Events are never one-offs. The value of an event — whether an in-person conference, webinar, or hybrid event — comes from the momentum carried from one touchpoint to the next. But how do you scale your event strategy?
Keeping the conversation going from one event to the next and from one marketing touchpoint to the next depends largely on the goal of your event, but it also depends on the size of your team, your partnerships with vendors and sponsors, and so much more. As the events industry ramps up for a recovery like no other, these nine tips for scaling your event strategy will help you achieve repeatable success.
1. Conduct Internal and External Research
In the events industry, you should never rest on your laurels. But before committing to a sweeping event strategy, you need proof that scaling events makes sense. What kind of proof? We recommend looking at attendee satisfaction reports from past events and then conducting interest surveys with your attendees, partners, and other internal stakeholders.
For example, if you have an annual flagship event that currently achieves all of your event goals and satisfies your attendees, do more events make sense? You need to ask some important questions:
- Are there any additional goals worth pursuing via events?
- Do we have the budget and resources for expansion?
- Do attendees want/need more from our company?
- What industry trends might influence our event strategy?
- How could additional events help other departments achieve their goals?
2. Partner with the Right Event Software
Because event management software is often the cornerstone of the event planning process, you must take time to research the right solution for your budget and goals. Your software partner should offer future-proof, end-to-end event management features that are built for whatever type of event you’re hosting — whether flagship conferences, webinars, internal trainings, investor relations meetings, or something else entirely.
3. Work Smarter with Automation and Repeatability
The less manual work you have to do while organizing and executing your event, the easier it will be for you to scale your events. The same goes for creating repeatable processes. Pinpoint the areas of your current event planning process that take the most hands-on time and start mapping out ways to automate those tasks so events become consistent, scalable, and repeatable.
For example, you may want to use third-party automation to streamline processes or to leverage event management software to automate registration, ticketing, reminder emails, and so on. Or, you may want to standardize the way you plan events so that it’s easier to “copy and paste” the event planning process from event to event.
Whatever your solution to reduce time-consuming manual labor, make sure automation and repeatability are prioritized at every step of the process — from planning to execution to evaluation.
4. Partner with Exceptional Vendors
No matter how experienced you and your team may be, scaling your events strategy will inevitably require outside support. Start by identifying gaps in your team’s ability, knowledge, and time and research vendors who can help you fill those gaps to achieve your goals and scale your events.
Here are some considerations: Will you need help with marketing your event? Do you need an event website but don’t have someone on staff with web development expertise? Are you creating TV-quality video content but don’t have the equipment or talent to make it happen? If you’re going back to in-person events, do you need onsite support or management?
“When scaling your event strategy, make sure to partner with vendors who you trust. Whether that be on-site registration teams, event staffing companies, or A/V production, all vendors should gain your trust as not just a client — but as a partner. Then, you’ll be able to collaborate with them for future events, helping you to actually scale your strategy.”
Founder and Chief Event Einstein
Need to write an event RFP? We’ve got you covered.
5. Lean on Sponsorships To Scale More Easily
As you expand your event strategy — whether by increasing the number of events or the size of existing events — sponsorships will become increasingly critical to help you achieve your goals and stay on budget. As you build out your event sponsorship plan, start to look at higher-profile sponsors with larger budgets, as well as co-marketing opportunities.
Also, make sure that the event sponsors you contact align well with your event, its goals, size, theme, and so on. One of the easiest ways to identify the right sponsors is by using a site like SponsorMyEvent or SponsorPitch.
6. Document and Communicate Everything
As you create a scalable event strategy, it’s vital to document every detail and best practice and (over)share with all relevant stakeholders. Whether you keep the information in a Google Drive folder or use a Wiki to update and store information, it’s essential that you put all event planning strategies in one, easy-to-access place.
When event planning, the reality is that overcommunicating and ensuring transparency are the gold standard. Document and store the following event information so you can easily “copy and paste” from event to event:
- Event production checklist
- Email invitation, follow-up, and reminder templates
- Event plan template
- Event run of show template
- Event responsibilities
- Speaker production and script walkthrough template
- Speaker kickoff template
- Event budget and sponsorship template
7. Prioritize Brand Consistency
One of the difficulties that comes along with executing a high volume of events is maintaining your overall event vision without diluting your brand. To overcome this challenge, create a single brand under which all of your other events can fit.
If you have a large flagship conference with a particular image or theme, weave that brand through other initiatives, such as networking sessions, roadshows, and brand activations. Or, if you’re hosting a VIP-only event at HQ with free satellite or micro-events happening concurrently with the big event, be sure that the theme and branding are consistent from location to location.
For example, we just know that Pride Summit 2022 is going to be seamlessly branded across its virtual, satellite, and VIP in-person events. Whether attendees are tuning in from the comfort of home or gathering in one of 10 satellite locations, Pride Summit 2022 will deliver a high-energy experience that is consistently felt from coast to coast.
Remember: When your event brand is consistent and cohesive, audience recognition is stronger and scalability is more achievable.
8. Don’t Forget About Health and Safety
It probably goes without saying, but as you scale your event strategy you have to take health and safety measures into consideration. If you’re planning on more events or larger events, your policies will have to scale alongside your event strategy.
For example, if you’re planning on expanding and having events in a multitude of locations, you’ll need to evaluate the health and safety policies and laws in those areas and account for the extra costs related to maintaining those policies (e.g., extra signage, proof of vaccination, masking, proof of negative tests, and so on).
9. Most Importantly: Stay Creative
Scaling is often associated with creating a rigid structure through which processes can run more efficiently, but this should never come at the expense of creativity and improvisation. Spontaneity and creative energy are at the core of great events and the last thing you’d want is for those qualities to be stifled because you’ve created a well-oiled event machine.
As you tackle each event, remind yourself and your team that outside-the-box thinking is the cornerstone of a successful event.
Get Started: Scale Your Event Strategy Smarter and Faster
Whether your goal is to accelerate revenue, create stronger thought leadership, or boost brand awareness, you now have all the tools needed to scale your event strategy. But if you don’t have the manpower, tech resources, or — let’s be honest — time to do it all with the event team you have, we’re here to help.