Event marketing is booming. More and more companies plan events to increase brand awareness, attract more leads, close a higher number of deals, strengthen their customer loyalty, and acquire more brand ambassadors.
According to a Harvard Business Review research report from 2018, “For many corporations, hosting or sponsoring events—from small customer meetings to large conferences or industry trade shows—is an important component of their marketing program.”
As the data shows, “52% of survey respondents say event marketing drives more business value than other marketing channels.” Apart from that, “40% of respondents say they’ll spend more on hosting events in the year ahead.”
Congratulations if you’re one of those brands or companies that understand and harness the real value of event marketing. You’re one step ahead of your competition, and the extra effort you’re putting into connecting with your audience will lead to better results.
However, you’re also facing the crippling stress that planning events involves. Let’s face it: Whether you’re in the position to run small or large events, the entire logistics can mess things up pretty badly. This is not the case if you have an in-house event planning team, but if you’re like most companies, you’re probably assigning the event planning tasks to your marketing team or other employees who don’t have the background or experience to successfully execute these assignments.
This can lead to stress overload and poorly executed events that won’t get you the expected results. To avoid this hassle, we recommend you hire an event planning agency.
While it’s not exactly a stress-free activity, hiring an external agency can be the best investment you’ll ever make to grow your business or brand. We’ve put together a list of recommendations you’ll want to consider when looking for the best event planning agency for your company.
Identify your needs
Do you struggle with the planning logistics? Do you have management issues during the event? Are you unable to leverage social media efficiently to promote your event? Do you lack the resources to segment and manage your attendees? What exactly is your planning process, and what are the challenges you want to overcome?
The answers will help you know what to look for when outsourcing the logistics to a third company. For example, you may have a strong social media team that can take care of promoting the event, or maybe you already have an event management tool that handles the event registration, mass mailing, and attendee segmentation.
Yet you still need help setting up the venue and assisting the attendees during the event. Be very specific about your needs, because this will give you the framework to find the right event planning agency.
Ask the right questions
If you want to have a strong and efficient collaboration with the planning agency you’ll be hiring, you can’t see them as a simple logistics team that does just what you tell them do. On the contrary, you’re searching for a strategic partner that, apart from accomplishing the logistic tasks, will also consider your goals and help you design the best events.
So when scheduling a meeting with representatives from an event planning agency, make sure you have prepared the right questions for them. Instead of asking them about their planning protocol, you may want to know how they can you align your event marketing efforts with your business goals. You can also ask what their approach is to designing attendee experiences.
A seasoned planning agency will be more than thrilled to assist you with the event marketing strategy and help you run a flawless and results-driven event.
Pay attention to the questions you’re being asked
You know you’re dealing with a professional planning team when you’re not the only one asking questions. A powerful agency will take good advantage of the kick-off meeting and ask you about things such as your business goals, your audience particularities, your previous experience with event marketing, the messages you want to convey, and the internal processes you’re running.
They’ll do that to see if there’s a compatibility between the solutions they can provide and your needs. Apart from that, they’ll be able to use this information to design a personalized proposal for your brand that is aligned with the reasons why you want to run events.
Obviously, you can (and should) talk about logistics, too, but at the first meeting, pay attention to the strategic questions you’ll be asked. If you see that the planning team is trying to uncover your needs, know you’re in good hands.
Evaluate the agency’s portfolio
Each event planning agency will have an impressive portfolio that includes inspiring descriptions of the events they worked on, awesome photos, and positive ROI results. And although this gives you a better understanding of the agency’s planning style, you may want to look beyond these indicators.
So when evaluating the portfolio, also make sure the agency has experience with running the type of events you want to plan. For example, if you want to run conferences or product presentations, you won’t go with an agency that only has experience with weddings or concerts.
Also, ask the agency representatives what results they’ve generated for their clients. How many high-quality leads did their clients capture during their events? How many sales were those companies able to close after the event? This information will help you truly get to know if the planning agency can actually help you plan and run impactful events.
When searching for a planning agency, you’re actually looking for a strategic partner that is not just assisting you with the logistics, but also guiding you through the intricate world of event marketing. Know that planning flawless events is crucial and is a value that all agencies should deliver. But if you want to work with the best, you’ll have to look into a planning agency’s strategic abilities and make sure they can assist you with running events that generate high-quality business results. Choose wisely.