I’m Syreeta. I’ve worked in events for my entire professional career. I’m fortunate to have chosen to work in an industry that I thoroughly enjoy being part of, satisfies my sense of purpose is challenging in a good way and super rewarding. I suppose you could say I have a passion for events and what’s more, I truly believe in the value of the face to face opportunity events provide.
After 20 years of working for the world largest event organiser on domestic, international, large, small, trade and consumer events, I’ve set up on my own and I’d like to take this opportunity to share what I’ve learned along the way.
I’m not claiming to be the oracle by any stretch, but I am willing to share what I know for the benefit of non-event-based businesses involved with hosting, participating at and visiting events.
I’ve created a short series of blogs to support your event planning process. It’s not rocket science but I hope it’ll provide some useful pointers and help you get the most out of your time and financial investment.
So let’s get started……
Like many things in life, Who, What, Why, Where, When and How are applicable to events whether you are hosting, participating or visiting an event. Asking these questions of yourself or brainstorming with your team is a great staring point for the planning process.
If you are hosting an event or considering participating in an event – ask yourself WHY this event is needed?
What’s the primary objective? What do you want to achieve? To get you started, try putting these possible objectives in order of priority:
For example, let’s say the primary objective is R&D. You’ve got a product that needs to be enhanced / upgraded but want to conduct some research to support decision making on the best enhancements to implement. You could take prototypes of the enhanced model to an event and canvas for feedback. The event provides an opportunity to get detailed direct feedback from your customer base in a relatively short period. At the same time, your presence at the show could allow you time to manage customer relationships, keep up to date with industry trends and maintain profile in the sector.
Identify what success looks like and again be realistic. Think about the number of attendees expected at the event. Not all attendees will visit you (we'll talk about pre show promotion in a later blog) so decide what is an acceptable level of engagement in order to make the time and financial investment worthwhile? Set some targets that will help you measure success against your objectives, for instance:
X customers met
X prototype feedback from customers
X prototype feedback from prospects
X new business leads etc etc.
X interest from the media
If you are visiting an event – quite simply ask yourself why you should go?
What do you hope to get out of attending an event? Why will attending an event help you to achieve your objectives? And why is one event preferable to another? As above, set some clear objectives which will not only become your business case for the company investing the time and money for you to attend but will help you to focus on what’s important when you are planning your visit – which companies to meet, which education sessions to attend, which media and industry bodies to connect with etc.
Remember, times flies when you are visiting an event. To spend 20 minutes with 9 companies will take approx. 4.5hrs and that excludes travel time, breaks, bumping into an old colleague etc. Do you need some support from a team member to ensure you see every company you are interested in?
And, when visiting an event consider how many relevant exhibitors or existing suppliers will be there in addition the valuable content you might want to take advantage of. Your targets may look something like this;
X exhibitors met offering the product/service you need
X existing suppliers met
X seminars attended – notes taken to share back in the office
X meeting with journalist / industry association
Understanding WHY you are engaging with an event will help make all the decisions that follow. Make sure you and your team define, agree and stay focussed on WHY.
Next week, I’ll go into more detail about WHO.
Good luck with your planning!
I'm the owner of The Positive Event Partnership and have spent my entire professional career working in events sector.