As a meeting planner, you oversee lots of events for your association or company. The partner that you’ve been using for event production has been doing a perfectly fine job for several years. Deadlines are met, reasonably good work is produced, and most of your requests are fulfilled. You have no complaints from your event clients, partners, or attendees, and prices seem competitive.
Based on all that, it’s time for a change. What’s that we just said? Change? Why? Because in this business, “good enough” simply isn’t good enough. Here’s why:
1. Your Audience Demographics Are Changing
Now more than ever, it's imperative that you understand the changing demographics of your attendees, and how to create an event that will motivate them to light up social media. These demographic changes take many forms (gender, nationality, geographic location, and more) but the most significant is generational.
The average age of your meeting attendees is decreasing each year. Younger audiences are more interested in original, streamable content that they can share on social media. “Good enough” won’t hold their attention. Does your current production company create content that will attract your changing audience? Will your audience remain engaged from the beginning to the end of your event? Will your attendees be excited to share your event content on their various social media platforms? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to consider changing your event partner.
2. Your Changing Audience Demands Creativity
You need new and exciting ideas to inspire your event—creativity that is tailored to your event’s changing demographics. The room layout, the format of the meeting, who addresses the attendees, the starting time… these are just a few of the areas that a new creative partner can help you reimagine. You need to examine the overall experience that you want for your attendees. By looking at every touchpoint of your event with your new partner, you’re on your way from a good event to a great one—but there’s still more to tackle.
3. Your Technology Should Provide a Professional and Slick Journey
In your event, you should be using an array of tools and software that allows you to communicate with attendees in new and unexpected ways. This can be anything from using custom software applications that create meeting branded content, to iBeacon transponders and interactive moments during the event. Your “wow factor” doesn’t have to break the budget—a few strategic choices go a long way—and employing the right systems will ensure your event is engaging your audience through multiple touch points to create a more immersive experience.
4. Agency Complacency Decreases Event Impact
Apathy is an attitude that spreads, but so is passion. Rekindling the fire will have ripple effects in your meetings department in positive ways. Your renewed vision and goal-seeking attitude will help give vision and direction back to those around you, your event, and your attendees.
5. Co-Creation Is Key
Gone are the days when associations or companies just threw everything at a production company and expected them to come back with a final product. Collaboration needs to start happening 364 days before the start of your event. Think about opening the process to include your audience, or other critical stakeholders as well. Agencies must open up the process to make your event exceptional. Remember that the best ideas will likely come from strong collaborations, not from single-source providers.
One of the few constants in life is change, and changes to your audience demographics—and shifts in what they expect from your event—are inevitable. Your ever-changing audience deserves better, newer, fresher, and bolder ideas. Your attendees, and your company or association, will benefit greatly from the new energy around your redesigned meeting.
Hal Schild is senior vice president, creative services, of PCI Event Productions. Blending award-winning creativity, technical ability, and business acumen, Schild oversees the video, online, multimedia, and event production for annual meetings and conventions of PCI’s major corporate and not-for-profit clients.