And so I think that in the future, what we might see, especially this year, if any events happen this year, and into next year, you’ll see smaller, more regional events happen with a larger extended audience online.

Corey McCarthy:
And so I think that that’s something that will carry through indefinitely, to be honest with you. Just because of its level of inclusivity and from an exposure standpoint for sponsors and the brand that’s putting it on. There’s a lot of value there. And so I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.

Ethan Beute:
Yeah, I don’t either. So let’s start with companies that this was kind of a sales and marketing thing. For folks who were hosting events, whether it’s their one big annual event or whether it’s the quarterly events or maybe a roadshow or something, what are a couple of points of transition for those folks? So they can be successful continuing to use an event experience to generate community, generate opportunity, generate evangelists, et cetera.

Corey McCarthy:
Yeah, what’s interesting is the thing that not a lot of event planners are talking about right now and for a company like BombBomb, it would be your field marketing team, hypothetically that would be pulling it together. It’s still all about the strategy. So what are your goals? What are you looking to achieve from hosting this event? Is it greater engagement? Is it education? And after you have done those goals that you want to accomplish nailed down, then it gets into more of the tactical execution of it. And how are you going to make that work in a virtual setting? And what tools do you need to pull that together?

Corey McCarthy:
So I would start with the strategy and KPIs first, and then reverse engineer down from there. Because whatever technology it is, from streaming to an event app, they’re containers. And so it relies on the creativity and the ingenuity of the marketing team or the event planners to put all of the right pieces together and then find the right technology to deliver it in a really consistent, great way to the attendees in order to achieve the goals.

Ethan Beute:
Great. And flip now to those folks who are probably even in a more challenging situation, they probably weren’t doing anything, or weren’t doing as much hybrid as perhaps these other folks were, what have you been maybe guiding them through?

Corey McCarthy:
We actually started up an entire services department, so we-

Ethan Beute:
That was going to be follow up question. So good.

Corey McCarthy:
We’ve taken a very consultative approach. And so we’ve been on phone with all of our clients. In fact, the entire executive team for the first two weeks sat on three to five calls a day, listening to what our clients were going through, some of the pain points and the decision points that they’re having to make. And so if EventMB held a webinar a few weeks ago, and 64% of all event planners had never done a virtual or hybrid event before. And so that would be roughly 60% of our audience that had never done this. And it’s a tech company, everyone is young and capable. So what we’ve done is we’ve taken some of our service team and transitioned them into what we call our Orange Glove Service. And so we literally do everything.

Corey McCarthy:
We sit there with the clients during their strategy sessions, and translate that for them, with how to accomplish it. Whether it’s recommending and helping them get their streaming service set up, having them get their app, put together, registration, and all of the moving pieces. It’s one of those things that we have been inherently sitting there with them for.

Ethan Beute:
So I love the name, Orange Glove Service, it obviously connotes exactly what you want it to, but it’s unique to Socio because I assume orange is a primary color. Talk about that pivot taking resources that were deployed one way and assigning them in probably a very quick order to the most acute or pressing need that some of your most valuable customers were facing.

Corey McCarthy:
Absolutely. Services was a revenue model that we were exploring before COVID. And after COVID, as a Series A company, we had a lot of different financial decisions to make when it comes to burn cashflow. So it’s a company with a lot of heart. The last thing that we would want to do is do any furloughs or lay anybody off. And so we’ve taken great care to make sure that we are finding ways to generate enough revenue, to keep everybody going, including keeping the event industry alive, and taking care of our own people at the same time. So by infusing services as an offering, not only are we able to provide an even better customer experience but on a little bit more of a holistic side, we’re able to take care of the loyal employees that we have as well, which is awesome.

Corey McCarthy:
So we pivoted, I think about four people over into the service positions. It’s honestly still evolving. I think that we’ve been selling it for the last three or four weeks. So it’s been great because our average contract value has gone up pretty significantly. We have an amazing CSM and service team anyway, that have won multiple awards and get rave reviews from our clients. So it just made a lot of sense. And it was a little bit earlier than what we wanted to, but I think that with the pandemic, we’re all finding that it’s the great accelerator anything that we wanted to do anyways, happening and happening much faster than any of us had planned for.

Ethan Beute:
Yeah. So true. I’ll bet, let’s just pretend the pandemic never happened. You probably would’ve spun on this idea of services for some time and gathered more information and kicked it around. And let’s back-burner that conversation in this meeting cause we’re running out of time. And to your point, like, boom, here it is, we have to do something. And you’re probably, just the learning cycle alone is dramatically accelerated by that as well. Really smart. Just quick, a quick take on this one. What do you think are some of the characteristics of a great fully virtual event? I’ve been on a number of… I’ve been on the plain old Zoom call. Of course, I’m still on the plain old fashion webinar. I’ve been in a couple situations with different tech that has live chat in different rooms on the side. From your experience, because you produced a virtual event back in what, 2005.

Corey McCarthy:
Yes.

Ethan Beute:
I’m sure the tech was a lot different then and internet connectivity was not nearly as good as it is today, but you know this really, really well and you’re teaching it to people and your team is teaching it to people. You’re helping people plan it and coordinate it. What are a few takeaways for folks? What are a few characteristics of a great virtual event?

Corey McCarthy:
Absolutely. Excitement, entertainment, and engagement or networking of some sort, I think are the most important points. It’s almost kind of the show business. And unfortunately, because not everybody is in a room together to kind of feel that energy, you rely on having really engaging speakers. And so I think that this is a really good time to hire a legitimate MC that knows how to get the crowd going. One of the groups that did the hackathon had a legitimate MC in that group. And he was in there with the music going and got the energy up, and did the moderation, and was able to generate or replicate that excitement that you would usually have in an in-person event. And so bringing that sort of energy is huge. What sort of platform do you have available for engagement? Do you have chat open on Zoom?

Corey McCarthy:
That was one of the big questions that we had when we were first doing it because it’s kind of dicey sometimes. We do now have a virtual bouncer and so you start promoting your stuff, we’ll kick you out.

Ethan Beute:
Nice.

Corey McCarthy:
But I think that offering the opportunity to get those chats going has been something that not only with our event, but I’m in quite a few Sumo communities, they all have the chats going and you get such great information and ability to share. And I’ve met a number of new people through those chats. So I think that that’s a really great thing to do. Of course, that’s an extension of the app, to keep it going before, during, and after. Because that sense of community, I think, has always been necessary in there, but I think it’s more important right now than ever.

Corey McCarthy:
And so I think it’s a really great time for people to lean into that community concept. Because we’re all home, we’re all in a captive audience, we’re all looking for something. I think that when you take a look at content, you really need to be careful of the length of your content, and the number of speakers that you have. I think the statistic is a person can pay attention to one speaker for eight minutes continuously, and then they start to lose their attention. And so if you mix up the speakers and mix up the content that you’re bringing in pretty consistently, that will help keep people there involved, engaged. Because one of the big things that’s happening right now is Zoom fatigue. And then distractions. How many tabs do you have open on your computer right now? And so is the webinar an afterthought or are you able to keep everybody’s attention?

Corey McCarthy:
EventMB did another webinar a couple of weeks ago, and they did a really amazing job with a production value. They had a sketch artist who is sketching out each of the speakers presentations and putting it into cartoons and they would show it after each of the speakers was done. They had a songwriter paying attention to the whole thing and about three-quarters of the way through presented a song, that was based off of everything that he had learned. So there are a lot of really neat things that you could from an entertainment perspective that you can weave through to really kind of keep that engagement and experience top-notch.

Ethan Beute:
So many good tips there. If you’re listening to this and you have the 30 second, or 60-second bounce back, I encourage you to do so, whether you’re an attendee or someone potentially producing something like this, so many great tips there. And as you were offering that, I’m thinking about some good real events I’ve been at, or not real, in-person events. They’re all real, some virtual events that I’ve been at that have been some good, some bad. And thinking of my son and I go to one or two NBA basketball games every year. And that’s exactly what they do. It makes so much sense. It’s like the second the primary action steps, there’s something else to keep the energy, keep the attention, et cetera. And it reminds me too, of an event that I participated in as a speaker, where I had to deliver a five to seven-minute presentation.

Ethan Beute:
And then there were 10 minutes of Q and A, and they just turned us over, turned us over, turned us over. And then a couple of events that I’ve been at that just as a final, I guess, tip. And then I have a kind of a bigger, separate question for you. Those breaks at the bottom of the hour, tops and bottoms of the hours so that people can go do what they need to do. Rather than expecting them to just sit there for hours on end until lunch or whatever. Kind of last question here before I get to a couple of questions I always love to ask again, smart and kind folks like you on the show. I just wanted to ask this because you’ve led sales and marketing teams, you’ve global marketing efforts. You’ve got exposure to and experience in a wide variety of channels and disciplines.

Ethan Beute:
What are a couple of hard and valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way? Any trends you’re seeing? Just give me a high level on, while I have someone like you and we have an audience of people in a variety of disciplines. If you were going to give some tips or advice based on all the things you’ve learned in your experience, what are a couple of things that stand out to you that you might offer someone?

Corey McCarthy:
I think that taking a look at yourself and having empathy for the market that you’re going after, and really being able to dive into and try to really understand what their true needs are and what they’re going after, I think makes you more of an authentic marketer. I think that the best experience that I draw from is having run magazines and having to grow an audience, keep an audience, and keep them wanting to read your content, week over week.

Corey McCarthy:
And that takes a certain level of expertise and intellect about whatever industry that it is that you’re serving and a certain level of passion for that industry, to really make it resonate and really make it authentic. And so what I’ve been doing with every marketing team that I’ve run, is we never sell. And anything that we produce could be further distributed anywhere.

Corey McCarthy:
If the Wall Street Journal called and needed an article, they could go to our blog and pick up anything. And so I think that that empathy, thought leadership, and just getting down to really good clean business. When you take a look at SEO, there’s what I called the dark arts. It can get really tricky, really fast, but nobody wins in the end. And so if you focus on what your customers need, what they really need, and give them authentic content and tools to support them and support their businesses, everybody wins. And that’s been one of the things that I strive to do in any deal that I put together, how does the other person win? How do I win? What does that mutually look like to everybody’s benefit?

Ethan Beute:
There’s so much in there and I want to have like another 20-minute conversation, but I won’t out of respect for your time, and out of respect for our listeners. So much good stuff there. Thank you so much for that. If you’ve enjoyed this conversation with Corey McCarthy, I’ve got a couple other CMOs, I have several, but here are two top of mind. If you want to check out episode six with Steve Pacinelli, who’s the CMO and one of my team members at BombBomb, that one was called Connecting With Customers by Exploring a Shared Belief. There’s kind of a community element there, and it gets to kind of this empathy and authenticity, and really being passionate about it. And sharing that with them through your customers. That’s episode six with Steve Pacinelli. And then on episode 14, a Samantha Stone CMO at the Marketing Advisory Network, that was Balancing Automation, AI and Human relationships where we get at this tension.

Ethan Beute:
And you were kind of there with the dark arts piece in my mind, I’m not deeply studied on this. In my mind, all Google’s trying to do is serve the human searcher. And so the more you write for a human, the better off you’re going to be in the long run, too. You’re like nobody wins with these kind of tricks and shenanigans and whatnot. So Corey, how about you take a moment to thank or mention someone who’s had a positive impact on your life or career, and give a shout out or a nod to a brand or a company that you really respect for the experience they deliver for you as a customer?

Corey McCarthy:
Absolutely. I think that a nod that I’d like to give to somebody who’s helped me professionally in my career is my coach, Steve Axle. He was a Nasdaq CMO. I really value the time that he spends with me. He has really helped elevate me as a professional. And then two, I also use him as a sounding board to gut check different things that I’m doing professionally since he has such great CMOs experience. So incredibly thankful for the time that I get to spend with Steve. He and I have been working together for a couple of years now. And it’s something that I treasure.

Corey McCarthy:
As far as a brand that I love right now, it’s called Who Gives A Crap. They sell toilet paper, on a subscription. And their marketing is clever, it’s thoughtful, it’s unique. Every time you turn around, there’s this moment of delight. Whether it’s you looking at the bottom of the box and it tells you to take a vacation. Or when you get down to the last roll and it says, Oh crap, it’s time to order more. So they’re funny. And it’s just a delight. Their CEO had a really nice email that he wrote during the pandemic because they also ran into a shortage. And the level of humanity and humility that he showed in this message was fantastic. And so as a marketer, I really appreciate their messaging, the way they’ve been able to position this, and really how they’ve moved through the whole pandemic with grace.

Ethan Beute:
Really good. And another product that I guess two years ago, I never would have expected would be available on subscription, but everything is now. So if you’ve enjoyed this conversation, I’m going to link up Steve, I’ll link up Who Gives A Crap, and I’ll link up a couple other things that I’ll ask you about now. And if you’re listening, you can always learn more about the guests, you can see video clips, we do short write-ups and again, we link up related materials at Bombbomb.com/podcast. And so a couple other things I’ll link up here for you, Corey, how can someone connect with you or with Socio? Where would you send people if they want to follow up on some of the themes that we’ve talked about today?

Corey McCarthy:
Yeah, absolutely. Socio.events is the website for us. And then I’m slash Corey McCarthy, C-O-R-E-Y M-C-C-A-R-T-H-Y on LinkedIn. More than happy to talk to anybody. I think that now more than anything right now, it’s a great time to get and share ideas.

Ethan Beute:
I completely agree. I appreciate you getting together with me to share ideas with me and with all of our listeners here on the podcast. Again, you can connect with Corey. I’ll link all this stuff up at Bombbomb.com/podcast. I thank you so much for your time and insights, Corey. You’re awesome.

Corey McCarthy:
Thank you so much for having me.

 

 

Video Highlights: How To Successfully Pivot To A Virtual Event

Check out the top five video highlights from the discussion with Corey McCarthy of Socio below…
 

1. How Socio Pivoted To Virtual Events For Themselves and Their Customers

 

 

2. Hybrid Events Defined

 

 

3. Pivoting Advice for Marketing Teams Doing Virtual Events

 

 

4. How Socio is Helping Events Companies Adapt to Virtual Events

 

 

5. Specific Characteristics of a Great Virtual Event

 

 

Similar Episodes Of This Podcast That You’ll Enjoy:

 

Subscribe, Listen, Rate, and Review The Customer Experience Podcast:

 

 

Corey McCarthy, Socio, virtual events

 

 

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