Business events have earned a somewhat notorious reputation of tedious snooze-fests. They are certainly not something people look forward to. Well, it does not have to be that way.
Memorable business events happen all the time, although not by some stroke of chance. They are meticulously planned and executed.
The devil is often in the detail and creative touches that disrupt the corporate formality and rigidity. Rest assured that a killer event can cement relationships, attract new clients, improve public image, and help organizations reach other goals.
So, buckle up. Here is how to throw in an amazing occasion that will serve as a talking point and vehicle for success.
1. Study your Audience
The first thing to do is to think about your target audience. All winsome business events are about participants as much as they are about brands that organize them.
So, do not use the event just as a stage for self-promotion and bragging about how great your company is. Of course, you cannot blow everyone away, but you can let people’s wants, needs, and expectations to serve as your guiding light. Follow it when deciding on format, size, content, location and other key aspects. Maintain your focus and avoid having an overly broad scope and watering things down.
2. Have a Sense of Purpose
Next, get clear on what your goals are. Yes, making an impact is great and all, but be more specific. For instance, recognize the opportunity to engage in event branding.
HubSpot showed us how it is done with its annual inbound marketing event. The trick is to make your event stand out and tell a story about who you are. To make it happen, you can enlist your partners for collaboration and connect with top dogs in the industry.
That way, you should be able to secure reputable speakers, sponsorships, and exhibits. You may as well create a buzz-worthy trend and tradition out of it.
Here is the video from #INBOUND17, featuring the Hubspot co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, who are providing insights for scaling your business:
3. Put Together a List
Once you know who is going to attend, what are the objectives, and where it will take place, create a detailed list. Do not overlook a single aspect, be it public transportation, lighting, seating space, décor, refreshments, or something else. Keep an open mind when it comes to the size of the event.
Check the calendar and make certain your event is not around holidays and vacation times. If that sounds like too much to handle, work with a specialist event planner that knows your industry backwards and forwards. You will have fewer things on your plate and focus only on top priorities.
Think Outside the Box
To take your event management strategy to the next level, ponder creative and unconventional ideas. Note that you can do some venue marketing and reap additional benefits from the event. Think beyond standard locations like hotels and restaurants.
In recent years, we have seen business events taking place at music concerts, in mountain resorts, theme bars, etc. Just take the example of Linkedin’s Talent Connect that took place in an Ice Cave or Fox’s Cosmos promotion, which was organized on a parking lot turned cinema.
4. Set the Budget
Blowing the budget is never an option. To steer clear of this disastrous scenario, work out a financial plan. Figure out what the most prudent way to pay for the event is. You can fund it with sponsorship deals, internal marketing budget, ticket sales, and other sources.
Take your time to explore all the avenues before booking the venue and signing any contracts. It could make financial sense to tap into alternative sources like crowdfunding as well.
In any event, leave some room for extra costs that may arise. Price out everything, including all the permits and licenses that are required.
5. Give Them Something Fun
Furthermore, consider adding a standout focal point that will invite people to take part in fun activities. Throw some entertainment in the mix with talent shows, live demonstrations, product demos, stand-up comedy, or karaoke. You can also take advantage of immersive technologies (hologram software, apps, live streaming, VR, and AR) to keep people engaged. We have moved light years away from PowerPoint-centered business events.
Finally, you can offer some freebies. On a Facebook’s F8 Conference this year, attendees were given free Oculus Go VR Headsets, before this product even hit the market. Nice gifts like this are sure to create a lasting impression.
6. With Flying Colors
Organizing and running a great businesses event is no walk in the park. Even the mere idea of tackling this can seem intimidating. However, do not fret. Many have been where you are and they still came on top.
So, do your homework. Whether it is a conference, customer appreciation day, agency awards ceremony or a seminar, you have to plan ahead of time.
Keep the fingers on the pulse of the target audience, form a budget, and know exactly what you want to achieve with the whole thing. Following these steps, you will make sure events are buzzing among stakeholders, partners, customers, and prospects.