Our industry understands better than most that we live in an increasingly digital world. But meeting people in person, at live events, is still essential to relationship building and business development. And when it comes to attracting the best partners – and keeping them – your success at planning and executing a flawless event is critical.
From executive roundtables, to roadshows, partner appreciation events and more, here are 10 proven tips from our certified event planners to help you create an experience that builds even stronger partner relationships.
- Focus on the why: The why behind your event helps you determine the audience, partners, and content. What are you trying to accomplish? Use that big-picture mindset to set goals and identify relevant metrics that can guide you forward through the planning process.
- Review the data: Past event history, feedback from surveys, customer data, and past metrics will help you determine the optimal strategy for your upcoming event. What worked last time? And maybe more importantly, what didn’t?
- Create a detailed budget: Costs can add up quickly, so it’s necessary to set a budget and stick to it. We recommend working a contingency plan (an additional 5-25%) into your budget for unplanned costs. If your funds are limited, explore how you can deliver a creative and personalized experience on a smaller scale for optimized impact.
- Zero in on the best location: Look for somewhere centrally located for your target audience, and if possible, a fun and unique venue that will help draw attendance. Consider the logistics: make sure it can hold your anticipated number of attendees and be arranged for your event needs. You’ll also want a venue that’s trustworthy, easy to deal with, and ADA compliant. Additionally, venues that offer catering, AV, and business services in-house can save you considerable time, money and stress. Lastly, if you are hosting an annual event in a single location, such as a Partner Summit, consider taking a smaller version of it on the road to other metros for those partners who may not be able to make it cross-country for the larger event.
- Think about your audience: Who is your audience and what message do you want them to hear? Focus on targeting the right audience and ensuring the content you produce is a good fit. For example, at tradeshows consider how booth design and function will help or hinder attendees to interact with you. Also, be sure to send invites at least eight weeks before the event to improve attendance.
- It’s all in the details: Deadlines, vendor conflicts, weather and more can throw you a curve, so it’s important to always have a back-up plan, as well as insurance. Stay on top of the details, including with contracts. For example, ask your venue to provide a complete quote with taxes, service charges and miscellaneous fees so there are no surprises later. Be specific, including the details on what to do if you have to cancel or reschedule.
- Set timelines and deadlines: With so many moving parts, it’s imperative to create a thorough timeline and delegate tasks. Work backwards from your event date to ensure adequate time and be sure to update your timeline as you move through the planning process. Utilizing a software program that can assign tasks, track progress and share documents can be a lifesaver.
- Get social: Make it easy for your attendees and others to promote your event through social media. With consistent messaging and on-brand images, blog about the event and why attendees shouldn’t miss out. Use custom hashtags to monitor engagement across social platforms and build excitement among attendees.
- Onsite staffing: To ensure everything runs smoothly on event day, designate specific personnel to execute the operational components. You don’t want the event host to also run interference with catering.
- Ask for feedback: Don’t miss the opportunity to improve on your next event. Send out surveys or better yet, poll attendees at the event while it’s fresh in their minds. To encourage feedback, consider offering an incentive, such as a gift card or service/product discount, to the first individuals who respond.
Events are still a big part of our industry today, and the difference between a good event and a great one often comes down to small, but important, details.
Please reach out to us directly if you’re in need of guidance or full-on planning and implementation for your next event. The expertise, negotiation skills and vendor relationships that Channel Impact brings to the table can help you save time and money while making your company stand out from the competition.
Read more about our full range of Channel-as-a-Service (CaaS) offerings here.