Event Marketing Hero: Eric Brushaber, Marketing Manager of ABM
Banzai’s Event Marketing Hero series profiles leaders in the event, demand generation, and field marketing fields who are changing the marketing game through B2B events and webinars.
Last week I chatted with Eric Brushaber, marketing manager of ABM at a leading data storage company. A fellow Seattlite, Eric’s path to his current role was far from a straight line. His background in economics and training opened the door to becoming a leader in events and account-based marketing. Eric works just as hard in his personal life as he does in his professional life. He is an avid swimmer and is currently training for the Nautica Malibu Triathalon.
Our latest profile dives (swimming pun intended) into Eric’s marketing journey, and how his organization uses events to paint the story of their prospects and customers.
How did you get started in Marketing?
I actually came from an economics background and was probably the least apt to be a marketer. I started my tech career as a day trainer teaching on everything from operating systems to applications to more technical skills.
At one point, I was approached by a couple of folks at Microsoft and they asked if I would be interested in giving presentations at Microsoft as part of a role. I began working at Microsoft as a presenter for tertiary markets.
I would deliver a full-day presentation on about 15 or 20 of our top technologies. It was a fantastic experience. I was able to travel and be a road warrior. Then it morphed into building the content and seeing how we can make it more relevant to our customers and how we could streamline the operation.
We ended up developing a program that was basically an internal organization that would provide services to other business groups. We would look at different messaging that Microsoft wanted out to the customers and partners, and we would take that content, organize and customize it so it targeted their approved demographics. That got me into account intelligence and learning more about marketing.
Before my current role, my roles were more technical and process management focused, but marketing's always been there. It just needed to be peeled back from the onion a little bit if you will.
How did you get comfortable with training and giving presentations?
I’ve always loved talking to people and I am able to read people usually within a few minutes. I love the interpersonal communication and being able to see if the audience is engaged while at the same time, taking a step back to ask and listen for questions and feedback.
It's one of those things that comes naturally to me. I know public speaking is a primary fear for a lot of people. I was a very shy kid when I was younger, but somehow I kind of snapped out of it overnight. I really enjoy the presentations that have over 1,500 people in the audience. It’s a rush.
How do you usually start your day?
Something that really helps me set the stage for the day is just waking up and taking a swim. If the weather is cooperating I will go for an open water swim in Lake Washington or do a swim session over at our local pool just to clear the mind and get things in the right direction for the day.
What would you say are some like common misunderstandings about your job and working in event marketing and account-based marketing (ABM)?
Our jobs are about more than just lead conversion. It is about building the buyer’s journey and painting a story of your prospect and/or customer.
For example, we have a really big golf event coming up for charity and there was a colleague that wanted help inviting some key folks. I asked him whether or not they liked to go golfing, and if so, suggested that we could host a custom golf-fitting for them. Then when they come to the charity event, we'll have those golf clubs waiting for them.
It’s about taking the approach of looking at the wider lens and having a multi-touch marketing approach that helps you really understand who your customers are before going after them with the hard sell.
What was your favorite event that you produced? What made it special?
I really enjoy our Cloud Luncheon series with a local hero. We recently had one in Seattle with football legend Steve Largent. Every attendee received a signed football and then a picture as a follow-up second touch. I thought it was an out-of-the-box way that our account executives would be able to follow-up and set up a meeting within one to two weeks after that event.
That is really fun! How do you go about measuring ROI for events like that?
We have a lot of detailed metrics on the backend that allows us to see our pipeline. Before we go into events, we always try to determine what our goal is. When it comes to putting together all the time, energy, and resources, we look at the opportunity cost above and beyond just the cost itself.
At the end of the day, when it's all calculated, it's about the overall experience. Our goal is to mold that and put that into a master agreement and then have other teams adopt it. That is a huge win. The event needs to be repeatable and it's cost-effective as well.
We are always looking for fun things to do in Seattle. What are your favorite things to do when you aren’t working?
I enjoy water sports on Lake Washington, cycling and crab fishing in the Puget Sound.
To learn more about Eric and his work, check out his LinkedIn.