Getting the chance to actually see what people are feeling when they walk into a room or see a speaker that really touches them has always been a great takeaway for me.

Deanna Zercher

Senior Event Specialist

Aon

Location: San Francisco, CA

The Rewards Solutions practice at Aon empowers business leaders to reimagine their approach to rewards in the digital age through a powerful mix of data, analytics, and advisory capabilities. Our colleagues support clients across a full spectrum of needs, including compensation benchmarking, pay and workforce modeling, and expert insights on rewards strategy and plan design.

My role within the company is to assist our leaders with strategic level meetings that are industry-specific, held throughout the year to our top-level clients.

How long has your company been producing events? What is your main focus?

My company has been hosting strategic level events for the past 15 years at least. I assist on the majority of these events on the logistics and planning, as well as onsite at the event. We as a company are constantly expanding on these programs either individually in scope or adding to the roster of events we host each year. We bring together top-level HR professionals in specific industries for round table discussions and networking with their peers and colleagues. Attendees tend to love these events because it is rare to get many of these people in a room together, so it’s great to get them face to face.

What do you enjoy most about your role in corporate event planning?

I love the day-of aspect of event planning. I have been in a variety of different companies – large and small, corporate and non-profit, and everything in-between – but at the end of the day for all of the companies, it’s about the end result. It’s what the attendee experience is about, and how satisfied they were with that experience overall. Getting the chance to actually see what people are feeling when they walk into a room or see a speaker that really touches them has always been a great takeaway for me. Seeing this makes me know I have done my job successfully.

What are some ways to personalize a corporate event?

A great way to personalize a corporate event for me is through the giveaways. It’s something really important to me, and it’s something the attendees get a kick out of as well. I love doing something that’s specific to the region we are in (for example something as simple as a golden gate bridge key chain for everyone for an event in San Francisco). Giveaways can be small, but still have big meaning, and be heartfelt. Guests can tell when you put in the effort to be thoughtful, and I think it says a lot about a company when they do that.

What do you see as the corporate event industry’s greatest challenge, currently?

The corporate event industry’s greatest challenge is the move to digital. This has been a transition for a while now, but it’s currently bigger than ever. Although I don’t believe there will ever be an end to face-to-face meetings there is also a need for virtual events as well. There are so many people who are remote, or simply can’t get away from their desks that there certainly is the need for webinars and similar platforms out there.

The biggest thing I see as a win from this is hybrid events that would combine in-person events with live-streaming to have the best of both worlds. We are starting to see this integration, and I think it will be more commonplace soon.

How do you measure the success of an event?

Currently, our biggest measure of success at an event, and from an event, is through the ROI. We have a great team of marketers that surround us and thankfully help in the heavy lifting in tracking leads through the sales pipeline. We all work as a team to track everything and make sure items are accounted for properly.

It’s also great as an events team to see wins come from something we produced because it shows us (as well as others) that our meetings are important, and should continue to happen and grow. We have seen many wins from our events over the years, and it has shown leaders the importance of them in the overall strategy of our marketing efforts.

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