How to strategically plan your event

Becky Walker, head of pitch strategy, from Fresh takes a look at the strategic planning for events and how events can be even more successful

We recently carried out a survey with over 150 senior stakeholders within the events industry to establish how strategy is being used within the events industry. It certainly produced some interesting results that are helping us shape our way of thinking and gives the wider events industry so food for thought.

We found that only 25% currently include strategic objectives as part of their agency event brief, with 21% in need of support to draw up an events strategy with clear objectives. Is this a reason why every event isn’t as affective at it could be? Surely an event underpinned by a detailed strategy will not only help to achieve brand ambitions, but is also key in helping make project ‘pinch points’ (like time and budget) much more efficient.

A strategic approach to event planning uses research, insight and measurement to produce a clear proposition – this is then used to help develop a more effective, focused and business-aligned event across every touch-point from ideas through to delivery. 

We understand from working closely with our own clients that some organisations are beginning to effectively use events as a channel to help achieve their business strategy.

A simple checklist for creating strategic events…

  1. Align with your business strategy – Ensure clarity on the elements of the strategy the event will support. This will position the event as a crucial part of the marketing plan and help to achieve your brand’s ambitions.
  2. Gather audience insight – Delve deep into the mind-set of your audience to understand their wants, needs and motivation. Use this insight to focus on how you can best engage with them. Your agency will be able to help carry out audience research and develop this insight.
  3. Define strategically led objectives  These should be relevant to the event, the role it plays as part of a bigger campaign and how it supports the wider business goals. Clearly defined objectives will ensure effectiveness can be proven post event.
  4. Plan ahead – Following steps 1-3 will all form part of creating a clearly defined, single minded and strategically focused brief. Work closely and collaboratively with your agency partners as they can help provide an external perspective and ensure the brief is single minded with a strategic focus.
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