We’re all missing in-person events as we take Zoom calls from our couches and heat up another pot of coffee. One thing we’re not missing, however, is the switch from the traditional branded tchotchkes to more elegant digital swag bags. Everyone attends at least one conference where this happens. You’re handed a bag and know…
Tips for 2018 Yearly Planning
The holidays are approaching and the last events of the year are wrapping up. Although some are looking ahead to their time off, you’ve just been handed your 2018 budget and are knee-deep in 2018 planning. While a new budget provides a number of opportunities for face time with clients and prospects, it can also cause a bit of anxiety. The thought of planning your event strategy for the entire year can be overwhelming for even the most experienced event planner or field marketer. How can you ensure your event strategy will drive profits? What can you do now to create a plan that ensures your budget lasts for the entire year, but also doesn’t result in unused dollars in December? Or if you’re someone who needs to determine how much marketing budget to allocate to events, how do you determine if events are the right tactic for growing your business?
The event experts at Kapow are here to help. We’ve compiled a few tips here to get you started. Take a spin through, and reach out to your Kapow rep to get one-on-one advice for planning your 2018 event strategy.
Learn the schedules
Before you start thinking about your events, scour calendars and make note of any dates your clients will likely be unavailable or dates where logistics in a given city will be complicated. Finding the most convenient time and location for your clients will lead to the best attendance. Start by making a note of any national events and holidays. Then check popular spring break schedules and travel times. Find and note the dates and locations of major sporting events, festivals and concerts. You’re going to have a difficult time getting clients to attend your happy hour when they’re traveling for the Super Bowl; and no one wants to navigate Chicago during the hectic days of Lollapalooza. You’ll also want to look up conference schedules for both industry events that your clients might attend, and major conferences in your host city that might make finding an open event space difficult. By noting these dates in advance, you’ll save yourself the headache of trying to find space and arranging travel down the line.
Once you’ve decided on potential dates or weeks to target, make a note at least four weeks prior to that to start planning. The closer you get to your event date, the more difficult it will be to find venue space and get clients to attend. Be sure to check out our guidelines on how far in advance to book your event for more tips.
Do your research
After noting potential dates to avoid or select, you’ll need to turn your research to other areas. First, review attendee feedback from the previous year. This is a great starting point for planning your events. If you’re not sending post-event surveys, you need to be. What better way to measure your event’s success and learn how to improve your events in the future than to ask your clients directly?
You’ll also want to research new event trends to make sure you’re staying on top of what your clients might be interested in. For instance, in 2018, we’re predicting axe throwing, room escapes, retail events and private screenings to be big.
Finally, to increase your reach while cutting costs, spend some time thinking of business partnerships you may want to leverage to co-host an event.
Set up campaigns to measure success
Depending on how you kicked off 2017, you may be looking back at the year wondering how your events affected business. Many event hosts feel left in the dark as to how events are actually affecting ROI. And unfortunately, it can be rather difficult to start that process post-event. In order to truly measure the success of your event, you need to start the process before you send invitations. Set yourself up for success and spend some time researching the tools you need to plan and track your event. Then determine your 2018 business goals, align those goals with your event strategy and set up campaigns that will allow you to track the success of your event program over time. Knowing the business goals and messaging will not only give you ammunition to plan spot-on events, but it will help guide the timing, cadence and type of event program.
Choose your event types
Now that you know when to have your events, which events are trending and what your goals are, it’s time to determine which types of events to host. It’s important to schedule different types of events for clients in various parts of the buying cycle. Interactive events are great for prospecting because the activity is intriguing enough to get new clients in the door, and helps break the ice once they’re there. Larger, lower-cost events are ideal for nurturing clients that aren’t quite ready to make a purchase. These events help keep you top of mind in the interim. Smaller, more intimate and upscale events are great for wining and dining clients who are further along in the buying cycle and ready to seal the deal. You’ll also want to include some VIP events for your top clients to show your appreciation for their business.
Once you’ve laid out your strategy, start browsing event ideas and book your first event for Q1 of 2018 with Kapow. If you need more guidance, contact us or reach out to your dedicated Kapow rep for more help.
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