There are a lot of blogs out there telling event planners what they should do, but there aren’t enough out there saying what they should NOT do. Maybe it’s the bad streak in us, or maybe our inner Stacy and Clinton, but we think organizers really could benefit from learning about common mistakes to avoid when planning events. At Bizzabo we have a lot of experience with events. Over the last year we helped organizers create over 1,820 events, added over 148,000 members to the Bizzabo networking community, and helped our customers generate over 12 million social impressions!
I spoke with my fellow Bizzaboers to get their thoughts on what event planners should not do in 2017. Here's what they had to say.
Alon, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer
Stop relying on Excel.
Stop purchasing an event app just to have an app. Organizers should get an app to achieve a business goal e.g. increase event networking among attendees, boost attendee satisfaction, or gather meaningful event metrics.
Stop doing more of the same. Go wild, try new things, embrace technology, get out of your comfort zone with new attendee activations!
Stop making assumptions and start using data to take smart decisions.
Stop offering sponsors packages that can't be measured. Instead, off brands bespoke sponsorship packages that can be measured to prove ROI.
Emma, Marketing Director
Don't forget about branding and user experience! Attendees (especially millennials) have become much more design and experience-sensitive, so something like an old school event website or clunky event app could be a huge turn off for them.
Don't overcrowd the agenda with no time for networking. Make sure there are breaks between each session and dedicated time for mingling and networking.
Don't forget to test all your equipment before running the show! Technical mishaps are the worst and happen all too often. So be prepared!
Don't use a ton of tools that don't communicate with each other (ie: use an all-in-one platform)!
Debbie, Customer Success Representative
You should not stress out over every little detail that is not going right on the day of. Keep your main event goals in mind, rather than worrying about the litttle things.
Don't expect your attendees to be amazing at networking: Networking and meeting new people comes easier for some people than others. Don't expect all attendees to take full advantage of this. If you have roundtables with different discussion topics, it will be easier to keep people entertained and they will be more likely to meet and network with other attendees.
Don't print out your agendas! Educate people to use the app and you will save on costs and help the environment :)
Boaz, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer
You should not assume all of you attendees are tech savvy. Instead, make sure that whatever tech your attendees are using has detailed instructions and is user-friendly.
Rachel, Customer Success Director
Don't expect that attendees will engage with a mobile app just because it is there. Organizers need to guide and encourage their attendees to participate
Don't underestimate the reach and influence of event speakers and event sponsors. Encourage both speakers and sponsors to act as event brand ambassiors and to engage with event attendees in unique ways during the event.
don't rely on only one method to collect post-event feedback.
Nathan, Business Development Representative
Event professionals should not have a piecemeal strategy of mashing numerous technologies together because it is inefficient. Doing so will result in lost data and is usually more expensive. Instead, event planners should look for a comprehensive solution that allows for easy event management and analisis.
Sharon, Product Manager
Event organizers should NOT leave things until last minute. Instead, plan ahead, automate and schedule.
Meghan, Business Development Representative
I often hear about event planners relying on spreadsheets and Excel to manage their entire event! Now don't get me wrong we all use them and they can be helpful but there are so many other tools to help simplify many processes in place!
Benjamin, Account Executive
Event planners should avoid printing paper agendas. Paper is out, unless the theme of the event is "why trees deserve to die and how to burden your attendees with stuff they don't want to carry."
Event planners should not invest in complicated or specialized apps. When it comes to smartphones, your attendee has a attention span of a squirrel. For optimal results to get them engaged in the world around them, give them something that is simple and intuitive, so they can look at it for 30 seconds at a time. Less is more.
Event planners should not avoid social media. The idea that "my audience is older so they don't use it" is untrue in most cases. If you still believe this, do a little digging into the research: In the U.S., the average Facebook user in the U.S. is 40.5 years old. Linkedin's average user is closer to 45. Even AARP has a social media strategy; what's yours? (Note: even private events can benefit from using social media to build buzz and engage attendees with online communities.)
Among all of the recomendations from the Bizzaboers surveyed, one thing was constant: event planners should embrace technology to make their events more engaging, more profitable, and easier to plan. Admittedly, we’re a bit biased (we’re an event tech company, after all) but it doesn’t take a tech company to realize that there are clear tangible advantages to an all-in-one event success platform.For more great content from event planning experts, subscribe to the blog by clicking the button below!