During the last couple of years, we witnessed how the pandemic changed the way we work. Physical attendance quickly got replaced with digital alternatives, to which everybody adjusted. This created new needs and wants for the employees, where flexibility in the workspace and the ability to work remotely became a necessity rather than a rare occurrence. Changing needs and demands of employees, combined with other internal and external factors have influenced the way companies arrange meetings and events.
Currently, many companies are struggling to live up to the increasing demands on environmental aspects, data integrity, and budget cuts. This, while still trying to deliver high-quality products and services and maintaining a healthy work environment for employees.
To be able to thrive and grow a healthy business in an uncertain world, you need an event- solution that is inclusive, engaging, adjustable, reliable, and agile. One solution does not fit all, you need a complete meeting and event strategy that will encompass all types of events, tailored to the needs of the participants and in line with your business goals. A strategy that is multidimensional and future-proof.
The world is ever-changing, and it always will be. Adapting to the current state of the world and making a plan based on it will therefore not be a sustainable alternative. However, the sudden swift during the pandemic and the current state has both given us a lot of knowledge of how we should think regarding creating events.
After nearly two years of exclusively digital events, marketers are eager to restart in-person events. While virtual events are good for many things, live events and meetings are about nurturing customer relationships. Doing so can build relationships that lead to higher conversion rates and maintain employee engagement. Three out of five marketers say that re-engaging with live events is crucial. But there are several reasons why going back to the way it was before the pandemic won’t be an option, and CMOs are now facing new challenges in their way of planning and effectively executing engaging events.
Live events and meetings are important for corporate employee engagement and customer relations, but they are also one of the biggest sources of emissions. The awareness about climate change has become more extensive which puts more pressure on companies to reduce their carbon footprints. Studies show that a shift from live events to virtual events can reduce energy consumption by 90% and the carbon footprint by as much as 94%. In other words, it is not sustainable or socially acceptable for companies to go back to organizing live events as they did before the pandemic. More on this topic.
In addition to the environmental aspects of decreased traveling, the employees are now finding traveling long distances to work, fairs, or events considered optional. Since the pandemic proved it’s possible to participate remotely the motivation to travel has decreased. Instead of daily commuting to the office, those hours enabled more free time and efficient working hours for the employees.
Another important factor arguing for a more flexible working environment is the improved accessibility provided by digital events. Digital events can increase democratization and help to even out social differences in society by eliminating physical distances. This enables everyone to access information and participate in discussions, even if they are unable to travel to a location due to disability, lack of time, or financial means. More on this topic.
Other obstacles when it comes to business traveling are the costs. When the pandemic hit in 2020, global business travel spending fell by a total of 52%, while business travel spending in the US plummeted by 71%, or $94 billion. And the result of a recent study shows we should expect a 20% reduction in business travel expenditure by 2023.
In addition to the traveling cost, organizing a live event often involves many other expenses. There are costs for venue hire, catering, staff, hotels, and travel. On top of that, it also costs time for participants to travel, time that could otherwise be spent at work or with family. It often requires more effort for participants and is costly for companies in terms of work effectiveness. More on this topic.
GDPR forces companies to take responsibility for the way they are handling personal information. Not only does it need to be handled correctly and filed in a secure system, but it also needs to be stored in a format that is easy to access and manageable to draw insights from to follow up on leads. Many companies have been inefficiently handling their data with external partners who handle the data. More on this topic.
To overcome these struggles and plan successful events requires not looking at each meeting and event as a single event, but a holistic approach where all forms of events and meetings are part of a well-oiled machine. Where the marketing department together with other departments develop a clear and comprehensive strategy that matches different events with the right objectives.
This starts with you taking a complete grip on your event and meeting strategy. You need to start from the beginning and map out how every event and meeting fits into your customer journey. Once you have it all laid out, you can start to group different events and meetings to make a standardized event model for each group. Variables such as your objectives, the needs of your target group, and your budget, will determine how each type of meeting and event is arranged.
A multidimensional event strategy is an overall strategy for your events and meetings. Evaluate what dimensions need to be considered and picked based on their relevance to the target group.
The most central dimension is the goals and budget as they will shape the event. Do you want to generate leads or convey a message to your target group? Decide early on what effect you want to want the event to have.
The digital component consists not only of the actual digital platform, but also the options of live video, pre-recorded video, and streams. Depending on the complexity of the event arrangement, hybrid events, for example, will require a higher level of technical understanding.
An in-person event can either be a live event or an event with both live and digital components. The event can either consist of one location or several hub locations.
Be aware of the fact that all events, even a video conference, will have some element of in-person to them. Regardless of what form your event will take, you need to take into consideration that the event experience of every participant is always a live experience.
Elements could include an agenda with speakers, moderators, social network, exhibition, and on-site management.
The time factor decides when and how often the event will occur. It could be a one-time event, on-demand, or continuous meetings or events.
This component consists of the participants, the target group of your event, and their goals and expectations. The participants could be employees, partners, or exhibitors, and their expectations will be essential when deciding on other elements of strategy.
It may feel overwhelming to take a holistic approach across all dimensions. To help you along the way, we have created an easy-to-understand checklist of the dimensions that should be included in your future meetings and events. Our free checklist will help you:
Have you thought through all the dimensions for your next event?
Download the checklist completely free of charge here.
A multidimensional strategy will allow you to be flexible and adjustable in your event planning. Creating more frequent events, smaller in size will make it easier to create events with relevance to the target group. Together with the new technology tools will bring a whole new arena of meeting and event opportunities that will be able to meet the needs of your employees and attendees.
Examples of this are hybrid hubs and digital communities that connect different physical locations with technical means. This allows for continuous meetings, with high engagement, even if the attendees are in different countries. This enables you to reach new target groups, without anyone having to travel long distances.
To create a successful multidimensional strategy, it’s beneficial to move the event management in-house. You will also be able to tailor the strategy based on the needs of your specific organization. This allows you to manage it all in one place and gain full control of the complete process.
In contrast to how events used to be managed in projects, a multidimensional strategy requires you to work your events and meetings as a continuous process. A strategy that is alive and agile. We have witnessed how quickly the world can change. An agile and multidimensional strategy is adjustable so that you quickly can find ways to continually deliver high-value events – regardless of the external situation. That’s why we call it “Future proof”.
Some essential success factors when creating a successful strategy for your event management:
The overall strategy should eventually be a well-oiled machine where every type of event consists of a smooth process delivering value and client success.
To create the overall strategy for your organization, these are the factors you need to consider:
Once you have your overall strategy in place you have a clear understanding of what types of events and meetings you should arrange for different occasions. Then you can make a strategy for certain types of events.
To sum it up, every event and meeting consists of a process; plan, promotion, execution, and follow-up. But the process is only one of the components of a multidimensional event and meeting strategy. This holistic strategy consists of a total of four main components; strategy, processes, organization, and technology. And, how these components will take shape depends on the variables, such as your purpose and objectives, target groups, and budget.
That’s why you need to start from the bottom and build your unique event strategy based on your specific prerequisites and goals.
To make this multi-dimensional strategy easy to comprehend, we created this ten-step list to give you the tools how to create a future-proof event and meeting strategy.
The first step is to define what your business goals are and how this event will help you achieve those goals. Set overall objectives for each area of the event, it can be both quantitative and qualitative objectives. The goals should be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.).
Conduct research, and interviews, and talk to persons in charge to get an overview of what needs your specific target group has. This can need regarding flexibility, social needs, and technical needs. Decide on how the events fit into the customer journey and what types of events and meetings you should organize. Here you should also identify the relevant dimensions for executing successfully on your event strategy.
When you know what different forms your meetings and events should be in, look over what tools and competence you have in-house. What kinds of systems, people, tools, and technical competence do you have? What are our strengths, weaknesses, and bottlenecks? Once you have reviewed your internal organization, you will be able to see what external expertise and technical resources you need to complement your in-house competence.
Identify what technical tools you need for every step of your event to make it run smoothly. Find the tools that help you simplify and streamline both planning, management, and follow-up. Some systems supply a complete solution for all your technical needs, that you will be able to manage in-house and remain in full control of the complete process.
You will need tech for different phases of an event.
Technology-based on functions and areas:
When all processes are in check, it’s time to put all the pieces together and conduct a plan on how to execute your event. You should also plan on how to follow up on your event. In your plan, you need to match each phase of the process (planning, execution, and follow-up) with resource planning to make sure you are fully supported in all areas.
By the data, you collect you should be able to see the engagement rate of your participants. Look over the data to see if you should follow up on some leads amongst your participants.
Reading tips: How can I follow up on my event and measure the effect?
Go over the results to see if the event lived up to your expectations and how well the event performed regarding the goals.
Now when you know what worked well and what didn’t, you can adjust it to achieve better results at your next event.
This strategy consists of a continuous cycle of evaluating results and keep creating successful events. It’s an ongoing process that will constantly change based on the needs of your target group.