How many events have you attended? What impression did they carve into your memory? Events are an effective way to boost business and create employee loyalty, however, planning and running an event can be an extremely complex and time-consuming process!
Most commonly mistakes are made with regards to timescale and marketing. Committing to short notice periods will impact planning and marketing activities, inevitably leading to poor attendance rates and financial returns.
Fortunately, these mistakes can be avoided with the right balance of definition and planning.
The research and definition phase (cannot be underestimated!!)
Conducting thorough research will help you to map out the basic skeleton of your event and pre-empt any unexpected occurrences. It will also provide a sense check against what you’d like to deliver as opposed to what is realistically possible!
Firstly, determine and document your event goals. What are you trying to achieve exactly, what is your audience demographic? What type of venue would be the most suitable for your need and when is the right time to hold your event?
What are the specifics of the event? First and foremost, is your vision feasible? You’d be surprised how many this one trips people up! Ideally you need a 4-6 months organisation window however, constraints imposed by key participants or the venue may determine this.
Above all avoid key public, religious or school holidays unless of course your event is celebrating these elements.
What is your budget? This will essentially determine your offering, allowing you to prioritise spending and shape the feasibility. Consider your major cost drivers such as; the Venue, food and drink requirements, entertainment, participant costs, décor, technology, internal staff costs/revenue loss, marketing or promotional materials. If you are on a tight budget look for novel ways to reduce your expenditure without impacting quality!
You should spend time defining your event production team. Primarily you will need backing from the senior management team as well as the wider organisation. Appoint an event manager who is able to maintain accountability and visibility of the whole event, yet who understands the importance of delegation! Determine key individuals with the necessary skills dictated by the nature of the event. Designate a trouble shooter for the event day itself to deal with any unforeseen issues that may arise (you won’t regret it! )
The Planning Stage
Create a detailed timeline of tasks by breaking the event down into smaller, more manageable pieces, i.e. booking and managing the venue, defining the catering needs (including any dietary requirements), coordination of speakers and presenters. An essential part of this includes a comprehensive timeline for the “day – of” processes; specifically, who is going to do what and when??
Delegate each “bite size chunk” to those with the most closely aligned skill set, ensuring they understand accountability! Outline any known issues or potential risks that could jeopardise your success and formulate a mitigation plan addressing them. Make certain that any estimated timelines include latitude and an overall contingency plan for emergencies. Think weather, sickness, technology issues…. Imagine the worst possible case scenario and work backwards! One thing is for sure, event planning post-pandemic will mean you have to implement and factor in, ever change rules and regulations.
Consider the social, economic and environmental impact of your event when planning and delivering. Sustainable event management will also be an attractive marketing proposition when it comes to promotion.
Marketing and publicity
How will the event be branded? What is the unique offering that your event is potentially bringing? Outline your event in an engaging way, using the right message for your targeted audience to entice them to take action. Offer incentives to register and attend. Are you able to integrate with other partners or prospective sponsors? Use digital marketing, social media and traditional marketing to spread the word as far as possible. Perhaps the most important take away item is to promote your event as early as possible to facilitate maximum attendance, delivering reminders to registrants as the event day draws nearer! Continuous communication will keep you in the minds of the attendees and minimise the risk of cancellation.
Manage your event according to your detailed timeline from the planning stage. Combined with your dedicated trouble shooter and in depth contingency plan, what could possibly go wrong?
A brief thankyou or acknowledgement for services, along with distribution of recorded media and clear communication about the success of the event will leave a lasting positive impression on your attendees for future events. Run an evaluation or lessons learned workshop with your event team and capture key items for incorporation in the next event.
Whatever your event plans, Sheer Edge can definitely support you, get in touch today to talk through our event support services;
firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on: 0330 223 3176