Each month we profile one inspiring individual who is raising the bar in the meetings & events industry. Read on to learn why Grace Gittinger, Owner, Event Marketer & Digital Event Strategist at GG & CO. is our January 2021 #Eventprof of the month.
I had the pleasure of meeting Grace Gittinger of GG & Co. virtually via my business coach Mary Baird-Wilcock from The Simplifiers in Q1 2020 right before the pandemic hit. Grace had just left her in-house job in Austin doing event marketing to start her own events company. What timing, huh?
Grace and I clicked right away. So many fellow event planners I meet come from different industries with different priorities and quirks. So sometimes it can be hard to really, truly understand each other’s #eventprof lives. But Grace was from the tech world just like me, which made it so fun and refreshing to connect with her. She just gets it, ya know?
Plus, she is incredibly smart, creative, and knowledgeable particularly when it comes to strategy and marketing for events. If you need help developing and executing a marketing plan for your event, Grace is your gal.
I feel lucky to have Grace in my circle and am thrilled to call her our #Eventprof of the Month for January 2021. Read on to learn why Grace views herself as a “Marketer” first, how she’s saving time via a cool tool (we use the same one!), where she sees the industry going as we head into the new year, and so much more goodness!
1. What is your absolute favorite part of your job?
Honestly, I just really enjoy marketing strategy + events. But what’s new for me now is that I also love working for myself.
In February, I went out on my own to help small and medium-sized businesses that need senior event marketing support. I’m your “stand-in Director of Event Marketing” when you don’t need a full-time senior marketer focused on digital and in-person events. I also help larger companies scale their senior event marketing teams when their full-time teams are at full capacity.
With my two current, long-term clients, I have a company email, I participate in QBRs and team meetings, build strategy decks for the executive teams, manage internal team resources and vendors (as well as my own) and train or coach internal teams. I build everything for my clients as an in-house senior marketer would – setting them up for success now and in the future. The car I’m building for them is meant to run long after I’m gone.
I even help create job postings, conduct interviews, and onboard junior full-time talent when they are ready.
2. What initially drew you into the events industry?
It started when I was working in DC in the non-profit sector. I saw the power of fundraising events when done well – the kind of events that drew emotion and the motivation to contribute to and change the world. I steadfastly stayed in touch with the lead planner and asked her to mentor me and let me help her in my free time, not paid. She eventually said “yes.”
I also started offering my event planning services to help other non-profits in DC, to build up my resume. I loved it. I never looked back, and within a year of my first gala at that non-profit, I was applying to corporate event agencies.
3. What’s a day in the life of Grace like?
Consulting, project managing, and running omni-channel marketing plans for my clients. Everything is mostly centered around virtual events and webinars. But in non-pandemic times, this would also include “product roadshows”, Summits, Sales Kick-Offs, and the like.
I see myself as a “Marketer” first. Digital and physical events/experiences are my primary marketing channel of expertise. So each day, I’m working on building out event strategies that align with business goals, assigning goals and KPIs to those, developing marketing strategies (promotion plans) for the events/webinars, writing copy, driving sales enablement, coaching speakers on content and best practices, helping my clients develop their content strategy, etc.
4. How many events do you work on per year? What’s the mix?
Since my work is more marketing-driven, I’ll have a mix of short and long-term clients at any given time. Right now, I have two long-term clients and one group coaching client, plus a few one-off consulting clients.
5. How do you measure success for the events you manage?
KPIs like meetings booked, leads generated, closed-won opportunities, pipeline influenced, customer retention, brand awareness metrics, and when my clients say how much easier I make their lives 🙂
6. What’s a tool that’s saving you time in your job?
Calendly – for scheduling meetings. It has been a game-changer since I started my own business last February.
7. Where do you find inspiration?
Reading newsletters, LinkedIn articles people post… right now, inspiration looks different from when we were doing in-person events. So I’m less image/aesthetic driven when searching for inspiration and more inspired by how to get creative with digital events strategy + driving measurable business results.
8. Where do you see the events industry going in the future? Any trends?
There are many event predictions right now, and because of our environment, I feel like anyone’s guess is just that—a guess. How I’m helping my clients plan for the future includes omni-channel marketing campaigns that are flexible and heavily dependent on digital and mailing services vs. in-person events.
We’ll all know when it’s time to start planning physical events again – and we’ll jump in with a (strategic) head first! Lol
I think different companies will start doing physical events at different times – everyone will have their own timeline for when they are “ready.”
9. What is one thing you wish you could have done differently in your career? And any advice for #eventprofs just getting started?
I wish I would have explored marketing careers and event marketing careers earlier in my professional working timeline. If you are an events person, even if you are happy in a role now, always think ahead (3 or 5 years out). How will you continue to grow and nurture your skillset? Marketing and Event Marketing in particular (esp. working in-house) will give you a whole other skill set to nurture and grow if you choose later on.