With the New Year not far off, it’s the time of year when we reflect on 2018 and think about what changes or improvements need to be made for an even more successful year ahead.
Whilst making it to the gym five times a week, eating a green juice diet religiously or learning to be a ballroom dancer may become redundant by February, industry-specific resolutions that help event professionals accomplish their business goals are much more likely to stick.
Judy Elvey and Jamie Vaughan of Cvent, a market leader in meetings, events and hospitality technology, give their tips on which resolutions event professionals should consider:
Resolution 1: Digitise your meetings and events
Meetings and events are a powerful marketing channel. But, if you still consider it an “offline” channel, measuring the true revenue impact of events is nearly impossible. You probably know everything your audience is doing on your website and other digital channels – why shouldn’t know you what they are doing at your event? Events provide some of the most valuable prospect and customer insights you can get. Challenge your team to think more like marketers when planning, promoting, and managing your events and make sure you start tracking the digital footprints your attendees leave while onsite.
Resolution 2: Make listening a priority
It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone and stick to the same event format time and time again. However, do not second-guess what you think your attendees and prospects want. Make sure you do plenty of research to accurately gauge their objectives and to better understand what content and format they’re looking for. The good news? Technology has made gathering attendee feedback incredibly easy. You can collect attendee input via online surveys, crowdsourcing, social media or mobile event apps.
Resolution 3: Facilitiate more face-to-face interaction
While curating the right content for your event is extremely important, one of the main reasons people attend events is to network with their peers, so it’s important you maximise that opportunity. Offering general happy hour times or scheduling open-ended “networking” sessions may not be enough. Take the time to understand your attendees – their job title, professional interests, etc. to help connect those of similar interests. By offering a mobile event app, attendees can create personalised profiles and engage with each other before the event even starts (see more about mobile even apps in resolution 6). A good thing to note is that not everyone is good at or comfortable with networking, so don’t leave it to chance – help attendees make the right connections and they’ll walk away with lasting relationships that make an impact – helping to make your event a worthwhile experience.
Resolution 4: Get the most out of social media
Remember to use social media to help amplify messages before, during, and after your event. Pre-event, ask attendees to share what they are most excited about with a dedicated event hashtag. Onsite, you can broadcast attendee tweets onto a big screen that encourages even more social engagement. Post-event, share photos and top takeaways with your attendees via your mobile event app and give them an easy way to share them via their social channels. Social media offers so many great ways to bring the online conversations to the live event.
Resolution 5: Become a master of data collection and integration
Live events are a data goldmine: sessions attended, time spent at product booths, session feedback, appointments…interest and buying signals are everywhere. Make the most of this data by collecting it strategically and then integrating it into your organisation’s broader sales and marketing strategy. As few as 20 percent of those organising events have automated events management processes in place and as many as half are failing to integrate their event data into their customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation systems. It’s crucial that the two are aligned in order to personalise email marketing campaigns and drive a more impactful lead follow-up strategy that is based on attendees’ specific preferences and interests rather than broad audience assumptions.
Resolution 6: Take time out for you
Being a successful event planner is synonymous with juggling fire in front of a crowd. It’s difficult, but brilliant when done correctly. It’s also known to be one of the most stressful jobs in the world – which makes taking some “me” time especially challenging. But what if doing something for you could also help you plan even better events? Understanding your planner personality and what drives you can help you capitalise on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, to make this the best year of your professional career. Cvent’s Planner Personality questionnaire has already helped nearly 4,000 event professionals around the globe discover their personality drivers – what better way to start the year than with a solid understanding of what you need to make 2019 a success?
Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.