Planning an Event – A Strategic Approach

Planning an event for client entertainment is a complex undertaking with many factors to consider. As a corporate events specialist, we are contacted by many companies unsure how to go about this or have not really thought about what they want from an event. While relishing the challenge of devising the perfect event, we were very impressed by the objective approach taken by one of our most recent clients. They made our job easy by determining exactly what they were looking for.

The client, a financial auditing firm, set out with their mission objective set in stone: They wanted to improve their revenue by building closer relationships with clients. Here’s an extract of their plan

Planning an Event to Improve Client Relationships

By developing relationships with key stakeholders, we will better understand their agenda, their personality and their personality goals.

The objective: Lay out a proposed hospitality plan to:

  • maximise spend value.
  • to build better relationships with high profile/key decision makers.
  • maximise discussion time with clients.
  • enable client networking with client peers/new business prospects.
  • move emphasis away from sports events to events that emphasis the special client relationship and the value we hold them in.

What matters most?

  • That we spend our money wisely.
  • That we maximise opportunities to get to know the client/prospect.
  • Why does it matter – we need to ensure we get best return on revenue.

Equally important is that our clients are left with a memorable experience which enables senior management to build on the relationship we have with a prospect or client and that a common experience can enable us to more effectively build rapport, differentiation and by extension new revenue opportunities.

How will we make it better?

By changing our current hospitality mix away from traditional event based activity – rugby and cricket, and replace these with events that are of such high quality they stick out in people minds, and become a talking point – something clients/prospects want to repeat.

  • Ideally we should also develop an approach that can be replicated in most territories either in actuality or by extension.
  • This will enable marketing to focus efforts and the construction of a model that is repeatable in every territory.

The client had a clear mission to construct hospitality events that would deliver value for money by most effectively developing their client relationships for their marketing budget expenditure. Value for money is of course an important balancing act as any business action with a predicted financial gain must be balanced against its costs.

Client Relationship Management or CRM is after all a marketing function – better understanding clients to profitably meet their wants and needs. Whilst the target audience are already clients, nurturing these relationships is far more cost effective than finding new customers. Furthermore, as the client recognised, developing stronger relationships will be mutually beneficial for both parties with their clients receiving a more tailored service and the business gaining additional opportunities to supply services, as well as networking opportunities for both parties.

Important to the acheivement of this is to have a shared experience  with a client which naturally develops rapport.  As the client, outlines in their plan, the best events for this purpose are those which are memorable and develop talking points.

What’s more, this international client wanted a plan easy to replicate worldwide.

The Choice: A Networking Dinner at a Michelin Star Restaurant

Planning an Event

The dinner included transport to the restaurant with clients given the opportunity to drive there and be driven on the way back.

Why?

  • The client was targeting senior business contacts and wanted a high quality experience – that reflected their high quality services.
  • Dining allows quality time to be spent with clients, and a broad range of discussion whilst the courses and wine flow.
  • A dining experience is ideal for a networking event which provides extra incentive for attendance.
  • Value for money – costs are comparable with sporting events, but standards and ‘memorability factor’ are much higher.
  • Relatively little organisation required – a distinct advantage for busy firms when planning an event.

Through this methodical approach, the client was able to choose the perfect experience to accomplish there mission objectives.

In  summary, it is well worth being objective when planning an event, especially a client event, which needs to reflect well on your business. What do you want to achieve. This client planned their event to achieve exactly what they wanted: a distinct shared experience which was memorable for their client and allowed valuable conversation time to build rapport and understanding.

If your still unsure what will work best, we’re here to help!

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