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IABC Cleveland

A Group for Professional Business Communicators


Take 5: Using Limited Budget to Promote Gay Games 

By Paris Wolfe & Ann M. Gynn


Ann M. Gynn, Director of Marketing & Communications, for the 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation has a limited budget to get the word out for this summer’s Cleveland+Akron event. Here, Gynn shares how she’s doing it. To learn more attend IABC’s April 17 lunch program. 


What are the Gay Games?
Gay Games is one of the world's most inclusive largest sporting and culture events. It encompasses more than 35 sports, from bowling and darts to softball, soccer, swimming, to marathon and cycling. Band and choral concerts also are part of the Gay Games activities. The Gay Games also have an Opening Ceremony where all participants can march in the Parade of Athletes, Festival Village and Closing Ceremony. Cleveland+Akron beat out Boston and Washington, D.C. to secure the Gay Games for 2014. Paris will be the host in 2018.


Who’s your audience?
The Games are open to all adults regardless of sexual orientation or athletic ability. We like to say, "You don't need to be gay. You don't need to good. You just need to be at least 18." With that understanding, the target audience is the LGBT community in the Midwest as well as key LGBT markets in U.S. and the community at large in Northeast Ohio, plus a few global markets. 


How do you make the most of a small budget?
We leverage every resource possible - both people and dollars. We have to focus every dollar spent on a singular goal -- recruiting participants/volunteers. There are a lot of opportunities that would be nice to do or would add value to the overall Gay Games organization but unless it's about our core goal, it's not likely to happen. We also created the Champions program, which involves super volunteers from different cities and/or LGBT sports. They "champion" the Gay Games in their region and at key LGBT sporting events, tournaments, etc. throughout the time.


What media channel is most important to you ? Why?
E-communication with our 24,000+ database and social media. Half of those in the database previously participated in Gay Games so they're a great target audience, and the other half are people who have expressed interest in Gay Games 9. Social media is integral to our outreach for several reasons -- a lot can be done at no or little cost, engaged users create the buzz (not just the official GG9 mouthpiece) and GG9 can follow and participate in trends and topical conversation. Of course, all channels are relevant and leveraged by GG9, especially media partnerships.


What should one avoid in event promotion?
You should avoid pulling your hair out every time you hear someone say, "Oh, I haven't heard about that event," despite all the marketing you've done.

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Networking and lunch begin at 11:30am, and the presentation from noon – 1:30pm. The program will be held on the second floor of the Cleveland State University School of Business, 1860 E 18th St. #220, Cleveland, OH 44114. The cost, which includes your choice of boxed lunch, will be $10 for IABC members, students, and professionals-in-transition, and $15 for non-members. Register today.




9 Marketing Lessons Learned from Gay Games 9

The Gay Games is headed to Cleveland+Akron this summer for its ninth quadrennial event. Gay Games 9 has a relatively small budget, limited resources and a diverse audience with big goals. Sound familiar? At IABC’s April 17 educational program you can go behind the scenes with Ann Gynn, director of marketing & communications for the event. Learn what's being done to get the word out, what has worked (and what hasn't) as well as how the event will have an impact far beyond this August. Walk away with a few lessons that may help your business or nonprofit. 

Networking and lunch begin at 11:30am, and the panel discussion runs from noon – 1:30pm. The program will be held on the second floor of the Cleveland State University School of Business, 1860 E 18th St. #220, Cleveland, OH 44114. The cost, which includes your choice of boxed lunch, will be $10 for IABC members, students, and professionals-in-transition, and $15 for non-members. Register today.

Parking includes on-street meters, surface lots nearby, and RTA lines that stop near the business school