Branded events can be one of the most powerful tools at a marketer’s disposal. Giving your customers an experience that they never forget can do wonders for brand advocacy.
But events can go seriously wrong if you don’t know what you are doing. Thankfully, I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the best event managers in the business, including my good friend Ryan Parrott.
There is no-one I would trust more with a big event, so I asked Ryan to share his top 10 event success tips with the Maloney on Marketing community. Enjoy!
When it comes to managing an event (no matter what it is, or how big it is), you don’t have the luxury of a second chance, no pause or rewind buttons to hit if things go wrong.
You have to get it right the first time – no if’s, no but’s.
These are my top 10 tips that might help you the next time you have to organise one, whether it be your wedding, your best mate’s 30th, a 150 person gala dinner for your high value clients or a three-day interstate conference for 1000 staff.
1. Back-up plan
Like a good boy scout, always be prepared for the worst.
What would you do if a volcano erupted in Europe, causing your band and your MC to miss their flights?
The fancy multimedia presentation that your keynote speaker wants to use won’t work?
It starts bucketing down rain on the day of your mostly outdoor event? Or there’s a freak heat wave?
2. Keeping records
I know this sounds really obvious, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t keep detailed plans and records for events.
Doing so will make your life far less stressful, as you will have complete control over, and visibility of, everything that is going on. There are just too many moving parts to the beast that make it so easy for things to fall between the cracks if you don’t keep on top of your records and planning.
At the minimum, I suggest you create the below documents, and share them with all relevant stakeholders and suppliers as early as possible.
Project plan: Actions (completed and due) responsibilities, date required etc.
Event Run Sheet: Every item on it needs to detail timings, location, exact requirements and who is responsible for making sure it gets done.
3. Time for rehearsals and equipment checks
This is a must, however it is often either overlooked or not enough time is allocated for it.
It’s far better to have completed your rehearsals and done all your equipment checks with an hour to spare than to be scrambling around doing them and fixing problems at the last minute.
In particular, rehearsal time is critically important for those who do not present onstage regularly.
It gives them time to settle their nerves, get comfortable with their presentation and the environment in which they will be presenting in.
4. Choosing talent
At the bare minimum, see a show reel and speak to their previous clients.
Wherever possible though, when you are considering talent (band, actors, MC, comedian etc), go to one of their shows.
There’s nothing like seeing them perform live to know if they are appropriate for your event and will be the right fit.
5. Reconfirm bookings
Just because you booked those fifteen coaches a few months ago, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are still booked!
And get the reconfirmation in writing.
Get the mobile numbers of all of your on site contacts in the week prior to event.
There’s nothing quite like being caught on site without that key person’s mobile number and no access to a computer.
7. Dry green room
The talent (band, actors, comedian, guest speaker etc) are being paid to perform.
There’s no need for alcohol in their green room, no matter how much they insist on it in their rider.
Unless of course you want them to go on stage and embarrass you and your company in front of your highest value clients.
8. Thank and reward your suppliers
Yes, they’re suppliers and you are paying them to do a job.
But there are those individuals and teams you come across who go above and beyond the call of duty and blow you away with their hard work, attention to detail and willingness to genuinely do whatever it takes to ensure your event is a success.
So be sure to let them know that you appreciate their efforts. It doesn’t take much – just a simple thank you email might suffice.
Or it’s amazing how much a small sign of gratitude like a bottle of wine or a gift voucher is greatly appreciated.
And the next time you work with them, your relationship will be that much stronger.
9. Debrief report
If you’re in a corporate events role, be kind to the next person who has to do your job when you have moved on. What would you need, or want, to know if you were them? It’s no good everything being up in your head and taking that intellectual property with you when you leave.
Document everything that you did, include photographs, detail what worked well, what made you want to tear your hair out, and what you would do differently next time.
How much did the event cost? Any tips or hints for next time that you wish you knew before starting work on the event or that would help someone who has to run it next time?
10. Enjoy yourself!
Your job is to make sure that the guests enjoy themselves, so don’t forget to make sure you do a bit of the same yourself – both while you’re organising the event and while you’re running it on the day.
The events industry is fun and full of great people, some of whom may you may form friendships with that last long after the event is over.
It is fast-paced, vibrant and dynamic, so embrace the whole experience for what it is and just go with the flow.
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