Over the course of the next several months, we'll be interviewing some of the smartest, most interesting event professionals around--sharing their insights, advice, and unique experiences. This week we sat down with Nick Borelli, founder of consultancy Borelli Strategies, with over 20 years of experience in the live event industry and a passion for making an impact.
1) You've held quite a range of positions over the years, in a variety of organizations from restaurants to web development to publishing, before founding your own company, Borelli Strategies. But the common thread is those all tied to event marketing and management in some way. Could you tell us a little bit about how you first got interested in event planning, how your past roles led to you to this point, and what a typical day looks like for you now?
Since early in high school, I split my time between my “real jobs” and what has come to be called “side hustles”. The first job I had at age 14 was in catering around the same time I was learning HTML and building websites for myself and others. What made me different back then was that I was very social, loved meeting new people, participating in live events (eventually I was put in charge of small picnics for clients) while also being very tech savvy through coding and IT.
It wasn’t until much later that I moved up the ranks in hospitality from logistics to sales and finally into marketing that I was able to merge my talents for live and digital engagement. As I matured, so did the communications platforms, and I was able to start presenting on a national stage on the topic of blogging in the early 2000s.
After years of balancing freelance marketing with jobs as a marketing director for event suppliers, demand required me to start my own consultancy which is what I do full-time now. There are two types of typical days for me now. As a professional speaker, I had the chance to present over 100 sessions in 2017. My days on the road are spent in hotel rooms on client calls and e-mails when I’m not on stage (doesn’t sound as glamorous as you’d think, does it?). When I’m in my home office, I spend my time in focused silence researching, writing marketing strategies for event companies, and creating content for b2b event companies.
2) What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
The biggest challenge I face is time management and taking on the right clients. I want to help everyone in our industry more than anything, but I have to be smart about who I take on because I have a finite amount of attention I can give.
3) What types of event-related technology do you use or interact with?
I’ve gone through demos for every conceivable type of event technology in order to be of most value to my clients. I have a greater awareness of event tech than the volume of tech I actually implement. That said, I regularly use event influencer marketing solutions, audience engagement software, and social media walls on the events I directly impact.
4) What do you see as the biggest trend(s) in events this year, particularly in relation to event technology?
Without a doubt it’s influencer marketing for events and the software that can facilitate conversions and analytics. VR/AR and Blockchain get all the press but I’m not seeing the rate of adoption with those as I am with influencer marketing. Events need to sell tickets and competition continues to escalate. Influencers (especially the ones already closest to your event) help humanize and amplify your message and if you empower them with resources, the results are tangible.
5) If you could give event planners / marketers one piece of advice, what would that be?
Develop a really deep connection to your personal mission and the mission of your event. It’s very easy to stray from the center of your passion with as much change is coming at us because of the times we live in. If you can ensure everything you do is with purpose based on your north star, you’ll accomplish your goals.
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