Apr 30, 2015 by David Becker

Event Planners on Tech: Ed Starr, Partner at BMF Media Group

The Tech Setters series peeks into the digital briefcases of event professionals everywhere highlighting the tried and tested event technology and event apps real professionals are using in various aspects of their planning process.

When your client roster includes such companies as Heineken, H&M, Lexus, and Fast Company, you know there will never be a boring day in the office. That’s exactly the way Ed Starr, partner at BMF Media Group, feels. Originally from Chicago, Ed has bounced around the globe living in Los Angeles, London, and now New York for the past 10 years, most of which he’s spent as team member at BMF.

It’s not just the great clients that keeps Ed passionate about his job helping to plan and execute more than 100 events every year. BMF was started by a group of family and friends, which makes for a strong team that Ed is excited to collaborate with every single day.

Why do you love working in events?

I do events because I truly love the challenge of telling the story of a brand. Each client is different, which means each experience is different and each event is different. This makes every day at BMF an adventure. I can look forward to something new every single day.

Ed Starr

What type of events do you typically work on?

The majority of events for BMF revolve around telling a brand story — making brands come to life. These can be very large scale events, like full mobile tours or pop-up shops, or they can be small curated influencer dinners. BMF’s job is to make each event memorable for every guest. That’s our measure of success.

What is your biggest event nightmare?

Something catastrophic — like a building collapse, terrible weather or a fire. Luckily we have never had any of these happen. I just need to stop dreaming about them!

Are you an Android or an iPhone person?

100% iPhone. I had the very first iPhone, and I have never looked back!

Are you using any tools to manage your entire planning process, if so which ones and why?

We use a variety of proprietary Excel models for planning and budgeting, and of course Sales Force for all CRM.

What applications are you using to stay organized on event days?

BMF has been a vocal supporter of zkipster. It has honestly revolutionized our guest list and check in process allowing us to focus on some of other critical elements that make events successful.

What websites, applications or services are you using to find event venues and what do you like about them?

As an agency we are big supporters of BizBash. We think they are wonderful and the website is a true resource to the industry.

“BMF has been a vocal supporter of zkipster. It has honestly revolutionized our guest list and check in process allowing us to focus on some of other critical elements that make events successful.”

What’s your favorite application or service for marketing your events and why?

Many of our events are private. So we need to be careful about marketing them properly. We have a proprietary database that we have cultivated over the years, as well as BMF social channels which have thousands of followers.

What applications are you using to engage your event attendees and why?

We always try to elevate social conversations as much as possible. All of our events have all of the social pillars covered from Instagram to Facebook, etc.

How have you used technology to add a special or unique touch to your event?

BMF always has the best possible technology at our events. We feel that our clients and guests are very forward thinking and we want to deliver the best experiences possible for them. We use the best possible vendors across all spectrums, including photo, digital projections, lighting, and contesting.

Now for the rapid fire round Tell us which application or service you’re using for…

Event Registration: We usually create micro-sites for each event. The zkipster guest list app has been good here as well!
Ticketing: We have used Eventbrite
Check-in: zkipster
Meeting Scheduling: Outlook
Team management: Excel
Presentations: Keynote or PowerPoint
Floor plan design: SketchUp

What applications or services are you using after your event to help you evaluate its success and/or gather feedback?

We track all guest attendance via zkipster. We also work carefully with PR firms to track metrics for our events. Lastly social media is a large component, and we track all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram mentions, hashtags, pictures, etc.

Finally, what piece of event tech can’t you live without?

I know this is boring, but, honestly, without an iPhone, I could not pull off an event. From guest texts, pictures, apps, and emails — it’s something that I can’t live without

Photography: Nneka Salmon