Full Name: Aleksandra Panyukhina
Job Title: Head of Event Marketing
Aleksandra is a highly skilled event marketing professional with more than 10 years of experience in business, entertainment and sport events. Currently Aleksandra is specialising on event and experiential in the digital marketing industry and is leading the global event team at SEMrush.
Together with her team she successfully manages 40+ events a year across 5 continents and ensures the events strategy is aligned with the overall brand’s customer engagement strategy and business goals.
Her major focus is on creation of unique experiences and establishing personal relationship between brand and customer through the offline events while driving up the ROI of this marketing channel.
1. What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?
Building events with unique concepts from scratch in all kinds of environments (outdoors, conference rooms, unconventional venues) has shaped my ability to analyse the case (or a technology) from all perspectives, draw all possible pros and cons and find the best solution for the given situation.
2. How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?
It’s been a bit more than 10 years in events for me. Over this period, I’ve tried all sorts of them: outdoor sports entertainment (dance and music festivals) and business events. Three things that keep me engaged and interested are:
1. Opportunity for endless creativity
2. Ability to see the result of your work in reality – in the world of digital, this is a really valuable asset
3. Team spirit – there is no event without a great team behind it and there is nothing like the shared feeling of success after the event is done!
3. Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?
Best is of course when everything comes together on the event day and you wrap it up with the satisfying feeling of accomplishment and see within the specified time-frame how the event you created impacted the business. Also, despite all the stress, when something goes wrong during the event, but you can come up with the solution and execute it – that’s the true feeling of glory!
As for the worst, I guess it’s admitting and accepting the fact that there are things you can’t control. The weather, behavior of other people, flights being delayed…You just have to focus on what to do with it but not on how those factors affected/may affect your event.
4. Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life?
Would it be old-school to say my smartphone? I can do pretty much everything using my phone and, without it, work-life definitely loses 80% of productivity! Though personal life gets better.
5. What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?
Google Sheets for budgeting and project planning, Salesforce CRM for analysis of ROI, Google Analytics for performance analysis of event page and marketing campaigns, Bizzabo for day-to-day registration-management.
6. What was the last event on which you worked?
SEMrush first ever Global User Conference!
7. From your experience, how has tech been best utilised at an event? / What’s the best way to utilise tech at an event?
I would say what most important is NOT to utilise tech for the sake of utilising tech. Sometimes event organisers are keen on being high-tech and modern, but if this technology doesn’t really create this extra value to the attendee (sometimes even opposite!), or it doesn’t fit into the event flow and attendee experience, then it’s a useless add-on.
8. We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?
I guess the biggest lesson is that it’s OK to make a mistake. We all make them, even though we are event managers and are supposed to be ‘wonder people’ that are perfect in everything. How fast, correct and accurate your actions are when mistakes are made is the ‘metric of success’ here.
9. What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?
Meeting like-minded people. There are not that many events about events in Europe and the opportunity to discuss things that matter to you with people who understand you is like a breath of fresh air. For the event people from brand-side, it is especially important to dive into event community once in a while since we are much more isolated in our day-to-day jobs from the industry than the agency planners.
10. What do events, such as the ETAs, mean to you? / Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?
Life of event planners can be described with one word – busy. With all the deadlines and multiple projects, there is no time to research, consider, evaluate, test. How often did we all want to create something new, but went with the old proven methods/technologies/solutions? I definitely experienced such situations. Therefore, having two days dedicated completely to new tech towards the end of the year is an amazing opportunity to get insights and inspiration for the next season! As for the recognition – no matter the industry, it is important for a human being to be recognised and approved by other human beings. Behind every amazing technology there is an amazing group of people that worked hard and definitely deserves this night of celebration for their success.
11. If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?
I guess I would go with 5G mobile hotspots. You can create amazing experiences for people with no technology in it, speakers can do the real storytelling sessions and masters of live scribing/drawing will do the job of creating the memorable visual content…but let’s admit it – in the era of digital, we all have the urge to share cool things online! Also, lack of social media coverage will lead to lack of attendees next time – we don’t want this to happen.