A big part of my role when I first started as a marketing executive in the 1990’s was running events – they were great fun, but hard work. Over the years and numerous events later I’d like to share what I’ve learned about how to run an event that ‘delivers’ from a promotional and logistics angle – but most importantly, maximises your return-on-investment.
#Key 1: Create a plan
There is no need to use a complex project management tool. Use a simple Excel spreadsheet to list the activities you need to carry out pre- and post-event, assigning each task to an owner with a delivery deadline.
List EVERYTHING you need to do for the event – booking speakers, planning meetings and briefings, organising the venue, catering, collateral, giveaways, online assets and so on. If you’re going to an Expo, then make sure you have details of all their deadlines and venue information – like electrics, health & safety reports, Internet access.
Outline the budget with estimated costs and keep a tally on the costs as they come in. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate ROI after the event, so visibility of total cost is crucial.
#Key 2: Pinpoint your objectives
Why are you running an event or attending an Expo, and who are you hoping to invite or meet? Outline your objectives at start of the planning. This will keep you focused when you are developing the messaging – whether it’s for a press release, or creating the copy for your signage.
#Key 3: Get your messaging right
Prioritise the copy for your promotional material, sales emails and event signage – otherwise why will your target audience want to attend or to visit you on your stand? Make sure your copy resonates with your audience, is relevant and stands out. Remember to have your customer at the forefront of your mind at all times.
And make sure your brand is reflected in the quality of your stand design.
#Key 4: Communications
Inform everyone (sales, management, third parties) who’s involved in the planning and/or attending the event – ensuring they know all about it and have it booked into their calendars. It’s so important that you properly brief the team beforehand – your messaging, any demonstrations on the stand, any customers you’ve invited, event logistics and running order, how leads are to be collected and managed– and create a stand rota! Run this as a meeting or call before the event.
#Key 5: Follow-up properly
A lot of time and money is spent managing, promoting and attending an event – don’t waste all of that by not following up with ‘leads’ collected or useful contacts that you’ve met. All leads should be centrally collated and assessed as soon as you return to your office after the event. Assign the leads to individuals and follow up within a few days of event and track them in your CRM.
If you’d like help with your event planning to make sure you maximise its success just get in touch!
About the author:
Sere Davoudi, Director at Sprint Marketing Consultancy has spent over 25 years marketing within the technology sector – working for global vendors such as IBM, Sema Group Telecoms and Cisco. Over the last decade she has helped many small to medium sized businesses realise their business growth plans with effective and diverse marketing tactics.