Professional conferences can be extremely useful. It’s a great way to do branding and raise awareness about a product or a company, meet new partners and solidify existing business contacts. To add to that, it’s an opportunity to learn new trends on the market and get inspiration from the new ideas.
Organizing a conference that will offer all of the above is not an easy task. Especially, if the goal is to bring together thought leaders from all around the world and create an event that is truly international in spirit. Here are 7 tips for organizing a professional value-driven and multi-faceted event for a diverse audience.
1.Learn the needs of your audience
When coming up with the concept of an event, put emphasis on your audience rather than what you’re trying to achieve as a business. Your top priority should be providing value to the professionals in your industry. Otherwise, there is no point in going through the trouble of organizing an event. Make sure there’s a precise understanding of what your audience needs and how you can deliver this. Many marketers and event-managers make the mistake of organizing an event before investing in a community that would benefit from the gathering. Working with colleagues in the industry, providing consulting and initiating discussions is a great way to create a conference that delivers real value to all parties.
2. Choose the right format
There are plenty of events of different types: trade shows and community gatherings, educational, networking and academic conferences. It’s important to understand early on which event format fits your purpose in the best way. It’s very hard, if not impossible, to focus on several things at the same time: gather exceptional speakers and give enough time for networking and deal-making; invite thought leaders in the field and open up to everyone interested, on all levels of expertise. The type of event you choose will influence everything: from the venue and the program to the list of sponsors, speakers, and attendees. With a clear focus, planning the event is much easier.
3. Adjust communication with speakers
Providing great content is one of the pillars of any professional event. Whether you plan to have hour-long in-depth talks or brief experience-sharing sessions, people that end up on stage will create the brand image. Onboarding speakers should be a streamlined process. Develop consistent standards for the talks and work on attracting the type of experts that match the event format and style.
Support speakers throughout the event, helping with travel and accommodation, the content of the talk, technical set-up and communication with the audience. Allow for certain flexibility when choosing the headliners and be ready for the unexpected dropouts. This is what helps to attract companies like Google, Facebook, Applift, MobFox, Taboola and more.
4. Keep in touch with sponsors
If one of your goals is to reach the break-even point, you will have to find sponsors for the event. The key challenge here is to create a welcoming atmosphere for all attendees. Sponsorship should be prominent, but not overbearing or intrusive. Guests shouldn’t feel like the only reason they were encouraged to attend the conference was to learn about sponsors. For the maximum benefit, find the companies that share your brand values and vision to fill in the sponsor slots.
5. Work through the details
Seeing the big picture is great, but unless you have an eye for detail, the event can go wrong in many ways. Attendees pay close attention to the tickets, badges, promo materials, the quality of video recording and technical set up, the conference website and app. For the international event, real-time interpretation into other languages is a prerequisite. Overlooking these factors or deciding to invest less in detailed event planning can significantly degrade the quality of the conference and worsen the experience for attendees. After all, comfort and convenience are what professionals expect when they buy a ticket for an event. And as an organizer, it is your responsibility to deliver.
6. Structure the team
Right from the start, organize and manage your team to handle all the aspects of the conference. Assign responsibilities to cover venue and organization, PR and media representation, marketing, ticket sales, sponsorships, content selection and speakers support, etc. When everyone on the team understands their contribution to the event, when there are transparency and accountability, the workflow is much more effective.
7. Networking is the king
Whatever the type of the event you’re organizing, always give attendees time and space for networking. One of the main advantages of a live event is the possibility to meet face to face with colleagues, opinion-makers and thought leaders in the industry. In fact, 95% of marketers agree that live events provide valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. Even for an educational event that concentrates on content, it’s important to forge the connection between speakers and the audience. Don’t make attendees rush. Offer activities before or after the event to help guests establish and develop their relationship with each other.
Creating a great international event requires well-defined focus and precise planning. But it also calls for creativity, flexibility, and openness to new ideas. This is the key to a successful conference that attracts a diverse audience from all over the world. Having established a solid conceptual foundation for the event, coming up with the strategy and tactics should be naturally easy.
Do you want to see how Clickky utilizes the 3-year experience of the event making to organize the 4th Mobile Beach Conference happen? Grab the tickets to see it first-hand!