Event Management

Lessons Learned About Event Swag with Tiffany Oda

February 21, 2022

Co-Founder @Talkbase

Jackets on the Floor

Tiffany Oda is the director of community operations at VENAFI. As the subtitle of her presentation states, Jackets on the Floor, she indeed had a humbling jackets-on-the-floor experience during their 2018 community party, which she discussed, during her at time a community manager at Salesforce.

Salesforce runs an annual party for their sales MVPs, including community contributors and product experts who help run the platform. To appreciate their hard work, the company treats them to an exceptional party at a cool location. 

Notably, during the 2018 event, the company went all out to prepare an exclusive swag for them – a custom bomber jacket.  

In ordering the jacket, Tiffany followed three simple steps;

  • Sent form out to MVPs requesting details such as size, event attendance status, preferred personalization, and shipping address (for shipping the jacket if they didn't make it to the event)
  • Sent MVPs responses to the vendor – Upon receiving the responses from the MVPs, Tiffany sent the list to the jacket vendor    
  • Vendor sent jackets to the venue – Instead of mailing the jackets to the company, Tiffany requested the vendor to ship them to the venue directly

Upon arriving at the venue, Tiffany unpacked the boxes only to realize the jackets were individually wrapped and folded in a way you couldn't see the personalization. Frantically, she started unsealing each of the jackets and arranging the personalization in alphabetical order with the help of colleagues. Unfortunately, even as the guests arrived, she hadn't managed to sort the jackets, and it was a whole messy situation.

"Prepare adequately before the events start, don't save anything for later." – Tiffany Oda

Lessons Learnt About Event Swag

  • Shipping & delivery strategy – She should have created two lists - attending and non-attending guests to ease the sorting through the heap
  • Inspect everything – Should have taken more time to inspect the package and sort the jackets way before time
  • Devils in the details – She should have included personalization on the list of MVPs to make it easier for those who didn't remember their personalization to collect their jackets.
  • Prepare for scale and chaos

Take Aways

  • Don't assume anything; inspect everything
  • Pay attention to the smallest of details
  • Don't save anything for later; prepare for scale and chaos

Klara Losert
Co-Founder @Talkbase

February 21, 2022

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