Successful Events 101

Whether it’s a special event planned for 50 or a benefit concert planned for 4,000, events that consistently focus on planning and execution in the following three areas tend to be highly successful: 1) Logistics 2) Marketing/PR/Promotion and 3) Fundraising or creating your Return On Investment (ROI).

We’ve all been there!  We hire a PR person to handle an event but quickly realize they don’t have a clue about logistics or fundraising.  Or, you hire someone that is highly skilled in logistics to run an event but they don’t understand the functions of marketing/PR/Promotion side of the event. Most people have core competencies in one or two of the above areas, which makes it even more difficult to find staff capable to manage effective events by focusing on all three areas needed to make an event successful.

Let’s zero-in on the core competencies…

Chris Kuban 1) Logistics:  Dependent upon the size of each event, the logistics can be as simple as just booking an all-inclusive venue to host and/or cater the event.  However, when diving into larger-scale events, you have the responsibility of hiring many vendors from the venue to the stage, sound, lighting and food and alcohol vendors.  Identifying permits needed, amount of security, ticket takers or ushers needed, and simplest of things such as making sure there is enough restrooms and chairs/seating can easily derail any event.  Be prepared!

Although framing up an event is part of the PR components, from a logistics perspective, you have to envision what you want the media to take away from the event.  If you have media attending, how do you want your event visually shown on TV or in a photo in the newspaper?   What will the background look like?   Using the journalistic standards to visually identify the who, what, when, where and why should help you setup your event so if the media arrives, you can direct them to the best visual aspect to make your event look incredible.

Part of logistics involved knowing where and when things will happen.  Having a document that states the “Run of Show” which includes vendor names and contact info, times and date of set-up, as well as the official timeline (as best you can predict) from start to finish and cleanup is important.  Having this document written out and understood by all parties is the first key to insuring a successful event.  And, when kinks occur, you have one document with all the key contacts to react immediately if need be.

Depending upon the type of event such as a community festival, etc, you may also want to create an event committee to focus on needed components. However, please remember that when using volunteers, not everything moved on the necessary timeline.  Therefore, as the organizer, you need to understand there will be many times when you need to step in and get planning back on track.

IMG_11922) Marketing, PR and Promotion: Ask yourself the questions, “How will people learn about your event?” and “How will people easily purchase/get tickets?” These questions causes complex answers based upon your expected attendees’ specific demographic and how they rect to certain media.  Remember that in today’s society, people are subjected to multiple messages in multiple mediums.  From television to radio, billboards, social media, posters and flyers, these are some of the easiest to identify ways to get your word out.  However, with budgets tight, you might also want to identify ‘gorilla marketing’ tactics.  In this case, you may consider reaching out with a speaker’s bureau to community organizations, plastering flyers and posters in restaurants, bars and local businesses, etc.

When producing a large-scale benefit concert or any community event in a good-sized town where an anticipated crowd of 3,500+ is expected, a good guerilla marketing formula we’ve used has been to produce 1,000-2,500 11”x17” posters and 10,000 4”x6” post cards to get distributed throughout the community.  When it’s a charitable cause, most tend to support it.  We produce and also aggressively try to get TV and Radio PSA’s, as well as billboards donated.  In many cases, the above is all possible with the right ASK.  You have to be prepared to make that ask!

Publicity and promotion is a science.  On-air ticket give-a-ways are always great ways to promote an event, but more so is third party validation about the event.  This means that creating an event or occasion to promote the main event on TV, on the radio or in the newspaper are always great ways to introduce the event through mainstream media.  Then, over-use that exposure via Social Media to send/advertise to your target market on a more frequent basis.

10853) Fundraising and Creating your Return on Investment (ROI):  Depending upon the type of event, the basic and most important question you should be asking is “After you have paid your expenses, how are you going to make money?”  Also, ‘IF’ something like weather is a potential factor, how are you going to cover losses if there are losses?

The final key to a successful event is knowing how you will generate enough revenue to create a profit.  Therefore, you can create a simple spreadsheet detailing projected income from sponsors, tickets, merchandise, auctions, donations, etc.  Also, create an outlined budget for the venue, staging, lighting, sound, chairs, tents, security, EMS, hotel expenses, meals, etc.  Outline how, at the end of the day, you plan to recoup your costs.

Lastly, if you’ve identified the above and think these three implementation components might be too overwhelming to take on yourself, consider outsourcing to a reputable event management company, third party organization, PR firm or something like that to handle the turnkey approach of turning your event into a hugely successful event.

Chemistry Multimedia would be pleased to advise and/or quote your upcoming project!  Call us at 314-603-2866.