You're an event planner, so planning is what you do—but do you have a strategic plan for your event…and the event technology part of it?
Running an event is like running a company (sometimes they even operate with the same budgets!). If you run a business without a business plan, you're likely going to fail. Events are similar. You need to know what you're trying to achieve, a way to measure progress, and a plan for reaching your objectives. Without a plan, you'll be less efficient and probably waste time and money re-doing work. Nobody wants that.
How do you create a killer strategic event plan? These are four steps we take when strategically planning for our events and our use of event technology.
Set your goals and objectives
There are millions of different things you can do for your event—you can spend more money on better bagels, or to get higher quality AV equipment—the trade-offs are endless. Knowing what you're trying to achieve helps you prioritize and work towards what you've identified as most important.
To start, paint a picture of what your event looks like in a perfect world, describing it in as much detail as possible. Be specific. If you're not crystal clear on your goals and objectives, you've not going to know how to achieve them or track your progress. What are you working towards and what do you want to achieve? Look at last year's events for guidance. Which goals did you meet and which did you miss? What from last year do you want to continue or to put a greater focus on this year?
Know how you're going to measure and track success
Your goals and objectives are your "True North", but without a compass, it’s hard to know if you're heading in the right direction. Identify clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that will help you track and measure progress towards achieving each stated goal and objective.
Tip: be sure you’re measuring and adjusting course throughout the process and not at the end
Evangelize your goals
Share the event's goals and objectives with the entire team. You want them to know what you're working towards, how you're going to measure progress, and what you're going to be doing different this year to achieve those goals. Having everybody on the same page is essential.
Now that you have your goals and objectives, you know how you’re going to measure progress towards them, it’s time to figure out the actual tactics you're going to take. If you’re part of a team everyone on it should be asking themselves, "How am I working to achieve those goals and objectives?" and then coming up with a plan for how they can do so within their roles.
Tools of the trade
At this point you have your goals and objectives and you know how you're going to measure progress towards them. You’ve developed a plan for how to get there. It’s now time to start thinking about tools that can help you be successful.
This is where your plan for event technology comes into play. Identify what tools are needed to achieve your goals and objectives and then use that to focus and prioritize what event technology makes the most sense. You want to seek out tools that will impact your ability to execute your strategic event plan.
Think about how event technology can directly impact your ability to achieve a goal. For instance, if you’re goal is for improve attendee navigation at your event, integrating an app with maps that can facilitate attendee navigation will directly impact your ability to reach that goal.
Event technology can also be used to indirectly help you achieve goals. An event content management tool like Hubb can deliver significant time savings, freeing you to focus on your most important and strategic actions.
Tip: Take a long-term view. It’s beneficial to plan and strategize for the tools you need in terms of 2-3 years because not everything can happen in the 9 months before an event. Break it down to the steps that need to happen and the budget and vendors you'll need to bring on to ultimately get there.
Want the next step? Download our Event Tech Budget Template and start your strategic planning!