No Goals or Plan - Leads to Problems
I'm Bruce Ahern, Chairman of Convey Holdings parent company of Cloud Conventions
It’s not enough to state that you want to hold a virtual event and make it your primary goal. When you run your company, association or nonprofit, you are clear about who your customers and prospects are, your financial objectives, your position in the marketplace and what makes you successful.
Delivering a virtual event should follow that same philosophy. If you fail to understand and set goals and objectives for your event, the focus becomes unclear and it’s virtually impossible to create a successful plan.
Here are a few reasons why our customers sometimes miss the mark on their virtual event.
First, Failing to do their homework.
- There is nothing that beats research to help you identify the critical components of any virtual event:
- Define who is your audience and what is their motivation,
- what do exhibitors and sponsors expect, along with what others in your industry are doing to virtualize,
- Also what challenges to expect based on what is going on in the marketplace.
- You have to do your homework before you even start drafting any plan.
The next area is the Failure to establish goals
Once you’ve done your homework, you must create goals that are both attainable and measurable, as well as making sure they align with your business goals. Events will fail if don’t understand:
- The audience to attract, along with attendance numbers you want to reach.
- Revenue and profit goals from the event
- The experience and takeaways for attendees
- Exhibitor and sponsor ROI
- Especially since you want this event to be remembered in the marketplace
If it’s not measurable you can’t validate your success. So, you have to set objectives with Key Performance Indicators
After goals are established, you have to create objectives with measurable KPI’s. Goals must include
- attendee and exhibitor acquisition and satisfaction,
- engagement with content and event offerings
- and the ROI for you and the exhibitors.
Here are some performance indicators that are often ignored:
- How many registrants are expected and the ratio of who actually logs in.
- What does it cost to acquire a registrant?
- If you are charging, what is your goal for attendee revenue?
- How many exhibitors and sponsors will you secure and how much revenue will they deliver?
- How many leads will your event produce for exhibitors
- What are your goals for session participation?
- And finally, what satisfaction scores do you want from attendees and exhibitors?
Once you have goals and objectives, it’s time to get down to the planning phase. Virtual events take longer than you think to create and execute. Event planners make their first mistake by starting the selection of their technology platform before defining a plan that serves the business goals and objectives for the event. Without the right plan, every other decision most assuredly will increase cost, slow down the process and not support the attendee or exhibitor experience.
Here are some common event planning mistakes to avoid.
Not designating an event producer, manager or leader
Events without a strong leader either from your organization or from the world of event planners will fail. This individual needs to execute the vision, delegate tasks, and make sure everything stays on track. It’s no different than a live event.
Failure to assemble the right team
Virtual events generate revenue, educate audiences, and create community. Make sure the team includes sales professionals, content and education specialist, and a creative staff to build in fun and engagement.
Failing to create a plan to attract the audience
Attracting attendees is not as easy as you think. Event plans should include the audiences you have attracted to live events, as well as those that might attend virtually for the first time.
Short changing your content strategy
One of the most compelling reasons for people to attend virtual events is content and education. Content is sometimes the most overlooked event component, but one of the most important as you consider the right mix of live and on demand, speakers and session leaders and the topics that will interest and engage the audience.
Lack of plan to attract exhibitors & sponsors
Without an exhibitor package that outlines you attract attendees into a booth, generate leads, create calls to action and analyze the results, exhibitors won’t know what they are buying. Without the right sales tools and a demo site the sales team will struggle to sell exhibit packages and clearly demonstrate what companies are getting for participating.
Not incorporating engagement & connection
Virtual events are about connection, collaboration and networking. Lack of opportunities for discussions, roundtables, social events and ways to find and connect with individuals that attend or exhibit will make your event boring and unengaging.
And Finally … Selecting a platform before you have a plan
If you haven’t built a plan, don’t pick a platform. Without a plan you may end up being penny wise and pound foolish by thinking the lowest cost alternative can meet your needs. Or you can spend too much on a platform that is more robust than your event requires.
You’ve heard the old saying that failing to plan is planning to fail. Nothing could be truer than in the virtual event world. The right event plan starts with knowing your audience, understanding your business goals, and laying out performance objectives. Then, you need to get the right leadership, tap into the best team, have a plan to attract attendees and the companies to fund the event.
And most importantly, you need define ways to educate, interest, engage and connect with your audience.