Here’s a recipe on how to successfully create an event from scratch. When creating plans to market a service, you might have learned that there are “7 Ps” to successfully grow your service, reach your goals and fulfill your objectives. If you don’t remember them, these 7 Ps in service marketing are known as Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Physical Evidence, People, and Process. Since event management is a type of service provided, the previous elements in the Ps become slightly different. Let me walk you through the newly alternative 8Ps of event planning that I have come with that could become your guideline in creating successful events.
Events, similarly to people, come in different shapes and sizes, from small meetups to large international gatherings, from being conventional to being particular and unique, there are just so many of them. Describing the many types and forms of events would never end. Rather than going too much into detail, let’s explore the 8Ps in a way that can be used for all the kinds of events. Additionally, you’ll find some popular and must-have questions for you to reflect on your decision process as you read away.
First and foremost, starting with your project, you need to ask yourself: what do you want to do? What kind of event do you picture yourself organizing? What do you hope to achieve?
A project always starts with an idea. Whether it is a small or silly idea, ANY idea can possibly turn into reality. We just need to slowly tidy up those ideas to make them more realistic. Let’s say, you have decided to plan a fundraising event for your school cheerleading squad. Great! Now, we need to narrow down your options to make it plausible and not mesh together several contrasting ideas. The following few questions will help you focus on what is important when brainstorming for your event:
- Is there a theme? What is the theme?
- What are the must-have activities?
- What is the scale/scope/size of the event?
- How many participants?
- What are your goals/objectives?
- Who are you targeting/inviting/selling to?
- Is there a theme? What is the theme? A retro bowling night out
- What are the must-have activities? Casual gathering, bowling
- What is the scale/scope/size? How many participants? 100 participants
- What are your goals/objectives? Raise $1000 for the cheer squad
- Who are you targeting/inviting/selling to? Students, family, and friends
Once you come up with a couple of ideas, make sure you jot it all down all! Writing will help you organize your thoughts.
Now that you have a clear idea of what potential event you might create. Let’s move on to the next step of gathering the necessary people to make that happen. People includes all the workers indirectly and directly involved with the customers.
So, now ask yourself: Who do you need to assure that the event will run smoothly? Will this particular role be needed during the event? How many people do you need for that position?
Just a reminder that it’s not the number of people that counts. The more people there are doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be better. Think quality over quantity! Now let’s go through the list of people who might be needed:
- Who are the main organizers? Do you prefer working as the sole head organizer or in a decisive planning team?
- Which staff is necessary for the front-end? (Front-end: People who will be directly involved with the attendees)
- Which staff is needed for the back-end? (Back-end: People who will be focusing on the general logistics of the event)
All of these are just examples of who you might need for your event, it can vary depending on the structure of how you plan on organizing the event and who the main decision makers are.
- Who are the organizers? The cheerleading committee (group decisions)
- Which staff is necessary for the front end? Registration table, Volunteers, Information Desk (Informers), Ticket Sellers, Bowling staff
- Which staff is needed for the back end? Logistics team (People assigning guests to lane), Bowling staff
In the previous part of the 8Ps of event planning, we had learned that a project starts off with an idea and that building a team is not just about recruiting anyone. In this part, we will learn how to deal with Price.
As we move forward, we now have our project in place and the required people recruited. But… it’s time to get serious with the budgeting of the event. This is crucial as the pricing decisions can affect the following steps. Ask yourself the following money-related questions:
Do you just want to make sure the event ends well and cost is not a problem? Do you care about making profits? What are your financial objectives?
Honestly speaking, this part of planning decision can be very hard as it all depends how much value you place on finances. Maybe these questions will help:
- What is your budget?
- What are the costs associated with the event?
- Do you want to earn profits or breaking-even is just fine?
- How much would you be willing to pay for your own event from an attendee’s point of view?
Thinking about those questions will help you decide on which pricing strategy you plan on using.
Here are a few pricing strategies you can maybe use:
- Cost-based pricing
- Value-based pricing
- Bundling pricing
- Competitive pricing
- Premium pricing
- What is your budget? The university is providing the athletic teams with $750.
- What are the costs associated with the event? Total will cost will be $1000 ($750 for venue and $250 for ticket printing, promotions, and materials)
- Do you want to earn profits or break-even is okay? Earn a profit of $1000
- How much would you be willing to pay for your own event? Not over $15 for 2 hours of bowling
With general assumptions and research, we can potentially decide to price the tickets at $15 consider a mix of competitive pricing and bundling pricing by looking at the “regular” rates the bowling alleys usually charge people.
Other tips related to pricing is to negotiate when you can. If you can potentially save money, then do it! By presenting the venue’s provider a specific list of items and detail of the event, positive outlook on your event and confidence can help close up a nice deal. If you present an offer of an event that is small and not convincing versus a medium-sized one with 100 participants that will come, the provider would most likely go with the person who has the second proposal.
Be positive, think about the money, but not too much as you need to take risky chances, to make bigger things happen.
In the previous section, we learned that setting a budget would be helpful to avoid any unforeseen expenses. In this part, we will look at the importance of place.
The financial and calculations are finally done, let’s discuss the next part: the place.
Where will the event take place? How far would it take for participants to get there? Is it within our budget?
With no doubt, the venue where the event will be held is one of the key factors. Without a location, how on earth will you even have your event?! Oftentimes this could lead to an event being canceled if the room or location was not secured in time. This is what we want to try avoiding because cancellation can lead to a bad reputation and loss of potential revenue.
Things to consider when booking a location/venue:
- Where is it situated? Is it somewhere convenient?
- Is it easily reach?
- Accessible by Public Transportation?
- Is the equipment or lighting provided?
- Is there furniture already installed?
- Alcohol licensing provided?
- Is there parking available?
- What is the capacity of the room?
- What services or special amenities are offered?
- How flexible are the venue providers on cost and flexibility of time?
- Where is it situated? Is it somewhere convenient? Is it easily reach? The bowling alley is two blocks away from the main university campus.
- Accessible by Public Transportation? Easily reached by walking and public transportation
- Is the equipment or lighting provided? Bowling alley facilities provide all the bowling balls and shoes within the ticket price
- Alcohol licensing provided? There is a bar in the bowling alley
- Is there parking available? Yes
- What is the capacity of the room? There are 20 bowling lanes available and up to 10 participants can go in the lane.
- What services or special amenities are offered? An arcade is also available.
- How flexible are the venue providers on cost and flexibility of time? Since it is a school event, discount price is given on the venue.
Once you have listed what you deemed important, the venue is within your budget range and they provide all the necessities for your event, time to sign the contract! But, before you do so, always remember to read their terms and conditions, more importantly, if food or alcohol is being served. There are cases where outside food might not be allowed and that might lead to unnecessary catering fees.
In addition to this, as mentioned earlier, try to negotiate the price. Be ready with a proposal and keep following-up with the deal. This leads to the next point don’t try booking the venue at the last minute, as the event date approaches, the price will hike up.
The last tip when it comes to the venue is when you are booking the time slots, make sure that there is enough setup and clean up time allocated. Without properly allocating those times, the event can get delayed and causing frustration to the attendees or the venue staff.
As mentioned earlier, the place you decide to hold your event is crucial. Additionally, preparing your promotional tactics can increase your event’s awareness.
We are halfway through our 8Ps! It’s now the time for the loud portion of the Ps. In promotion, you must learn how to make noise and speak up to be able to promote your event. I don’t mean to literally yell, but to create some buzz in every way you can. Things you have to think of:
How will you promote your event? What would be the best way to reach your target? What is a unique way to invite participants to your event?
By reflecting on these three questions you can further clarify and build your promotional plan with the following questions:
- What are the key elements that should be highlighted during the promotion?
- What media does your target group use?
- Would word-of-mouth be effective?
- Which social media platforms would get the most reach?
- Which ticket system best suits your event?
- Are tickets available online or in physical format only or both?
- Are the media choices consistent with the event type?
- What are the key elements that should be highlighted during the promotion? Bowling night with students’ family and friends
- What media does your target group use? Social media is most used
- Would word-of-mouth be effective? More or less
- Which social media platforms would get the most reach? Facebook and Instagram
- Which ticket system best suits your event? Online ticket registration form
- Are tickets available online or in physical format only? Both
- Are the media choices consistent with the event type? Yes, students mostly use their cellphones
Once all the promotional plan is constructed, it’s game time. You must execute your plan by launching your event on the main website or platform. Use social media to also leverage your brand and event. The goal is to convey one clear and strong message.
Communication to the right people at the right time and using the right resources is key to success in this step.
Previously, we look at the importance of promotion. In this part, we will tackle how to deal with sponsors and potential partnerships.
Your event is just about to get publish and your tickets will be on sale! But before that, looking for potential sponsorship deals or organization that could help with your event is a must.
Do you know any organization that would be able to provide some support?
Things to take note when thinking of partnership/sponsors:
- Could they potentially sponsor this event?
- Could they provide some capital or material goods?
- Would they help with the promotions?
- What would they be responsible for?
- Is funding the biggest concern?
- Does your sponsor align well with your event?
- Could they potentially sponsor this event? The university sponsors all athletic teams with $750 for one of their major events
- Could they provide some capital or material goods? Money will be received
- Would they help with the promotions? The university can publish the event on the website
- What would they be responsible for? Providing the fund
- Does your sponsor align well with your event? Yes, the university’s cheerleading squad’s event
- Is funding the biggest concern? Yes
Before going on your sponsor run and requesting an offer, a good start to getting funds from them is to prepare a detailed proposal.
- Assess what you can provide the sponsors
- Research and delivery prospects of how successful your event can be
- Highlight your event’s strengths
- Negotiate agreement and follow-up
- Contact the sponsors in advance
- (It might take up 2-3 months or even more to receive a response from the bigger sponsors)
A few last pointers for Partners is you need to get to know your sponsor. Do some research on what they can provide you as well as what you can offer them. If you don’t need extra funds, this step can be skipped, however, with a sponsor, you can go for bigger events rather than keep it small. Again, depending on the type of event you do, your sponsors will also vary.
Moving on from the partners, we now have two Ps left to cover.
The basis of your event is established. Well done! Now it’s time to review if your current plan is a good one and not one that is all over the place. So, What have you determine to do so far? Did you think any backup plans?
A few reminders:
- Is your event idea a good one?
- Is the team of people enough?
- Is the pricing good for the attendees and organizers?
- Is the place booked and ready?
- Do you need more promotion or change some of the promotional plans?
- Is the sponsor secured? Is it included in the promotions or event banner?
For each of these steps, a backup plan should be set in case of any failures. Don’t worry, the more backups the better, but if you believe that your decision process is in control, everything will run smoothly.
You must just remember to remain flexible and open to change. Life is full of unpredictable moments, be alert and ready.
Congratulations! Your event was completed not long ago. It has gone either unexpectedly well, not too bad or terribly wrong. Well, this final P requires you to take a few steps back and retrace your event planning process.
How well did you do? What was good about the event? What was bad about it? How would you improve? Were there any challenges that you faced?
Evaluate and reflect!
Think about all the mistakes that could have been done differently. Make sure you write everything down, keeping notes to look back on will be good resources for future event plans.
To evaluate the performance thoroughly, having a follow up with the team of organizers and discussing the whole process can bring to the table good criticism. Furthermore, it’s always good to get feedback from the participants as they were the ones that experienced your event first hand.
- Create a satisfaction survey
- Send out to attendees “Thank you” emails
- Simply talk to attendees after the event
If you plan on recreating the same event or a similar, a clear and detailed assessment can fill out the missing pieces when planning a subsequent event. With no doubt, the planning process for the following year will become smoother. You will have all the resources available. Finalizing the event with a performance check is a habit for event planners.
At last, even if the example of the bowling/fundraising event is a medium-size one, the 8Ps still apply to small and larger events.
Hope this article was to your liking. For all beginner to expert event planners out there, I wish you the best in successfully organizing your events. I hope you learn a little something or perhaps got a review of your past learnings.