Sometimes…things just go right.  Against all odds, with your back against the wall, you dive in hoping for the best and then…you get the best.  It’s rare and should be celebrated.

In Chapter 3, we feature a win.  Perhaps not a “win for the ages”, yes I am a golf fan and that is reserved for Tiger, but for us, a win nonetheless.

How about a quick road trip to Madrid, join me?  That said, before we board our flight aboard Iberia Airlines, let’s go back in time a couple weeks.

The plan was to attend a SKO (Sales Kick Off) for a partner of ours that we had forged a great relationship with.  Our sales team was well connected with their team, our technology team the same and yet we still felt there was work to be done to strengthen the relationship.  Enter Marketing.  We didn’t just want to show up to this event with a table full of comfy socks (although the socks were a big hit), we wanted to do something bigger, something memorable.  

Naturally, as marketers we thought, let’s throw a party.  But not just any party, a great party.  With it being their event, we dropped a note to our partner to let them know what we were planning and connected with the hotel about the different options available onsite. We were moving fast and feeling good until, we got an email reply that was tasteful in tone, yet clear that onsite parties by partners were not allowed. If we did one, all other partners would want to do one.  Which in full disclosure, we understood.

And now we had a decision to make.  Technically, we had been told that no on-site parties were allowed.  That kind of left a little gray area to be exploited, what about off-site parties?  Learning from our earlier mistake we decided that begging for future forgiveness would be the best strategy and we dove in on planning a party that would be epic enough that forgiveness would never have to be a consideration.

Ok, all aboard, our flight to Madrid is about to depart.  Side note, when you take off out of Boston, heading to Madrid, it’s amazing just how quickly you’re out over water bidding land goodbye for about 6 hours.  Ahh the miracle of flight.

We hadn’t had much time to prepare but the plan came together fast and the event seas were following.  In a little over a week we were able to lock in an event space at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium (home of Real Madrid), that looked down over the field, drinks, passed hors d’oeuvres and music were all promised.  Now the main question was, how do you spread the word about an unsanctioned event at someone else’s event that you’ve been asked not to have a private event at?  

Answer – old school, grass roots, gorilla marketing.  

We went to the event with a stack of well designed “tickets” that looked like a real ticket to a football match.  Time, location & even a bar code all included.  We gave each of the members of our sales team a stack of soon to be highly coveted “tickets”, and turned them loose.  Our event was scheduled for the 3rd evening of the larger SKO event.  By the morning of day 2, the buzz was underway and we were getting approached at random by people asking if we had any more “tickets” left.   “A few”, we’d answer.  Only furthering the intrigue and demand. 

Now, in fairness, hosting an event at a stadium that hosts one of, if not the, most popular global sport, is a help to driving attendance.  Ever been to a stadium when there wasn’t a game happening?  It’s a pretty cool site.  

My three: Fenway Park, Oracle Park & Wanda Metropolitano.  Not bad.  Sorry, side tracked.

On the day of the event we visited a local electronics store and picked up a speaker for music and went on a shopping spree at the Real Madrid team store.  Music, check.  Giveaways, check. 

At this point, you can see where this is going, the word was out, the tickets were being sought after and while perhaps a bit annoyed, no one had shut us down. All that was left was to make it a great time, and a great time it was.  Attendees had a blast, pictures of the empty stadium were amazing, sales team made new intros and forged deeper relationships, pipeline was created and marketing looked like heroes.  All in a good couple weeks work.  If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

There were some very valuable lessons learned over the course of this week, in no particular order…

  1. Sometimes in marketing, we can’t take no for an answer.  We need to engage our creative minds, think constructively about what we can and cannot control, make a plan and go for it.  Be bold.

  2. With the right team, you can move fast and create amazing marketing experiences in little time.  Food was good but not perfect, music was louder in one part of the room vs others, the bar had a long line at it most of the evening but that didn’t matter.  The venue, the atmosphere and the giveaways made it a home run. (or…a GOAAAAAAL!) I couldn’t help myself.

  3. When you have sales and marketing aligned and each supporting each other, anything is possible. Marketing pulled together the details, sales spread the word and used their connections to get people there, everyone won.  

The event drove pipeline and closed won revenue, brought the teams closer together and made our team the talk of the larger event we were at.  Victory had been achieved.

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