The obvious part of planning an event is defining and setting your goals. From increasing brand awareness to selling tickets and gaining a satisfactory financial profit, you might be pursuing numerous goals simultaneously. The difficult part, however, is running an event that stands on bulletproof strategies for achieving your goals.
What’s so troublesome about that? You see, when you’re caught up in the planning fever, it’s extremely easy to lose sight of the things you are pursuing. Let’s say your goal is to deliver a highly valuable experience to your attendees by gathering the best speakers to share their latest insights. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?
Well, guess what? The lack of a strong strategic vision may stop you from making your intentions a reality. How is that possible? The simplest example is that you may end up using too many resources on your marketing strategy, failing to cover the logistics and communication you must nurture with those potential speakers. In other words, without a strong strategic vision, you’ll lose sight of what’s important to achieve your goals.
According to the authors Alan G. Lafley and Roger Martin, a good strategy means making efficient choices to win. As they note, too often, people will allow what is urgent to override what is really important. A powerful strategy, however, enables professionals to integrate all the choices one has, transforming the capabilities and competencies into core strengths that will guarantee your event’s success.
In other words, you must play to win, meaning you must plan an event ensuring your success. This is only possible by developing a strong strategic vision. Here’s how you can do it:
Step 1. Align your goals with the resources you have
You can’t launch yourself into planning a new event without first defining your goals. As the entrepreneur Kevin Van der Straeten explains, "Whether you are organizing a staff party, an international congress or a pop festival, the proper formulation of clear and measurable objectives is a sensible investment of your valuable time. These objectives form the foundations on which each further stage of your event will be successively built."
Apart from that, this step allows you to better define your strategic vision about the planning process. This happens when you audit your resources (money, time, team, tools, etc.) and then align those resources with the established objective.
Defining what you want to achieve is important, but worthless if you don’t have the necessary means to do it. If you don’t have the money or tools, for example, you can always review your goals or decide to find additional resources. Either way, you must develop a strategic approach and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Step 2. Define the value your event can provide
From offering valuable insights and knowledge to gathering the best professionals for networking, your event must stand on the added value you can generate for your attendees. Why is this important for developing a strategic vision? Because all the future decisions you’ll make when planning the event will be aligned with the value you are providing. In other words, you won’t run the risk of losing sight of what you want to offer while being caught up in the logistic fever.
Step 3. Set your standards of planning excellence
What are your values? What are those standards of excellence you can’t ignore when designing your event? What are your ground rules as an event professional? From always maintaining a friendly and positive interaction with your (potential) attendees to providing a top-notch experience during your events, there are multiple excellence standards you can set for yourself. This will give you a strong platform for developing your strategic event vision. You’ll always plan the event according to your excellence principles and you won’t fail to deliver the exact product you’ve envisioned at the beginning. Set the rules of the game and play to win.
Step 4. Explore new sustainable solutions
To boost the quality of your event, develop a strategic innovation thinking. Don’t stick with the tried-and-true, old solutions. Always search for new and sustainable answers to different planning and event marketing challenges.
Step 5. Be ready to change your game plan
Nine times out of ten, whenever you plan an event, unpredictable circumstances will disrupt your roadmap. It’s practically a given. The moments when everything goes according to plan are rare. So when you’re defining your timeline and to do-lists, keep in mind a plan B, C, and D for potential tasks that may go wrong. This will strengthen your strategic vision, backing it up with flexibility and smart improvisation.
Whenever you’re about to plan an event, you have to enroll in a reflexive process and develop a strategic vision about the upcoming planning process. This will help you envision the correlation between your goals and your resources, the added value you want to provide, and the degree of excellence you want to achieve. Apart from that, you’ll also be able to make room for innovative solutions and abruptly change your planning game plan in case of unexpected circumstances.