Planning a successful event is no walk in the park. You need to cover lots of details when it comes to events, and where event marketing is a concern, the best way to do that is to be over-prepared. That said, it is easy to make mistakes when planning or hosting an event. Here are the ones to look out for:
1. GOING IN BLIND
Set proper expectations for the event, including staff training, marketing collaterals, and doing your research on the exhibitors prior to arriving. Details matter. Events are a big investment, so make sure that everyone is on top of their game and you know all of the detail prior to the actual event.
Have a contingency backup plan decide who can make what kinds of decisions on the fly and make sure everyone knows the backup plan as well.
2. NOT KNOWING HOW MUCH STAFF YOU NEED
Ever attended a trade show where you feel like the staff outnumbers the attendees? Nothing looks worse than having booth staff standing around and doing nothing. Not only does it decrease your productivity, it also cuts down on the amount of real estate you have to hold a conversation with your prospects. And it just looks plain bad. On the other end of the spectrum, you want to make sure you have enough resources to effectively represent your company and engage with attendees.
3. FORGETTING RELEVANT CONVERSATIONS
This is a tough one, since there is so much going on at an event. How can you remember everything that was said if you had a good conversation with a very viable prospect? Make sure each and every staff member logs the key points of each conversation. You can do this on the back of a business card, a sheet of paper that you can staple to the business card, and many iPad scanners now have the ability to save conversations directly in the app. This will make it easy for you to insert notes into your CRM system for targeted follow-up based on your conversation.
4. MISSING DEADLINES
We all know that trade shows are expensive. The cost of missing discount deadlines will come back to bite you in the place that hurts most—your wallet. Many events offer early bird specials for registration, shipping, hotels, A/V, etc. If you procrastinate you may end of paying double the price. So plan early, and make sure you stay on top of all deadlines.
5. NOT STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD
It doesn’t matter if you have the best looking booth — do you have what it takes to promote your presence at the event? Think of ways to create buzz. This can be in the form of social media, swag, games or contests, etc. Remember, other exhibitors and sponsors at the event are trying to connect with the same audience. Make sure you give that audience a reason to seek you out.
Plan for some engaging (and non-intimidating) ways to attract people to your both that go deeper than just collecting business cards. Try things like making cookies in a toaster oven. The smell alone will stop people. Some of these lighthearted activities are ways to get people to stop and see what’s going on.