What not to do…

In the realm of event planning the amount of variables to consider is endless and can change from event to event.  With that in mind, it is crucial before you host an event to write down the entire vision before hand.  Answering questions such as: “What is the purpose of my event? Who are the guests that I want to target and why them? What will my attendees gain from coming to my event?” are just a few major items that need consideration. If you have not asked yourself these questions, you may end up having a great party but not accomplish your goal.

I was at the launch of a new website earlier this week and because of the venue it was being hosted at, I naturally had big expectations.  When I first arrived, there was a lineup.Mind you, it was somewhat understandable because the weather was incredible and people had arrived straight after work. After a concrete RSVP on my end the lineup was an hour long and was more than tiresome. By the time I got up to event I was thinking “I can’t wait to take some pictures and have a drink”. Well I almost walked right past the media wall, in fact I would have walked right by it if the people I had attended with had not pointed it out! Then I see the bar…courtesy rule of event hosting…its a good idea to advertise if you are going to have a cash bar so people come prepared. Nothing is more disappointing than to get invited to an industry event and find out there is no alcohol sponsor. Sounds kind of “bourgeois” but remember if your event is to introduce yourself, your product and or services to a target market…you need to impress them. Period.

After we snapped a few pictures, bought a $10 drink, I looked around and took in the venue. Incredible view no doubt about that. The furniture was contemporary and colorful and the music was great,but I didn’t see an ounce of branding.  I had to really look and then realized I walked right past the six 8 x 10 frames of quotes that I think were supposed to act as branding. I walked past them a) because they were at elbow level and not eye level and b) because they were along the only clear walkway to get from one end of the venue to the other.  Branding and logos are essential to telling your audience who you are without saying a word. I needed words at this point because I was clueless as to what the point of this website launch was.

I ran into a few people I knew, we chatted, caught up and took some pictures. As the people I recognized began to leave it dawned on me that I didn’t see anyone from the target market this website was trying to appeal too. In fact, the venue was open to the public!  When hosting an event and you are aiming to make it exclusive to the people in your industry: Facebook is not a marketing tool that all professionals will take seriously and having the event open to the public defeats “exclusivity”.

I know it sounds like I am tearing this event apart and that is not the intention- my point is if you want to avoid “next day backlash” from the industry be more diligent in your planning.  You want to impress, educate and engage your audience, not disappoint and confuse them.  So here are some tips:

1) Always look at the sightlines of your venue so you can figure out the focal points to place your branding

2) If you don’t have an alcohol sponsor, advertise that it is a cash bar

3) Don’t have a venue that is open to the public especially if it is not conducive to the purpose of impressing professionals at your event.

4) Don’t advertise on Facebook if you want your target market to take the event seriously rather, send personal invites

As an event planner, it is my job to observe the nature of event co-ordination, the do’s and don’t’s and the overall success of the function.  If you are aiming for success then set your mind to the task and seek the opinions of others to get a fresh outlook on all possibilities before just “putting something together” that in the end, accomplished very little or nothing.

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