“Learn from your mistakes” they say, but we would say “learn from others’ mistakes rather than your own”. While planning how to organize an event most of people are following patterns or old schemes, which are not up-to-date anymore. Check the top event management mistakes and make sure to avoid them.
How to organize an event?
If you made a decision to include events in your marketing strategy – you are halfway there! You are up-to-date with the newest trends and you can lead your market, but you need to do it right! Event marketing, to remind, means promoting your brand or product through events. Simple as that, but don’t mix it with event promotion. You can find out more about the differences in our article.
Event management is a responsibility with many questions and possible mistakes. Don’t worry – even the best event organizers are making them! A well-organized event is a huge success for a company. Not only money are the measurable effect, but most importantly – clients’ satisfaction and connection to the brand after starting trustworthy relationships thanks to the event.
In the article, an expert in event management, Jakub Kozioł will share the mistakes he made in the past and the lesson he got from that experience. Scroll down for more information about him. What does he see as the basic principle?
At Proidea, when building our events, we follow a very simple principle. We believe that if we provide a strong and interesting content, it will attract event participants who are willing to pay for this knowledge. At the same time, if there are participants, there will be partners who will be willing to talk to them about cooperation. Finally, if there are attendees and partners, there will be funds to build an event and provide a great user experience so that the event is interesting for all of them. We strongly believe in the value of education so content is a key factor for us. It is also what strongly distinguishes our projects, and our conferences aimed mainly at the IT industry.Jakub Kozioł
You can avoid many mistakes and possible event failure by being aware where they come from and how to prevent them! In order to know how to throw an event, let’s go through the most common event management problems and mistakes:
#1 No marketing strategy
Many of event organizers, no matter if it is Marketing Department, HR or special Event Department, in a rush are forgetting the goal of their actions. They are organizing events blindly with no connection with their bigger marketing strategy. As a consequence, they are not satisfied with a brand impact they have made and event participants cannot connect an event with your company.
And you, are you reaching the full potential of your events? They are giving you enormous number of possibilities to create the best representation of your brand. Do you think that event can be a lead generation channel? Of course it can! However, it is a different one, with a better conversion. There is less of games and empty messages, but more of relationships, personal contact and real effort and impact. New leads will build your brand awareness and image, so do the first step and think what to do not to make your event a failure and connect it with your company strategy.
#2 No measurement
Here we go with one of the biggest mistakes event organizers could ever make. It goes from the beginning of planning till the evaluation of the event (if they even do so). Almost every action done during the process can be measured, should be measured, not only the final effect. In order to meet your final goals, you need to measure and make sure to achieve your micro goals. By meeting your partial goals you can better control fulfilling set goals.
Are you running a paid campaign on Facebook or AdWords? Are you just looking on growing number of visitors or really going deeper into details? The problem is that without measuring you cannot prove the value of your actions. For your CEO it may sound like you made an event failure if he cannot see any profits and there was no measuring marketing value.
Moreover, when you organized your last event, what have you learned from it to use at the future ones? Well, hard to say if you don’t know how each of the parts performs. That is the point of measuring each of the actions separately, not only as an overall. So prepare your goals and a plan to measure drop-ins, grades for speakers, reach of your posts etc.
#3 No feedback
Imagine the situation, your event ended. There were a lot of people, almost all of them ate their lunches, some of them didn’t come for the second day of the event, and what are your conclusions? You cannot know what are the reasons. You need to know what made people happy and what didn’t meet their expectations. Look at it this way, the more you know, the better your next event will be. This way events will bring you benefits in a long term, since they are a integral part of your business.
Once you collected the responses, analyze them and find the most important focus areas and tips for the future. Nothing can help you as much as constructive feedback. Plan a long term improvement, measure your marketing value and avoid event failure.
#4 Bad tickets sales policy
Do you know what people are searching for? They want events that are worth their price. They won’t be afraid to pay more for great value, but at the same time will be happy to find some great deals. As you can probably guess, one of the crucial mistakes event organizers are making is setting the ticket prices too high or too low.
Early birds is one of the possibilities to convince your potential event guests to buy your tickets right away, but you need to offer them special price or a bundle. Nevertheless, what will make people truly interested in your event is a value offered. If you event has nothing valuable to give them, nobody will want to attend it, even for free. Make also sure, your ticket policy is well adjusted to your competitors. Ticket prices are very important – setting them too high will simply scare people off, especially if your event is relatively new and didn’t make its name yet. Nobody will want to pay a lot of money for a wild card. On the other hand, do not lower your prices too much. Giving a true value costs, so selling tickets really cheap may suggest there isn’t much to gain from your event. It is all about balance.
#5 No value presented
As you already know about the problem with setting event price and meeting attendees expectations, the biggest failure you can have is not showing them a reason to buy a ticket. You have to attract them to have them! When you are selling tickets, give your potential attendees an opportunity to see the speakers and agenda (and be sure it is an interesting one!).
A very common problem in event management is that organizers are preparing agenda very late, so what should make clients interested? Try to arrange nice, attractive descriptions about your speakers – it is also their business to present themselves in the best way. New technology is making it easier to attract people with content, you can prepare promotional videos to make it more entertaining than reading overkilling number of posts. Is that the next edition of your event? There is no better usage of the video from that experience than showing that it is worth to attend a next event!
What can also make your attendees interested is of course profits they can gain. Present them with possibilities, contacts they can make and unique knowledge.
Of course, the reason we don’t do it anymore is partly due to the lessons learned and our own failures. We were not aware of the essence of these elements from the very beginning, maybe we felt subconsciously that it is important, but haven’t implemented it. While organizing the event, we noticed that the late publication of the agenda with simultaneous high price thresholds doesn’t result in an increase in the number of participants. What’s more, a poor agenda, for example with too much selling content is a problem that makes people discouraged from participating in subsequent editions. On the other hand, an incredibly strong content or very famous character means that even higher participation costs are not an obstacle to take part in the event.Jakub Kozioł
#6 No customization
Each event is different, taking a homogenous approach to planning is one of the things that can make your event a failure. You need to establish goals of your event and think about your targeted group. Your attendees can be different in their professions, interests or age. That’s why you should adjust the event as much as possible for them.
If you are organizing an event for nurses, speak medical language to them and make the venue look accordingly to the preferences of your attendees. This is not the same what you would do for programmers or artists. That’s the point. Try to make them feel suitable for the event with all the details as venue, gadgets, food and language in communication.
#7 Multiple tools
The most effective events are using technology to measure the effect, communicate with people and update changes. Your event will reach bigger audience if you are visible on a website, social media, event search engines and also have your event in the mobile application! When you are using a website and application separately it is very hard to implement all the changes on time. The right technology will give you a possibility to make live changes and observe the event from one tool. When you make a change on a website it is updated on mobile app – that’s how integrated softwares work.
People are coming for your event to get the knowledge, but pretty often the main goal is to make new business contacts and interact. Give them a possibility to chat, like we have in our tool – Eventory. You can also be proactive and help them connect if you provide them with a tool to plan meetings.
#8 Poorly prepared agenda
Late prepared agenda is a big mistake, but poorly prepared one is even worse. Don’t let your program look like:
Session 1, 2, 3
Session 4, 5, 6
Doesn’t seem exciting, huh? Let them see what they can benefit and experience, put interesting titles and names in your agenda.
While planning your event, take into consideration the order of sessions, give them a reason to participate in the entire event. If you put all the most famous speakers the first day, don’t be surprised if the second day your venue will look empty.
When I say poorly prepared agenda, I also have in mind the way you present it – pdf, jpg? Big NO. Don’t make them download new document or zoom into pixelated picture. Make it dynamic, so they can easily see the changes in one mobile app.
In the case of late publication or low content level, it’s hard to talk about getting out of a given situation in a short time. Content requires inviting celebrities, and these often have busy dates even a year or two forward. At the same time, working with the Program Council, or the process of inviting speakers or collecting call for papers takes time. So while building an event, you need to think about it early enough to take care of the agenda. At the same time, you should try to avoid introducing marketing and sales-related presentations that do not serve anything other than the promotion of a given company, and are often part of a partnership package.Jakub Kozioł
If you have to do something – do it right away
If something is to go wrong, it probably will do at the very last minute or already at the event. That’s just how things go, similarly to social media where crisis usually burst over the weekends. Do the event risk assessment at the beginning of your planning and think what can simply go wrong. Prepare a plan B to calmly extinguish a fire.
Our expert, Jakub Kozioł, Vice President of PROIDEA sp. z o.o. for over seven years supervised the entire organization and budget activity of the company’s projects. He is responsible for building long-term relationships with partners, and constantly increasing the quality of the conferences. Trend observer and participant of numerous conferences on new technologies, innovations, and startups, such as Slush, Web Summit, Pirate Summit, Pioneers, The Next Web and Mobile World Congress. Organizer of original events for the IT industry: 4Developers, Bitspiration, CONFidence, DevOpsDays, HackYeah, JDD and PLNOG. Currently, he is building the first Polish training platform where technical webinars led by the best presenters from the IT industry will be found.
Engage with your customers through the event marketing and do it properly! Have a bigger goal and campaign in mind while creating your event. It won’t only improve your event performance, but also marketing as a whole. Use tips from the experience of event organizers but also follow their mistakes to not repeat them. I hope that the mistakes you read will prevent you from repeating them during your event.
What other event marketing mistakes would you mention? Maybe you have some crazy event story of your own and would like to share how you managed a crisis?