Since most people miscalculate the returns they could be getting for a corporate event, it’s essential that you go into a strategy for hosting your next event. Aside from swag, planning an event requires that you be a good host, prepared for anything.
In order to make your next corporate event a memorable experience, follow these 6 tips for planning one.
1. You Need a Goal
The first question you need to ask yourself, before diving into the planning and spending that comes with putting on a corporate event, is “why?”
If your business is going well, you’ve got steady growth, and you’re leading in your industry, it could be a mystery.
For any company about to launch a new product, expand their mailing list, attract local media, or meet new customers, a corporate event is a great idea. Even if you just want to move some old products, that at least gives you a framework to fit your event into. Whenever you come up with an idea for your event, you can ask yourself “how does this allow us to move our old products?” to ensure that it works for everyone.
2. Set the Scope
There are a lot of different types of events and they all serve different purposes.
There are mixers with refreshments and hors d’oeuvres that allow people to get to know one another. There are parties with entertainment that celebrate a new release or get people to celebrate a milestone or award with you. There are also conference-style events with workshops and speakers that give you the chance to share your knowledge and branch into new industries.
If you haven’t ever held an event before, don’t start off with something heavy in logistics that could go haywire in an instant. A days-long conference with professionals meeting in hotel conference rooms every hour or two could be a headache. Wrangling your talent, having enough attendees, or even the right amount of chairs could keep you up at night.
Try something closer to a one-hour mixer or workshop to help you achieve many of the same kinds of goals.
3. Timing Is Key
If you want your event to succeed, you need to time it perfectly.
Look at when other events related to yours happen. There could be some benefits to hosting your event on the same weekend as a series of industry-related events. There could also be some value to striking while the iron is hot before things die down.
Beware of holidays or community events. Don’t compete with a beloved Easter egg hunt or a Christmas tree lighting.
Think about how much time everyone will need to prepare for the event. If you’re bringing in lots of people from out of town, they might need several weeks to plan. You’ll also need time to get the word out.
4. Build Your Planning Committee
If you don’t know who will be in charge of the event yet, you need to start building your team as soon as possible. You might want to choose a clutch staff member but you might also just want someone to back you up while you lead.
If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of all the important details, you could be the best person to lead the charge.
Roles need to be clearly defined before things get out of hand. You don’t want to have some important elements left behind because someone thought it was another person’s job. Your team needs to be committed to getting the job done.
Once you’re formed, you can sit down and run through the details of the event. From start to finish, picture everything that you might need. You’ll need some manpower at this event too, so make sure that you have enough staff. Schedule enough backup who can be on call but still enjoy the event.
You’re better off being prepared for someone who doesn’t show up than to put too much faith on someone else’s ability to do so.
5. Make Your Budget
Without a budget, you’re really planning this event without a net. Corporate events rely on a budget created by a marketing or promotions department. If you haven’t set that up yet, you need to allocate money for that.
However, your budget needs to account for the real costs of running an event. Your planning committee should be able to come up with some rough figures for how much it costs to rent a space, provide refreshments, and rent equipment.
This will allow you to know what your goal should be, as you should always bring more profit in than you spend on your event. Consider generated leads as profit gained and you’ll be able to balance the scales so that your budget makes sense.
6. Get the Word Out
This is where you become a general, strategically deploying troops all around to bring people into your event. Decide whether you’ll attack by print, by an online ad, or by radio.
Use your current email list to build more buzz. Print up some materials to hand out or some billboards to put in strategic places.
Now, alert the media. You need to get community involvement so alert local papers, blogs, and radio stations. Send local media a press release and invite them to cover the event.
Building a good relationship with the press is a great way to build community engagement, a reliable core to your customer base.
A Corporate Event Can Be Exciting
When you host a corporate event, most of the people involved will be getting a welcome day off from their regular office grind. This means that it’s up to you to make it fun, engaging, and relaxing. Test the skills of the people at your event in new ways, but also make sure to be accommodating and offer rewards for participation.
If you’re thinking about a fun photo booth to use for promoting your next event on social media, check out our guide for creating the perfect media booth.