Before we built the events of your imaginations, we planned them. In 1989, John Murray Productions began as an event management firm with Oracle as our first client. Today, we still apply the event management skills we honed way back then when working with our clients to build memorable event environments, as the principles remain the same when it comes to how to manage an event successfully – engage your audience and exceed your client’s expectations.
How to manage an event successfully
Several factors come into play when considering how to manage an event successfully. In the corporate world, there is so much more than a happy guest on the line. Corporate clients expect a great return on investment, so here are the keys to managing a successful event.
Determine the goal
Working with your client to establish a clear event goal at the start of your planning phase lays the foundation for your event. Your goal should drive all decisions, and will very much depend on the demographic of the audience. So research your audience before formulating your goal. Whether the goal is to increase sales, gain customer loyalty, or educate attendees on the brand – using the goal as your guide simplifies budget and management decisions. When brainstorming the next great idea, revisiting the question “will this help us reach our goal?” inevitably leads to the next right step. And determine how to track you goal. What are the key performance indicators? When the event is over, showing your client the progress made toward the goal helps them understand their return on investment, and reminds them why they hired you in the first place.
Establish your team
With the goal in place, gather the right team to help reach that goal. Events are made of many moving parts. Finding the experts in each area ensures your success. Team members should be nimble and well versed in events. Excellent time management skills, the ability to set strong boundaries, and good people skills make for an excellent team member. Often times the event’s success is a direct reflection of the proverbial wizard behind the curtain. Take the time to build a team that works well together and knows what they are doing.
Manage your client’s expectations
This may be one of the harder parts of managing an event successfully. We want to give our clients everything they ask for, but this can come as a detriment to the overall success of an event if not handled properly. Constraints related to budget, time, and venue need to be considered when saying YES to the ask. Walking the line between giving the client what they want and what is possible is an event producer’s greatest skill. Trust your expertise, remember the goal, and do not be afraid to say no when the ask leads you too far astray from that goal. Because in the end your client will remember what went wrong more than they remember what went right. Having clear expectations makes it easier to exceed them, and exceeding your client’s expectation ensures you stay in business.
Consider the venue
When choosing a venue for your event, consider several factors. You may love the aesthetics of that funky art gallery downtown, but can your guests park nearby? Is the venue accessible? Use the demographic and size of your audience, as well as your budget, to guide your choice in venue. Safety, location, parking, and nearby accommodations are important to the attendees. When it comes to your budget consider union labor contracts, catering options, and breakout spaces within the venue. And today, on the heels of a global pandemic, virtual or hybrid events are the norm and will greatly influence your choice in venue. Determine the most important variables, do your research and choose a venue that fits the needs of the attendees while also providing the ideal background to meet your event goal.
Collaboration with you vendors
The best events are often the result of a variety of specialty vendors working together in harmony. Your ability to collaborate with each is key to how to manage an event successfully. Using your event goal and your expertise in creating cohesion between all event elements, choose vendors that align with your vision and use your budget accordingly. For example, if your goal is to reward your employees, dedicate a big part of your budget to big name entertainment. If increasing sales is your goal, spend the money on an exciting activation that engages your audience with the product in an exciting and memorable way. Using seasoned vendors who prioritize safety and understand the complexity and uncertainty common to special events helps prevent potential hiccups. Entertainment, catering, audio visual, scenic, and information technology companies are all important vendors to build relationships with as an event planner.
Make it memorable
Providing your attendees with a positive experience is obviously an important part of any successful event, but how do you maintain that positive association long after the event ends? There are several ways to achieve this goal, and knowing your audience will guide you in the right direction. Provide high impact activations at the event, such as a meet and greet with a popular celebrity. Your guests will never forget where they met their favorite musician. Create follow up touch points, like a website or hashtag campaign where attendees can revisit the event or network with other attendees. Send your guests home with personal giveaways like branded photos, so they revisit the event at home. Or high value items like quality branded water bottles that guests will use for a long time. In today’s competitive attention economy, remaining memorable is key to a high return on investment.
With the keys to how to manage an event successfully, you are ready to get started. With so many variables to consider, the best way to hone your craft is with practice. Trial and error can be the best teacher. And should you need a fabricator to build a prop or scenic environment, contact your friendly fabricators at JMP.