By Alivia Kasumov, PR Manager at Badger Maps.
Corporate events are the ultimate way of fostering community within a company or promoting a product. They can be informative, innovative, and fun. A ton of planning is involved and they can take months to plan. That is why it’s important to make sure you clearly understand everything that needs to be done before kicking off your awesome event.
Organization is key for corporate events. It is important to start out with the basic information such as budget and an estimated number of guests. Once you have that information solidified, then you can move onto the details. Follow these steps to have the planning process for your next stellar event go as smoothly as possible.
- Set the budget (do NOT overestimate how much you can spend).
When setting your budget, negotiate proposals for venues and hotels. Erring on the side of underestimating can ensure you stay well within a reasonable budget. Although haggling is not encouraged, negotiating is. This will help a lot when you are trying to allocate resources.
2. Decide on the objective.
Before planning your event, define your objective. The focal point of the event should always be its attendees. Determine who your potential guests will be and keep their expectations in mind. Create a checklist of what your guests would want, and plan around those expectations. Besides setting your goal, make sure you secure your speakers well in advance. If your company is doing the speaking, don’t give it away for free. Monetize it.
3. Narrow down the guest list.
Is the goal of your event to attain, retain, or entertain clients? Decide on who your target audience is. Your target audience should be the ideal group of guests who you hope will be in attendance. As much as you may want to invite your aunt’s cousin’s daughter, steer clear of adding guests who won’t directly benefit your cause. Deciding who your target audience is will help you better choose your speakers, food, entertainment, ambiance, and venue.
4. Find a venue and create your aura.
When beginning this step, keep your budget in mind. Although you may want to secure the swankiest club in town, it’s important to choose a venue that your audience, and potential new clients, will enjoy and appreciate. Keeping your budget in mind is important, but make sure all the necessities are provided. Don’t neglect having a theme for your event. Inventing an original and exciting theme makes all the difference. Make it memorable and create an experience your attendees will talk about to their friends and co-workers afterwards. Get your guests involved instead of just bombarding them with speeches. Not only will they enjoy the event more, but they’ll remember the key message you wanted to communicate.
5. Focus on marketing and advertising.
This step is more important than it may seem. Dedicate a large chunk of time on marketing and advertising your event to generate excitement. Loop in your PR peeps! Incorporate social media into promoting your event to keep potential guests in the know. If you are expecting a large millennial turnout, using platforms like Facebook groups and email updates are a great option for easy self-marketing. Events with consistent and exciting advertising and marketing campaigns will always stand out from the rest. Creating buzz early in the process will keep guests excited before they even attend. Who knows, maybe an invitee will be so impressed with your creativity they’ll bring their friend with the big bucks.
6. Confirm (and reconfirm) all arrangements.
Letting your boss know last minute you’ve gone over-budget and may need an extra thousand or two is a situation no one wants to be in. Make sure the deposits are handled in advance. Prioritizing payments will help with organization in the big picture and remove the chance of any missed deadlines or changed dates.
7. Keep staff well-informed.
This will improve the quality of your event. Communication is very important when planning a corporate event. You want to avoid any possible “Oh, I thought it was on Friday night” type of situations. But don’t bombard everyone with constant text and email updates. Find a balance that will be effective instead of annoying.
8. Create a timetable.
Allow some leeway for unexpected hiccups.There’s nothing worse than scrambling to handle last-minute problems. Procrastination is not your friend when planning a corporate event. Start the planning a month earlier than you typically would. This will be a lifesaver when you inch closer to the event since all the brainstorming will been done far in advance.
9. Network at the event.
Greet guests and prospects.This is a fantastic time to not only meet potential prospects, but also to make meaningful connections for yourself. Get the most out of it! Introduce guests to your colleagues and check in on guests to make sure everything is going smoothly. But don’t forget to have fun too! Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
10. Reconcile finances.
Congratulations! You have successfully planned a corporate event! Now it’s time to reconcile the finances. This means not only event invoices, but also compiling the overall budget and profit margin. Conduct a post-event debrief. Lastly, asking attendees to complete surveys will help provide data for your future events to go even better!
Planning a corporate event doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It can be easy and fun as long as you are efficient and effective in taking the right steps. A great corporate event planner is quick on their feet, assertive, creative, and most importantly…organized! If you are planning your first corporate event, having a mindmap of each stage beforehand will help you stay organized and on track for a smooth planning process. These steps will help you hit all the important points and throw a great event!