What I Learned About Events Planning Goldenhour

What I Learned About Events Planning Goldenhour

Anthony Kennada 6 min

Events have been one of the major throughlines of both my life and career.  

In high school, I was on the prom committee. In college, my student job was to put on concerts for Pepperdine University. At Box, I helped start our first conference (then called Altitude, now BoxWorks). And most notably at Gainsight, I started an event brand called Pulse that scaled to 6000 attendees at Moscone Center in San Francisco with annual sister events in the UK and Australia. 

I thought I had it all figured out.  It turns out, in 2024, I knew nothing.

The reality is that after the COVID-pandemic, the event marketing playbook that had become almost second nature to me as a marketer has changed dramatically. The tricks I had up my sleeve to make program decisions, drive registrations, and secure sponsor commitments were no longer working in the same way.

Last week, we held our first ever industry conference for the marketing community called Goldenhour. We set a high bar for execution and didn’t exactly set low expectations in our pre-event marketing. The truth is that marketing conferences for years have de-emphasized the experiential in favor of endless sessions and panels, boxed lunches, and recycled best practices.

Our vision for Goldenhour was to interrupt the pattern. 


The Numbers

Since the memory of Goldenhour is still fresh, I thought I’d share a public post-mortem on what we learned as a very small marketing team (2) planning a first-year industry conference with high ambition. I’ve spent the last day or so reading every response to our NPS survey, crunching the data, and debriefing with the team.

Here’s what we’ve learned.



We beat our registration goals for Goldenhour by driving 306 registrations in about 100 days of promotions. One interesting anecdote is just how back-end loaded event registrations are now compared to when I was building Pulse. 27% of registrations converted in the 7 days prior to the conference, and 47% sold in the last 14 days. As if events weren’t stressful enough, right?

The chart below visualizes our registration performance.

One might wonder if these were all free tickets – but it turns out that’s not the case!  15% of our total paid registrations converted in the 7 days prior to the conference, and 28% of total paid registrations in the 14 days prior. Anecdotally, I knew of many attendees who booked cross-country flights to attend within the last week.

With an average ticket price of $555, that’s a non-trivial amount of program revenue hitting the books two weeks before show day.



This part was fascinating.  Of the 306 registrations, we had 274 attendees onsite in Brooklyn, translating to a blended show rate of 89.5%. The benchmarks I’ve always held in my head (pre-pandemic) were that 90% of paid registrations convert to attendance, as do 50% of free tickets.  

At Goldenhour, 93% of paid registrations converted (good), but 87% of free registrations did too (incredible).

I’m still trying to understand how that happened, but will give some credit to the FOMO engine that we had been building through our pre-event comms, as well as some of our targeting of NYC based audiences to attend.


Digital Event

Goldenhour was more than an in-person experience.  We simultaneously held a virtual broadcast from 20 floors above the conference hall that was streamed LIVE on LinkedIn.  There were two distinct convictions driving our program here – (1) this would be a digital-first experience and not merely a livestream of the keynote stage, and (2) that we would use LinkedIn Live rather than a gated experience in order to leverage the virality of the network. 

On the second point above, we ran a similar play for our launch event that worked really well.

We were able to generate 911 registrations ahead of the event, both from our event website as well as directly on LinkedIn. Registrants who came in through the website were automatically sent a calendar invite with a link to the event page on LinkedIn. 

When we went live, we were able to drive 891 viewers to the digital event, and a total of 1.6K views total for about 21.6K minutes of consumption. That level of engagement would not have been possible by streaming to an owned surface – a decision to consider depending on your goals for the program. Since we were focused on broad based awareness, we placed a high value on the network effects of the LinkedIn platform.



We sent our NPS survey out the next morning and have received 53 responses so far (a respectable 20% response rate) for a score of 60.  Also, 96% of respondents indicated that they would attend next year - which is awesome.

Now it’s hard to compare NPS scores between events given variables like size of audience, event format, and more.  But we are very proud of producing an NPS 60 event in year one and will use this score as our baseline for the future.


Events represent incredible opportunities to create content.  I’ve always known that to be true, but given our business, we decided to push the boundaries a bit.  In fact, we had 1 camera operator onsite for every 20 attendees – putting us in a position to leave Goldenhour with so much more content than session footage alone.

We recorded each stage (18 sessions) as well as each of the interviews from the digital broadcast desk (16 in total). We also captured 14 conversations with top speakers for a new social series called Clipped, b-roll and man-on-the-street interviews for our event recap, two full seasons of new shows featuring creators in our network, and footage for a documentary we’ve been filming to chronicle our journey from idea inception to execution.

Events are expensive to produce, so part of the thesis on content creation means dropping new episodes every week that are exclusive to AudiencePlus subscribers – extending the ROI of Goldenhour for weeks and months to come.

We’ll continue to monitor the data over the next week, but I hope this was a helpful way to quantify the evolution of event execution post-COVID.

In the spirit of more transparency and learning, I thought it could be helpful to hear some qualitative anecdotes from our NPS survey on what people did and didn’t like about Goldenhour. Like I said earlier, marketing to marketers is no joke – so I’m appreciative that our attendees were willing to speak their mind in the survey :)


What Did People Like?

  • Networking with a high quality of attendees and speakers. Many referenced it as ‘walking into their LinkedIn feed IRL’. This helped reinforce the fact that people don’t (necessarily) travel to events for content anymore, but rather the relationships.

  • Premium onsite experience. Attendees seemed to appreciate the intentionality around high quality event production, using words like fancy, vibes, energy, and buzz to describe it.

  • Intimate size of in-person audience.  Events can aspire to grow every year for growth’s sake, but attendees seemed to value keeping onsite attendance limited. Many appreciated the fact that it was only a one-day event.

  • Balance of inspiration and tactical workshops.  For the most part we heard good feedback on the content itself, setting a tone in the opening keynote and balancing strategic discussions with deeper, practical workshops.

  • Location in Brooklyn.  Attendees appreciated the event being hosted in a “cool” destination city. I heard comments from several New York locals who just hadn’t spent time in Williamsburg, and appreciated the opportunity to visit. 


What Did People Dislike?

  • Venue Limitations.  Despite the high-end hotel venue, the floorplan lent itself to some poor experiences that were hard to predict – such as distracting noise from the main hall during the keynote sessions and issues getting 275 people up two elevator bays for lunch (causing delays to the afternoon agenda).

  • Packed Agenda.  The biggest recurring feedback was around the volume of content that we packed into a one-day event. There was an ask for a later start (which we knew was going to be a problem) and more breaks throughout the day.  All valid feedback..

  • No Unstructured Time for Networking.  With more flexibility in the agenda (see above), we can be more intentional about creating networking opportunities outside of meals. There was an ask for more unstructured networking as well as facilitated networking.

  • Lack of Advanced Content.  A few survey respondents commented on a desire for deeper content for attendees who already have the basics down – I thought that was an important note for next year.

  • Mixed Reactions on Dinner Execution.  We had a musical artist (Lindsey Stirling) perform during / after-ish dinner and found that some attendees wanted to listen to her performance while others wanted to network, leading to a distraction for both groups. In future years, we’ll find a way to create spaces for both.



At the end of the day, I’m super proud of what we built as a very small team for our inaugural event.  As my Head of Customer Success shared with me before the end of the night – we took an idea and we turned it into a memory. We also now have a blueprint from which we can build for future years. Trust me, we have A LOT of ambition for the future of Goldenhour!

I hinted at this above, but we’ve also been filming a documentary (aptly called No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn) that has captured the planning process from idea to execution, and goes into greater detail on the planning decisions that led up to Goldenhour. 

Make sure to subscribe to AudiencePlus to be notified when the documentary drops. 



Anthony Kennada | About the Author

Founder and CEO, AudiencePlus

Prior to founding AudiencePlus, Anthony served as the CMO of incredible companies like Hopin and Front. He was the founding CMO of Gainsight where he and his team are credited with creating the Customer Success category -- a novel business imperative, profession and software category that helps subscription companies grow sustainably by becoming customer obsessed. By focusing on human first community building, content marketing, live events and creative activations, they developed a new playbook for B2B marketing that built the Gainsight brand and fueled the company’s growth from $0 to $100M+ ARR, and eventual acquisition by Vista Equity at a $1.1B valuation. You can follow him here.

Anthony Kennada 6 min

What I Learned About Events Planning Goldenhour

A public post-mortem on what we learned as a very small marketing team executing Goldenhour -- a new type conference for marketers held in Brooklyn and online.

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