Monday, February 18, 2013

Event Planner Series: What to Think About BEFORE You Start

This is the beginning of a series of posts on Event Planning and Producer Guidelines. New planners take heed, even though you will learn these over time by experiencing and producing events on your own...this series will be a great intro to what to watch out for. For more experienced planners...brushing up on tips and tricks to get you through your event never gets old!

So, you have your initial call with your client to discuss the event, what they are looking for etc. You need to make sure you walk into that meeting prepared. You want the business and you want to come to the table with options and an opinion. Anyone can just produce someone's event. As a planner you should be prepared to speak up and lend your expertise. That is why your client chose you right?

Here are questions event planners need to ask before the project starts. These questions will act as a guideline for you on how prepared your potential client is, how much of work load you will be taking on and whether you are a good fit or not.

Questions All Event Planners Need to Ask-  Before You Start:
Why have the event?
This is an important question to ask. What is the purpose of the event. Is it to raise money, awareness, a celebration or PR. You will find out a lot about your client, what they are looking to achieve and how you are going to fit into the project. If it's a wedding or a social event, make sure you understand what your client wants to achieve in the few hours their guests are attending. Is there a theme? For branded and corporate events make sure you talk about the median you are using for the event. Think conference vs. press event vs. guerrilla experiential event.  

Who are the key players?
You will need to find out who will be on the team. Who will you be working with and how will you be working together. Responsibility wise, what is it that you will be taking care of and can you assemble and use your own team.

Who should Attend the event?  If it is a social event find out who will be invited and who is in charge of getting people to the event. Does your client have their own invitation list or do you need to work with them on getting traffic through the door. For a corporate or brand marketing event find out who should be the main target audience and discuss ways in which these people can be reached. Does your client have an existing alumni list, do you need to work with their social media, PR and marketing teams to figure out a marketing channel to get foot traffic to the event.
How are you going to Market the event?

Make sure your client is clear on the amount of time the project will entail and discuss realistic expectations. Do you have enough time to produce, does your potential client understand what needs to be done in the time they have allotted. If the timing on the project is short, be clear about the number of staff you have and whether you will need to increase your staff numbers.

The big money question! Does you client have realistic expectations for how much they believe the event will cost. Can you make it work within their budget.

If you don't ask these questions from the get go you might be surprised along the way while producing the event. Make sure you start the project off with a very open flow of communication and you will get to a good place in the end.

Don't forget to take notes, type them up and send them over to your potential client. Everyone should always be on the same page. It will help keep everything clear and prevent misunderstandings.

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