Fay Beauchine has come a long way from the day she was told her career options were secretary, teacher or nurse. Now she's the executive vice president of global meetings, incentives and events for Minneapolis-based Carlson Marketing, charged with doubling the size of the company's event business in the next few years. Here, she explains how she plans to do it.
SPECIAL EVENTS MAGAZINE: You've said: “What sets Carlson Marketing apart is our ability to measure behavior changes; that's the key to our clients' success.” What makes you good at this?
FAY BEAUCHINE: Events are the most powerful and efficient way to initiate dialogue and foster a relationship. In fact, 75 percent of people who attend an event tell their friends or family about their experiences while still at the event.
To me, our job at Carlson Marketing is to bring a company's strategy alive and to measure engagement of the attendees before, during and after the event. We have many ways to do this and can capture relevant data immediately to, for example, give a CEO the opportunity to adjust his or her message during the conference. Most companies measure logistical success and objectives, but they do not measure engagement and behavior change over time as we do.
SPECIAL EVENTS: How do you measure behavior change in response to events?
BEAUCHINE: We put the client's business objectives at the center of everything we do and design events around the assumption that the event sponsor wants a change in behavior from the attendees. I'll use a new truck road show we did as an example. The target audience was the small-business owner, who might own five vehicles — for example, a construction company owner. The truck company wanted to build more brand loyalty in this audience, increase purchase behavior and engage attendees in ongoing business programs. The company gave special advance access to a new pickup model and hosted 60 events where 3,000 individuals attended. Measurement occurred from sweepstakes entries, certificate redemptions and sales of related models. This audience typically did not go to showrooms, but they did attend the event tour because we did it in the parking lot of a large home improvement store.
SPECIAL EVENTS: How do you plan to double the size of Carlson Marketing's meetings, incentives and event business?
BEAUCHINE: There are two strategies. One is to preserve and grow our current customers, or to “radiate” within those accounts. For our many clients around the world, we want to ensure that we are relevant, providing leading strategies for event marketing. With our current clients, we're already executing on one or more of our marketing services. But our client companies have many divisions and many complex business issues. We believe that we can help our clients even more by radiating within their organizations to be an even more important part of their business.
The second strategy is to penetrate new accounts. We plan to do that by doing a better job of offering our integrated marketing services with a customer focus, not a product focus. Our services are complementary to each other — event marketing, interactive, loyalty programs, rewards and recognition, custom learning, decision sciences, direct marketing, consulting, and meetings and events. We haven't always emphasized to our customers that we have a full spectrum of services. For example, most people know we design incentive reward programs and marketing events. What they don't know is that we have a division called “Decision Sciences” that helps an event organizer or a division leader choose strategies or tactics with the highest probability of success and create ways to meas-ure that success.
SPECIAL EVENTS: What do you foresee for the future of events?
BEAUCHINE: Nothing can really replace an event for motivating, inspiring and influencing the way people think and act. A carefully planned event takes into account that the right-brain emotional thinking is as important as the left-brain logic. In fact, we feel things before we think things.
SPECIAL EVENTS: What career did you aspire to when you were a kid?
BEAUCHINE: I came from a small town and on career day our teacher said, “Girls, go over here to this side of the room, and we'll talk to you about being a teacher or a nurse or a secretary.” So I wanted to be an educator as a kid. I ended up in business because of a part-time college job working in the campus travel agency. Hospitality, marketing and sales have been the focus of my career ever since.
To reach Carlson Marketing, call 763/212-4520 or visit www.carlsonmarketing.com.