March 16, 2023

3 Things your Corporate Event Planning is Missing

Planning any corporate event, whether a conference, launch party, retreat, milestone celebration or trade show, is a game of logistics. After all, getting hundreds or thousands of people in the same place for a common purpose is no small feat. 

But checking the boxes to simply pull off a functional event will result in an ordinary experience for your attendees. With just a few small tweaks during the planning phase, you can take your event from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Photo by Ellie McKinney

At Coffee Date Media, we specialize in corporate event management that your attendees will remember. In our experience, here are three things your corporate event planning is missing to make it extra special: 

Clear Objectives

In the midst of corporate event planning madness, it can be easy to consider the only goal to be pulling off the event on schedule and without any unwelcome surprises. But getting your attendees to the event should not be your only measure of success. 

Consider how you’ll measure the success of your event:

  • How many vendors or speakers report increased inquiries or sales
  • How attendees rate your event in a post-event survey
  • How much company merchandise or additional programming is sold during the event
  • Coverage of the event by media outlets
  • Qualitative feedback from attendees, speakers, vendors, and/or industry leaders

In the initial phases of event planning, it’s important to establish the qualitative and quantitative objectives for your event. 

Opportunities for Attendee Engagement

Too often, attendees of corporate events are expected to power through hours of lectures, mazes of displays, or session after session where the most interactive thing to do is take notes. 

At CDM events, however, we make sure every event is designed to include the attendees in the action. Your attendees will learn more–and remember your event–when interactive opportunities are included. Here are some ways we keep things interesting:

  • Intimate breakout sessions with event speakers
  • Sessions that include physical activity, such as yoga, stretching, or breathing exercises
  • Interactive displays
  • Speaker meet-and-greet sessions
  • Branded photo opportunities
  • Creative stations where attendees can make their own event souvenirs 
  • Community service opportunities
  • VIP parties and closing celebrations

Built-in Event Marketing

Corporate events are often recurring, meaning that it’ll be time to plan and market next year’s event sooner than you think. So why not start promoting your event while the current iteration is happening?

As marketing experts, we ensure that every event we plan markets itself. That means intentionally capturing marketing material for next year’s event during the current one. 

Most importantly, ensure you have a professional photography and videography team to capture your event. Those photos and videos will be absolutely indispensable when it comes time to create next year’s marketing materials. In addition, if you share the photos with your attendees after the event, many of them will share them with their audiences.

Next, consider how you can encourage attendees to give positive feedback about your event while they’re in attendance. For example, we love hosting “red carpet interviews” with our speakers and attendees. It’s a great way to capture video testimonials while giving attendees celebrity treatment. 

We also love including branded photo opportunities at our clients’ events to encourage attendees to share the event on social media. Floral installations, champagne walls, painted geometric platforms, light installations, photo booths, and more can provide opportunities for your attendees to take great photos–and share your brand online in real time. 

Finally, ensure you capture all that extra publicity by opening the waitlist for your next event while the current one is happening. This will give you a built-in list of interested attendees when it comes time to pre-sell next year’s tickets. 

Bonus ways to host a next-level event

Offer networking opportunities

Industry professionals don’t just attend corporate events to learn–they also want to network with other professionals at your event. Intentionally including networking opportunities is a great way to ensure your attendees have a positive experience. 

Start with the basics: Make sure each person wears a name tag that includes their first name, pronouns, and company. To make introductions and exchanging contact information even easier, consider creating a master contact list or instructing attendees prior to the event to come prepared to use a specific app to connect with each other. 

Build time into your event schedule specifically for networking. Cocktail hours, “speed networking” games, and luncheons are great ways to provide time for your attendees to connect with each other. 

Choose a unifying theme or concept

Just because you’re hosting a professional event doesn’t mean ambiance isn’t important! Choosing a unifying theme or concept to guide your planning choices can make your event more memorable. 

For example, if Coffee Date Media were to host a social media conference (hint of things to come!), we might choose a “Casual Carolina” concept to honor both our southern roots and our accessible approach to social media marketing. That concept would guide everything from our choice of location and decor, to the food and seating options at the event (think comfy couches instead of stiff rows of chairs). And that cohesive theme would make our event memorable for all of our speakers and attendees. 

Local recommendations

Your attendees will often travel from far and wide to make it to your event. Make sure they have a great time at your location by providing them with local recommendations to make their trip memorable. 

Consider creating a section of your event website containing local recommendations for food, activities, attractions, and hotels that your attendees will enjoy. Focus on local favorites with cultural significance that they can’t experience anywhere else. 

Bring that local flavor into your event, as well! Use local caterers to provide your guests with regional food and beverage favorites. Or consider organizing a “food truck rodeo” with a variety of local food trucks outside of your event if parking allows. 

Sustainability initiatives

Do good for your attendees and the environment by incorporating sustainability initiatives into your event. Here are some ideas:

  • Reduce Waste by using reusable or recyclable plates, cups, and cutlery. Provide recycling and compost bins along with trash cans. 
  • Provide Group Transportation to and from your recommended hotels. Better yet, host your event at a venue that includes lodging so attendees can walk to the event. 
  • Offset Carbon Emissions by calculating the carbon footprint of your event and contributing the appropriate amount of event proceeds to a carbon offset program. 

Let us plan your event

Creating a memorable event can be a matter of including a few over-the-top extras in your planning process. Luckily, the professional planning team at CDM is filled with experts who keep those extras in mind. 
Want us to plan your next event? Reach out to our corporate event planning team today.

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