Holding a smart home networking event in uber-affluent Beverly Hills, Calif., is certainly not for the faint of heart. Indeed, if it is not first-class all the way, there is a high risk it will flop. But Jay Dobensky of Beverly Hills SMART mustered the courage to plan and pull off a top-notch luxury networking event that stands out for its ingenuity.
“In Beverly Hills, you have to go way over the top. It has to a ‘Million Dollar Listing’ type of event. And that’s exactly what we ended up doing,” says Dobensky in reference to his networking event back in mid-December.
Dobensky worked closely with Michelle Dwyer, the Beverly Hills showroom manager for C-SEED, and Elena Thornton, exhibitions and events coordinator at L-Acoustics Creations, to organize the planned four-hour occasion, which was held in C-SEED’s brand-new showroom on Wilshire Blvd. on December 14.
But how do you make a smart home networking event attractive for exclusive clients who are used to lavish over-the-top Hollywood-style? The trio had a very specific clientele in mind for attendance–namely, high-end architects, designers, builders and realtors. So they knew it had to be different.
“An invitation saying, ‘Come on out and have a good time’ was not going to work,” says Dobensky. The team bounced around a few ideas and came up with the theme of the “Luxury Tech and Art Show.”
They brought in a digital artist to display mesmerizing art from Blackdove on the giant C-SEED panels, while accompanying music spun by a local renowned DJ played on the L-Acoustics audio system.
To help attract key individuals, the team worked with the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and Beverly Hills Living magazine, which conducted interviews with many of the attendees, for additional exposure.
About 125 invitations were prepared, both in the form of targeted emails and ornate invitations that in some cases were even hand delivered in elegant black envelopes. In all, the event was six months in its planning, primarily because finding a date that could work for all three hosts was difficult.
“You can just get a sense that you know something is going to be great when you are in the planning stages, and that was how this felt,” recalls Dobensky. “I wasn’t quite sure how to pull it off given that I don’t have a huge brick and mortar presence, but I knew I had to reach the right clientele and I only had one shot to get it right.”
Gauging ROI on Luxury Networking Event
Throughout the four- to five-hour evening, there were more than 70 attendees. Dobensky estimates about 50 of the invitees stayed for the entire five hours. A luxury wine and spirits tasting company, Vino Vie, was on hand to serve libations for the guests.
“When I first saw the Blackdove digital art on the C-SEED screen, I said, ‘Oh my gosh. This is a show within a show.’ It was great because it gave everyone there a constant visual to engage with. The digital art made the event more palatable. In the end, the execution was excellent. The attendance was excellent. The response is still ongoing months later. My biggest problem is having enough time to follow up on the all the great lead opportunities,” says Dobensky.
As an integrator, Beverly Hills SMART did not have products to showcase for attendees at the luxury networking event, so Dobensky spent the time mingling with the guests explaining how all the cool C-SEED and L-Acoustics technology “doesn’t magically appear in our residence or your business by itself,” which is why an integrator is a vital component. He also set up display cards with QR cards for guests to scan.
For the follow-up, Dobensky says he was immediately contacting attendees, even texting some of them that night to schedule future conversations.
The total cost to put on the event was $15,000, split three ways among the sponsors. For Beverly Hills SMART, Dobensky says it is the most he has ever spent on any marketing campaign to date but well worth it. Knowing how long construction cycles can be, the return on investment will not be fully gauged for quite a while.
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