Strategic Event Management: Step-by-Step

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To plan and host a successful event require a strategic approach, and this is where strategic event management comes in.

Strategic event management is an effort of managing an event’s lifecycle from start to finish: from planning, organizing, marketing, running, and finally, evaluating the performance of the event. 

However, the implementation of strategic event management can be easier said than done. Even if you have unlimited resources (which is highly unlikely), creating an event strategy will still be challenging. 

Here, we will discuss a step-by-step guide of implementing strategic event management to host a successful event that can attract a lot of attendees. 

Without further ado, let us begin with the first step

Step 1: Identify the Event’s Purpose and Goals

Strategic event management starts with identifying the event’s purpose. 

Why do we want to host this event in the first place? It’s crucial not to host an event for the sake of hosting an event alone, instead, it must have a clear purpose.

For some events, the purpose might be obvious from the get-go, but for some others, less so. 

For example, the event might be for:

  • Supporting a product launch
  • Building brand awareness
  • Sell more products during the event
    And so on. 

Once you’ve identified a purpose, break it down into more tangible objectives. 

Step 2: Identify your target audience

Based on the event’s purpose and objective, who is your target audience? 

The better you know and understand your target audience, the better you can design an event that caters to this audience’s needs and preferences. 

Build a buyer persona, and gather as much information as you can about your event’s target audience. 

Step 3: Develop an outline plan

Based on the event’s objective and target audience, you should be able to develop an outline for your event plan. This should include high-level details of your event like the type of event, shortlist of potential venues, speakers/talents to invite, and so on. 

Step 4: Create an event budget

It’s crucial to create an event budget as early as possible since your budget will dictate many other aspects of your event plan. By establishing a budget early, you’ll also be able to avoid surprises in the future. 

Your initial budget shouldn’t have to be set in stone, and as you move forward in the event planning, you’ll revisit the budget every now and then. However, you should at least have a clear estimation of the high-level budget.

Step 5: Decide on a venue

Again, it’s very important to research potential venues as early as possible. 

The earlier you scout your venues, the more options you’ll have and the higher the chance you’ll get the most ideal venue. You should also decide on the best possible date/time for the event while deciding on the venue. 

If you are planning a virtual event instead, then you should decide on a virtual event platform that you’ll use to host the event. 

Step 6: Creating event content and schedule

Once you’ve decided on a venue and date/time, you can start planning the content of your event. Will this be a concert? A conference with multiple speakers and workshops? A webinar? 

Create a schedule for your event once you’ve decided on the content. By considering every minute of your event in detail, you should be able to identify which talents and vendors to contact in the next step.

Step 7: Negotiating with talents and vendors

Now that you’ve planned the event’s schedule, you should’ve got a clearer picture of which vendors to contact and which talents/speakers to approach. 

Check the availability of speakers, talents, entertainers, and special guests, and negotiate the price well (if any). Similarly, when dealing with any vendors, remember that everything is negotiable, even if they claim otherwise. 

Go back to your event budget, and stick to it as much as you can. Update the budget with your actual spendings so you can keep track of when you’ve exceeded your initial estimation. 

Step 8: Securing sponsorships

If you are planning to fund your event on your own, then you can skip this step. 

Before approaching any potential sponsors, do your research of which potential sponsors we should target, and personalize your proposal. Remember that sponsorship should be a two-way relationship, so you should identify how you (and your event) can provide value for the target sponsors and create an interesting sponsorship package.

Step 9: Planning health, safety, and security aspect

Often overlooked, but still a very important step. 

If you are hosting an in-person event, conduct a thorough risk assessment of the venue and develop a comprehensive health and safety plan. 

For virtual events, you should also identify potential cybersecurity threats and take the right measures accordingly. 

Step 10: Promote your event

Your event is unique, so how you should promote your event should follow the same path. 

Explore all the different marketing channels available. The general approach is to choose channels and tactics that your target audience frequently interacts with. 

If you’ve run previous events and have collected your previous attendees’ contact information, then email marketing is always a safe pick. In today’s social media age, it’s also fairly obvious to promote your events via various social media channels, including partnering with relevant influencers. 

Step 11: Manage your registration process

This step is about designing a ticketing strategy, selling your tickets, and managing the registration process. You should create a dedicated event page complete with an online registration function. Make sure it’s as easy as possible to purchase your tickets via various channels and consider selling different ticket prices (including time-based discounts) to attract as many attendees as possible.

Wrapping Up

By following the steps above, you can start planning and hosting a successful event right away. 

Yet, even with all your hard work in making sure your event runs smoothly, it’s always best to prepare your plan Bs and plan Cs. Be realistic and prepare for every outcome, and preparing for contingencies is also a core part of strategic event management. 

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