Marketing

7 Deadly Sins of Event Planning

G-Force Extreme Inflatables

G-Force Extreme Inflatables

Well, while there are 7 Deadly Sins in Event Planning, there are exactly two types of people who do the planning – they either love it or hate it.

Those who love it embrace experts’ advice, know when they need help, and they generally pull off great events without the appearance of any hard work.  You know how the event will go if the person in charge of planning it isn’t happy about planning it! 

Now, that being said, you can guess what kind of people we are – we love it!  Every event is different and all the variables make it truly challenging and exciting to pull it all together into a seamless affair.  Of course, we’re professionals at it, so that’s how it’s supposed to be.  For those of you who are planning an event for business, though, there are a few key pointers that we’ve arrived at that will absolutely help you to make it painless and fun:

Being Flexible

This is a tough one.  Every event starts off in the mind of the planner with a certain image, and in some cases, that image may be forced to be changed.  A venue may not be perfect, the caterer may not be able to deliver certain items (perhaps out of season?) and, of course, the weather can impact even an event held indoors.  The truth is that any event is going to have some changes that have to be made – some early, some on the very day of – or during - the actual event.  If you are too set in your mental image of how the event should flow, versus how the event will have to flow, you may find yourself fighting a losing battle and disappointing your audience as well.  A truly worthwhile goal is to adapt your opportunities while you can still control them and manage the rest to the best of the circumstances.

 

AEC Software   

AEC Software

 

Ignoring the Obvious

While there’s nothing wrong with optimism, failing to acknowledge obvious problems while they are still small can jeopardize your entire event.  No one person or company is good at all things and no matter what your budget may be, not planning properly – or making poor assumptions – can run your event right off the tracks.  If you are right at the capacity of the room or venue, then hoping that some guests don’t show is truly poor planning.  (As a rule, leave an extra 15% of total seating for last minute guests, just in case).  A room that seats 100 with 150 guests on the confirmed list is asking for your event to fall into disaster.

If you don’t acknowledge the obvious, you won’t know when it’s necessary to supplement your skill set by engaging with experts.  Also, it is important to make sure that you are comfortable in the roles that you will have to play for the event.  If you dislike the limelight, then getting an MC – versus you doing it yourself – needs to be a part of the planning. 

 

Being a Perfectionist

Striving for excellence isn’t usually a bad thing. But when it comes to event planning, perfectionist tendencies can hinder more than help.   Remember – the day of the event will be here no matter what you do, and waiting too long or holding out for the perfect venue, season, keynote speaker, etc… means that many of the critical pieces will be put off until the last second. 

The pursuit of perfection can be especially problematic in company events.  Most companies have certain times each year, and budgets, to plan events.   For best results, strive to create a simple, elegant, and workable solution to the event that you are planning.  You don’t need the Boston Pops, you need a great band that plays standards.

 

Choosing the Wrong Venue

Savvy event planners can source a large selection of venues for any occasion.  In this way, no matter the event, they have a solution for their clients.  If you are forced into event planning for your company, you need to do the “small” version of this by not settling for the first or the least expensive venue.  Encourage competition between potential sites and make sure that the “best deal” is really a deal – and make sure that you have a contract for the venue as well.  There are various venue sourcing services that you can use to alleviate the stress and pressure of this piece and make sure the agreement protects you properly.

For best results, research your audience before booking a venue – will there be catering, alcohol, technology, a block of rooms, transportation. The goal is to ensure you have your audience and their use in mind when you choose a venue.

Treasures From the Rubble   

Treasures From the Rubble

 

Skimping on Marketing

No matter how strong your game-plan is, not letting guests know about it, or going cheap on the invitations, will doom your event to failure.  After all, with today’s busy and interconnected lives, people have and make plans at a moment’s notice.  At the very least, you should consider not only traditional mailed invitations, but also digital invites – and often several of them – to make sure that your target audience “gets” the message.  Anything less is likely to get lost in the shuffle.   And while many of today’s marketing avenues are technically free (e.g. search engine optimization, social media, content marketing), you may still need someone knowledgeable to handle these responsibilities – either in your company or, even better, in that business. 

Don’t be afraid to spend money on solid and traditional event marketing to connect with attendees.  If you lack the skills to handle print or electronic marketing, don’t be scared to find and pay the experts – no amount of apologies can make up for botched event marketing.

 

Wasting Money on Resources

Now here is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, you want to put on a premiere event.  On the other hand, you don’t want to blow through money like a sailor in port.  Balance is the key, and if you have to be the expert, there are some things to remember. 

First of all, look for places to get the most “bang-for-your-buck”.  Most venues have relationships with event companies that can handle everything from the catering to the invitations.  Make sure you ask!

At the same time, don’t be scared to simply ask for some help.  If there is a cost, you’ll quickly find out and with that, you can ask and negotiate what services or amenities you’ll actually need.  Valet parking may be nice, but if the majority of the attendees will be staying in the hotel where your event is hosted, it may be a waste of money for the actual return on the investment.  Always remember that the goal of the event is to have a wonderful experience, and the most important experiences are often the ones you don’t pay for.

 

TeamQualityPro   

TeamQualityPro

 

Picking the Wrong Team

No matter if you have the luxury of an event planner and their team or you have to pull it all together alone, you need to make sure that the team you have is in the right seats on your bus. 

With funding for many events being difficult to secure to begin with and nearly impossible once the planning is started, the smart money is always spent on the right team.  You have every right to thoroughly vet even volunteers for your event – so do it! 

In light of this fact, hiring the wrong companies for your event can be a serious—and potentially costly—error.   Don’t just look at the low price options – make sure you invest in the low-risk options.  Use smart people and companies that can complement the skills needed, not just empty suits that provide you lip-service and follow their own agenda.

There really is not reason for an event to be a painful experience to plan, but when you don’t divert around these seven problem areas, you will find yourself in trouble of one kind or another.  On the other hand, forewarned is forearmed, so when you start your event planning, take these lessons to heart and make it an easy and memorable event that is executed without a hitch and within the budget.

Can Small Businesses Have Events Too?

whatcombusinessalliance.com    

whatcombusinessalliance.com

 

Well here we are!  The holiday season is upon us, and I wanted to talk about the single biggest question we hear … “I own a small business, do I still need to do events?”

Our answer at Nuila Events, LLC is always a resounding “YES!”

Now, in fairness, you don’t have to sponsor the Grammys, but for many small businesses, hosting events is a wonderful way to network the business and foster great corporate citizenship in your community - and get some amazing publicity.  The question is, what types of events can a small business handle that won’t break the bank?

chritsmasgeek.com

chritsmasgeek.com

Well, funny you should ask, and as experts in helping companies to handle these types of functions, let us give you some ideas.

The first goal is always to determine who your target audience is – this helps to drive a clear understanding of your goals, the venues, and what exactly the purpose of the event will be – are you introducing a new product?  Celebrating a record year?  Will you be looking to “woo” new clients or cater to current ones?

The critical thing is, hosting an event, even a small one, can build huge value for your company.  Even if the group is a small one, people remember that your company hosted or sponsored an event, and that has value far past the cost to put on an event – and remember – an event is not always social – it can be a workshop for your products, a training seminar on business, or even a product launch.

lerablog.org

lerablog.org

Of course, you’ll have budget questions, then the marketing for the event – can you use strategic partners to share in the costs and potentially get more attendees?  Get the word out through your social media channels, include it on emails to clients, and even get- depending on the event, local bloggers and Meet-up.com groups to get the word out.

mywebwriters.wordpress.com    

mywebwriters.wordpress.com

 

And by far the biggest part of the equation is building a team to help you.  This is where Nuila Events, LLC can really pull to the front for small businesses – we handle this everyday – it is, after all, what we do!  In fact, as you start to plan, think about involving us from the very beginning.  Reach out to us at 949.238.8066 or, as always, through our website NuilaEvents.com.

 

How To Get Sponsorships for Your Event

Stop right there.  Before you start thinking about sponsors and colors and times and invitations, you need to ask yourself a question.  A very simple one:

Do I have the skills to pull this off, or is it going to be a train wreck?

If the little voice in your head screams “No! No! No!” – you need to quit pretending and call Nuila Events, LLC.  Corporate or Non-profit, we can help. But before the lightning strikes the merry-go-round, get a pro to handle this event.

Now, if you’ve held an event before, you probably know how important a role sponsors play in event success. Sponsors can help with providing resources, marketing the event as well as help with overall participation of the event. But the reality is that securing a sponsor is much harder than you may perceive. Securing the right sponsor takes a mix of marketing strategy, relationship building and creative thinking.  The real catch for many sponsors, before they decide to get involved, is what exactly is the plan?  Think about it from a strictly business point of view. Any investor in a business would want to see a pro forma. In a way, your potential sponsor does too.

 

First, stand in the "buying" shoes

 

Photo Credit To: Youtube.com

Photo Credit To: Youtube.com

When you ask for sponsorship, don’t be surprised if things don’t go your way at first. Very seldom will companies give you money simply because you’re holding an event.  Here is where having your plan for the event, and perhaps a successful partnership with a company that handles large events, will pay off.   Companies invest only when they know they’ll get something in return. Therefore, try to think from a sponsor’s perspective when pitching them. Ask yourself the following questions before calling potential sponsors:

  • What’s the event objective and event program?

  • How is my company benefiting from sponsoring this event?

  • What’s the demographic of the target audience? Is it the same with my own customer base?

  • Why is this event unique from others?

  • Does my company have an opportunity to directly engage the event participants?

  • How about brand exposure, promotion rights, or exhibit booth?

Sponsors are not necessarily expecting monetary returns, but rather wanting to leverage events to create brand awareness and interact with customers. You have to think like a marketer and come up with a sponsorship package that’s appealing to buyers.

 

Second - Know WHEN and WHO to pitch

 

Photo Credit To: thepitchacademy.com/   

Photo Credit To: thepitchacademy.com/

 

The process of applying for sponsorship is really time-consuming, especially when you’re approaching renowned brands. So start early and make sure to have plenty of time for your sponsorship campaign. If you have an urgent timeframe, then talking to the right person can make a great difference. Smart sponsorship advocates know the importance of figuring out who makes the final decision. You are going to have to get past the “gatekeeper” to get to the decision makers, and that just takes time.  If time is of the essence, you need to figure out ways to get there quickly or look elsewhere.

 

Third - Target the right brands that suit your event "objective"

 

Photo Credit To: gasolinelabs.wordpress.com

Photo Credit To: gasolinelabs.wordpress.com

This is so obvious we shouldn’t have to say it, but every year, as professional event organizers, we hear the horror stories.  Beer and alcohol companies asked to sponsor a carnival to help sick children. Barbecue sauces asked to sponsor vegetarian events.  It seems like common sense, but as deadlines loom, sometimes the ideas get crazier and crazier.  Simply put, don't collaborate with a sponsor that has an opposite value to the event you're hosting.  Emphasizing the “fit” between your audience and your sponsors can tighten-up the event theme as a whole. Think of your event goal and target audience first, and then match the right businesses to collaborate with.

 

Fourth - Don't forget sponsor's employees

 

Photo Credit To: www.greenbiz.com/   

Photo Credit To: www.greenbiz.com/

 

Studies indicate that employee involvement is becoming more and more crucial to businesses. Lots of businesses also invite employees to participate in volunteering or participating in corporate social responsibility activities. Therefore, when you are securing the right sponsors, don’t forget to ask for their employees’ involvement! For example, if you’re holding a running related event, have sponsors’ employees build a team and participate in the contest. Not only will you secure more attendees, but you also provide your sponsors a great chance for internal team-building activities.

 

Lastly - Creative Thinking!

 

The chart below showcases what sponsors care about when sponsoring an event.

Photo Credit To: www.sponsorship.com/


Photo Credit To: www.sponsorship.com/

Based on the above chart, one can see that brand exposure is definitely a ranked priority for businesses. But there is more to offer than brand exposure and a social media presence. You have to create exceptional value to your sponsors, think out-of-box, and explore every possibility. Possible choices could be guerilla marketing or even linking sponsors with event programs.  If you don’t have the answer, that’s okay.  They have a marketing department, start asking them!

 

A great example of going above and beyond for your sponsors would be Kohler, a bathing appliance company and the official sponsor of Bonnaroo, who brought a stunning shower experience into an event. Kohler provided two rows of container structures for private shower and clothes-changing. Kohler successfully promoted its products by satisfying the needs of event-goers. What a brilliant sponsorship idea! By looking at other successful venues such as Kohler’s, one can gather many great examples and ideas for their events.

 

Okay, the little voice in your head should really be working overtime now, and that’s what we’re here to do.  We’ve been saving our clients from disastrous events for years, and we know that not everyone can be an expert like us.  

 

No, seriously, we have helped clients out of some real dumpster fires.  

 

You are an expert at what you do, Nuila Events is an expert at planning and executing amazing corporate and non-profit events.  In fact why don’t you just tip –toe over to our website while the boss isn’t looking, reach out to us here, and let us help you figure out just how you are going to pull off that next amazing corporate event.  You can find us on the Social Media of your choice, and isn’t it better to have somebody to guide you through this process than to try to map it out on your own?

 

We know.  We help folks like you everyday.