Every event planner understands that when assigned the task of organizing a corporate event; it takes a tremendous amount of time, money and introduces a plethora of potential pitfalls. To help prevent or mitigate potential mishaps, this article will cover common mistakes that anyone can encounter when planning a corporate event and how to avoid them.
Walk before you run
In many cases, it may not yet be the right time for a company to plan an event. Some companies simply don’t encourage their staff to think about why they are hosting an event in the first place. From the beginning, make sure your event is worth the investment so that it can be organized for success.
Don’t be the startup that hosts a launch party before their website goes live, launch an experiential marketing campaign without coverage, or be the company that hosts a team building event for a commissioned sales staff – who would rather be at their desks making calls.
Take the time to carefully map out and plan a brief detailing the types of outcomes to expect from the event. Determine what your goals are and what it will take to achieve them…can you do it? In some cases, you may come to the conclusion that it doesn’t yet make sense to hold an event for your company or client. But hey, that gives you more planning time if you’re not quite ready. Either way, this first step is crucial to the overall success of your event.
Careless budget allocation
A major problem when companies plan events is that the money belongs to the company, not the person spending it. This means that, unlike the bride who knows where her every penny is being spent and challenges each vendor multiple times before negotiating, it’s not the same level of care and attention as a corporate event planner. Having a personal investment, similar to someone who pays out of pocket for each add-on, will help you assess the importance of each purchasing decision you make.
If you delegate the organization of an event, transfer some of the responsibility by making everyone aware of the budget and responsible for specific areas of the event. For those who are expected to help organize the event in addition to their current job, look for an incentive to organize an event that meets your event goals. Also encourage your team to report any significant savings.
Too many cooks in the kitchen
Running an event through multiple layers of decision makers can interfere with the quality of the event and waste a significant amount of everyone’s time. Choose one or two people with the right skills to lead the project, allowing them to have the final say on things you don’t have time to look at. Ultimately, having a decision maker other than yourself not only saves you time, but also takes the weight off your shoulders when the event is time sensitive.
Not being on the same page with your guests
Before making a decision, first ask yourself, “Is this the right option for the event attendees?”
The event should be about the people attending. If your guests leave unhappy (for whatever reason), you have failed. It seems obvious, but this mistake happens time and time again, where other small factors have a lasting impact on attendees. Such as decision makers influenced by budget, the organizer affected by creativity or the selection of companies, suppliers and event venues. Your final decisions should always be made based on your guests’ experience. This does not mean that you should go over or beyond the budget. It simply means that you should always be mindful of your guests throughout the event planning process and only spend amounts within your budget when appropriate.
Miscommunication… without even talking!
An event shouldn’t be too impersonal or corporate focused. The best corporate events communicate their values, personality and message in the form of a cohesive theme and concept.
An event connects with its audience through great content: putting your brand, product or service at the heart of the event. This can be the combination of a good tagline, hashtag, impactful images and environmental designs throughout the venue. Maintaining this theme from your company’s pre-event marketing efforts to the attendee’s first experience at registration, all the way through your speaker’s speeches will have a huge impact on the overall theme and message of your event.
Put the brakes on after the event is over
Many corporate events start and end on the same day – and that’s it. These events are too soon forgotten. Events should never be viewed as a stand-alone tactic but integrated with other elements of your company’s marketing efforts.
Thanking your guests, sponsors and supporters is a great way to wrap up your event. You can send thank you notes by mail, email or using social media. Plus, social networks like Twitter or LinkedIn can help you reconnect with everyone who retweets you, shares your posts or interacts with your hashtag. As an added bonus, keep your event campaign going via social networks. Ask your followers to send you photos and share their experience at your event, and offer the top attendee a free pass to next year’s event. This shows other subscribers that you are actively engaging with them and are open to dialogue.
Feedback is critical if you plan to host the event again and helps you know what you accomplished and what you need to work on. Most participants will be more than happy to provide feedback during your event, using paper or online surveys. It is also helpful to gather feedback during your event on individual speakers and performers, even if it is still a new experience and guests can provide useful information.