As Africa’s leading exhibitions and events management company, we’ve had the pleasure of connecting businesses with their markets by using customised events as a cost-effective marketing tool.
There is no doubt that conferences, seminars, tradeshows and business events are an excellent way to network and engage with the right audience in your industry. One of the reasons we have been successful in helping our clients reach their goals is through our focus on event planning. Today, we would like to share our best event planning tips to make your next event memorable.
Determining the target audience
As with the marketing plan of a business, event planning begins with determining the target audience, based on which the content, budget, venue, and type of event can be decided. This will also bring a structure to the planning process, allowing you to stay focused on the goals.
A financial plan is crucial for any event. Ask yourself:
- How will it be funded?
- Will it be a sponsored event or will marketing budget take care of the expenses?
Based on the answers, an expense budget must be created taking into account, venue costs, catering, food and beverage, transportation, accommodation, permits and licenses to name a few. Partnering with other brands, where feasible, could result in significant savings.
Setting SMART goals
Setting goals provide direction and focus so that all activities are geared towards achieving these goals. We like to use the acronym SMART that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This includes why the event is being held, the expected outcome of the event and how it will be measured. Examples of goals are lead generation and strengthening customer loyalty. Based on this, a detailed plan must be drawn up, listing tasks, delegation, time frames, budgets, vendor and invitee management.
Scheduling the event
This is a critical step in the planning process. Choosing the date must take into account attendee availability and any other industry events or public holidays that might clash with it.
Being prepared with a backup plan
Change is inevitable in any event, so have a contingency plan on hand. This can include what to do if there’s a sudden power outage or if the sound system malfunctions. What if the speaker, if there is one, does not turn up? What if the weather forecast is wrong?
Being realistic, yet flexible
It is important to be flexible about change in budget, location, venue, number of attendees and other activities related to the event. It is also necessary to be realistic over what is possible. Accordingly, preparations must begin several months in advance depending on the size of the event.
Making a detailed marketing plan
Being organized is key. There must be a solid marketing plan in place, listing reasons why the target market must want to attend the event. Leveraging social media is a great way to promote the event with a unique hashtag for tracking. Allow guests to register online to make the process easier for them.
After distributing jobs to team members, set up a system for follow up to ensure everything is on schedule, as planned. Follow up is an ongoing process to stay on track and tackle any deviations that may crop up.
Leveraging the power of social media
Social media has the power to make an event go viral. With almost everyone engaging and sharing on social media on the go, it is important to have an in-house team tracking it and responding to it – not only before the event but also on the day of the event.
Setting up a feedback and measurement system
Only that which can be measured can be improved. It is critical to have a system in place to gauge attendee feedback and parameters for success along with analytics.
At Reed Exhibitions, we believe in bringing the right people together with our expertise in organizing customised exhibitions and products. If you are planning to widen your marketing reach with an event, we invite you to get in touch for a discussion.