Planning an event? They are not inexpensive, are they? So it is important you get it right. The management team normally take a sudden interest about two weeks before the event, when they realise how much you are spending!! Don’t worry, keep a cool head! We just did TFM&A 2014 in London so here are 3 top tips from the event experience to help you be more successful.
Plan, plan, plan
Have fun & build a team of people and trusted partners
Segment by Design - Use Marketing Automation and CRM to be more effective
Plan, plan, plan
Look, it doesn’t have to be PRINCE2 project planning but like anything “if you fail to plan, plan to fail”. Keep it simple, you just need to define tasks, assign owners and track against due dates – probably highlight the really important ones and have regular meetings to track your progress. Our first iteration of a project plan was about 6 months before the event.
Here are some important tasks to think about:
Book the event space and work out a budget for the event – get management buy-in so it is not a surprise to them
Build an event team and book their time out well in advance
Get the stand design and stand graphics done early
If you are doing a “build” make sure your stand builder knows the event’s requirements about Health & Safety etc.
Make sure you have ordered the below in plenty of time (if required):
Internet (sometimes this cost more if you leave it late)
Brochures, datasheets, etc.
Devices for the stand (monitors, keyboards, iPads, etc.)
Electricity (sometimes this costs extra)
“Giveaways” or other merchandise for the stand
Staff uniforms / shirts
Communications/instructions for the team involved in the event
2. Have fun and build a team of people and trusted partners
In my last blog I gave you the details of the trusted partners we used for TFM&A so I won’t repeat that again but they were critical to our success. It is really important to build the team you need from both internal and external sources. There are also often surprising synergies that you might not have thought of, so look out for them. Sharing your stand can help reduce your cost so think about companies you might have shared objectives with and consider a joint venture.
Once you have your team selected that will make the event happen both before it (e.g. graphic designer) and during it (e.g. people to be on the stand) then just remember to have fun!!
Here is our event team at TFM&A 2014:
Here a few examples from TFM&A that worked well to get people involved and excited:
Regular communications to the people who will be at the event about the exciting stuff that you are doing (e.g. stand design preview etc..)
Consider a rota system for the “stand people” so they are on for bursts of 2 hours rather than “an 8 hour slog”. Encourage them to take breaks and recharge their batteries so they come bouncing back onto the stand. Consider small prizes each hour to reward the people on the stand for “good work” that is in alignment with your show objective(s).
Maybe have a social competition. We used “Phil the Phone” and asked people to take pictures with him to be entered into a prize draw for an iPad (along with the qualified leads).
Here are some examples of Phil the Phone pictures:
3. Segment by Design - Use Marketing Automation and CRM to be more effective
Have a system for leads!! Quantity is not everything! What I mean by “segment leads by design” is make sure “quality leads” are flagged “by the design” of how your staff enter leads on the stand. For example, we used mini iPads to capture accurate details of high quality leads that went straight into our CRM system (Saleslogix of course) and were then followed up with a “thank you” email using our marketing automation system (Salesfusion of course). For lower quality leads we simply scanned them using the event handheld scanner so they can be loaded later into CRM and put into a nurture cycle.
Even though the event was in London because we were entering high quality data directly into CRM our team in Newcastle could do further work on our hot leads without having to talk to the team in London.