Interview with Emma Macnay, Event Producer

Interview with Emma Macnay, Event Producer

Emma MacNay is an Event Producer, with a varied background in creative brand events and conferences. Currently with IE, Emma produces a portfolio of summits within their digital, strategy, marketing and innovation channels.

I caught up with her recently to ask her about what it's like to work in a role like this...


What does a typical day look like?

I work across a range of strategy, marketing, and digital summits - all focusing around innovation and what’s new within the industry.

For digital events, I carry out research into areas such as; up and coming trends for the next year, the hottest digital start-ups, and new technologies. From this research, I work to compile key themes and then begin reaching out to potential speakers from my ‘wish list’ of companies, with an invitation to partake in a way they choose.

I liaise with speakers to establish the 'best fit' for them, and then work to curate an engaging event schedule of talks, workshops, and panel sessions over (what is usually) a two-day event. I work on around six events at one time, and I'm continuously in contact with around 20 speakers per event.

Your career to-date has been very events-focused. what is it about this type of marketing that keeps you on that path?

In my mind, asides from branding, I’m actually quite detached from the idea that an event is a marketing tool. Of course it is, and it is considered as a marketing channel, but my personal drive throughout my events career so far comes down to creating a great experience for those involved.

For me, it’s about building relationships, delivering a quality experience, and people leaving with something new - whether that’s new contacts or a new mindset.

What are you particularly enjoying (or not!) when it comes to working on events with a digital theme?

It’s impossible to produce a digital-themed event without learning a thing or 10. I get to talk with some incredible minds, have the pleasure of discussing their work as well as collaborating with them to establish how best to deliver their subject matter. It can be very insightful and interesting - I’m constantly learning.

It can be challenging - as I always explain, ’I’m not an expert, I’m just a facilitator of the experts’.

If you’re not a leading innovator in the digital space, there are some issues that arise when recruiting digital leaders to speak, and curating a relevant agenda that appeals to other digital leaders. A reoccurring question I have to myself is, is digital even a thing anymore? Digital is effectively everywhere and everything.

Is digital marketing just marketing?

Is digital strategy just strategy?

Digital is in danger of becoming a little tired if it’s used at the forefront of a field just ‘because’. Identifying and clarifying the difference can sometimes be tricky.

Is there anything particularly interesting you’ve learned about  DIGiTAL?

The psychology behind how people carry out their daily digital interactions is fascinating to me, and what you can learn about a person as a consumer from this.

I also like how different industries can learn a lot from one another - for example, how a third sector speaker can influence a big brand digital publisher in regards to digital content, or a well-known retail speaker can inspire a social network around digital engagement. It’s an extremely fluid industry that seeps into a lot of compelling discussion areas.

What advice would you give to someone who might be looking to begin a career in event production?

You need to be a boss at plate spinning, learn how to prioritise your to-do list based on what’s time sensitive, and avoid flapping.

In events, it’s easy to get caught up wasting time on the gritty detail. This can usually be ironed out at the end, as things are sure to change 1,000 times by the time the event actually comes around! Be nice and accommodating - always.

Events are nothing without the people behind them - bring warmth to it!

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