The EventBuzz podcast

#32 - The science behind repeatable event success

July 15, 2021 Heather Mason Episode 32
The EventBuzz podcast
#32 - The science behind repeatable event success
Chapters
3:30
Planning an event. Where do you start?
10:32
Finding the right time and place for your event
15:45
Why hybrid events are a must!
23:15
Why you should budget last 
The EventBuzz podcast
#32 - The science behind repeatable event success
Jul 15, 2021 Episode 32
Heather Mason

Expert in event methodology, Heather Mason, discusses the science behind what makes a successful event. Mason, Founder and CEO of Caspian Agency, shares some of her steps to planning a strategic, repeatable event and the science behind event success. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Expert in event methodology, Heather Mason, discusses the science behind what makes a successful event. Mason, Founder and CEO of Caspian Agency, shares some of her steps to planning a strategic, repeatable event and the science behind event success. 

Savannah (Purplepass):

Welcome back to another episode of the EventBuzz podcast presented by Purplepass. I'm your host Savannah McIntosh, and today I'll be talking to the founder and CEO of Caspian, a full service agency that specializes in the creation, planning and production of top tier events, Heather Mason. 

Heather is in the 3% of women owned businesses that earn over 1 million in annual revenue. She is also founder of the Surefire conference for teen girl empowerment and mentorship. And if she isn't already doing enough, well, she recently launched CEO-U intensive networking conference for enterprising women. 

She is not only a leader of the event industry, but a powerful role model for women in the business world as well. On this episode, we'll be talking about building events from the ground up, budgeting tips, and event touchpoints you don't want to overlook.

Hi, Heather, thanks for coming on to the show with us today. We are so excited to have you, how has your day been? 

 

Heather (Caspian):

It's good. And thank you for having me. I'm excited to chat with you today. I'm in sunny Los Angeles so I feel like I can never complain and came off a long weekend. So yeah, life is life is good. 

 

Savannah: 

Nice. Okay. Well, before we jump in, I did want to I already talked a little bit about you in the intro. But if you could tell the listeners more about Caspian and your work in the event space. 

 

Heather: 

Sure. So I founded Caspian agency back in 2005. So we're 16 years old. And we were founded on two pillars. One was, I really thought that the event industry was missing a methodology, you know, a codified way of doing things, you know, the restaurant industry, even if, depending on what kind of restaurant you want to start, there's a way of doing a restaurant. 

And and there's a way of if you wanted to start a retail store of looking at inventory. And if you look at the event industry, it's very fragmented in its approach, there's no methodical approach to the process a system rather than you know, the creativity you can do within those sandboxes. So I thought, well, that's weird, because it seems like it's becoming a mature industry. So I created the Caspian 10 Essentials. And that is the only methodology that I know of in the event industry, which can create from strategy to audience mix all the way through to timeline and we put the budget last. So that was the first pillar that I wanted to build the company on. 

And the second one was, I wanted to work with people saving the world doing good. So I went after the top billionaire foundations, as our clients and it worked. So we work with several large foundations, Rockefeller School Foundation, Valeo Foundation, The Q Foundation, and a lot of big nonprofit organizations in the world. And that's what we do when we design strategy for them, as well as producing either their virtual or their in person event. 

 

Savannah: 

Nice. That's interesting. You say you mentioned budget last, a lot of people when they start planning, you know, you're like, okay, let's sit down and look at our budget. And more. We'll talk about that later and touch on that point. But it's, it's interesting. 

And because you specialize, like you said, in an event space, from conception to completion, I mean, the first question, and a lot of people have this question is for like a brand or organization putting on the event for the first time, where do they even begin? 

What should they be doing are discussing first and that initial stage of building an event?

 

Heather: 

I love to talk about this part, because then it gets back to the methodology. And because so many people start and go, I wonder how we do this, you know, having a map that works time and time again, really helps. 

And so the first three essentials are where you start success metrics, and a lot of people will say, well, we know our goals, we get our goals, that's great. But normally, people don't really drill down into them.

So the first thing I would say for a brand is you have got to know your success metrics, which are four parts. Your goals, great, most people like I know that. The tactics to achieve those goals at and within an event or an event horizon. And then the outcomes you assume are going to result out of that. And the measurements, how are you going to measure those outcomes? 

So we call it G.O.T.M for short goals, outcomes, tactics, measurements. 

And and you start there and then the very second thing you do and oddly, this has missed more than, than you think is audience mix. Again, a lot of people say we know who we want to come, but just like goals, they don't really dig down into the parts that matter. 

With audience, the critical piece there is in what ratio do the audience participants and the categories you have have to show up to your event in order to make it worthwhile? That's where it all falls apart. And that's also why we could talk about this later. But that's also why don't buy into cost per attendee metrics, because attendees are not equal to a business entity or even a foundation entity. 

So if you don't parse your audiences and look at their personas, the value to the organization or the company, the the value you're going to give them, then you're going to miss and create an event that has no meaning for your business or your attendees. 

And then the third one is content mapping, which is crazy. If folks out there, take my online courses there, they'll hear me say it, you can map content for any conference, even if you're not a subject matter expert. If you do those first two steps, success metrics, and audience mix analysis will tell you the types and the amount of content you need to have to serve both of those goals. And it works like a charm. And those are the first three steps.

 

Savannah: 

Oh, interesting. Okay. So it's not like jumping in and booking your venue and just going...no.

 

Heather: 

Or booking your speaker. 

 

Savannah: 

Yeah, Right? 

 

Heather: 

Well, people love to talk about that, too. They're like, Oh, I just I just booked my speakers, right? We Hey, I know Richard Branson, or whatever it is. People say, it's like, no, no, or I can get us a free Hotel in Miami. No.

 

Savannah: 

Okay, interesting. And you mentioned you do online courses? 

 

Heather: 

Yes. So we have the Caspian 10 Essentials are an online course. Anybody can learn these exact templated process steps, and I can absolutely money back guarantee, it will fundamentally change the way you view and approach creating a conference for convening. And better yet, and this is what I've been screaming about the wilderness for years. And finally, COVID allowed me to actually be heard is creating an event horizon. 

I mean, I've been talking about that forever. You know, there never should have just been a one and done event of tentpole experience, it should have always had a lead in and lead out. And now people get that. 

And so the success metrics, the whole 10 Essentials courses, show you how to create that, and actually make it scalable, replicable, and better yet with more life balance, because when I talk about roles and responsibilities, I basically set up a logic puzzle, or a logic exercise that you can use on any boss or any client to get you the amount of staff you need. So no more this run around no more, you know, wearing a bunch of hats. That's, that should be a thing of the past. 

 

Savannah: 

That's extremely helpful. Because if I were planning an event, I am definitely that person, person that's really visual. And I need like, step by step. Okay, you start here, you start here. Yeah. Versus like, that's why I asked that question because a lot of people are like, where do I even begin? Because it's very overwhelming if you were to sit back and look at everything you had to do at one time. 

 

Heather: 

Exactly, absolutely. And it's when you start with these really foundational building blocks, the interesting thing is everything flows out of them, you know, because once you know your, your why and your purpose and your who and you're what, then it's a lot easier to do all the other steps because they come from that basis. 

And so when people start in the middle, and that's what I've seen throughout my career, because there isn't an accepted methodology in the event industry, which, that's what I'm trying desperately to get folks to adhere to. It leads people to start on step five, and they don't know why they're so stressed out.

And they don't know why their life sucks. And, and I can pinpoint it. I'm like, because you're starting at step five, but you don't know that if you've never known the first four steps. 

You know, are you starting at Step nine? Or worse yet? Like we're talking about the budget step 10. Well, then, of course, you're gonna have a horrific time, it's going to be inefficient. And it's part of the reason why, you know, events, working in the event industry and event production is the one of the top five most stressful job occupations you can have in America. 

That's crazy. And it's cuz we don't have this process. And I think because there's also a little weird pride in running around like crazy. And I don't take pride in that. I think that's a sign of a bad of a broken industry. 

 

Savannah: 

I think too like maybe if they're not running around with their hair cut off, they think they're doing anything wrong, you know.

 

Heather: 

Right. That's and that's, that's what has to stop the perception that this you know, how many times have we heard I'm so sick that I could throw up, but you know, we're looking like a duck and go and real common water feeder paddling, you know, screw that. That shouldn't be a sign of pride. What if you were just floating like an otter? What if that was okay as a value and a sign of your of your worth and actually, what if that showed you had mastered your domain? 

And that, to me is the life I would rather have. Because I would rather be thinking about things and flipping like an otter, then, yeah, I'm sort of proof of point that I'm, I'm busy so I'm worthwhile. 

 

Savannah: 

That's a good point. And a big struggle right off the bat, I always can think about, that I hear about and I don't know where it fits in with the steps is finding the right time and place for your event. Finding that, you know, that that starting point. 

And another thing I can see people jump right to.

 

Heather: 

Oh, 100%. They love that part. And then we sometimes have to unwind that for them. Yeah. So that is starting, you know, pretty much it's step five, or six. However, I do want to put a little asterisk on that only because I do know, there are moments where for some sort of reasons, you do have to simultaneously track a location and your first three steps. 

Is that ideal? No. Does it happen? Yes. 

So if you're going in that direction, what I would do is I would kind of fast track the audience mix analysis portion. Because you're, you're going to want to make sure the right people are there, you know, yes, you have to serve your goals. But if you don't get the right people there, and you pick a date, or a location that none of the key participants that you need can be there. Or it's right when there's a massive event in Europe, and you need them to be in New York, and it's the same group of people, well, then your whole event is is dead before it starts. 

So if you have to simultaneously book location and date before you finish the first three foundational essentials, that to me is you highlight audience mix, you look at where those people are going to be, where they're going, where they might be, and you make sure you don't set up contradictory event with that. 

And you also look at okay, what is their appetite for spend? You know, are you booking a Ritz Carlton? Are you booking a Marriott by the airport? And what is their interest level? Or their proximity to a location or region? Are they all in Chicago? Are they mostly on the west coast, you know, things like that. So you do broad swathes of, alright, I got to focus on my audience first, and let that take priority for a minute, lock a date and then if you had Caspian, of course, we negotiate very flexible terms with our hotel, if you know that you haven't locked your content. And you book every single possible space, you can, if you can, so that you can slowly cut that down as you you know, create the sculpture of your event.

 

Savannah: 

Gotcha. Okay, so your venue is basically based off of your predicted demographics or your audience. So you want to make sure that you fully, or almost fully understand who will be attending before you book your venue? Correct? 

 

Heather: 

Yes, 100% in your content plays into that, too. I mean, if you have to have content where you have everyone in the room, and you book a place that can only fit 40, and you have 400, you know, that's a problem too. 

So the content or if you said, you know, we have to have an outdoor networking games night that we have every year, that's going to play into it. But truly, like I said, if you had to pick one, and you were feet to fire, then audience mixed demographic is going to be your your best bet to approach it with that in mind. 

 

Savannah: 

That makes sense. Okay, no, this is great. It's, I can already visualize your steps that you're talking about. Because like, even myself, I'm that person where I would jump in, I need steps, but I would automatically like without helping it, I would think of my venue, my date first, you know, I mean. Because I have to get that done before even considering my audience, but it should be reversed.

 

Heather: 

Exactly. And most people do. I mean, that's a very natural instinct. 

And, you know, the other thing we've done before is if our if we're able to hold off a client from feeling that outside pressure for the venue and the date, if the date has to be picked, because they are under again, there's lots of reasons why that might be a necessity, then what we do is we try to do a pretty vague, save the date, without a location, if you have to have a region will do that, you know, join us we're gonna have West Coast, April, blah, blah, blah, blah. 

So you're getting something, you're getting something on people's calendar or you just say save the date location to be announced later. 

And the other part we find is there's a lot of ways to buy time and still let your audience know something is going to happen. And you could use that time to also say we want to do you could even be broad an event in April next year for three days. 

Respond to register your interest, so you're already getting a temperature check on who wants to come. And let us know out of these five areas where you'd want us to place it or write in a location that you would love if we took this event. 

I mean, so many people miss out on the on the possibilities for marketing that you can use when you're starting the communication flow, which that is another step, internal and external communication plans. When you're looking at your communication plans, that is also an opportunity for crowd sourced and focus group information and feedback from attendees. You don't have to choose everything, you don't have to write all the content, you don't have to find all the speakers, you know, a lot of times your participants can do that for you. 

So let them.

 

Savannah: 

That is a good idea. I really like that. And what do you think about like hybrid events, so if they can't come, you stream it. 

 

Heather: 

I love hybrid events for their life, I am so excited about hybrid events, I could talk to you, I will not but I could talk to you 100 minutes all day long. Because to me, now, if you look at audience mix and again, this is our second step, you know, for for the longest time, it's been, you know, two dimensional, you know, you could do a grid, which we would for our clients. 

And we would outline the ratios of these different types of categories of people, and we're looking at how many percentages we want, and all of this.

Well now, and actually, I did an episode of The Adventures of James Caspian, if you go and watch it, it's the first online TV show for event professionals. And I'm kind of spoiling it because I use a Rubik's Cube to show how when you go to hybrid, you create a three dimensional audience mix. 

Because now that same audience mix that you had extends into virtual only. You're gonna have people attend virtual only. So you've got a whole nother audience mix there. Who are they. That's fascinating.

And even on site at your event, will let them go back to their room. I like to go back to my room. I love it. But what I like to listen to what's happening in the main session, of course I would, I might be a bad person. Do you have to trap me and pull me back with a hook and offer me m&ms? No, I have, I've worked to do like, it's okay, let me go back to my room. Or let me go to the pool and watch it on my iPad. So now I'm hybrid, but I'm still on site at your event. 

So you've got these hybrid people, you've got virtual and maybe you say, hey, you know what, you can't come to Chicago, we have a bunch of people coming together in Colorado. And that's a pod, and they're gonna watch the streaming session. And when we go to breaks, we, you know, meet with your pod and discuss. So now I'm having this whole other experience with my local group, let's say in Colorado, and yet you guys have the big event in Chicago, and you've got virtual, and you've got people at the pool in Chicago. I mean, this is breaking open the dried hard ground that we have been living in with conferences forever. And there are springs bubbling up all over when it comes to hybrid. And I am drinking deeply. I am so excited.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I can tell you're really excited about I love that. Yes, honestly, I think even especially after COVID, now flexibility is one of the biggest things for people. 

 

Heather: 

Yes, exactly. Yeah. And I think and I think again, you know, where I contradict, and I'm, I'm one of these people that pushes against expected norms, you know, like, this is always a better value than this. And I'm like, really? And so the norm I'm pushing against is, is it always better that somebody has to be at your event in person, you have to make them have to be in the room? No, I'm going to push against that and say is it better if you meet your audience where they are. And you've been missing this broad swath of people that maybe had to be home with kids or couldn't travel because their travel allowance was used up, or they broke a leg and they don't want to get on a plane? 

You know, all these groups of people don't have to be bagged and pushed, and they didn't come because we had to offer more m&ms, you know, no, we have a chance to meet people, where they are how they want to attend. And nobody's gonna convince me that people don't want to be in person, especially after the year of COVID. 

Most of the people and again, this is barring, you know, where their their comfort level is with COVID. So I'm going to put that on a shelf for a minute because that's real and that's that's appropriate. But for people who are willing to travel and could they want to travel the only reason I'm finding people are now staying home is because of just you know, life circumstances or budget circumstances. But I don't think you have to pull people by the nose to attend in person. And I think we can put that fear to rest and just make a great event and if people want to do it virtual, embrace that and help them. That's what I would say.

 

Savannah: 

Yes, I definitely agree people would love to attend in person if they can, but then schedules get in the way family gets in the way, travel. And if you're giving them that second option to beat still be there but just not present, I mean, why not? It was interesting, in the beginning, when I first started talking to people, I was talking to very traditional promoters that were super hesitant. Like, they really did not want to do the virtual thing for COVID at all, like they're really against it. 

And then obviously, they came to a point where it's like, okay, we have to do this, or we're losing money. They did it. And now to this day, they're like, yeah, we're doing hybrid now because it's so amazing. We reach so many different people. And I'm like, Yeah.

 

Heather: 

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I think we didn't, you know, we didn't realize what we were losing. And we have opposite a loss aversion. And I love I read a lot of socio economic books. And I love those concepts, because, you know, it just shows us how the human brain is a complete muddled, you know, pile of goo as much as we think it's gorgeous and computer ristic. 

And one of the problems with it is we have this thing called loss aversion where whenever we have no matter how, you know, substandard it is, we don't want to let go of it. Because loss is a bigger deal in our little squishy brains than gain, we cannot get past that no matter what. And so if we have an old beat up, blue, Honda will keep it even if we might have a chance for a Lamborghini, but we don't know.

And so I feel like the same thing happened during COVID. You know, live events, we have to keep live events, and hybrid is going to threaten it. And I'm threatened and I'm clinging tightly to my little live event. And it's like, let it go.

Because the looser we hold on to that as a concept, and the more we gravitate towards the idea of what I think the Lamborghini is, which is hybrid inclusivity, multi dimensional events, creative ways of involving people in all sorts of different pathways, the more we're going to see that actually, our previous event life and schedule and calendar was limiting. It wasn't expansive, it was a tired old Honda. And now we're in the, you know, we're in the Lamborghini seat. And I think that'll feel like that more and more. 

 

Savannah: 

Yeah, I get that I totally understand, like, the fear, I felt it when I was talking to them. In the beginning, the fear of, you know, losing that live event, what, you're still going to have it, but I mean, now you're expanding, like you said, and you're reaching more people and letting more people enjoy it. 

So and you're you're getting, the other thing is people get so comfortable and I always say like, you need to make yourself feel a little bit uncomfortable in order to evolve and grow. Like you have to get out of that comfort zone. Or else not, it's gonna stay the same. 

 

Heather: 

Exactly. I don't know. I mean, I think there were a lot of people who worked in events that were happy with the status quo. I wasn't, you know, I was one of those people. I was like, there's got to be more, and where's the event horizon? 

And why are we just doing these one hit wonders and done? Why are we building our audience beforehand? Why aren't we following on with activities? You know, I'm interested in community and networks from the purpose of like, you know, save the world people. And now to see that happening is so gratifying. I just love it.

 

Savannah: 

And okay, so now we can finally get to budgeting. And like you mentioned, actually, you just mentioned this, obviously, but I read it too. You said the phrase was budget backwards. I believe. That's what I said.

 

Heather: 

Yeah. We put the budget. Yeah, we put the budget last. 

 

Savannah: 

Yeah that's what you said, so tell people why you put the budget last? Because everyone always thinks let's budget first. 

 

Heather: 

Right, exactly. I mean, it's, you know, there's a couple of different analogies I could use. But the one I usually stick with is I had knee surgery, sadly, gal to cut my knee and soccer a couple years ago. And it's a little like, if I had gone to the knee surgeon and said, hey, you know, there's so much money I have, but at the same time, I need you to fix my knee, do a perfect knee surgery, give me physical therapy and do all of this. 

And it wouldn't have been congruent, because the goals that I would have had, and I'm setting the budget with this person who I do not know their expertise. And I'm just telling them, and I probably wouldn't have had a fixed knee. Instead, I went to them and said, this is my problem. What should I do about it, you're the surgeon, tell me what would fix or address my problem. 

And that is the seat we need to be in as event producers. 

So a client comes to us or a boss or anybody else. They have a business objective and a need. And that is what is described in the success metrics. So tell me in a sense, your problem, what are you trying to do? And then who do you want to do this with, well this is what I want to do. And then the content? What do you want to tell them? I want to do all this. Okay, so now we can build the plans to build this. Let's say no need but maybe a house which is the other analogy I use. So is this and by the time I finish, I've got a mansion for these people, right? I'm like, this is the mansion they're like yes. This is a
exactly what would solve my problems if you built this house that would do everything I want. 

And I go great, well, this is the price for the house. Now, if they go by, oh, dear, we can't afford that. Well, now I is their event producer can say, well, let's take the marble countertops away, or let's take this other thing away or like, now we can kind of reduce it. The problem was starting with budget first is you're always building towards a shack. Well, this is all we have. So we're going to build something that is accomplishing whatever kind of unknown goals we have, and always going to feel that down, because it's probably not going to achieve all the goals. 

A better way to do it is to say, what are all the goals? And actually, if we did have unlimited funding, is there a way to accomplish all these goals? Yes, there is. So you have to paint that picture. Otherwise, what's the point, the business objective, or the business exercise is moot. You're building to some sort of small thing. 

And the way I say it, I call it the magic phrase. And we use it all the time at Caspian, which is you can give me the budget and I'll tell you how many goals you can buy. Or you can give me your goals, your problems and I will tell you how expensive they are. You can tell me what's wrong with your knee. And I will tell you what it will take to fix it and give you the best me on planet Earth, which is actually what you want. You don't want me to say I can give you a kind of a bum knee, and you'll limp the rest of your life.

But I did it I did it under budget, aren't you happy? 

No, your whole point was you want to fix me, the whole point is you want the mansion. So you have to show your client and your boss, the mansion is possible, then you reduce the mansion as the budget needs to fall into line if that's the case. 

But if you build it correctly, or if you're able to build it, well, you might be able to build something so great that you could actually get the budget for it. Or you could actually get it sponsored. Because some of these events are being built with a budget in mind. Nobody's gonna sponsor it because it's not a mansion. Build the mansion, focus on the mansion. You can always reduce the mansion, but what you can't do is have a bigger vision for a shack.

 

Savannah: 

I like that. Yeah, you have a vision, either vision, the mansion or the shack. Which one do you want to be? Right with it? That was a good analogy. I'm over here like, wow, yep. 

 

Heather: 

And nobody wants it. I mean, the other one I use sometimes to that my dad used to say, which I think is great is if you start with the budget first, you might end up with a half a canoe. And as we all know, half a canoe is no canoe at all. You'll so if you start with the budget first, that might be where you end up. 

You want to show them you can build the glue, you can build the ultimate answer, and then you price it.

 

Savannah: 

Okay, and then another thing I read that, obviously has to do with budgeting that you said, because I always like to read on people that I obviously I'm going to talk to and I really like this. You said building, building value versus cutting costs? 

 

Heather:

Yes, well, it's so true, because so many people get stuck in this, whether it's bosses or even event professionals, it's like, how can I keep whittling this budget down, they think they're gonna get a prize for it or a sticker on their head. 

The problem is, you might end up with something that has no value at all. So what I always say is, let's put an this is I'm amazed at how new of a concept sometime this is to people, because I have yet to run into anybody who has actually already done this exercise without me asking. 

And the question is, what is the value to your business organization of this event? In dollars? What's the value?

Nobody can answer that. Not the budget, that's what it costs, what's the value? And the value can be added up in some way shape or form of, you know, loyalty, customer loyalty or purchasing power afterwards. Or, I mean, you could you could set up all the metrics and create a value. So once that is done, the interesting thing is, most of the time the budget looks paltry for the value. 

And if you're a business, which we all are, because we are spending money and getting money and all that is business, then if you look at value, it should be a multiplier budget. Most events are pulling in, you know, 1,000x value, the budget is paltry. But the budget only looks expensive or inexpensive because it's not being compared to anything other than zero. Well, that is, that is an argument. You can never win financially, you can win if you go over to value, because on that playing field, an event might be worth 15 million and only custom million. That's a 15x return on investment. That'll get you some extra headcount, if you can show that and most people can, or $150,000 event might be a million dollar value. Wow. Okay, yeah. And they're only making you do it with two people. Well, how, how are the other people gauged? How much do they have to x times their value in the company? Event people are usually held to an absolutely astronomical return on investment. The problem is they never have done the value equation to show it. 

If we start showing it, our industry will go from Hobby industry, from low paid industry from oh, they're running around, and Isn't that great? That's their value industry to holy crap, they're probably the single engine, other than sales of our company, industry. And that's where I'm interested in going. And I think we have a necessity to do it If we focus on value. 

 

Savannah:

I like that, because just the words alone, you have cost and budget can be very limiting, just isolated in your mind. It can limit you what you don't even realize how much.

 

Heather:

Oh, it's so funny too, because I teach the master's program at San Diego State University. And I teach the course for the master students on Financials and Economics. And I do a quiz ahead of time. And of course, it's a little bit of a trick question. One of my questions, and I do a lot about value and keys and budgets and all the financial models. But one of my questions is, what is an expensive event? And there's only ever been two people ever who have answered it with what I think is the proper answer.

Otherwise, they give numbers and it's hilarious to read them. Some people say 50,000 Some people say a million. So and it's like, what are you comparing that to? An expensive event expensive event? It's 100 million. That's not expensive. If you're getting 1 billion in return. Without knowing our return on investment, no event is expensive or inexpensive. It's just a number.

 

Savannah:

Okay, do they say that when they those people that got it right, what are they saying? They just say?

 

Heather:

Oh, so they said, well, it can't be gauged unless I know what kind of return on investment we're getting. And I'm like, Ah, my pet Juan's Good job. Exactly. They're like you can't. Expensive compared to what that's really the answer. expensive compared to what you know, it's like saying is that person tall will tall compared to what? Short compared to what?


Savannah:

Yeah, I think for some reason, we have these standards already, in our mind, it has to be this much to be a great, expensive, valuable event. 

 

Heather:

Right? That's exactly it. You know, the thing I love about Ted, which I am always impressed by them in so many ways. And I go to the big TED event in Vancouver, and it is impressive. But one of the things I think I am most impressed with is they I because I love studying financial models, they turned the financial model of events on its head. 

And they were so counterintuitive, and they were counterintuitive to a fault, to the point that this is why singularly I would say why Ted has become one of the biggest forces on the planet. And they made all of their content free and accessible. It's crazy. 

Your that goes against all traditional typical knowledge, which is, you know, people don't have to pay in your cannibalizing your content, if you give it for free. They did the opposite. And they can charge $25,000 a ticket and they sell out in a week. That's crazy. That makes no sense. And yet they are the biggest brand. They have books they have, you know, speaking series, they have a massive brand that extends beyond belief. And they did it all because they went against the grain with a financial model and embraced abundance in a way that would have felt frightening to most businesses. 

 

Savannah:

Wow, I didn't know that. Okay, okay. Yeah.

 

Heather:

It's expensive. Yeah. It's similar between 10 and 25. You can get different tiers, but the lower ones, they do sell out fast. And you know, that's a high ticket price. Yeah, that's really high. And it's very limited. And the content that you're going to see in that room is going to be broadcast to the world couple months later. 

 

Savannah:

Yep. But then there's value of actually being there in person value. 

 

Heather:

And did you hear that you said value, there's value value and being there in person, you didn't say the cost, the value must outweigh that cost them. So the value must be higher than $10,000 to a person buying that ticket. And if the value is 50,000 or $100,000, then that ticket is cheap. It's a 10x return on investment.

And that's what Ted has convinced people of they've got them focusing on value. 

 

Savannah:

Yeah. Oh, I feel like I owe you some money right now. I should be paying for your course.
I've already learned a lot

 

Heather: 

It's something I love talking about. As you can probably tell, I just I love our industry, I love events and convenings. And you know, my strong suit in, in high school and in college was logic. And I just feel like if we just apply a light sprinkling of logic to our industry, we will find ourselves having better life balance, better power and control over our careers. 

And oddly, better budgets, even though I don't like that word as much, but we'll be able to showcase our value. Which will lead to a lot better experiences and outcomes for us. 

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I think we get stuck on, you know, looking online researching and you see, okay, your top 10 things budget for how to look for, like all these lists, because we're wired like that. We need lists. I know. And that's what happens. And then we focus on checking off the boxes for that, and we forget, hey, let's actually think RAM and be unique and, and use our brains. 

 

Heather:

Yes, I would agree. If I see no more checklists, they make me crazy. Because, yes, I'm not opposed to checklists, we have them at our company. But there's so many times they start with them, and where I start with all of my courses, and with all my speeches that I do, and even with my Master's Course, with everything, it's mindset. As soon as your mindset is in the right place, and it and I do think it needs to shift and settle in, everything is easier. Everything's easier. 

You know, it's like, if your mindset is going down this direction of, you know, speed, busy activity lists as a starting point, that is a, you know, the duck thing model, which I rebel against, you know, it's busy, it's doing all this stuff. And if you change the mindset, this whole other opportunity opens up, where it can be more contemplative, more strategic, more thoughtful.

It's a different way of looking at this industry. And I think our time in the sun has come. 

 

Savannah: 

And honestly, we could probably do a whole other podcast on mindset being like the key to life. 

 

Heather:

Yes, that is true, it's true. Well, you know, I, I talk about abundance all the time with my staff, because I think it's so easy to get, you know, sucked into again, loss. And this is comes from other books like loss, aversion, scarcity, all these things are baked into us from an evolutionary perspective. 

And until we name them and save them, we operate subconsciously with them as rules running our lives. And we have to extricate ourselves from those. I mean, they're very helpful, you know, when we were around the fire, and, you know, taking our clubs out in the woods and trying to get a saber toothed tiger. But scarcity and loss aversion are not helpful in the work world. They aren't. They're actually very unhelpful.

So that's, we talked about that a lot. Yep. 

 

Savannah: 

Well, yeah, we can keep going on it. But I don't want to rob you of your time and money because I feel like I should be paying for it now. But to all our listeners, I will go ahead and link to your website as well as to your courses. So people, if they're interested, can go ahead and check that out. And enroll because honestly, if I was in their shoes, it seems like it'd be very helpful. I've already learned so much from our short time together.

And I'm that person, unfortunately that I need a list or I need it spelled out in front of me because I'm very visual, which a lot of planners are. So yeah, thank you for all your tips and advice and again, I'll have all this linked in show notes for everyone that wants to check out check it out and learn more about what you guys do and possibly join your course.

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