Event Planning? Some Considerations

By definition, event planning, is the strategic development and process to help a project succeed.

However, in the event industry, many times, the cliche, “fail to plan and you plan to fail,” rings an all too familiar tune. Planning isn’t just writing up a list of “To Dos”. Nor should it be a Ready-Fire-Aim philosophy that is all excitement, yet fails on execution.

Specifically, when you’re considering a trade show footprint or experiential marketing activation, the investment requires much more than what you need to bring to a show or even how to staff your booth.

Depending upon the scope of the project, it’s a planning process that can span 6-12+ months prior to the event. This rigorous approach means that all parties involved in the planning process should be brought in from the start to help establish end goals and objectives. As each show can vary based on a number of variables, be sure to clarify specific metrics, and then consider building elements—such as on-brand messaging, theming, buyer persona, and an associated immersive experience—that support the end goals.

Regardless if your company provides a service or product, you should carefully plan any premiums (branded giveaways) or footprint assets designed to complement your design. Often through an approach known as storyboarding, you should begin to identify the taste, the smell, the feel, the ambiance, etc. of the sensory guest experience you’re trying to evoke.

Then, you should walk step by step through logistics, guidelines, creative processes, talking points, attire, etc. to ensure those working the booth are on-point with overall messaging.

Then, as you continue throughout A to Z in the planning process, below are a few (non-exhaustive) items you should consider:

  • Budget. This affects EVERY decision!

  • Develop an event agenda or timeline to serve as an outline.

  • Booth size (what is the ideal footprint, given your staff size and prospect goals?)

  • Is there a specific location that is ideal prime real estate (i.e. an island vs. corner, etc.)

  • When you’re staffing talent, for a specific show, are there certain demographics that are value-added to have on-site?

  • Should you outsource your event staffing needs to a company, such as EDR Marketing?

  • What travel and shipping is required?

  • Is the specific city a “union-city,” in which you’ll need to utilize their labor often at premium rates...

  • What storage capacity needs do you have…and what is available on-site?

  • Are your A / V equipment needs properly accounted for?

  • What marketing collateral, signage, custom fabricated assets is needed?

  • What integrated technological components (i.e. geofencing, Virtual Reality, Photo-Op, etc.) are needed?

  • How innovative do you want lead generation?

  • What other creative elements are needed?

  • What strategic partnerships would further leverage the opportunity?

  • What is the approach to curiously engage your target audience?

  • Is any PR—either paid or earned media—drops required?

  • To help ensure a return on objectives, how are leads and sales effective?

  • How can you best add value, solve problems, and effectively sell the product or service?

  • Local government requirements (i.e. permitting, food and beverage, etc.)

  • What insurance requirements are necessary?

  • Is parking or road-construction an issue to consider?

  • Is any entertainment or emcee needed on-site?

  • Is there any celebrities or sponsors to be mindful of on-site?

  • What items need ordering (i.e. Portable toilets, generators, rental vehicles etc.)?

  • What contingency plans are in place?

  • What considerations are needed for crowd control and on-site security?

  • Do any local authorities (i.e. Police, Fire and Rescue, etc.) need pre-event contact?

  • What waste management or traffic considerations?

  • What’s the layout of the event site?

  • What extra supplies (i.e. cleaning supplies, snacks, etc.) are needed?

  • What does post-event (i.e. communication, follow-up, etc.) look like?