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Corporate Travel and Events

The Importance of In-Person Events to a Company’s Long-Term Success


Julie A. Hogan

Global Director of Face-to-Face marketing, Facebook

What are the biggest challenges you face when planning corporate events?

I think of events as experiences; the challenge with any experience is making sure it’s relevant and impactful for your audience. Knowing whom you’re talking to, where to talk to them, and how you want them to feel when they leave is critically important.   

There’s a great quote from Julia Child: “A party without a cake is just a meeting.” What I think she means by this is that the rituals and the things we do to elevate our everyday experiences matter. And that applies to corporate events, too. When you’re working on the kind of large scale, complicated events we produce at Facebook, you can risk getting lost in the logistics. But the most important element for any event, big or small, is how you want your guests to feel.

In this day and age, why is it important for people to move away from the screen and meet face-to-face?

While we truly live our lives on our mobile devices, there is nothing that will ever replace the power of human connection. We are social creatures who enjoy the energy and experience of connecting with other people. It’s why we go to concerts, enjoy live music, or support a small business that is vital to the community. Technology won’t ever replace these experiences and face-to-face interactions, nor was it meant to. Rather, it’s meant to complement them. 

What role can in-person events play in the underlying success of your company?

Events are incredibly valuable opportunities to bring your company mission to life. In fact, research conducted by Harvard Business Review around event marketing evolution found that 52 percent of survey respondents say that event marketing drives more business value than other marketing channels. At Facebook, our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

So face-to-face experiences are the physical manifestation of this. With each experience, we aim to educate, inspire, and promote human connection. These connections are at the core of building community and everything we do, both online and offline.  

What are some variables that people wouldn’t expect to be important in regard to face-to-face meetings?

Whether you’re planning an experience for thousands of people or for 25, the same strategic approach applies: who is your audience, and what type of experience will be the most relevant and impactful? For businesses, knowing your audience and the message that will resonate with them is going to vary. Make it personal and tailored to achieve the most engagement.   

What aspects of a networking event do people find most engaging or most unique?

People gravitate toward the opportunity to connect with people and be part of a community. Whether it’s small businesses looking for resources to help them grow at our Boost events or creators looking to inspire the latest Story at an industry event, people show up eager to connect and explore their respective communities.   

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