20 Mar Event Vision – Start at the Heart
The best way to start planning an event is from inside your client’s business. Before diving into the budget, venue, food, keynote speaker or any other aspect, start with the what and the why. “Start at the heart of the company or organization for which you are planning,” says Michele Shannon of Omega Meeting and Event Management. “Researching basic information about the company, their product, offering or brand, their customers and event goals, will provide the roadmap to the tangibles.”
Understand the product. It is the heart of the company.
- Is the product well known or new? Marketing for well-established products can be more stylized – think “google” and the vague doodles they can put in place of their logo. While products just being introduced will need foundational marketing and tangible clarity.
- Will the product be physically available at the event? Can the customer see it, taste it, touch it, or do you have to create an atmosphere that represents the product? Plan interactions with the customer if the product is tangible. If it is a cookie, they should taste it, if a car, they should sit in it…and if the product is not tangible, you need to create the product experience, like “exotic travel” or “reliable climate control.”
- How is the product sold? Is it an impulse product or a long-term commitment? If it is impulse, create multiple opportunities for the sale and make it easy to buy. If it is a long-term purchase process, plan the first touch at the event, but also help the company plan the follow up with customer touches. If the company fails to follow up, they will blame the failure on your event!
- Is it a big-ticket item or inexpensive? If customers need to spend a lot on the product, you will also need to ramp up the splendor of the event. Events won’t bring in the correct customers by “serving beer”, if the product is “champagne.”
- Do customers need to be educated in the use of the product? Consider quality education by offering a variety of speakers to get customers acquainted: product creators, product users, industry experts and sales motivators. Give potential users a full product view.
- Who is the customer? The approach and marketing is different for an end user than it is for a intermediary or wholesaler.
- What are the customer demographics? Knowing the customer well will not only help you plan the event, but will help you solicit the correct vendors.
- Follow Up. As the event planner, you can set the stage for follow up with the customer. Help your client plan their marketing so they can follow up with the customer base that attends the event. Record educational sessions for later use. Capture attendee contact information, demographics and product interest level.
- Wow them! A great event will leave the impression of a great product. A poor event will lower perceptual value of the product. Make it great!
Event Planners are not just organizing a party. “They are strategic partners who impact the success of a company.” Says Michele. Events must attract the right customers, portray the product (whatever the desired result is) in its best light, create a positive experience and meet the client’s objectives. And the best way to do that is to research, and start the heart of the company.
Michele Shannon, event consultant and Founder of Omega Meeting & Event Management. Contact her at http://www.omegameeting.com/ @mshannonomega