In a recent strategic planning worksheet, “A Planner for Cultivating Better Events,” brand experience company Freeman lays out the strategy behind creating a brand experience that makes attendees feel valued, while also providing value.
Seize the Opportunity
The worksheet points out that two abilities are very important for any planner to possess: storytelling and tech knowledge. In storytelling, see that there is a clear message that attendees can resonate with. As a result of having a message that resonates, attendees will discover that they are valued and will be able to connect to your brand on a personal level.
The prevalence of technology in events can’t be ignored, and it’s best that planners use it to their advantage; leveraging openly available tech will increase your reach and boost your attendee’s ROI. Technologies, such as live web streaming and second-screen tech, are allowing planners to both extend a greater reach (even to attendees who can’t physically attend), as well as create an experience in which attendees aren’t just attending, but truly engaging. With the use of a mobile phone, using polls, Q&A and gamification, second-screen technology creates a dynamic that lets attendees include themselves in the conversation.
Max Your Budget
In the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose track of where all the money is going. There are probably one or two things on which you could cut back spending, or get rid of altogether; in that new-found surplus of money, you can search for new, cost-efficient models on which to base your spending. Here are three ways you can max your budget and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
- Recreate a budget. It’s good to find out exactly how much you’re spending and where it’s going.
- Find your key performance indicators. After laying out your business objectives, find your key performance indicators, discoverable with social media and reviews. Develop a strategy that can demonstrate the trends, both across events and over the year.
- Line budget with KPIs and business objectives. Using the information you’ve gathered to analyze your events, make your next move based on these questions:
- Do your most expensive line items help you achieve your goals?
- Are there cost-efficient alternatives that could offer the same results?
- Are there things you do simply out of tradition?
Become Your Audience
Knowing your attendees is crucial to pulling off a successful event. When you’re knowledgeable about your attendees needs and desires, it creates a relationship that will almost guarantee yearly attendance. Having a consistently high turnout of attendees will prompt exhibitors to keep high attendance, as well—the two feed into one another. Exhibitors will continue to attend your events if they have always had a large turnout.
For an event planner, the planning never really ends. After a successful event is over, it doesn’t mean the period of engagement ends, too. Staying engaged with your attendees is a surefire way to keep valuable connections intact. Event planning should be viewed as a year-round effort rather than as a seasonal project. Here are several ways planners can do this.
With social media, continue to highlight the event after it’s over.
- Use post-event surveys and polls to learn how to make the next event better.
- Condense and summarize event content for attendees. This creates easy sharing.
- Promote content over time. Show the event to those who missed it and remind those who did of their experience.
- Promote what’s coming next. Give attendees something to look forward to.
Planning with a year-round mind-set will leave them anxiously awaiting the next one. Holding the attention of attendees is no easy feat, but strategic planning will ensure it isn’t more difficult than it needs to be.