June 13, 2017
In an era of short lead times, rapidly developing tech and constantly changing trends, being able to quickly respond and adapt is essential. Those event managers who either can’t or won’t adapt, risk being left behind.
Everyone knows change can be scary, but continuing to evolve is the only way to stay relevant in today’s competitive event marketplace. Here’s how to embrace change, become an agile event manager, and ensure your events continue to thrive.
1. Understand your customer
If you’re out of touch with your audience, it is impossible to be reactive to their wants and needs. Running focus groups with your target customers will help you understand where to make changes in your event offering, how to ensure it stays pertinent and exciting, and also how to improve the overall experience.
Keep thorough digital records of your customers utilising a good Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM). Build up customer profiles with all the data you glean, to really get to know your audience, and enable you to keep in close contact.
2. Understand the marketplace
In order to future-proof your business, it’s vital to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and anticipate changes. Developments in technology are changing the way we do things, and even the biggest brands could find themselves obsolete if they fail to react.
The past decade has seen an assault on book, music and DVD rental shops and the death of many gadgets such as PDAs, sat nav units and dictaphones, which are now all wrapped up in one smartphone package.
If your event is going the way of the dodo, it’s time to diversify now!
3. Ensure joined-up working
If you work as part of a team, it’s important to act as a united unit. Start each day with a 10-minute stand up meeting to share what you are working on that day, the progress you made yesterday and any challenges you’re facing.
Make sure any pressing tasks are assigned and that deadlines are being met. A team that works closely together, has trust in one another and clear leadership is able to cope with change with the minimum of fuss.
4. Make use of freelance talent
The smaller the company, often the easier it is to implement change. Using freelance event staff as and when you need them enables you to scale up and down and be truly agile.
To grow your event business, taking on employees will become necessary but don’t push your resources unnecessarily far. Equally, you should continually look for ways to streamline – lean businesses are those most able to adapt to changing economic conditions.
5. Use data
Being agile is about being able to foresee issues or opportunities and respond quickly. Monitoring real-time data is what allows you to do this.
We enable you to keep a close eye on your ticket sales and see the results of your marketing activities. You can monitor which campaigns are driving traffic and adjust your advertising spend accordingly.
Notice that the majority of ticket sales are coming from one geographic area? Fine tune your local marketing to capitalise on the trend. And if sales slump, react quickly by launching a flash sale or other discount or promotion.
Equally, if long-term attendance figures show a decline or significant shift in demographic, you know it’s time to respond.
6. Make decisions quickly
While making changes has to be countered by potential risk, it’s important to be decisive. It’s no good taking two years to switch to a mobile-responsive website by which point you’ve already lost half your search traffic – when change is on the horizon you need to act.
‘Waiting to see what happens’ can be paralysing for a business and often means that by the time the picture is perfectly clear, you’re left struggling to catch up. Early adoption of technology and being first to market gives agile event managers a valuable head start.
7. Aim for continuous improvement
Part of being agile is looking for ways to continuously evolve and improve what you do. Evaluating your performance and seeking feedback (i.e looking back) is essential for moving forward.
Always carry out post-event surveys with attendees and other participants such as speakers and exhibitors. Collect their opinions and act on them – it’s easier to make lots of small incremental changes that keep attendees happy rather than big changes, such as a complete overhaul of your event when attendance starts to drop off.
Don’t forget also to have a thorough post-mortem with your team, including external suppliers and stakeholders such as clients or sponsors. Look at what you did well (and want to keep doing) as well as any areas for improvement. Address any issues in a positive way by inviting team members to share their ideas for creating an even better event next time.
Stay alert, flexible and open to change and your event business can thrive whatever is thrown at it. But it’s not just about weathering the storm; being agile means embracing opportunities – it’s exciting! Keeping your finger on the pulse will ensure you and your team stay energised.