New task from your boss: organize an event for the firm. Don’t panic! In this article you will pick up the basic things to consider in order to plan a successful event with an assured return in terms of brand awareness, new leads and ideas to develop.
Before we start, get in the state of mind that you could never do this alone, you need a TEAM otherwise chaos is around the corner!
Once you’ve built your team, you have to focus on the reason why an event could be a strategic move for your company (the launch of a new product? new brand image? an important software release?) and what the firm wants to achieve with it.
Whatever are the answers to the previous questions, there are important steps to bear in mind if you want to plan a successful event :
Start thinking about planning an event in advance, minimum 4-6 months before. There are so many things to take care of and finding yourself with short time available is one of the most frequent causes of failure.
You need to know how much money you can spend as budget makes a huge difference for the choice of location, catering, speakers, promotions etc…
Decide the audience you want at the event. Start to make a decision between prospects and customers (or even both) than consider the corporate title ( e.i. c-level, developers etc…). For example, if you are an ICT company that wants to promote the new TMS (transportation management system) software release, you’ll invite people belonging to logistics sector and especially Supply Chain Managers, Transportation Managers or Logistics Managers.
- How long will the event be
Based on the budget you have and what you want to promote, you can choose between half a day, an entire day or even two days.
- Date, location and catering
Decide the event date considering to avoid days near bank holidays and school holidays. Be careful also to check key participants’ agenda (like speakers, presenters etc…)
Decide a location that is easily reachable by bus, metro, car, plane or train. If necessary arrange in advance logistics for the participants, mostly if you decide to move from one location to another.
Speaking about catering, bear in mind that food is important, whenever you organize a coffee break, a light lunch or a dinner. It’s crucial to choose an excellent catering with an excellent service.
If you want a high level event, invite influential speakers from Universities or Consortiums (e.i. electronics, logistics industries etc..). They will look impartial in the audience eyes but above all they will add interesting and challenging topics to be deepened during the event.
- Event Promotion
First of all create a web page on your company’s website with the event agenda and a subscription form. Secondly use social media, plan regular posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in order to keep your community updated. Your goal is to make sure that people (and why not your competitors) consider the event as a “can’t-miss” opportunity.
This is not only a pre event activity, make sure to create posts during the event sharing photos and content, in other words, telling what is going on.
And … If you want some echo on newspapers and online magazines you’ll definitely invite the press 😉
Make sure to have in your team a graphic designer, she or he will be responsible to design the “event concept” that will be on the panels, brochures, notebooks, speakers presentations, badges etc..
Find useful and innovative gadgets like power banks, cord wraps or high capacity USB sticks. They will be much more appreciated than the usual and boring post-its.
Once you’ve defined all of this, make sure to prepare for each guest a welcome package (e.i. shopper or a folder) with the event program, gadgets, brochures, pen, notebook and the badge. At the accreditation desk your guests will get the first impression on how the event is going to be and there’s nothing worse than missing one of the above things, especially badges!
- Brainstorming sessions
Two weeks before the fateful date, schedule brainstorming sessions with your team and the staff involved (e.i. hostess) in order to check if you missed something , in this way, you’ll have plenty of time to fix it.