How to Find Meeting and Event Planner Decision Makers – Part I By Aleshia Humphries

Posted on Aug 10, 2012 in Archive, Meeting/Event Planning

One thing all corporations, organizations, and associations have in common no matter what industry they serve is they all plan meetings, and to some extent, events. Crucial to a successful business is the ability to effectively communicate your company’s vision, strategy, and goals through meetings. 

Trying to find the meeting or event planner is not always easy, as they may have various titles that may not depict their duties as such. If you do not know the right questions to ask in order to find the decision maker then be prepared to sit on hold; get bounced around from one person to another, from one department to another and be denied contact information by protective employees. More than likely, you will end up talking with the wrong people, getting voice mail after voice mail or even getting disconnected. Finding decision makers, what we at Mentor Tech Group refer to as “digging”, is a long process with roadblocks and dead ends. 

Chances are, when you are targeting decision-makers for meeting or event planning, the list that you are working with will not contain the person who would oversee or organize a meeting or event. Unlike most standard lists that do contain some basic contacts like: VP or Director of Human Resources, VP or Director of Marketing and CEO, uncovering the meeting/event planner may require asking some targeted questions that usually start at the receptionist level. 

We have discovered thousands of meeting/event planner decision makers in the way described here – and the best person to contact as a starting point, in our experience of “digging”, is the receptionist. But before you start with the obvious question “Who plans your meetings & events?” you need to first understand the various types of meetings/events, where within the company those decisions are made, and who makes them. Otherwise you may encounter the standard receptionist answer “we do not have any meetings or events” or “all our meetings & event are held on-site”. If you are not getting anywhere with the receptionist your next step is the HR dept as they may be more familiar with job functions as opposed to just job titles. 

As when anything worthy is achieved, there are obstacles to be overcome: 

The Type of meeting or event may depend on what sector you are targeting. Various industries hold different types of events or meeting for various reasons. Not all corporations participate in trade shows and not all government organizations hold employee, board or investor meetings.

Where in the company are the meeting/event planning decisions made? Corporate headquarters? Or at the divisional level? Or both? The larger companies have many different divisions with many different locations. For example, the Fortune 1000 breaks down into over 29,000 sites! Each division could have separate departments making decisions independently or they may have only one.

Who (what title?) makes the decisions – or influences the decisions? There is no universal title for meeting & event planners. It varies widely from company to company and job function to job function.

Nonetheless, MTG can provide some insight as to how to obtain the necessary market intelligence. 


All companies have some type of meeting or event planning, but to what extent may depend at what level of the company you are working with and what type of organization you are calling upon. For example, Trade Associations plan large trade shows/exhibits and conferences; Corporations may plan management retreats, sales meetings, shareholder meetings, board meetings and employee recognition, award ceremonies and employee social events; Municipal, State and Federal entities plan press briefing, banquets, conferences to deal with trade, educations and health issues; News Media and Financial conglomerates plan events such as auctions to promote relations with advertisers, cocktail parties, dinners, dances or investor/partner events such as golf tournaments.


It’s always best to start your search at the corporate level as many organizations mandate strategy for meeting and event planning throughout the divisions of the company. Others do not make these decisions at the corporate level. You should be able to decide this from your initial conversations with the corporate headquarters. More than likely meetings/events planned at the corporate level will be of an executive nature handled by Executive Assistants and even CEO’s themselves.

When the corporate headquarters is not staffed with a big group, these decisions may be “pushed” out to the various components of the company. Many corporations will direct you to the divisional level where meetings are most often organized to support the company’s sales and marketing efforts and included exhibit or trade show participation. Another area that you may be directed to is the travel department where the travel manager is also responsible for meeting planning. If they do have the titles you are looking for there, then suffice it to say that you may not have to look further. If you are redirected to a different division within the companies try to find out which division holds the most meetings or participates in trade shows or industry events. There you may encounter titles such as VP of Marketing or Director of Communications or Director of Employee Relations.


Mentor Tech Group’s core competency has always been finding prospects – so we have had to master the art of finding decision makers. We discover who the decision-makers are by “digging.” Digging means searching for a person with a specific responsibility, title or job function.

Most meeting and event planners evolved over time into this position as opposed to starting their career with such a title. Many of today’s meeting and event planners were hired for their organization and administrative skills and have titles such as administrative assistants, executive assistant, marketing and/or sales manager, or communications coordinator. Meeting or Event Planning decision-makers may not posses the title of either – and therein lies one of the challenges to finding that person: There is no universal title.

 The most common titles-and easiest to find-are: 

  • Director of Special Events
  • Director of Corporate Event Planning
  • Trade Show Manager
  • Corporate Meeting Planner

Look for Part II of this article in our next issue – where we’ll discuss the many other possible titles to look for and the secrets to successful “digging.”

PS. Don’t forget that we are a best-in-class prospecting company – with specific expertise in meeting and event planning – and can help with: 

Precisely Targeted Decision Maker Lists

Email Marketing with powerful reporting

To improve the Return-On-Investment of your marketing efforts, call us at (651) 457-8600. 

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