For me, event planning is one aspect of having a marketing career that does not come easily. Last week, I was in Seattle hosting a media event with one of our clients. It was a rewarding week, full of networking, product launches, yummy food, good drinks, catching up with old friends, exploring the city and post-event coverage. The editors who attended have flooded our emails with praise and thanks, giving us props for a job well done. I’m flying high on all the compliments I’m getting.
But in all of the euphoria of these post-event feelings, I can’t lose sight of all the work, the late nights and the sacrifices that went on for months, weeks, days and hours before the event to make it all happen (with only minor hiccups). The success of any event is in the details.
I’m not even going to pretend that I’m an expert at event planning. But over the years, I have picked up a few good tips and tricks to make pulling off a successful event that I want to share with you…
- Have a clear purpose for hosting the event
- State your goal, your intentions and your desired outcomes
- Identify your target market and cater to those people
- Don’t get talked into inviting or adding people to the list who don’t make sense aren’t your target audience
- Make lots of lists, detail out everything
- Your lists should include timing, scheduling, logistics, travel, meals, entertainment, gifts, messages, key points and takeaways, speakers
- Update the lists every day; never lose sight of the details
- Be flexible with changes (sometimes last minute)
- Always have a Plan B, C, D, E…think through all the possibilities and plan for each one
- Know your limitations and set clear expectations
- Never overpromise and under deliver. Be realistic in what you can accomplish and give 100% to making that successful
- Stick to your budget
- Throwing more money at an event just increases the opportunities for complications. Use the KISS methodology: Keep it Simple to be Successful
- Get people involved
- Ask for help and lots of it!
- Don’t wait until the last minute, get teams working to help you out right away
- Communicate, communicate, communicate…and then communicate more
- Make sure everyone involved, from team members to vendors to attendees have the most current details and knowledge to make decisions and help you out
- Follow-up with lots of follow-ups
- Give people too much information; the more they know, the more they can help you reach your goals and desired outcomes
- Keep the touch points to everyone active, so they continue to feel involved and important
- Keep a positive attitude
- Be the little train that could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
- Let your attendees be your barometer
- Gauge your success (or lack of) every moment of the event by reading the room. If things aren’t going well, or your audience doesn’t seem to appreciate what’s happening, switch things up.
- Always be ready to work Plan B, C, D, E…
- Relax and fun
- When the time comes, try to enjoy yourself! Know that all your planning was worth it.
Got an event coming up? Let Todd and I know if there anything we can do to help.