The Event Planner's Checklist for 2019
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
From what we have learned in 2018, events are becoming more and more crucial to companies in order to demonstrate their competitive edge, reach larger crowds and build customer relationships. With this spike in demand for events, event planners will have to up their game and offer top-tier service now more than ever.
It comes as no surprise that ‘event co-ordinator’ was named the fifth most stressful job in 2018 by EBA. So considering this, we have put together a checklist for event success to ensure your next event, whether it’s your first or hundredth, will be your best ever. Find some calm amidst the chaos and improve your planning by following this guide.
1. Learn from your mistakes
Though your past events may have gone successfully, not everything goes off without a hitch and often, a lot of things can be improved. Be sure to consider: What went well? What process could be streamlined? How can you change aspects to make it better?
Better understanding and determining the wins and losses of your past events is crucial to creating future successes and implementing a strategy to meet new goals. Ascertain the following factors: social media statistics, appropriateness of programming, stand sales, ticket sales and logistics. Producing a post-event round-up report can also improve your chances to identify room for future improvement and is a good way to measure and highlight the event success.
2. What are your competitors doing?
The chances of fighting against competitors for venues, speakers, sponsors, brands and delegates for your events are very high, but how can you ensure you get exactly what and who you want?
By undertaking detailed assessments of your competitors, you can see what they are doing and what’s working for them: What is their USP? How is their service or offering different to yours? You can also tap into social media to find out who their customers are and what they are saying about the event.
Alternatively, you can spot what they are not doing and what is not working for them.
By highlighting their positive and negative aspects will help you better understand what you need to adapt, change or begin doing to stay competitive and increase your event profile to your target audience, showing them why your event is a must-visit.
3. Set goals and objectives
In order for an event to be successful, it must be able to show a return-on-investment. To measure the ROI, you need three core things: clearly defined goals, measurable metrics that relate to those goals, and a plan for learning from your results.
‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ is noteworthy at this point of event planning, as success is created here: you must know why you’re organising the event, or what you’re hoping to gain – without this you’ll never know if it was a true success. Setting clear goals and objectives offers a base on which all decisions can be made, and you will be able to assess how your event activity can complement your overall marketing success.
4. Clarify your budget
If you don’t have a clearly defined budget, how can you expect to get anything done? By clarifying the budget from the outset, you can avoid overspending, increase efficiency and understand your options before setting your sights on over-the-top cash crunchers you just don’t really need.
Create your budget with event goals and objectives in mind and prioritising essential elements to nice-to-haves. Do you really need five-course meals and a firework display for sponsors at the end of the night?
Analysing the spend on your last event will reveal how costs can be better accommodated and efficiency can be improved, by doing more with less and creating a fantastic event without breaking the bank.
5. Find out what your customers want
Get valuable insight into what your delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors really want from your event through feedback surveys, in-depth customer research and generating conversations either in person or social media. Discuss with them at the planning stages what their needs are, rather than what you believe their needs to be; this will allow you to design and tailor the event to marry with your customers’ desires. Planning with this in mind can ensure attendance and revenues are high; spark social media buzz and repeat bookings the following year.
6. Prepare a solid brief
It is vital to have a detailed, written brief understanding every aspect of the event: what it is looking to achieve and how it aims to meet the goals and objectives. Each event brief will inevitably be different, but it should cover three broad components of event delivery: the strategic, the functional and the pragmatic.
The Strategy – company background, your target audience and your goals
The Functional – logistical details, any brand assets that help the planning and design process
The Pragmatic – budget, technical or business constraints
7. What is your event story?
If your event is brand-focused, product-focused of service-focused, it must be aligned with your brands mission, vision and values and ultimately tell a story which captures audience attention.
Your story may be informed by your event goals, customer research or someone specific but it is crucial that you are telling your story in a way that is consistent, gripping and identifiable by your audience.
8. Design your creative brief
Great! You’ve come up with your story idea, but how are you going to visually tell it? Determine how you can use design to support and extend your message, as well as create a great audience experience.
Design sets the scene, guides us in the right direction, makes us receptive to stories and all channels of engagement – but remember, design never distracts from the main message, and it should serve to make the brand more memorable by adding depth, meaning and emotion.
9. Venue sourcing
A venue can really make or break an event, so it is crucial to book your venue as soon as possible. Finding the perfect place, one that is available on your selected date(s), the right style, a suitable capacity, ideal facilities and within budget can be challenging at best.
Consider your venue carefully, as it can speak volumes about your brand or business. Whilst it is easier to stick to tried and tested venues, don’t be shy to branch out and source new and exciting locations to keep things fresh and exciting!
10. Plan your marketing
As soon as the date, venue and event goals are determined, it is time to kick-start your event marketing! Push your event to people as soon as information is confirmed, to ensure they know about your plans before your competitors get a chance to reach them. If the confirmed plans are still in the works, you can use teaser-material content to connect and engage customers, whilst keeping them informed about your upcoming event: for example, promoting ‘save the dates’ or revealing ‘behind the scenes’ planning on social media.
It is never too early to start marketing, so you could even pull your marketing forward using previous years’ events, visitor reviews and sponsor feedback in order to beat the last-minute rush weeks before the event, where priorities will be placed heavier on logistics.
11. Keynote speakers
Does your event require keynote speakers? If so, they should be selected wisely and based on their ability to inspire, engage and educate the audience and should resonate with the goals set for the event. A keynote speech can serve a number of purposes but should ultimately add value to the organisation and the event. It is important to do some research into your selected keynote and if it is someone you have not used in the past, you may want to view their gallery of work online first, to ensure they are the right fit for your brand and business. See if you can find any videos or clips of them in action so you can make a better, more informed decision whether or not they are appropriate to represent and endorse the event.
Keynote speakers are an investment, and it is worth remembering to invest wisely because you get what you pay for. Make the most of your speaker and agree with them how much time they can commit to promoting the event at all three stages: before, during and post-event.
In the run up to the event, the speaker could engage in interviews, create event-exclusive content such as: blog posts, podcasts, video posts, press releases and spread the word on their social media and website. During the event, they can host a workshop with VIP attendees, host a meet and greet, social media takeover or offer an informal advice session. After the event they can interact with the attendees directly via social media to continue the online buzz.
Remember: A good speaker will spread the word about the event and initiate buzz before, during and after their on-stage delivery - not simply turn up, address the audience and then leave. And a bad speaker could kill your event and leave your attendees wanting more – which is why researching and investing in the right keynote is vital to your event success.
12. Invest in your crew
The staff you hire are the public face of your event, including: the sales and marketing team working pre-event, client support team on the day, catering suppliers and those responsible for set-up and take-down. That is why it is key to work with and hire those who live, work and breath your brand values, mission and ethos.
If you hire agency staff or use internal team members, remember to accurately brief and train them well before the event begins to ensure everyone is aware of their role and what is expected of them. This way, you can avoid misunderstandings and chaos on the day by ironing out any potential confusions in advance. And if food will be served at your event, you should consider doing research into what the caterers provide: sample the food, find hygiene ratings, reviews and discuss any add-on’s they may include for your event.
If you are you aiming for even greater event success in 2019, now is the time to start working towards your goals and planning how to reach them by using our handy checklist. There are so many things to consider when running an event and making it a success, but they can all be so time consuming and overwhelming. That is why full-service event agencies like Associate Events are here to take away this headache and manage the whole process for you, so you don’t have to! There are many great reasons to use an agency which we will explain in another blog post, but the key reasons include: the utilisation of supply chain to reduce costs, increasing innovation and creativity, as well as the reduced impact for the client upon your core delivery allowing for an improved quality of delivery.
Associate Events offer concept to delivery event management services through offering a complete and professional cross-section of creative event production, public relations and brand management solutions. If you ever need a trusted event agency with a proven track record of producing successful events, feel free to contact us for a chat by email: email@example.com or telephone: 0116 464 5995.