c-suite team discussing event plans | setting event planning expectationsHosting a B2B event like a conference or a trade show is an incredible opportunity for companies to make powerful business connections. However, there are a lot of moving parts to pulling off a successful corporate event. Your executive leadership team probably has big expectations for ROI, but they may have an unrealistic view of what’s possible in the allotted budget and time frame. 

If you’ve been tasked with planning a B2B event for your company, here are some basic event planning expectations to set with your C-suite to ensure success.

1. Planning well in advance is key.

Procrastination can seriously harm your budget. Waiting until the last minute to decide on theme, food, location, etc. results in paying rush fees, which can be easily avoided by starting early. If your C-suite has only given you a few weeks to put an event together, you may be left scrambling to secure all the details while staying within your budget. This is where an event planning consultancy or firm can help you pull out all the stops and connect with the right people to make it happen.

2. Relevant content is (still) king.

In order to attract businesses, CEOs and vendors to your event, you’ll have to offer relevant content with valuable insights about the event theme or topic.

First, consider your audience and identify any potential problems or questions they might have. Next, present solutions and answers to these issues. Be sure to include stats, survey findings and advice that only you can provide. Then, push this information out in the form of blog posts, whitepapers, press releases, emails and social media posts.

3. Event planners need a team.

Just because you’re in charge of putting an event together doesn’t mean you can handle every task involved in planning and promoting it.  You’ll need a team of passionate and talented individuals to help with lining up speakers, creating a marketing strategy, posting real-time updates on social media from the event, etc. If you don’t have the internal resources to support these efforts, you may want to look into hiring a third-party event planning team.

4. You might need a backup plan if speakers and guests drop out at the last minute.

No matter how meticulously you’ve planned the details of your event, you can’t control other people — and that includes your roster of presenters and attendees. Plans can change at the last minute and you may find yourself without a keynote speaker three days before your event. In fact, paid events can have no-show rate of around 10%, and free events might only yield about 50% of your expected attendance.

It’s best to have a backup plan in place in case this happens. Invite more people than you think you need to in order to fill the space, and have a standby presenter in case there are no-shows the day-of.

5. Inviting your competitors is a good thing.

Inviting competitors to your event may seem counter-intuitive. After all, you’re hosting it to try to attract clients to your business. But by extending the invitation to , you — and your C-suite — can gain insights into who they’re targeting and what tactics they’re leveraging to grow their businesses.

Additionally, having your competition at your events can help your business forge valuable connections in an adjacent market. You may even find that you and your competitors can collaborate on a combined service offering to bring even more valuable to your client base.

6. Event planning may be more involved than a ‘side project.’

Event planning is no easy feat. It takes considerable focus and energy to conduct research, coordinate phone calls, emails and meetings with potential vendors, develop marketing materials, and keep everything running smoothly in the days and hours leading up to your event.

If your C-suite wants you to plan something on the company’s behalf, they may assume you can handle it as a side project on top of your regular responsibilities. It’s best to set event planning expectations with your leadership team up front about the time and effort involved, and, if necessary, present the case for hiring outside help so you don’t have to do it alone.

BridgeTower Media offers end-to-end event planning, consulting, and management services to help you showcase your business and expertise to the right audience. Learn more about our private label events here, or contact us for a quote.