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TS2 keynote: Long live the event business



The TS2 keynote presentation was delivered by Keith Goldberg, senior vice president of client strategy for EWI Worldwide.

Seven formerly outlandish, previously heretical, plainly irrefutable thoughts on how live communications will rescue brands was the theme of the keynote presentation at the TS2 conference at the Boston Convention & Exposition Center, July 13-15.

Wednesday’s keynote presentation by Keith Goldberg, senior vice president of client strategy for EWI Worldwide, extolled the potential and power of live events for engaging and engendering customers while building loyalty and driving sales. He disputed the premise that the event business is dead. In fact, he believes live event/experiential marketing is one of the more potent and efficient tools today for building and sustaining brands. Here are Goldberg’s formerly outlandish, previously heretical, plainly irrefutable thoughts on how live communications/events will rescue brands.


  1. Live communication is unparalleled in its ability to join brands and customers in a meaningful way.
  2. Live communication is unmatched in engendering loyalty and enthusiasm.
  3. Live communication takes customers on the most compelling journey in marketing: The narrative.
  4. Live communications can actually improve the future.
  5. Live communications – when leveraging its strategic power – aggressively drives purchases.
  6. Live communication is the most effective way to build a powerfully consistent and relevant global brand.
  7. Live communications is just getting started.

View the entire Slide Presentation

“Today, we are experiencing a watershed moment in the world of experiential marketing, live communications,” Goldberg told the keynote audience of exhibit managers and exhibitors. “The economy is forcing marketers to be more open about searching for solutions, forcing them to get more serious about building relationships with potential and current customers. Add in the technology and online tools available today, and all of the sudden live communication has become the platform for building these customer relationships, for building communities that in turn build brands.”

According to Goldberg, in the “ye olde days” an event or live experience created high customer engagement, but offered low reach and frequency. While advertising offered high reach and frequency, it did not deliver customer engagement. Today, “ye new days,” marketers can achieve high reach, high engagement and high frequency through a combination of live events and online/interactive tools.” Goldberg outlined it like this:

Live Experience + Online =
High Engagement + High, More Persuasive Reach and Frequency
Pre-Event + At-Event + Post-Event + Way-Beyond-Event
Ownership, Conversation, Enthusiasm, Influence

Today, marketers must use online community-building tools to connect with people, to drive them to an event, but it doesn’t stop there Goldberg said. The live event is just the springboard for launching long-term relationships with current and potential customers. Ongoing communications for building and sustaining customer-based communities are critical to brand longevity and online tools make this easier to do today.

“All of the sudden the finite community (people) that show up to a live event becomes much larger because they’re shouting out to colleagues, friends and other community contacts through online tools,” Goldberg explained. “When these influencers show up at a live event and shout about it to their greater community, the folks they are shouting to are more likely to take the (your) message seriously.”

The Marketing-Based Narrative
“What was it that our ancestors scrawled on cave walls, that Shakespeare used to illuminate the human condition, that Walt Disney leveraged into a theme park empire, that Luke Skywalker embarked on in search of himself?” Goldberg asked his audience. “The narrative journey.”

Goldberg said that human beings are “hard wired” to communicate through story, through narratives. With this in mind, Goldberg outlined just what it is that makes the narrative, the journey, so effective for creating desire or sale.

“My contention is that a live experience, either alone or with the help of online tools, is the only platform that allows a narrative to be offered in its fullest.”

The Marketing-Based Narrative: 5 Phases of Customer Conversion.


Aleta Walther is a Southern California-based marketing communications professional, freelance writer and experienced corporate exhibit manager. Contact Aleta at

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