Ok, I'm kidding. But I am surprised how often I come across companies who seem to take an laissez faire approach to events - on either side of the table. Just throwing money at it is not enough.

Getting the right result starts with getting the basics right. Duh! It's not rocket science I know but its amazing how many people start with the daft stuff, work their way back and are then surprised when the outcome is pants.

Put it this way, if you want to serve an amazing meal to woo someone you lust after, you don't serve it from the inside of a dustbin lid do you? Neither do you serve porterhouse steak to a committed vegetarian. Seemples as my friends the Meerkats might say.

Ten years ago the basics of putting together a successful event centred around hiring a big name celeb to impress an audience, finding sponsors with large cheque books and sourcing great locations.

It didn’t get further than that.  The job of running events was all about putting those three together. Alot of the times it wasn’t about quality, it was about budget. "You have £25k to spend on a big name Mr Sponsor, which one would you like? Don't worry if they can't pronounce the name of your industry correctly, they're a celeb, of course everyone will love them!"

Don't get me wrong, using people like Dara O'Briain who has a brain the size of a planet carries fantastic kudos but having worked with him on several events, what impresses me most is his research into each event, his understanding of the audience and his enthusiasm for delivering value for each event.  Likewise Mike Finnigan, Nigel Risner, Digby Jones.  The list of good people is long but so is the list of pants people who just want the cheque.

With the minute by minute use of social media, a more informed - and smaller - world, the basics have changed.


– Because even though things are improving, the current economic environment sucks. Sponsors are not willing to give away their hard-fought budget without looking for value
– Because networking, which is a great motivator for attending events, is happening for free both online and offline.
– Because technology is changing the way we consume events.
– Because the world outside of events is not as it used to be. Or at least, we are now more aware of it.

What are the new basics?

1. A powerful concept 
What made you pay the rent yesterday is not going to work today. Putting names of famous speakers or performers is not enough anymore. You need to engage in new ways. The same old event structure means you failed.

2. Respect for the environment

If you don’t offer recycling, if you don’t source locally, if you are not sustainableyou failed.  Think Innocent Drinks; they started as the meant (and did) carry on.

Your environment is also your people. They don't stop caring the minute they walk in the door of an event. Keep 'em thinking and associating your brand with intelligent (not lecturing) responsibility
If you don’t think about the disabled, if you prefer excluding instead of includingyou failed.

3. Use of Technology
Technology is part of our lives, whether you like it or not. Although we notice a lot of people talking about it, we are not seeing a lot of implementations. If you only talk about it, you failed. Whether you like it or not, people are tweeting about your event, while its on!!  Use it or lose the battle for PR.

If you are running a conference for seniors and assume they don’t know what Linkedin is, you failed. I met online people from 20 to 80 years old. If you think events are separate from online communities, you failed. My 80 year old Uncle is constantly urging me to start VLOGGING and sends me written articles on the subject from a range of publications proving not only the sharpness of his mental acuity but his range of intellectual farming.

If you don't integrate online and offline, you are actually saying no to extra streams of revenue. See above for said Uncle's choice of sending supporting evidence in print, online and old fashioned verbal nagging.  Sorry, discussion.

This post was inspired by this article http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/why-my-event-fails/#3HhuC634ztWiXFpz.99