Friday, 10 August 2012

How to Market a Conference

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Edward Kendricks
No doubt your company will hold or attend some sort of corporate event once a year. If your company organises such an event each year then the chances are that they will get a professional event planning company to take care of the task. Failing that, it is not uncommon for the task to be brought in-house. If you have been delegated the task of organising a large meeting or corporate conference then it is perfectly understandable if it seems like something of a daunting task. This doesn't have to be the case as with a little bit of forward planning there is no reason why your event shouldn't be a successful one.
The first thing you need to consider is the theme and purpose of your event. In most cases you may indeed be organising a corporate conference, however the same organisational logic can be applied to events such as office parties. Once you have decided what the focus of your event will be it will help to make the rest of the organisational process much simpler.
The next task to take care of is to decide how many people you wish to attend. This will help you to plan out other aspects of the event, in particular the budget. When considering your budget try to think ahead and plan for all your foreseeable outgoings. It would also be worth adding a little extra to your budget in the event that your organising doesnt go precisely to plan and you end up having to spend money on dealing with some unforseen circumstances. Once you have settled on a reasonable budget, it is important that you don't exceed it and that you account and document where every penny has been spent.
The next item on your list should be to decide on a suitable venue. Now you know how many people should be attending and what sort of budget you have available this will help tremendously. When you are drawing up a shortlist of potential venues there are various aspects to take into account. The venue should of course be appropriately sized and have a suitable atmosphere, but it should also cater to the requirements of your conference. If your conference is likely to have several speakers then you will need to make sure that they are able to provide adequate audio visual equipment for their presentations. Not only will you want to look after the technical aspects of the event, but you should also take care of making sure that your attendees are well looked after. Try to recruit the services of a professional catering company or if your event is taking place at a hotel you may find that they will be able to take care of your food and drink requirements.
Any marketing of your event should begin as far in advance of the event date as possible, especially so if it is likely to be well attended. Pick appropriate channels through which to advertise your event and spend your budget wisely as some means of advertising will be more effective than others.
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Edward Kendricks is writing on behald of CTS, a leading UK supplier of audio visual equipment.

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