10 Old Event Tactics It’s Time to Ditch

Event professionals need to stay on top of current trends. Not doing so can place their client list in jeopardy. Are you doing any of these 10 things? If so, it’s time to let them go.

A former boss of mine came of age in the late 70s and early 80s. You know the years where banana curls were hot, hot, hot and Aqua Net hairspray could solve any bad hair day dilemma? And she still wears her hair long and flowing like an extra on Charlie’s Angels.  

They say the years we spent in high school are some of our most formative. You tend to wear the clothes, hairstyles, and appreciate the music from that time period. While we’re not all stuck in high school, many of us do gravitate to that nostalgic time. It’s comfortable and familiar and we know we looked darn good then. Why wouldn’t it work now?

While it’s one thing to cling to our younger years, it’s another to carry over old tactics in our professional lives. People may laugh when we see someone “feathering” their hair but there’s nothing funny about an event professional who’s using old tactics that no longer work. If you’re doing the following things, it’s time to stop. If you’re still feathering your hair… hey, there’s still hope it’ll make a comeback.

  1. Sending Out a One-size-fits-all Message

Personalization is key to profitability these days and if you’re copying and pasting email content year-after-year and sending the same message to everyone, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Doesn’t seem like a big deal to you? Have you ever registered for something and then received a blanket email reminding you to register. You can’t help but wonder if you’re registered.

With today’s technology, the sender could easily have pulled everyone off the send list who already registered but they took the lazy way and blanketed everyone with the same message, undoubtedly causing the planner to receive a needless number of calls and emails to verify registration.

2. Selecting Your Own Speakers

While it’s not necessary to crowdsource all of your event speakers, asking for input on topics is helpful in establishing what your audience wants. Attendees are expecting this now so when you create a meeting or conference with absolutely no input, it better be amazing. Otherwise, you can expect to hear about it on your surveys.

3. Shouting Into the Wind

Okay, so this one is not all that old, but social media has evolved past merely posting content about yourself and not interacting or conversing with others. It’s okay to post content about you but you should be looking for ways to make it more engaging through using video or images. The few videos I’ve done get 10-20 times more interaction than my blog posts. When they get interaction, the search engines take that as an indicator of valuable content and the social media sites give it more play in people’s social streams.

4. Letting Past Attendees Fade into Oblivion

Many event planners are embracing remarketing campaigns, drip marketing, and even online communities that help them stay in contact with past attendees. Years ago, the chance of a previous attendee coming back after a skipped year, was very slim. Today, with marketing tools and technology, you can stay in touch and continue to add value to that person’s life and they may decide to return in the future. But only if you stay connected.

5. Dumping Keywords in Everything You Write

Okay, so you want to rank for a particular word. But using it in every sentence is no longer the way to do this. To improve the SEO for your event you must write for people and search engines. It requires balance, but keyword dumping and adding in a bunch of disreputable links is not the way to make a name for yourself.

6. Imagining Everyone Sitting at Their Desktops

Today searches, tickets and event registrations aren’t all conducted on desktops. Many attendees will decide to register or check-in on their phones. Your web design and event technology must accommodate this. Stop thinking desktop and start thinking mobile.

7. Using Cold Calling and Spam

People are in control of what they see these days. They can fast-forward commercials, block pop-ups, and filter out unwanted email. If you’re dialing cold these days, you’re wasting your time. There are plenty of ways to nurture an attendee through social media and drop marketing so there’s no reason to spend time on someone who hasn’t shown a bit of interest in you or your event. This goes for spam email too. In fact, in some countries like Canada sending spam emails is illegal.

8. Being All Things To Everyone

Have you ever heard, the riches are in the niches? Blanket marketing to everyone is no longer effective, as we mentioned earlier. People expect a personalized message and you can’t create one if you don’t know your audience. Which attendees enjoy your event the most? What do they have in common? Knowing these details will help you target people who will respond to you. You won’t be casting a large net with no payoff. Target those types of people you know have or will enjoy your event and don’t worry about the others.

9. Paper Check-ins

So your attendees finally make it to your event after a day of travel and the first thing they’re greeted with is a line at check-in. Nobody enjoys this and in 2017 there’s no reason to put them through it. Use auto check-ins, scanners and other technology to make the process go more smoothly.

If you don’t have access to that sort of technology, look for ways to make it more enjoyable by hosting a cocktail reception at the same time or taking a queue from Disney and other theme parks by offering entertainment for those standing in line. Don’t assume they have their cellphones and can stay busy. Often if someone’s been traveling all day, their battery is on its last legs. Whatever you do, don’t let their first impression of your event be a long line.

10. Running Up and Down with a Microphone for Questions

There is no reason in your sessions to run up and down to get the microphone to attendees. Technology exists to end this awkward practice. There are portable/passable mic options as well as systems that use attendee cell phones for communication. This is just one of many things we should no longer see at events. Get with it!

In Conclusion

While feathered hair and tons of hairspray used to be totally rad, and there may be some people on the face of the planet who can still rock it, using outdated professional practices aren’t good for anyone. Not only do they leave your attendees with needs that are unmet but they make you look like you haven’t taken the time to stay on top of today’s audience’s preferences. Wear the outdated clothes and styles and make a fashion statement (or not), but continue to hold on to old practices professionally and you could find yourself out of work.

About The Author
Christina Green
Christina R. Green is a digital storyteller and writer for associations and businesses, including journals such as the Midwestern Society of Association Executive's magazine and industry blogs. She's a voracious reader but has been known to stop reading if there are too many exclamation points used.
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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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