Building relationships and improving your event experience – Matt West


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Eventgrow Show Event Experience

In this episode, I catch up with Matt West from DMSE sports to talk about improving the event experience and much more. Matt is the senior vice president of operations at DMSE Sports and handles everything from staffing and operations to vendor and government relations.  Matt has a decorated career in the events world, serving in positions such as the finish line manager for the Boston Marathon and the Antarctic marathon.

Listen to hear Matt's tips for new race organizers and where he see's the running industry going in this year.

Biggest Takeaways

  1. Make time to attend and see other events that are considered innovators and leaders. If you cannot attend, follow them on Instagram or Facebook and see what they’re doing from afar – as you can learn a lot from their approach.
  2. Events are becoming more and more experiential in nature so we as event directors and marketers need to think about how we are providing an exceptional experience at every step of the customer journey.
  3. Focus on relationship building within the event industry. Always introduce yourself and build your network as these connections turn into valuable relationships that fuel growth. 

Time Stamped Show Notes

(Just click on the timestamp to skip to that portion of the show)

[1:23] – Matt is a resident of Somerville, Massachusetts and a graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

[1:55] – Matt’s career in events began in high school working at a summer music venue and continued throughout college.

[2:48] – Matt’s position as day laborer at DMSE led to a career managing road race operations.

[4:02] – Matt’s daily management activities and the importance of managing relationships

[5:08] – Matt works to advance the running industry as a board member for Running USA.

[5:34]Matt’s biggest challenges to event production:

  • Keeping events fresh to encourage repeat attendance
  • Staying aware of what your competition is doing by attending other events
  • Consistently growing your events

[8:11] – One of matt’s most successful events, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race and staying true to the history of an event

[9:20] – 

“We don’t really own the event… the event is owned by the participants, the history, the people. We are just stewards of the event.” - Matt WestClick To Tweet

[10:18] – Matt emphasizes the importance of managing relationships when managing a historical event.

[12:24] – Lesson’s Matt has learned and the struggle to get runners to attend your event

[14:41] – Engaging race participants and getting to know the runner’s needs

[16:20]Beyond the email list and other ways to get your event noticed

[17:07] – Matt’s event marketing platform suggestions

  • Facebook – Crafting engaging posts that generate buzz!
  • Instagram – Creating an emotional message with pictures

[17:27] – Matt’s other marketing recommendations are local running clubs and BibRave

[21:47]Matt’s key resource for innovation

  • Attend other events
  • Stay aware by following other events on social media
  • Engage other event organizers and see what is working for them

[23:26] – Drawing inspiration from other types of events and festivals.

[24:26]How small events can teach you more than big budget events

[25:29] – Matt’s tools of choice: Email, Basecamp, and Google Drive.

[26:21] – Matt’s advice for people new to the events industry

[27:31] – Who Matt follows in the event world

[30:15] – How to contact Matt


Resources & Tools Mentioned

DMSE sports: a full-service rave and event-management organization

Running USA

New Balance Falmouth Road Race

The DMSE Classic

The Pittsburgh Marathon

BibRave: Race review site

Basecamp: Project management platform

New York Roadrunners: NYC Community Running Organization

Soul Focus, LLC: a sports management group specializing in event management

Three Run Two: A running crew based in Chicago, IL


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Show's coming up next:

Carly Graham – Night Nation Run

John Connors – Bigsley & The Color Run

JT Service – Soul Focus Events

Want to nominate someone for the show? Send us a message at [email protected]