Kicking off our breakfast series for 2022 was #ialso100 Ruby Sweeney who hosted a session all about events and how attending and hosting them can be vital to a small business owner’s marketing plan. Ruby is the founder of The Events Hub, a company that plan, run, and organise in-person, virtual, and hybrid events to cater for any requirement. Ruby is signed up to several organisations that are committed to fighting climate change and are involved with Positive Impact Events as an ambassador. Ruby is also an ambassador for Netwomen.co, a networking company bringing women in business together globally which is also partnered with Lifted, an organisation that helps women of colour with their goals and ambitions in their careers.
Ruby has kindly share with us her blog: 6 Steps To Up Your Event Planning for 2022 with us. Thank you Ruby!
As we enter into another year, it’s always a good idea to take stock of where we’ve come from and where we want to be.
Reflection for growth is an important tool.
So here are a few of our key learnings from 2021, along with some useful questions to prompt your event planning for 2022.
1. Take your lessons from the last 2 years and USE THEM to forward plan!
I’ve heard so many people describe that the exhibitions or conferences they’ve attended recently have felt exactly the same as they did in 2019.
This can be ok – familiarity is good. But leaving room for complacency? Not so much.
Whether you’re putting on a conference or a stand at a trade show, having shared the experiences and behavioural changes affecting us these past two years, think about how you can show – through the events that you attend and host – that you are evolving, embracing change and moving forward.
Q: What lessons – from lockdowns through to opening up – can you use to your advantage in this new way of working?
2. Get event planning on your meeting agendas and be more STRATEGIC about events.
You must plan your events and related activities around your business and marketing strategy.
Try to be less reactive when it comes to events.
Align your event activity with other key plans for your business or organisation, and resist jumping at the opportunity to speak or exhibit at an event without checking how this fits in with your organisational and strategic objectives.
Having a strategy for your events means that you can budget and plan better, as well as getting buy-in from relevant people.
Q: What are the objectives and growth ambitions for your business, and how can a well-thought-out events strategy be a central component of your marketing and business plans?
3. Get excited about QUALITY over quantity.
There is a growing trend of smaller, higher-quality events (both virtual and face-to-face). Many events are being attended by more local attendees who want to connect with people in their region,county, or state.
Virtual and hybrid events are also offering small and large organisations the chance to connect with the world in ways that they haven’t been able to in the past.
EventMB’s State of the Event Industry Report 2021* states that boutique events with participants from a local area will continue to be a trend. High-quality means increased engagement, and potentially, a higher level of qualified buyer.
Q: Do you feel that you and your team are working to deliver a high-quality conference or event experience, with less of an emphasis on driving large numbers?
4. Use a blend of virtual and face-to-face to your ADVANTAGE.
Don’t write off virtual; equally, try to push the boundaries of what face-to-face can do for you.
There is an increasing trend of DIGITAL FIRST across all manners of engagement – events and otherwise -which will accelerate the use of apps, interactions, and platforms throughout the events journey.
Small businesses can use platforms and event tech to their benefit; the market being flooded with providers during the pandemic has created different price points for event platforms.
If you speak to an event professional, you’ll discover so many options that are affordable and available to you.
Q: Consider your marketing processes – at which touchpoints can you maximise a blend of virtual and face-to-face interactions?
5. Move over content, there’s a new king in town – DATA.
Even when it comes to small, local events, hosts, partners, and sponsors are increasingly looking for high-quality data from the events they sponsor, attend, and support – and they want access to these analytics instantly.
Your event partners are curious about getting under the skin of participant engagement to truly get to know and understand their target audience on a deeper level.
On the other hand, there have never been so many discussions around the ownership of delegate data.
Q: What processes do you have in place to ensure data and analytics collected from your conferences and events are automated and collected in a secure way and that your policies on data usage, storage, and ownership are transparent?
6. The effects of the Covid pandemic has caused many leaders and decision-makers to choose OUTSOURCING specialist services as and when they need them.
From 2020 onwards, we have all started to value our time more, by considering our wellbeing and work-life harmony.
Rather than scratch our heads trying to figure something ourselves, many of us are more open to outsourcing specialised services and to collaborating together on projects.
The ‘switch on, switch up, dial down’ model works perfectly for organisations that need to bring on specialist experts without the headache of recruitment, or taking someone in-house away from their day job.
In this way, high-quality experts in their field can work effectively with a business or organisation which keeps the decision-makers focused on delivering their core services and creating growth opportunities.