Events are a big deal for all organizations. With companies allocating a major chunk of their marketing budget for live events, events are a great way to increase brand awareness and fuel the sales pipeline. That said, organizing events is no cake walk; becoming an event manager takes a lot of time, practice, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. Even the most seasoned event pros have made a lot of mistakes during their career. What differentiates them from the rest is that they don’t make the same mistake the next time.
As an event planner myself, I have had the opportunity to work with several accidental and experienced event managers over the years. The one thing that cuts across the board: the mistakes they make. And don’t get me wrong – making mistakes is an important step in learning, but these mistakes are often overlooked or considered “normal” while planning events. Following are six mistakes that even event veterans make while planning events.
Events for the sake of events
Events are an important marketing channel. However, even if you have a great event idea, it is not necessary that you’ll have an enthusiastic, receptive audience who will be interested in your events. Even if your events are free, do you think your audience will have the cash and decision making power to buy your product or services?
The biggest mistake I think here is that event planners think that having a great event idea is worth executing. My advice is to do some pre-event market research to ascertain a demand and trend that supports the idea of your event. In other words, do complete financial feasibility tests. The bigger your event, the more research you got to do and seek opinions and analyze previous event sales data. Establishing your target audience, their demand and budget will help you determine if your events are worth the time you invest.
Getting carried away at the planning stage
After assessing the viability of your events, it now comes to the planning stage. It is a crucial stage where you decide the look and feel, design and theme of your event. You’ll also be interested in creating the ‘take away memories’ to make your event memorable for your attendees.
What planners generally miss here is that they keep their preferences above their guests while designing the event. Great events are created when planners set aside their personal preference and think like their attendees. This will create an audience-centric program to address the attendees’ needs.
Procrastination and no responsibility
Event planners are generally good time managers. Every hour counts and every meeting has to be purposeful and productive. The biggest problem during event planning meetings is when the team doesn’t like taking decision and responsibility for it. Failing to make timely and smart decisions can virtually destroy your events. Too much discussion, procrastination and lack of responsibility can jeopardize your chances of delivering a successful event.
Insufficient time spent on searching venues
Your event venue is the most important part of your event. Selecting the right venue is an important task. Choosing the perfect venue requires a lot of time and effort, and if you don’t spend enough time searching, you may have to settle for the second-best. Because of this compromise, you’ll have to make your event fit the venue when it should ideally be the other way round. And yes, you’ll always be blamed for contracting the venue which you yourself never preferred.
To avoid this situation, plot your event calendar in advance, and wherever possible, always buy yourself more time. That way you are more likely to get the perfect venue!
Chaotically organized event programs
The event program is one of the key reasons why attendees come to events. It can many times be a determining factor in establishing what they think about your events. A great event program comprises, what attendees will do, listen, and learn. However, if you haphazardly plan the event agenda then your events may just go for a toss. This can often happen if you quickly accept offers to help you, or delegate your work to someone with lesser experience. You should decide who and what goes into the event agenda rather than delegating it to someone else.
Promotion is not required…really?
There are several event planners (I am not saying all) who believe that their events are too good and it’ll sell itself. Even if your event is great, if it is not promoted well, it is bound to fail. You need to promote your event with belief, dedication, creativity and positive energy.
Another important aspect is the lack of proper event promotional plan that lists down your objectives, goals, audience type, key messages, promotional channel to be used, and sequence of activities. What is also often missing is a system to measure your campaign success. Several event planners know the campaigns they run, but they don’t really know which ones deliver.
So there you have it, six mistakes that you may have overlooked at some point or the other in your event planning career.