Writing a successful event strategy

Business event specialist Sally Bunce shares her views on what to consider when writing an event strategy

As budgets tighten and the value of time deepens, it becomes increasingly important to be strategic and efficient in the way we allocate our resources.

It's why business event specialist Sally Bunce says organisations and event planners must offer a compelling value proposition to contend for this sought-after investment. Now, more than ever, business events must deliver a tangible return on investment, which can be achieved through a considered, well-thought-out strategy with a distinct purpose.

Understand an event strategy

An event strategy defines the event purpose and key objective(s), and along with an implementation plan will provide a focused pathway with tangible checkpoints and deadlines.

Impactful and memorable Successful events are also not necessarily the biggest or the shiniest but one that meets the needs and expectations of stakeholders. This is achieved through a detailed strategy that considers the wider eco-system of an event in a holistic way.

Tips to writing an event strategy

  • Delve into the deeper purpose of the event:
    Ask why you hold your annual conference or business event. If the answer is "because we always do" or "to make a profit" then think again. Highlight at least one - and no more than three - key purposes for your event. Is it to educate your audience on the latest innovations or learnings? Is networking a key component? Does your industry look to your organisation for leadership, advocacy, or to demonstrate best practice? Is it an opportunity to bring industry together and connect suppliers, clients and stakeholders?
  • What are the key objectives?
    Clear objectives help establish a framework for implementation, and with specific measurable outcomes, you can determine the level of success.
  • Lock in the details:
    When making decisions on event details that they serve your purpose and key objectives. Decisions on content, programme framework, format (in-person, hybrid, or online only), venue, location, pricing and partnership strategy should all support the purpose and objectives. For example, if one purpose of the event is to provide a opportunity for your attendees to network and connect with one another, then a formal dinner with assigned seating, and thereby limiting interactivity, is unlikely to be the best choice for a dinner
  • Does the event purpose and key objective(s) tie back to the organisation's strategy?
    Ensure your event strategy doesn't go one way while the organisation strategy heads in another direction.

All in all, be mindful that a considered event strategy is the first step in delivering a successful event that maximises resources, clarifies decision-making and sets you on the path to success.

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