Ready to start discovering the "britest" events in Los Angeles? Meet your tour guide, Leila Najafi! As the LA marketing manager at Eventbrite, Leila is letting us walk in her patent leather YSL pumps today as she gives me the scoop on what it means to truly understand a customer, her most challenging event with Eventbrite, and why everything you do needs to be in writing - or else it doesn't exist.
Hillary Gadsby: How did you get started working with Eventbrite?
Leila Najafi: I was finishing up my MBA while working for a large corporation and I knew I was ready to move on to a new venture after graduating. One day, I made a list of about twenty or so companies that were on my radar. The start-up culture and tech industry had always been intriguing to me because there’s something special about watching a company flourish in such a short period of time, knowing that you contributed to that growth. Eventbrite had just started making it’s mark in LA, so I looked on their website and lucky for me, they were hiring their one local LA Marketing Manager. I reviewed the job description and remember thinking I couldn’t have written a better job description for my dream job. After an intense hiring process (and 14 interviews later!) I was ecstatic to hear I got the job. Here I am 2 ½ years later still loving what I do and so proud to be a part of such a talented team.
HG: What was one of your most challenging events to work on and what made it such a challenge?
LN: My very first event on the job! As the new face of Eventbrite in LA, I was planning my first event to introduce myself to the community and show our support to our event organizers. I was planning what we call our ‘Velvet Rope’ event for about 200 guests. Just 36 hours before the event, I had the location secured, completed a walk-thru and menu tasting, confirmed all the vendors, sent the invite out and all the details were set, except one thing. I never received the signed contract back from the venue. After many unsuccessful attempts at getting a hold of the manager, I finally spoke to her and requested she send the contract back immediately. To my dismay, I was told that the management company that she was employed by had been fired from the hotel they were connected to and she was no longer responsible for the event. Unfortunately the hotel did not take any responsibility either so I was left with the decision to find another venue, fast, or reschedule to another date. Luckily, I was able to find another venue to graciously host our party on such short notice but I learned one of the most valuable lessons in my career: everything needs to be in writing. If it’s not on paper, it doesn’t exist.
HG: Name one person you look up to that inspires you.
LN: I don’t know that I have one particular role model in the industry but I can say that all of our Eventbrite organizers inspire me on a daily basis. I’m amazed at the make-it-happen spirit they embody and how they have brought their passion to life through live events. It inspires me to continue hosting events as my passion both personally and professionally. If there is one thing I have learned in this job it’s that you don’t have to be a professional event planner to bring people together!
LN: One of my favorite pair of shoes are my black patent leather YSL pumps. It’s a classic but versatile shoe that can be dressed up or worn with a pair of jeans which is pretty indicative of my personality. I can be buttoned up and polished or fun and playful, a chameleon of sorts! They aren’t the most comfortable shoes, but they are incredibly sexy and I feel so feminine every time I put them on.
HG: What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give anyone looking to head into marketing?
LN: One of the reasons I am passionate about marketing is because I have always been fascinated with the psychology behind consumers and what compels them to buy a particular product or make them brand loyal. To be a successful marketer, you have to truly understand your customer/end user. Be where they are. When you think of brands, like Apple, that have hit the nail on the head with their marketing campaigns you can’t help but notice how innovative and relevant they are but almost take the stance of 'a friend' rather than a company.
With the evolution of social media sites, marketers have additional, free advertising channels at their disposal that also give them insight into their customers, who they are, what they’re talking about and puts a face to the customer, literally. Needless to say, marketers that are intimidated or have held off on joining the social media phenomenon should jump on the bandwagon!
Lastly, I think it’s always important to surprise and delight your customers. Don’t be afraid to think outside-the-box and get really creative with grassroots campaigns. Often times, the most effective campaigns cost little to nothing. A customer may not remember an ad but they will never forget how you made them feel.