This is a guest post by Eli Raber. He is the Managing Partner of EventWings a successful event management consulting firm. He worked in both the corporate and non-profit sectors as a business leader, senior manager, project leader, consultant and event planner. Contact Eli at firstname.lastname@example.org
Much of the advice online for “adding value” at events is centered around how to plan an event element in a new or improved way, or it's used as part of a sales pitch a planner is offering to their client, ‘the value-add’ they bring to the event is experience, connections, extra services for the hosting organization, etc... Building on William Thomson’s post about building more value in networking events, let’s zoom out to a 30,000 foot perspective.
When looking at resources online to add value for events it's common to come across lists of steps for a successful event - how to create an improved budget and timeline or thoughts on the 5 W’s (What, Where, When, Who and Why).
All these resources and perspectives are valid though, they make one false assumption. They assume attendees will want to come if the event is well planned and marketed.
This assumption is false because it is not articulating the value proposition in relation to the attendee.
Access, Community, Experience
Let’s say for example you are a community, alumni group or company planning events. What is your value proposition, meaning what are you offering attendees to improve their lives by buying a ticket, and devoting time to the event?
How the event is marketed, executed and eventual guest experience - your ‘event-craft’ if you will - is of critical importance for the success of the event/program, but the strategic question is what will motivate people to bring themselves through the door.
The answer is a mix of three elements:
1) Access - to both people and resources they could not reach on their own
2) Community - to enter into a thriving group of people with a common bond
3) Experience - a venue or activity they could not replicate on their own
It's necessary to have all three elements in play to position yourself for success.
Finding the Right Mix
In order to find the right mix of Access, Community and Experience (ACE) one must not assume to know what the attendee will value. This is where the important stakeholder engagement work comes into action. By understanding what your potential audience values, one can design an ACE strategy and implement that with an event mix that will truly be relevant to the stakeholders and fill future events with attendees.