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The most successful event planners are incorporating innovative elements throughout their event and the planning process. Here’s how they do it.
Would you call yourself an innovative event planner? If you're not, then your talents as an event professional are just going to be gathering dust. Here's how to embrace innovations to help make your events better and make your processes better and you're sure to see a lot more attendees coming out and talking about your events.
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Hey there, and welcome to the Event Manager Blog video series. Xander here and in this video, we're gonna take a look at How Innovative Event Planners Rule the World.
This video is brought to you by EventMB, the number one resource for event professionals.
Would you call yourself an innovative event planner? If not, then you're probably comfortable with the status quo or, doing things the way you've always done them, and unfortunately that's really one of the major issues in the event industry today.
I absolutely love events that have the opportunity to surprise me. As event professionals we walk in every situation, kind of knowing all of the tricks of the trade and so when all of the sudden the curtain drops, we're not thinking "what's behind it?", we're thinking "Kabuki drop", "Kabuki drop", "Kabuki drop". So when we have the opportunity to attend events that have a surprise or two, those are the ones that stick.
We are supposed to be creating experiences, changing minds and showcasing new and exciting things that our attendees have never seen before, so when you're in that mindset of doing things the way you've always done them and sticking to the status quo, your guests are gonna stop showing up. The most successful event planners out there are incorporating innovative elements throughout their event and the planning process so, let's take a look how.
First, we're gonna take a look at Innovation and Marketing.
Now, marketing can be this complex web of decisions around how you're going to reach your audience. So at the bare minimum, you should start taking a look at personalized digital marketing. This is the type of marketing that gives you the opportunity to look at data about a specific person and figure out what's the best way to reach them directly. With your customer relationship management tool and your email marketing tool, you should be able to get data about who's reading your emails, how much time they're spending looking at them, who's going through to the "buy a ticket" page and even who's put tickets in their cart, and then decided not to make the purchase. Reach out to those people. Maybe they just got distracted and need that small reminder to finish that purchase.
Now, all of this information and data can get a little creepy so be careful how you're using it, but if you're strategic and a little more nuanced in the way that you approach this information, you're definitely going to see some great results. When it comes to paper in hands marketing, I remember this absolutely incredible invitation that I saw for the “unluckiest bash”, a thirteenth annual award ceremony. In the invitation, there was a penny, flipped upside down, glued to the piece of paper. On the back was all of the information, but in order to read it, it was a scratch off so you had to take that lucky penny off the back of your invitation, scratch it off and that would reveal the details.
Innovation in Delegation
As event professionals, we tend to think of ourselves of Jacks of all trades. No, we shouldn't. We should know what we do best and then know who around us does those other elements better than we do. For example, I am an awful graphic designer, I know how to put together proposals, I can do some mockups for digital signage, or onsite event activations signage, but when it comes to actually getting the final piece put together, I know that I am not the person to do it. Creative professionals, graphic designers included, are innovating themselves by creating communities and platforms like Fiverr, or Upwork or TaskRabbit to help you find resources to get rid of those mundane tasks or the tasks that you don't know how to do the best possible version of yourself.
When you're spending time either learning how to do something that you aren't great at or would rather not do, or producing a product that really isn't the highest quality that could be, you're wasting those resources and your talents into a pool of things that you could delegate out to someone else. Get as many of your tasks out to other people who do them better so that you can keep your workload healthy and do your best.
Innovation and Embracing Technology
You've heard me say it before and I'm going to say it again. If you aren't on board with adapting to technology in the way that improves our event planning processes, you're basically useless. Now that doesn't mean that you have to incorporate technology into every facet of your event planning and event execution, you just need to start understanding how it can affect you and how it can improve the way you do things. If you're hesitant, start small. Take a look at a platform like Google Drive which you can incorporate all of the different elements of your event binder that you're logging around into a single place that you can search easily, reference to on your phone, and not have to carry around that massive binder that is kind of an eyesore.
If you're an adventurous event professional, then you should start taking a look at some of these full service event management platforms that automate processes and send you updates and reminders throughout the entire planning process, whether that means selling tickets and sending out automated confirmations to each of those ticket buyers after your events, or pumping in all of your task management responsibilities in your project management list. Deadlines, due dates included, you're going to get updates about each of those on a daily basis and it's going to let you know where you're standing, and what the status of your overall project is looking like.
Now I realize and understand that you may be thinking that, "here is just some other youngish person that's telling me that, because I don't use technology, I'm a dinosaur". It's because it's kind of true! Unfortunately, the way things are moving right now, technology is going to make things so much faster and so much more efficient that if you don't embrace it and take a look at how to incorporate it into your process, you're gonna be lagging behind and clients are going to look for other people to really tackle these tasks for them.
Now, everything that we talked about this far has been kind of addressing a lot of the previous production phase of the planning process, which is important because that's probably 90, 95 percent of the entire time you're dedicating to your event, but when you think about it, events aren't just a vehicle for making a better process in your planning, or making things as efficient as they possibly can be.
Events are about experiences, so we get to take a look at some of the fun elements that you get to incorporate onsite. Innovation in food and beverage might mean getting rid of the crudités, adding a doughnut wall, or bringing in a large portable stall so you can create onsite craft cocktails.
During the unluckiest bash that I mentioned earlier, the guests were served menu cards where they could choose what type of food that they wanted. Well, as it turns out, they were served the wrong dish. As a matter of fact, the dish that they were served wasn't even on the menu. Now, at any standard event, you're thinking "what the heck", I would be pissed, but when you're at an event like this, where you're walking through the doors underneath the ladder and the expectation is that everything is going to go wrong, this is just another one of those brilliant moments for you to think "wow".
Onsite event technology gives you the opportunity to create digital signage and design around things that people will have never seen before. Don't be afraid to step over the line and do something wacky, it's usually the craziest things that are going to go viral and that might give you another client, or 100!
So as we close out, innovation is loosely defined as spicing things up, change, metamorphosis, disruption. Ultimately, it's the process of breaking things down, taking a look inside, building them back up so that they're better than ever and isn't that exactly what we're doing with each and every one of our events? If you're not, then your talents as an event professional are just going to be gathering dust. Don't be afraid to embrace these innovations to help make your events better and make your processes better and you're sure to see a lot more attendees coming out and talking about your events.
How are you using innovation to improve your programs? Leave us a comment below and let us know!
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