10 Steps for Launching a Corporate Event Guest Blogger: Brandon Rafalson, Bizzabo
Make no mistake. Now is the time to invest in an event strategy. Corporate giants like Google, Ford, and The Wall Street Journal have already demonstrated their commitment to events, while smaller organizations are doing the same. Between the accessibility, technology and audience readiness for events it’s not a question of whether you should invest in events, it’s a matter of how.
This article will aim to supply readers with 10 actionable tips for getting a corporate event off the ground and in action.
- Set Goals and KPIs
The first step of launching an event strategy is articulating the why. This helps you justify your event plan to the rest of your team and also help you make critical decisions in the planning process.
Determine with your team whether you are trying to drive brand awareness, engage customers, accelerate sales, simply generate event venue or something else entirely. In turn, the goal you set helps you determine your event brand, event management software, event venue, KPIs, promotion strategy and much more.
- Conceptualize Your Event Brand
Now that you have your goals in mind, it’s time to creatively imagine what you want your event brand to be. It may be that you are looking for a fun-filled environment for your customers and community members to network. Alternatively, you may want to create a no-nonsense atmosphere with world-class education at the forefront. In all likelihood, your event brand will be a combination of the above.
From video-first content to a beautifully branded website, Brightcove PLAY creates a unified brand experience. (Source: Brightcove)
At the intersection of your company brand and your event goals lies your unique event brand. It is exactly this that will help you stand out from the competition and linger in the imaginations of your attendees.
- Find the Right Event Management Software
Alongside your event goals and your event brand, the event software that you choose will lay the foundation for your event strategy. There are a lot of event software platforms out there so the question is: Which one is right for you?
Some event software may be particularly strong in driving event registrations, others may boast a wide breadth of features and others yet may offer a strong suite of tools for engaging attendees. The trick is finding software that aligns with the event vision that you’ve already established. Consider running an event technology assessment to help you determine how you can get the most out of event software.
- Find the Right Venue
Part and parcel of creating a unified brand experience is finding the right venue. Depending on your event, the standard convention center or banquet room may be the last place that you want to host your event. Museums, rooftops, zoos, bars, restaurants, warehouses and boats are all viable locations for a corporate event.
When searching for the right venue, consult with your team, reach out to your network, closely read reviews and remember to negotiate. To streamline your search you may want to consider using a venue sourcing tool.
- Pitch Partners and Sponsors
Whether your goal is simply to drive event revenue or provide a space for prospects and customers to network, partners and sponsors are key. This is especially the case when you are just starting out and are looking for access to resources that may otherwise be outside of the budget.
While sponsors may provide you with additional funds, partners may provide you with software, venues or other capital. It’s all in the negotiation.
- Craft a Compelling Agenda
Your event agenda is the heart of your event. It contains the speakers and content that ultimately serve to drive registrations and provide attendees with a worthwhile experience. There’s no one secret to crafting a wow-worthy event agenda, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Ask your audience what speakers and content they’re interested in before the event starts.
- Look outside of your industry for unlikely speakers who can provide a compelling angle.
- Aim big when searching for speakers—be it in reaching out to big celebrities or big companies.
People can’t show up to your event unless they hear about it first. Research your audience and determine the best channels for reaching out to them. Is it social media, email, paid ads, influencer marketing, content marketing or something else?
An example of a promotional partnership collateral for an event sponsored by Bizzabo.
To amplify your promotion efforts, consider ways that you can get partners, sponsors, speakers or even other attendees to help spread the word on your event.
- Build a Community
One of the top reasons that people come to events is to learn from other people, build out their professional networks, and lay the foundations for business partnerships. When crafting your corporate event, it’s critical that you provide opportunities for your attendees to make this happen.
If you’re holding a large conference, consider holding a kick-off session where attendees can meet and greet. After-parties and evening dinners, networking games and networking apps can also go a long way to facilitating people engage with one another.
- Gather Feedback
We’ve already discussed how collecting attendee feedback before the event can help guide your event agenda and content, but feedback is valuable throughout the lifecycle of a corporate event.
One of the most common practices for gathering attendee feedback is to send out a net promoter score survey (NPS) after an event. This simple numerical measure can provide a great overview on how satisfied attendees, sponsors, speakers and partners were with the event. But there’s no reason to wait until after the event. Some event apps enable attendees to leave feedback on sessions, speakers and other event elements while the event is happening
The feedback of your attendees, speakers, sponsors and other partners is the first of many valuable metrics for evaluating your corporate event. Other metrics and KPIs worth taking into account are total event revenue, total registrations, total attendees, year over year growth, and event app adoption. The list can go on and on.
Being able to measure analytics across events will help you optimize your event strategy. (Source: Bizzabo)
In general, the event goals that you established at the beginning of your corporate event plan will shape the metrics and KPIs that you use to measure its success.
Launching Your Corporate Event (Again)
Event planning is an art, but it’s also a science. One everything has come together, the next step is to iterate. The same goes for internal company events as it goes for larger customer conference. From each event that you launch observation is key. What works? What didn’t? And how can you make it better next time?
Brandon Rafalson is the Content Marketing Manager at Bizzabo, the world’s most loved event software.