Running Successful Events in the World of Shrinking Event Budgets
Dwindling event budgets are one of the biggest challenges for corporate event marketers. Top brass expect events to bring higher ROI with less investment—and with no compromise in attendee experience. It’s a big ask for even the most inventive and resourceful event planner. So how can you survive in the world of shrinking budgets and still deliver unique, engaging events? Keep the following tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to satisfying both your attendees and the executive suite.
- Be flexible.
The event venue inevitably eats up the largest chunk of your budget. The key to mitigating this expense is flexibility. Since weekends and holidays are expensive, be flexible with your dates and consider running events during the week or in the off-peak season; hotels typically offer specials in January and February. Keep in mind that non-hotel venues are often better value than hotels so be prepared to think outside the box for potential venues. And don’t be afraid to haggle to get the best price!
- Go digital.
Printing brochures, conference guides, and promotional material is an expensive, and often unnecessary, endeavor. Embrace the online experience and save some trees while you’re at it. Consider an event management platform that hosts everything from your agenda and presentation documents to registration and attendee messaging apps. Your attendees can access everything they need for your event from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. On the promotion front, social media and email marketing are effective paper-free tools.
- Automate, automate, automate.
Time is money. By automating routine event tasks, you can optimize the resources you spend on event management; you can focus on revenue-generating activities instead of wasting costly man-hours on repetitive admin tasks. Try integrating your event management software with your marketing stack to minimize the expense of copying and transferring lead data between applications—and accelerate the sales pipeline in the process.
- Rethink your swag.
Don’t waste money on goodie bags filled with miscellany that your attendees don’t really want. Does anyone really need another keychain or stress ball? Consider reallocating the swag line item of the budget to giveaways that actually improve the attendee experience, such as hearty snacks that can fuel attendees through a long day of meetings. Or just put the savings toward your bottom line.
- Get creative with promotion.
There’s no need to spend a pile of money on advertising and promotion. Instead, leverage free or low-cost sources to promote your event. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the power of social media to spread the word. Try targeting industry influencers to encourage them to promote your event; influencers can accelerate word-of-mouth marketing through their large followings. Email marketing, networking, and SEO are all valuable promotional tools that are easy on your budget.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel.
The event portfolio of a corporate event marketer contains multiple, repetitive events of all sizes and types, across different locations and groups within the organization (e.g., monthly training webinars, weekly sales meetings, annual user group conference). There’s no sense starting from square one for every event you run, especially when you’re on a tight budget. By cloning events and taking advantage of reusable widgets, website themes, and templates instead of building event sites from scratch, you can save an enormous amount of time, effort and resources—which translates into cost savings.
Working with a small budget doesn’t have to negatively impact your event portfolio. With a little creativity and ingenuity—and some technology tricks up your sleeve—you’ll be able to consistently plan and execute successful, ROI-positive events.
Attendease is a cloud-based marketing automation solution for corporate event managers and teams. A modern, feature-rich event management software that enables the management of an entire range of events of all types and sizes.