Welcome back! I hope last weeks’ blog gave you plenty to think about and enabled you to make a productive start with your event planning process.
Now you have decided why you’re engaging with an event, this time, we are focussing on WHO.
Who the event is for is very important and being absolutely clear about the WHO will enable you to answer many of the questions that follow including When, Where, What and How.
An event, be it a product launch, private view, party, festival or international trade show is all about getting people together, being in the same room and networking, discovery, having conversations and connecting.
I expect your answer to Why you are engaging with an event involved who you'd engage with – stakeholders, staff, clients, prospects, media, supporters, investors...the list goes on. If you are struggling when it comes to who – make sure you understand WHY and it’ll make this part of the process easier.
We’ll look at this question from your perspective of host, participant or attendee;
If you are hosting an event – who will you invite?
For example; You want to launch a new product. You have an established client base as well as many stakeholders and a list of potential clients appropriate to the new product so it’s decision time… Will you invite them all? Are they all relevant? How about your internal staff including sales agents potentially located elsewhere – will they benefit from attending too? Who from the media / influencer community should be added to the guest list? What kind of numbers are you looking at and what kind of conversion from invited guest to attendee would you anticipate?
How will each group of guests benefit from attending the event you are hosting? Thinking about this against WHY you are doing it in the first place will ensure your guests are on the list for good reason and that your investment is worthwhile.
If you are considering participating at an event - who do you expect / want to meet?
For example; You want to raise awareness of your brand in your core market sector. Research the attendee profile of the events in the sector – in basic terms who attends? Is there a good mix of existing and potential new clients? Does the profile match your requirements?
Where possible, identify the visitor product interest and main reason for the attendee visiting the event. Organisers will have this information and should be willing to share it. Is the visitor interest aligned with your offering / reason for participating?
Does the event provide opportunities to meet representatives from companies you’d otherwise struggle to connect with? And coming back to the WHY – in this case raising awareness, in addition to customers, who from the media will be there, who is contributing to the content programme? Are potential influencers, partners and industry bodies signed up? Are your competitors participating? If not, why not – is that an opportunity or a red flag?
It may take some time but do your research and take the time to compare events against eachother. Score them, rank them, draft a list of pro’s and cons. This information will help you to decide which event(s) are best to invest in and most likely to help you achieve your objectives.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Event organisers capture a wealth of information about their attendees – ask for as much detail as possible in order to enable you to make an informed decision.
If you are visiting an event – who do you want to focus your attention on?
For example; You’re looking for a new supplier. There are few industry events you could attend but it’s a whole day, possibly two, maybe even a week out of the office so it’s a big commitment. It’s time to be selective.
Which event has the widest range of businesses that could potentially help you? Which event has the companies with a proven track record and a good reputation? Find out which companies the potential suppliers are currently working with. Are there any synergies in the services they are providing already and what you need? In addition to who is exhibiting, who is speaking, hosting workshops, running drop in clinics or interactive features that could be of interest? Is an industry association or governing body present who can offer some impartial advice?
This all sounds quite obvious but you’d be amazed at the amount of companies who say they went to an event (as a visitor or participant) and didn’t meet anyone relevant, or said it was a waste of time and money. This situation is completely avoidable. I truly believe these people just can’t have done the right research and as a result their experience hasn’t been a good one.
So, before I start droning on about the perils of poor planning I’ll sign off. I hope this article has given some food for thought and will improve your approach to engagement with events moving forward.
I'm the owner of The Positive Event Partnership and have spent my entire professional career working in events sector.