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  • Writer's pictureMichael Smith

S1:E3 | Digital Wave Riders | Event Marketing with Mark Labue

Updated: Jun 13

S1:E3 | Digital Wave Riders | Event Marketing with Mark Labue

Sitting down with Mark Labue of Global Events Consulting, Digital Wave Riders discusses the growth of an event marketing consultancy, the effects of the COVID pandemic, and finding their footing in the digital industry.

Mark's company and event coordination services can be explored at

Full Transcript.

BC Babbles (00:02.756)
And it looks like we are good on both ends. Talk real quick a little bit.

Mark LaBue (00:08.406)
Testing what we the people in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility.

BC Babbles (00:15.492)
Cool beans, cool beans, little preamble don't hurt. Alrighty, cool, all right.

So welcome back everybody to the Digital Wavewriters podcast. I'm your host Brandon Cassiano. This morning joined in from, are you in Rochester right now? From Rochester, New York, please welcome Mark of Global Events. Thank you for joining me this morning, Mark. Hope you're doing very well this morning. All right, so you are head of a, I wanna find out the best way to verbalize this company.

Mark LaBue (00:30.71)
I'm in Rochester right now.

Mark LaBue (00:38.818)
Thanks for having me.

BC Babbles (00:50.188)
But you are an event facilitator. And if that's not the, go ahead, talk about it.

Mark LaBue (00:53.578)
Yeah, so yeah, we're close. Yeah, so I own Global Events Consulting and I'm a project manager, sometimes a show producer, sometimes an AV technician. We have a company that supports live events, handling the meeting technology, the sound systems, the lighting, videos, web streaming.

BC Babbles (01:00.757)

Mark LaBue (01:23.71)
anything that's live event tech related, that's in a wheelhouse.

BC Babbles (01:29.752)
So, and you just came back in from, you mentioned an event from DC. Is that correct? You just got back in last night from one.

Mark LaBue (01:35.582)
Yeah, that's right. Yeah. So we have an event. So we have various clients that we do meetings for universities for their alumni weekends, they bring in keynotes to medical meetings. And this one particular meeting we've done for about I think this is our 20th year. It's a board review. Doctors have to maintain their

BC Babbles (01:55.288)

Mark LaBue (02:01.91)
certification every 10 years and they have these classes where they go to kind of cram to study for the test and that's what this was a room full of infectious disease doctors and the and on online as well and we had five days 55 presentations and 400 some odd polling questions

BC Babbles (02:13.813)

Mark LaBue (02:30.554)
And it's a grueling schedule. It's a 7 a.m. to sometimes 7 p.m. days. So, yeah, so we just got back from that and it was a great show. It had a great crew and I'm looking forward to a little, looking forward to Labor Day weekend to relax a little bit.

BC Babbles (02:34.876)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

BC Babbles (02:48.724)
Awesome, and now your website mentions that you have about 25 years of experience. So jumping back two and a half decades, talk about your start, how you got into providing these services for live event production and eventually what led into the development of global events.

Mark LaBue (03:09.11)
Yeah, actually, this is my 30th year. We started, I actually, I graduated college and started working at Xerox here in Rochester. They had an opening and they had like an internal media department that supported Xerox here in Rochester. It was a sprawling campus and was all over Monroe County. And we supported the, initially it was just the audio visual, TV on a cart, typically what you expect.

BC Babbles (03:19.716)

Mark LaBue (03:40.03)
But that over a few years that grew into larger meetings, eventually it turned into satellite broadcasting. We would broadcast live events once a year or we'd be part of a larger broadcast. That's our actual broadcast from Rochester to California. And it would be kind of like called the teamwork day. So we would do some of the projection. We'd work with the video production companies, sound companies.

BC Babbles (03:53.316)

Mark LaBue (04:09.046)
It was a large event and that was the cutting my teeth and learning how to deal with clients. And eventually back in 2001 happened, 9-11 happened, and a lot of that business obviously just stopped. Nobody was doing meetings. And I eventually left Xerox and worked for another outfit out of Miami.

BC Babbles (04:14.561)

BC Babbles (04:22.401)

BC Babbles (04:29.346)

Mark LaBue (04:38.818)
There's no longer a business called MCSI. And they hired us to kind of also manage national events. And we did that for a couple of years. We did a lot of medical events and local events. But they went out of business in 2004 and I started up on my own. I'm like, okay, I'm gonna just do this on my own again. And I started, so we started Global Events in 2004 and

BC Babbles (04:41.506)

BC Babbles (04:59.526)

BC Babbles (05:06.233)

Mark LaBue (05:08.782)
Since then, we've grown from just doing local events in Rochester to we've been all over the world. Clients will take us to support meetings. I've been to Australia, I've been to Spain, France, South America, and all over the US. So it's been... And most of the time now, the majority of our work...

BC Babbles (05:26.99)

Mark LaBue (05:38.354)
is working in the lower 48. And we, so we pretty much support events from in the top 10 markets in the US, Dallas, Atlanta, Orlando, San Diego, doing events that, you know, supporting associations. We also have clients that hire us to represent them for their customers, or they have too much work.

BC Babbles (05:52.801)

Mark LaBue (06:06.338)
So we get subcontracts a lot as well. So that's kind of what we, the history in a nutshell.

BC Babbles (06:08.652)
Very nice.

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so starting out, you know, and in 04, and obviously we've seen so many things change in the past near two decades from that year regarding just the landscape of communications and whatnot. So talk about how, when starting global events, so what were your initial strategies? You know, how did you begin working to get the word out on what you were doing and what you're offering to local and then eventual.

in national and international businesses.

Mark LaBue (06:45.438)
Yeah, so strangely enough, we had a lot of it at the time. We were, you know, we had a website. We, I think we got our website back in, I think it was probably our first digital marketing we've ever done is just back in 96, we had a basic, basic websites. And for a few years, that was actually a great lead generator. We had a lot of calls.

BC Babbles (07:03.129)

BC Babbles (07:11.992)

Mark LaBue (07:15.123)
And quite a few of them would turn into business. But as time went on, I would say in the late aughts, 2008, 2009, it changed. It went from, I think, website to more SEO. And then since then, obviously. And I think it's kind of gotten beyond my...

BC Babbles (07:29.706)

Mark LaBue (07:43.966)
I won't say understanding, but I think the marketing of businesses now on a lot of the social media is very complicated. And it's not something that I do a lot of or any, you know, we'll post pictures on social media of our events. But you know, a lot of the business we get now is either word of mouth.

BC Babbles (07:45.58)

BC Babbles (07:58.35)

BC Babbles (08:02.841)

BC Babbles (08:08.084)
Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Mark LaBue (08:11.326)
or clients that have moved from one company to another company, and they'll take us with them. So it's strange, because I kind of wish for the time a little bit, because it was a lot easier back when it first started. But now I have actually a quick side note is how disconnected I feel. I have three young sons. I have three sons.

BC Babbles (08:28.653)

Mark LaBue (08:38.834)
uh, two of them are in college and they just, they got summer jobs. And, you know, I go back and think, wow, you know, I have to go out there and like fill out applications and. You know, wait to hear back. Well, my one son got a job because he was on a discord server of a group of people that he knew in the same industry. Yeah. And I'm like, what discord? You got a job off a discord? Really? And he's like, yeah, they put it.

BC Babbles (08:54.816)
Yeah. Mmm. Good old discord.

BC Babbles (09:03.955)

Mark LaBue (09:05.974)
They just put it out there and he's been working for them all summer. Actually, I think tomorrow is his last day for the summer. He starts school next week. So like that just blew my mind. You know, I'm, I said, I don't, I don't know where this is going. I'm like, where the marketing is. I don't know. What are your, what are your thoughts about? I'm curious to hear, you know, I know you've interviewed other people. Where, how do they do marketing to get, you know, outside of the Salesforce side of things, you know, how do you get good client leads? And.

BC Babbles (09:15.768)

BC Babbles (09:19.538)

BC Babbles (09:31.583)

Mark LaBue (09:35.554)
grow business on the technology side. I'm curious to hear what other people are doing.

BC Babbles (09:40.224)
I mean, from my experience, everyone I see and or have interviewed for the show is doing a fair balance of not just engaging the digital landscape, but also doing a lot of what you could probably still call traditional word of mouth marketing. There's, at least in our market, which is Charlotte, there's so many networking opportunities. I'm actually working with also a lot of startups. So I'm seeing how many other resources for like.

person to person, in person discussions and marketing chances there are. So, and then on top of that, people are usually, getting a website freshly built either for themselves, by their own team or from a group like NextWave. And so making sure that they have that inherent place, anyone searching online can go to and learn more about them. But on your end, seeing that the change over time,

And as you said, you know, kind of a space that's...

BC Babbles (10:44.724)
a little beyond what you would usually engage in, what reservations did you have? You know, in seeing how much things have progressed, you know, did you have moments of pause? Did you have moments where it's like, I don't know if I want to invest in this path or another, and talk about how those internal or external discussions were if you had them with your team.

Mark LaBue (11:07.922)
Yeah, so we did consider, we did a little bit of discussions we had with Nextway was investing heavily in SEO in larger figures. Before it was low to no cost, then the big discussion which I've had and they said they've seen results in kind of doing SEO with a larger budget, spending thousands of dollars.

BC Babbles (11:35.436)

Mark LaBue (11:37.13)
And then they were starting to see, okay, I'm getting legitimate customers out of this work. So I think the payback was there, but it was kind of like going to Vegas. And I wanna play at the $5 Blackjack table, but to really play and succeed, you need to play at the $500 table, $500 per hand to get into play. And then on top of...

I struggle with spending that money because on top of that, you know, there are times we are just so busy that, you know, do I, and not all the time, but a lot of the work is like, do we want to be busier? Now, I think for us, for me is the struggle is I love the relationships we have and maintain with our clients.

BC Babbles (12:19.81)

BC Babbles (12:30.926)

Mark LaBue (12:32.886)
but I don't wanna get to the point where it's too big. If it's beyond my reach or I can't give the customer service I want to give, I'm not into this business to, I always say, maybe my wife's disappointed in this, but I'm not into this to get rich. I wanna get into this to help people. And it's my...

BC Babbles (12:38.839)

BC Babbles (12:43.687)

BC Babbles (12:56.236)
You're right. And you don't want to, so you don't want to spread yourself too thin, which is completely. Yeah, I totally get that. And so, so then how do you have you had any, um, or instilled any kind of strategies, strategies on meeting that halfway of, of maintaining a feasible bandwidth for you and your team so that you can still be active. You can provide, um, uh, this quality high tier involvement with your clients and then also providing

Mark LaBue (12:59.699)
Yeah, exactly right.

BC Babbles (13:25.804)
the opportunity for a, not reasonable, but like, I haven't had coffee this morning, but still provide opportunities for consistent growth that doesn't grow wildly out of control, as you mentioned.

Mark LaBue (13:36.841)
Yeah, I need to have mine.

Mark LaBue (13:49.418)
Yeah, so a lot of this is for me, I really enjoy the person to person. So a lot of the marketing we're doing, I think I've used occasionally, we'll use LinkedIn to connect with clients that we've lost touch with. And that's worked out great because we have a, you know, shared past experience.

BC Babbles (14:10.209)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Mark LaBue (14:18.41)
And you're right, I'm not there. It's a constant struggle between, you know, we want to, you know, we want to want to get too big, but we also can't be, you know, so I won't say content, but I shouldn't be complacent with the clients that we have. So it's definitely we're, you know, it's strange because, you know, we

BC Babbles (14:37.889)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mark LaBue (14:46.094)
Part of the business is you get new clients and then you know just for various reasons You know sometimes just people move on they you know we lose clients, too So we want to kind of keep that pipeline going so a lot of it is you know also like just last week there was a Visitors Association here in Rochester that I hadn't been to in 20 years, so we started Just putting our you know name back out there to let the look

BC Babbles (15:06.744)

Mark LaBue (15:14.03)
community know that we're here, we've been doing this for a while, we would love to support the local community. So there's a little bit of, you know, kind of boots in the ground, you know, let people meet us. You know, if you need something, give us a call. That's kind of maybe the old fashioned way of getting more business.

BC Babbles (15:35.984)
Yeah. So from here, do you guys have any immediate plans to explore anything additional, even if it's not like huge new stuff or anything that's just kind of supplement supplementary to what you're already doing? Anything just to kind of add on, try out just to see, OK, how can this work? How can that work kind of thing coming up for you?

Mark LaBue (16:05.366)
You know, I...

Mark LaBue (16:09.234)
know that there's any what is new. I guess I have to think about that a little bit. Because a lot of the business that we're doing, you know, we the what is new, we're, because we're in the technology business, you know, we set up technology for meetings, you know, a lot of our bandwidth is in, you know, what helps our, our jobs either run better, help our clients better, more efficient.

BC Babbles (16:25.207)

Mark LaBue (16:37.13)
um, looks better, you know, even lighter, that kind of thing, you know, the world, the lighter sound system, you know, LED lights, that kind of thing. So the technology end of it, you know, we haven't tried, I guess I haven't. You know, I would like to get, learn a little bit more about how we can get out there in a digital way. Um, that's this, even this, I mean, obviously you're doing a podcast about.

BC Babbles (16:44.077)

BC Babbles (16:59.693)

Mark LaBue (17:04.674)
technology and you know, this is a great idea. I think the more content you get out there, people take time and podcasts are great, long form way of people to learn about an industry. So I think that's right. That's why you and I have had, I've kind of struggled like, okay, what are we gonna discuss? But I think this is also a great channel. People just wanna understand what we do, then maybe they'll decide to maybe reach out.

BC Babbles (17:16.213)

BC Babbles (17:33.012)
Right. Absolutely. Now anything for your business that's not marketing really anything big that's coming up that your business is going to be announcing any kind of I don't know if you guys like specialty packages or just kind of anything regarding the consultation services you provide what's going to be happening that people should know about regarding global events.

Mark LaBue (18:02.282)
Yeah, that's great. So we do have some interesting things coming up in the future, but I can't really share it right now. I don't want it to be public, but what I will say is we do have a lot of great events coming up that we're supporting. Here in Rochester, we're doing the University of Rochester's Alumni Weekend, and it's a lot of great. We do outdoor sound.

BC Babbles (18:11.492)

BC Babbles (18:21.848)

Mark LaBue (18:29.27)
a lot of keynote presenters and live music. We're traveling in the fall for a general practitioners meeting in Baltimore. So it's a busy fall. I think a lot of our industry is after COVID has, people are now more than making up for the work and business that they had when it stopped in 2019.

BC Babbles (18:31.788)

BC Babbles (18:48.504)

Mark LaBue (18:58.154)
early 2020. So everybody's really kind of stretched thin. And I think this is a for the audio visual industry is, I think there's a lot of consolidation going on between companies. So I think that presents some opportunity for us. Well, then we'll see. So it didn't really answer your question. But I think there's things coming.

BC Babbles (18:58.225)

BC Babbles (19:03.64)

BC Babbles (19:13.826)
Very cool.

BC Babbles (19:23.808)
Well, you will you did you definitely did you said you couldn't talk about it yet So it sounds to me like people are gonna have to seek you out follow you and keep their ears to the ground For whenever that thing you cannot talk about yet can be talked about and you start talking about it is what it sounds like to me

Mark LaBue (19:40.41)
Yeah, maybe this time next year would be a much more, I won't say, it'll be an interesting conversation this time next year to have.

BC Babbles (19:49.424)
Okay, I'll have to keep that in mind 100%. So for people who are looking to find you, where is the best place for them to get ahold of you? What platforms are you using to engage with people at the moment?

Mark LaBue (20:01.45)
Yeah, thank you for that. So obviously, we are at global You can reach out by, you can give us a call. We are 877-834-7432. Or you can email me at mlaboo at global We're on LinkedIn. We're on various social media. You can find us. Just look up global events. Rochester, New York.

BC Babbles (20:25.636)
Mm hmm. Sounds perfect. All right, Mark, thank you so much for joining me this morning all the way from Rochester. I really appreciate you hopping on and we will see you next time on Digital Wave Writers and have a great.

Event Marketing with Mark Labue
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