Over the last seven years, I have worked with many clients in an event manager role producing their user conferences. Coordinating an event can be a very difficult task with many different pieces. The key to a successful event is always in the pre-planning and vendor coordination. By working together and managing all the details, I have been able to run countless successful events no matter the size.
Sometimes the trickiest part of an event, whether it is a tech happy hour or a large corporate user conference, is the overall coordination of different roles and different vendors. The smaller events will not have as many managed roles so this blog will mainly focus on larger corporate events, user conferences, and sales kickoffs of 200 people or more.
With an event of 200 or more there are a wide variety of different services and products needed for the planning and execution. In addition to just managing the bare logistics of the event you’ll also need to coordinate the efforts of event marketing, AV selection and management, graphic design, registration, etc. If these are not carefully managed through one event team, you will likely find yourself with an army of vendors with no clear direction or management. So where do you start?
Hire an Event Management Company.
The event management company is there to complete any task you assign them. A lot of the time I have found that it’s best for the client to take on the event marketing, speaker management, etc. as they typically are able to form their own internal event committee and event marketing team. They know what message they are trying to convey and the goals of the company so they can work with current customers and guest speakers in a more streamlined capacity. The event management company will handle the technicalities of the event.
Consolidate your vendors.
The event management company will likely have a lot of specialties inside their company to help with your event. This way instead of just a consultant, they can provide a lot of your other needs such as graphic design, environmental branding, video production, stage design, general session management, etc. By doing this you’re combining as many possible vendors into one. If they don’t have someone in house to provide a specific service you are looking for, they will have a list of go-to vendors for you to choose from. Ask them to manage these vendors on your behalf. Managing multiple vendors can be a headache so try and hire someone who can do it all!
Embrace an event management company as part of your team.
You can’t manage what you can’t see. Keeping your event management company in the loop is the best way to ensure the completion of tasks so you don’t have to worry about them. I have built a lot of respect and trust with my event clients because they know they can give me a set list of tasks and they get done in a timely and efficient manner. The main reason for that success is that I am aware of their event goals. Event goals differ from client to client, so make sure you communicate these goals with everyone you work with including vendors and your event management company.
Creating relationships with vendors has been an important part of my success as an event manager and project leader. I strive to keep them up to date on my goals, my client’s goals, timelines, and expectations which in turn proves to them that I am interested and engaged in providing a successful event overall. As a result of this behavior on my part, my vendors are all invested in the overall success as well.
The excitement and thrill of pulling off a thousand person, 3 day event, is so rewarding knowing that the coordination efforts and advice I gave was utilized and embraced. Think about involving an event management company for your next event and really involve them in your company’s goals as well as your goals as an event manager and you can’t lose!