MarTech Interview with Ben Hindman, CEO at Splash

MarTech Interview with Ben Hindman, CEO, Splash

“Your audience pays attention to the smallest details, and those details are shaping their experience and their perception of your brand.”

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Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What inspired you to start at Splash?

I believe the best way to do business is in person. Prior to Splash, I was leading events at Thrillist, as well as helping to launch the Summit Series, and I saw the same thing over and over again: the biggest software businesses in the world were successful – not by growing their Sales team or innovating with product – but by building relationships with their customers through events. It lit a fire in me to start Splash and build a product that helps businesses host their own meaningful events.

What is Splash and how does it fit into a modern Marketing Technology stack?

The best businesses throw great parties. Every business hosts events. The question is: how integrated are those programs with the rest of their Marketing mix? Splash is Event Marketing software that sits right in the center of your Salesforce, Marketo, applicant tracking system, whatever system you need to connect to. It fits right into your stack.

We handle all touchpoints of Event Marketing, like the event page, the RSVP forms, attendee lists and communications, and on-site check-in. Businesses love using Splash because it makes repeatable, scalable events programs easy. Teams who host repeatable events – say, a Field Marketing team hosting many regional Sales dinners, or a Recruiting team holding candidate events, or a Retail business hosting in-store events – can carefully design all aspects of the Event Marketing once, and then easily replicate it. So, a Marketing team has control over the design, the data, and the process, but they’re also empowering lots of people within the organization to host events that are on-brand, compliant, and measurable.

Which businesses are fastest to the adoption of Event Management platforms? How does it impact Branding and Marketing operations?

Really what we see over and over again is that there are specific groups within businesses who see the value of adopting Event Management platforms. The thing these groups have in common is that they’re innovators – they’re always looking for solutions and they’re willing to do things differently to get better results. It could be a Field Marketing group, or a Recruiting group, or a Community team. But they take it a step further by integrating their event tech, developing a process around how they do it, and driving and measuring event ROI. This starts a ripple effect — other teams in the business will start to notice how this team is exceeding expectations with events and will begin to adopt that process and those tools.

What is the relation between Events Page and Brand Loyalty?

In events, everything matters. Your audience pays attention to the smallest details, and those details are shaping their experience and their perception of your brand. One key goal of an event is to build trust. And when you pay attention to every detail – when Brand Integrity shines through in every part of the experience – people are more likely to trust your brand.

But remember: an event doesn’t start at the actual event. Every communication, every promotion, every event page, every ad, every email, every touchpoint leading up to the event is still part of the entire event experience. Which is why it’s crucial to maintain Brand Consistency and Design across all your touchpoints in order to build trust with your customers (and get them to take an action).

Which brands have managed to successfully transform their Brand Loyalty campaigns using events?

Victoria’s Secret PINK is a great example. Last summer, they did a Back-to-School campaign that was centered around driving engagement with their most loyal customers, their Pink Nation Members. They created special offers for Pink Nation members and hosted nationwide events as a way to drive people in-store. You could only attend this exclusive event if you were a Pink Nation member, which created a sense of urgency for new customers to sign up for the membership program, as well as make sure their most valuable customers felt extra special.

How can businesses maximize their ROI from leveraging your platform?

In two key ways. First, Splash makes it easy to measure ROI on any one specific event, because it integrates natively with Marketo and Salesforce. This allows leads from events to come into the system quickly and shared automatically with other teams and departments (Sales!) for more effective follow-ups. Secondly, Splash gives you ROI visibility across all your event programs, so you can see which events are creating opportunities that close, and at what price. You can then optimize ROI not just for a single event, but across all your business’s events programs.

Tell us about your technology integrations with other Marketing Technology platforms such as Contacts, Social Media, Automation, Contracts, Email, and Customer Service.

We integrate with leading technologies like Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, Greenhouse, Stripe, Hubspot, Zapier, and Slack. Our Slack integration is pretty cool because it can let a Sales team know in real-time when a prospect checks in or RSVPs to an event.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

We’re a huge Salesforce shop, and we’ve spent time building up our Marketo muscle. We work with a bunch of interesting techs. One that’s popular with the team right now is a Sales Enablement tool called Gong that records Sales calls and collects data about them. It makes it easier for the whole company to understand what Sales are hearing in the field.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Event Marketing technology for 2019-2020?

“Direct-to-consumer brands will begin to see a unified online and offline event experience that connects promotion to on-site to post-event to the next event in a series for an integrated experience at their events. This will help companies align efforts more efficiently across the organization. This will also result in an improved experience for guests.”

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

Honestly, I hire people who I know are nerds. They work with technology naturally.

One word that best describes how you work.

In Italian, they would say I work with a big “anima”. It’s like a big soul, or full-spirited.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?


What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Listening to my wife!

What are you currently reading?

I don’t read much, honestly. I go podcasts to the face.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Andrew Horn taught me to ask “How do I want to show up in this situation?” Whenever I have more than one answer to the first question, I turn it into an acronym so it’s easy to remember. So, if I want to feel Excited, Passionate, Interested, and Confident, I want to be EPIC. At any moment, I can remember this anchor and challenge myself to take the courageous action that is aligned with my intention. As I’ve learned to set these intentions, I can anchor my brain into positive thinking and make it easier to guide our thoughts and actions towards the reality I want to create.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

I spend a lot of time thinking about designing the in-between states of experiences. It’s the smallest signal that builds trust.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Eric Stahl and Joe Teplow from Salesforce. What up?!

Would you like us to recommend you as a Speaker to conferences relevant to your technology?


Thank you, Ben! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Ben Hindman is Co-Founder and CEO of Splash, the fastest-growing end-to-end Event Marketing technology used by over half of the Fortune 500. An event planner turned tech entrepreneur, events are in Ben’s DNA. Prior to starting Splash, Ben was the Director of Events at Thrillist, where he produced large-scale events from concerts to mystery fly-aways.

He is also a Co-Founder of the Summit Series, the renowned invite-only destination event for the greatest minds in tech.

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Splash is a technology company that powers advanced in-person marketing programs for the world’s leading brands. More than half of the Fortune 500 use Splash to streamline Event Marketing execution and optimize performance.

From simplifying event asset creation to capturing attendee insights and measuring event impact, Splash enables marketers to reach and connect with target audiences in-person, efficiently scale event programs, and connect event-driven engagement to business results.

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The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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