The 6 Most Common Corporate Event Mistakes (and how to prevent them)
Every event planner understands that when they’re assigned the task of organizing a corporate event; it takes a huge amount of time, money, and introduces a plethora of potential pitfalls. To help prevent or alleviate potential mishaps, this post will cover the common mistakes anyone can face when planning a corporate event, and how to prevent them.
1. Crawl before you walk
In many cases, it may not be the right time for a company to even plan an event yet. Some companies simply don’t encourage their staff to think about the reason they’re organizing an event in the first place. From the beginning, make sure your event is worth the investment so it can be set up for success.
Don’t be the startup that has a launch party before their website is live, runs an experiential marketing campaign that gets no coverage, or be the company that organizes a team building event for a commission-based sales staff – who would rather be at their desks making calls.
Take the time to map out and thoroughly plan a brief detailing what types of outcomes to expect from the event. Figure out what your goals are and what it’s going to take to achieve them… can you do it? In some cases, you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s not wise to organize an event for your company or client quite yet. But hey, this gives you extra planning time if you’re not quite ready. Either way, this first step is crucial for your overall event success.
2. Careless budget allocation
A major problem when companies plan events is that the money belongs to the company, not the person spending it. Which means, unlike the bride who knows where her every penny is spent and challenges each vendor several times before negotiating, understandably, is not the same level of care and attention as a corporate event planner. Having a personal investment, similar to someone paying out-of-pocket for each add-on, will help you evaluate the importance of each purchase decision you make.
If you’re delegating the organization of an event, pass on some of the responsibility by making everyone aware of the budget and accountable for specific areas of the event. For those expected to help organize the event on top of their existing job, look at putting an incentive in place for delivering an event that achieves your event’s objectives. Also, encourage your team to report any significant savings made.
3. Too many cooks in the kitchen
Organizing an event through layers of decision makers can interfere with the quality of the event and waste a significant amount of everyone’s time. Choose one or two people with the right skills to head-up the project, allowing them to have the final say on things you don’t have time to look over. In the end, having a decision maker other than yourself doesn’t only save you time, but lifts some weight off your shoulders when the event is time sensitive.
4. Not vibing with your guests
Before finalizing any decision, first ask yourself, “Is this the right option for the event attendees?”
The event should be about the people attending. If your guests leave unhappy (for whatever reason), you’ve failed. This seems obvious, but this mistake happens time and time again, where other small factors have a lasting impact on attendees. Such as the decision makers swayed by budget, the organizer affected by creativity, or selecting event companies, vendors, and venues. Your final decisions should always be made based on the experience of your guests. This doesn’t mean you have to go above and beyond, or even over budget. It just means you should always be conscious of your guests the entire time you’re planning the event, and only spend amounts of your budget where appropriate. For example, if a more high-quality registration system will improve the guest experience by cutting back on check-in times and giving them mobile access to the event schedule, find somewhere else you could possibly cut back on your budget that won’t effect the overall attendee experience.
5. Miscommunication… without even talking!
An event shouldn’t be too impersonal or corporate focused. The best corporate events communicate their values, personality, and message as a cohesive theme and concept.
An event connects with its audience through great content; making your brand, product, or service at the core of the event. This can be the combination of a great tagline, hashtag, impactful imagery, and environmental designs throughout the venue. Maintaining this theme from your company’s pre-event marketing efforts, to the attendee’s first experience during registration, all the way through your speaker’s keynotes will make a huge impact on your events overall theme and message.
6. Pumping the brakes once the event wraps
A great number of corporate events start and finish on the same day – and that’s that. These events are all too soon forgotten. Events should never be seen as a stand-alone tactic but integrated with other parts of your company’s marketing efforts.
Thanking your guests, sponsors, and supporters is a great way to wrap up your event. You can send thank-you notes in the mail, by email, or using social media. Also, social networks like Twitter or LinkedIn can help you reconnect with everyone who is retweeting you, shared your posts, or engaged with your #YourEvent hashtag. As a bonus, maintain your event campaign through social media. Have your followers send you photos and share the experience they had at your event, and offer the best participant a free pass to next year’s event. This shows other followers that you’re actively engaging with them and open to dialogue.
Feedback is critical if you are planning to host the event again, and helps you know what you’ve accomplished, and what you need to work on. Most attendees are more than happy to provide feedback during your event, using either paper-based or online surveys. It’s also useful to gather feedback during your event on individual speakers and performers, while it’s still a fresh experience and guests can provide useful insight.
If you have any additional tips based on event experiences of your own, I would love to hear them! – please share in the comments section below.
Next steps? Check out this guide to event planning to get you started.