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For many of us events represent opportunities for both personal and professional growth. They serve as a catalyst for helping individuals step outside their comfort zones and present opportunities to explore a new city, interact with old friends, and learn something new. But what happens when traditional marketing events can no longer take place? How do you bring that same experience to your consumers virtually? We asked all these questions to James Huddleston, the Vice President of Marketing at Certain, who specializes in marketing events. And on this episode of Marketing Trends, James discusses why the content of your event, whether it’s in-person or virtually, will always be king. Plus he explains why vendors are being asked to contribute in new ways, and why there are many advantages to virtual meetings.

3 Takeaways:

Content is king and drives the person to your event, regardless if it’s in-person or virtually

– Vendors now need to contribute to the content of events. They can’t just rely on interactions

– Events are as much a marketing opportunity as they are sales. Your teams need to work together during these sessions

Key Quotes:

“A lot of the reason why people attend events in the first place is to network and connect with one another, with the host, with exhibitors with other vendors. So we’re looking for opportunities.”

“When it comes to sessions and content and what was most memorable [for clients], It’s always the ability to interact and engage with peers in round table discussions.”

“Have sales reaching out in advance and with what you might already know about that specific individual or that prospect. Offer some relevant content as leading into those digital events. Seek to get a one-on-one digital meeting with the sales person. And it doesn’t have to be within the event context, but you’re again using the event as a catalyst to identify these right targeted individuals and market to them.”

“What I see is that the vendor needs to participate or contribute to the content of that type of event. Whether that’s through facilitating a brainstorming session, maybe doing a presentation. But I think what is different is that a host is going to have a significantly higher threshold of what constitutes value from that content.” 

“People just want the experience. They want to see the city, they want to learn about the culture and some of the history, and you know, eat really, really yummy fortune cookies and the food becomes a big part of the events too. It’s those experiences that you really just can’t replicate online or digitally.”

“I think about it from a marketer’s perspective and our brand, and I know I mentioned at the outset, it’s an interesting time for marketers because you do have to be sensitive to how your brand is perceived. Again, not coming across too commercial or taking advantage of the situation in any way.”

“I think it’s really important to be authentic to who you are, to who your company is to your brand. We’re all in this together, truly, as a human race. Now is the time to just be authentic. You know, leading with empathy, being thoughtful about  being in your audience’s shoes.”


Prior to his promotion to Vice President of Marketing, James Huddleston served as senior director of product marketing at Certain from 2017-2019. Huddleston’s career began in sales, where he went on to hold account management and customer success positions working with and consulting Fortune 500 technology companies. With this diverse background, James has obtained a strong perspective on working across different organizations, setting him up for success in this new vice president role at Certain.

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