Your Event Off-Season Checklist

by Elizabeth Johnson

When a show is complete, all of its planners and vendors take a well-deserved deep breath (maybe even a vacation) before moving on to the next show. While the “off-season” in our business is incredibly short, if not non-existent, the time between the end of an event and beginning of planning and marketing the next, is a critical time to evaluate. Here are five actions you should be taking:

  • Review Your Event’s Brand—Is it aligned with your organization’s mission or strategic goals? Does it accurately convey the experience participants will have at the show? What adjustments need to be made to the brand to improve alignment?
  • Gain Feedback from Your Stakeholders—And apply it! Go deeper than a survey, call and interview people, or walk in their shoes to see where their pain points are. Find out what attendees, leaders, sponsors, like/dislike about your program. What can you add or drop to improve their experiences?
  • Research Other Shows—Talk to fellow show organizers and gain insight into what is working for them? Discuss big-picture topics in regular meet-ups with your local IAEE Chapter or online chats, such as #expochat on Twitter.
  • Evaluate Your Marketing Campaign—Are you using the most effective tactics, the latest tools available, or doing it the way “it’s always been done”? Data and digital tactics can help you reach new audiences or more effectively deliver your messages.
  • Review New Technology—Technology is changing rapidly and affecting every aspect of the industry from registration to show floor navigation. It’s important to keep up with the changes and continue to add features that will enhance attendees’ and exhibitors’ experiences.

The nature of events, unlike many other products, offers a convenient lifecycle—an obvious beginning and end—that allows for necessary evaluation and changes. Shows that can pivot and remain nimble will find it easier to achieve success in the current economic climate.

Elizabeth Johnson is director of content marketing at Frost Miller. Opinions are her own. She can be reached at ejohnson@frostmiller.com.

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