The 5 Ps of event planning

June 17, 2013

Running an event can be challenging and time consuming, but if you get it right it can provide many benefits for your business, whether it’s expanding your network of potential customers or increasing your visibility in the media. Having a good strategy in place can often be the difference between a great event and one you’d rather forget. Regardless of whether you expect to have 5 or 5000 people at your event there are a few key things to consider. Here are our top 5:

  1. Purpose: This is the fundamental consideration. If you have a really good idea of what are you hoping to achieve with an event, everything else should come naturally. Are you trying to attract potential customers, ‘give something back’ to loyal clients and partners, educate your audience or launch a product to the media? There is no point holding an event if you don’t have a clear purpose in mind or there isn’t a strong business case for it. To help identify your key aims put yourself in your audiences’ shoes (what will they get out of it)? How can you balance adding value for them against the outcome you’d like to achieve for your business?
  2. People: Have a concise, clearly identifiable message and target your audience carefully. Once you know your purpose, your target audience should be pretty clear, whether it’s partners, customers, industry experts or the media. Matching the message to specific demographics or individual industry groups can have a positive outcome. What’s right for customers may not be right for journalists.
  3. Promotion: Yes numbers can matter when it comes to running events, but sometimes a few of the right people are better than a lot of the wrong ones. The increasing use of social media platforms can allow you to more easily communicate to the masses and increase delegate numbers, whilst a targeted campaign of email invitations to existing contacts could enhance the focus of your event. Don’t assume the same message will work for all audiences and take care to make it relevant to each group you target.
  4. Practicalities: Be organised. Establish a scope of work and stick to it, this will avoid time and budget overruns. Checklists and on-site briefings are absolutely critical to ensure the event will run smoothly and as you expect. Get all the materials ready in advance and ensure you have accurate costs of printing/ WiFi etc. Ensure staff (and delegates) know where to go and what to do at all times.
  5. Polish: Like most things in life, reviewing past successes and challenges can help improve your preparation in the future. Always make time for an event wrap-up after the dust has settled to discuss what went well and what you’d change next time.

Events are a great opportunity to network directly with your customers, potential clients and partners and can provide a positive platform to add value to your business. Having a tight grip on the above considerations will provide you with the tools to ensure your event will be remembered for the right reasons.

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