Events are an invitation to your audience to experience your brand and business in person. There is a physical engagement. There is an opportunity to form an emotional bond. Most of all, events provide you with a means to accelerate your sales cycle.
With tons of intrusive messages seeking the attention of your target audience every single day, traditional push-marketing tactics are losing their effectiveness. How do you stand out in all that noise and make yourself heard?
Traditional advertising channels are unidirectional. No one really enjoys being on the receiving end of a hard-sell. Events on the other hand create a meaningful dialogue between a brand and its audience. No wonder brands reserve 25-30% of their advertising budgets for creating or sponsoring events1.
Gone are the days of billboards, TV and print ads screaming messages in large print to an unsegmented audience. With events you reach the exact audience intended, allowing your brand to be highly visbile, delivering the intended brand perception, increasing enaggement by creating a community of loyal followers and advocates and strengthening customer relationships.
To make it easier for you for you to plan your next event, we’ve created a checklist for planning the perfect event. From budgeting to promotion, we’ve designed this checklist to help you deliver an efficient and impactful event.
Get these 4 Ws right during the planning stage to run an event that creates a memorable impact and delivers the intended results.
The key to running a successful event is to know the reason why you want to conduct an event in the first place and what exactly is it that you are trying to achieve. Unless you get your reasons right, no amount of money or sophisticated technology will deliver the right outcomes.
Start with the objectives
- Why are you conducting the event? Is it to launch a new product, accelerate your sales funnel through lead generation, promote your brand to increase awareness or position yourself and your brand as a thought leader in the industry?
- Who is your audience? Is it existing customers, prospects, analysts or the media?
- What do you want to achieve? Is it to qualify leads, earn media or nurture relationships?
Set a budget
- How many people do you want to attend your event? What is a suitable size for your venue?
- What are your event setup requirements? Is it a roundtable conference only or will there be experiential kiosks?
- What channels, online and offline, will you use for promoting your event?
Detail the plan
- Are you going to be using a project management tool to keep your team organised? Will it be something as simple as Google Sheets or a more sophisticated tool like Asana or Trello?
- Who in your team is responsible for delivering what item? What is the deadline for each activity?
- Is there a cap on the budget for specific activities?
Guess who infuses life into your event? The people who work behind-the-scenes. Building the right events team is important; these are the brains that translate your objectives into a live setup. You need people who are not only great planners but equally good at thinking on their feet. They need to be able to come up with innovative concepts to conduct your event. A professional entertainment and events management agency can help you achieve exactly that. In case you are wondering about who to collaborate with, ask Saurabh about who the right planners, designers and vendors are globally.
Engage with an event agency
- How experienced is the agency? Have they run similar events before in terms of scale and industry?
- What do their previous clients say about them?
- Is the agency’s concept proposal suited to your objectives?
Manage internal and external stakeholders
- Who drives collaboration between the various stakeholders – management, sales, marketing, event agency, vendors etc.?
- How often are briefing and review meetings to be conducted for identification of bottlenecks and course correction?
- Who is the brand custodian and who ensures that everyone is aligned towards the same goal?
Form the team that sets up the stage and runs the event
- Have you zeroed in on the photographers, videographers, sound and light technicians needed to run the event?
- Does your event feature speakers and/or performers?
- Who takes care of catering, on-site decor and travel and logistics plans?
Once you’ve defined your objectives and pulled a team together you need to decide on what content will be required to tell a coherent, consistent story across all your channels. The aim of an event is to move from selling to building meaningful conversations. To design a great event narrative you must focus on your brand’s market leadership and the experiences and opinions of your company’s leaders.
Craft the keynote
- Who is the potential keynote speaker who can deliver a valuable message to your audience and prompt them to action?
- Have you outlined your expectations from the speaker and provided them with an audience profile?
- Have you prepared and arranged for logistics for your keynote speaker?
Run a panel discussion
- How many speakers/experts will the panel consist of and what is their expertise?
- Who host the event panel and lead the discussions?
- Do you have a list of questions that can come in handy to brief your speakers?
Say something new
- What new ideas or exclusive content are you going to provide?
- How will you make the interactions lively and dynamic?
- Do you need to build content libraries or communities to keep your content alive even beyond your event?
Events in this day and age are not mere meet-and-greets. By employing technology in the planning stages you can set up an effective communication channel. Get people excited about the upcoming event. Create a buzz. Craft a detailed digital strategy to maximise your event’s ROI.
Design an event landing page that converts
- What is the USP of your event? Will your audience get a chance to watch the performance of a popular celebrity, hear a renowned speaker or network with their peers? Are the event details and benefits clearly articulated?
- How well do you balance text with design elements on your landing page? How clearly, creatively and cleverly do you use design to convert the visitor into an attendee?
- What is the call-to-action on your landing page? Have you placed a prominent “Register Now” or a “Buy Tickets” button on the landing page?
Make use of of social media to generate a buzz
- Have you created a unique hashtag to promote your event? Are all your collaterals, social updates and email signatures using the hashtag at every opportunity?
- What organic and paid tactics will you use to market your event online?
- Are you harnessing the power of visual media like videos, images and testimonials to attract your audience?
Reach into the inboxes of your potential audience
- What copywriting tactics will you employ in the emails to create intrigue that drives registrations?
- Does you email detail the list of speakers? What early bird discounts will you offer?
- How will you break through the clutter of other emails? Will your email be a personal invitation sent from the company leader or an influencer?
Ask any event manager, they’ll tell you – managing the big day is nothing short of adrenaline pumping, high voltage, sometimes even a stressful, adventure. But with a careful plan of action you can avoid chaos and instead focus on delivering an event that leaves you with an audience primed to turn into loyal customers.
1. Media for the Masses: The Promise Unfolds, KPMG India—FICCI Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2017