Nectar Creative Communications managing director, Peta Moore, says small structure changes can have a big impact.
You can improve your bottom line by taking a more strategic approach to the creative, technical, and logistical elements of your next conference or event. If you’re working off the same checklist or Gantt chart you always have, you might be missing some big opportunities.
It’s never too late to look at your processes and structures to evaluate where there’s room to improve. There are some key areas where, with a little creativity and strategic thinking, a small change can have a big impact:
Create a Complete Delegate Experience
If the success of your event is dependent on a single keynote speaker, you could be in a world of trouble if he or she cancels at the last minute. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; focus on the event as a whole. Build a buzz with feature and concurrent speakers, and a social program that takes advantage of the event location and gets the delegates out and about.
Create an immersive experience, whether it’s a one-day seminar or an annual conference. I often ask: “What story are we telling?” when planning a program. This helps us string all the elements together. Remember it should engage your participants emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Implement Clear Stakeholder Communication
Events are dynamic and will keep you on your toes, from planning to execution. To ensure all requests and changes are recorded and implemented, use a web-based project-management tool that allows all stakeholders to access to-do lists and action items.
At Nectar Creative Communications, we use a combination of Trello for day-to-day task management, and WorkflowMax for overall project management. Be proactive and implement a clear stakeholder communication plan from the first stage of your event planning.
If you host an annual event that attracts the same audience year in, year out, it runs the risk of becoming stale.
If it’s too late to think about changing the location or venue this year, then why not step things up and recognise returning attendees? (Budget permitting, of course.) People love to be remembered and appreciated. So to build a memorable and lasting connection with your company, include a reward — whether it be a gift, discounted registration fee, or an exclusive experience for repeat delegates. It doesn’t have to be costly. Small rewards can be just as effective.
Revisit Your Event Branding
Ensure you understand your event brand and how it appeals to your target audience. A successful brand can effectively communicate what attendees can expect from your event. This should impact everything from the visual style to the brand’s voice, something the target audience will buy in to. A brand refresh is important to remain current and relevant to your audience.
Track and Measure All Marketing Channels
Selling tickets or registrations? Track all channels to maximise your advertising spend. By using unique links for each channel it is a lot easier to track responses. In doing so, you can focus your efforts and spend on the real money makers. For instance, your advertisements on Facebook could be reaching more people, however your ads on LinkedIn could be the reason your event registrations have spiked.
Failing to use data that is available to you could cost your event in dollars and a lot of missed opportunities.
Shift Your Perspective
Look at the event from the attendees’ point of view. Where would they first interact with your brand? What would their first impression be? Does the event website answer their questions about the offering, logistics, etc.? Can they voice their concerns and ask questions?
Can the attendee see evidence of social proof? Is the registration portal easy to use? Can they easily promote your event?
What you need is a fresh perspective; ask somebody who hasn’t been involved with the project to identify potential bottlenecks. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you do the same as last year, the event will be just as successful. Take some time to think about your event strategically before you get stuck into the tactics and to-do lists. It will make all the difference.
Peta Moore is the managing director of event management company Nectar Creative Communications, which has offices in Australia and New Zealand.