If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have a specific event in mind that you want to organize. You may be down to a few final options and need more information to make your final decision or you may be ready to start putting all the pieces together! The key to tackling a long list of tasks with limited time is to develop a plan of attack. And if things start to feel a bit overwhelming, don’t be afraid to rely on event planning software to help streamline your efforts!
But, where exactly should you start? With so many aspects to consider – from selecting the right venue to securing entertainment, arranging catering, promoting the event, and managing timelines – it can be challenging to know where to begin. This is where event planning comes into play – a detailed process that encompasses researching, planning, and executing an event.
Composer, conductor, and author Leonard Bernstein aptly summarized the event planning process with the quote: “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” This is a sentiment that is all too familiar for many of us – the feeling of being short on time. Anyone who has planned an event knows that it can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, even if it’s your first time, everything on your to-do list will pay off in the end!
Think back to your childhood days of playing with LEGO. The foundation or base that you constructed dictated the overall shape and structure of what you built. Similarly, it’s essential to consider the basics before committing to an event. This ensures that you have a thorough understanding of what’s involved in each type of event before making a firm commitment.
Event planning often involves investing a significant amount of time and effort, so it’s crucial to ensure that your event provides a positive return on investment. This is where marketing metrics come into play. My very favorite marketing mantra, which I learned from Bob Miller, the former General Manager of Marketing for Toyota is “What you can measure, you can manage.” Begin by looking at the potential benefits of event marketing for your business and identify which ones apply to your event. Determine which specific metrics can be measured after the event and how they relate to the benefits you hope to achieve. Including goals that can be measured as metrics whenever possible is ideal.
For example, brand awareness is a challenging marketing aspect to measure. You can’t see people’s thoughts, but you can measure where your brand name is being talked about, including media coverage and social media statistics. Sales can be made on-site at events, especially for B2C companies that take advantage of sponsorships and expos. Leads come into play for B2B companies when potential customers aren’t likely to make a purchase right away but are still interested in learning more. New contacts are relevant to B2C companies that want to add contacts to their email marketing list. Meetings, on the other hand, can be scheduled by sales and customer success for both prospects and established customers, providing opportunities to upsell or renew. Finally, attendance and monetary goals should be included in the planning to ensure that you’re keeping within budget and making a meaningful impact on your business.
Managing a budget can be one of the most challenging aspects of event planning. Costs can quickly add up, especially if you’re looking to create an unforgettable experience for your guests. Managing expenses related to hiring vendors is a critical part of the process. Aside from two significant expenses – catering and vendors – there are numerous other supplies that may need to be considered, such as hiring photographers, videographers, printers, and event management companies. Regular communication with vendors is critical throughout the planning process to ensure that everything stays on track.
Ultimately, choosing the right venue and catering providers is crucial to the success of any event. Without them, attendees can get grumpy if they’re hungry, and the venue sets the tone for the entire event. Taking the time to carefully consider every aspect of your event planning can help ensure that your event is successful and achieves your desired goals.