Have you ever taken your time to make or produce something, only to discover that nobody else cared about it? How painful is it to realize that all of the effort you put into this thing wasn’t appreciated, or worse, noticed?
The sad truth is that often, if you skip over idea validation (whether it’s a fun art project or a business plan), you run the risk of failing at creating something worthwhile. As surprising this might sound, the same thing happens in the event industry.
Considering the massive amount of annual events (are we even able to count them?), it’s almost impossible to always come up with something new, authentic or interesting for the attendees. The same way you’ll want to validate a business or book idea, you’ll also need to validate an event idea.
But let’s take it step by step: What is an event idea? Whether it’s the topic, the star speakers, the format, or the location, an event idea should include every single aspect that will make your conference, concert, or seminar an attractive experience for your clients, sponsors, and guests.
Will it work? Will people be interested in attending the event? Will the sponsors be eager to finance it, seeing the potential of great outcomes? Will clients agree to follow your lead?
By validating your event idea, you’ll have clear answers to these questions. Here’s how you can achieve validation:
Step 1. Build a solution-based narrative before validating the event idea
First things first: How do you actually express an event idea? To help you easily highlight the core essence of your event, start by listing the objectives. Why are you planning this event in the first place? Reasons such as to increase brand awareness, gain more leads, or make more money are good, but these reasons work for the internal accountability.
To actually build a strong event idea, you must think broadly.
What problems will your event solve? Why should your attendee personas pay attention to your event and actually register to attend? What exactly will they get from the experience? These questions will help you build a solution-based narrative of the event, which will make it easy to present for validation in an understandable format.
Step 2. Talk to different types of event stakeholders
Events usually involve different players: event clients, providers, sponsors, and attendees. These players’ evaluation and judgment can make your event a success.
Make a list of event stakeholders, contact them, and present your event idea. Ask them to share their thoughts. Do they think your event is attractive enough? Will it tackle or solve a burning pain? Is it viable? Will it engage a good amount of people?
Step 3. Track the emotional responses
As previously mentioned, to validate your event idea, you must talk to others and see what they think. However, apart from noting their opinions, you also must track their emotional responses.
Will they say, “Sure … I guess this could work,” or, “Hell, yes! I want to get involved right now!” Their emotional reactions will tell you a great deal about the attractiveness and the viability of your event idea.
Step 4. Run a quick experiment
Let’s say you’re planning a three-day conference about mobile banking. It’s the first one in your city, and you want to make sure people would be interested in attending.
Instead of launching yourself into a massive planning frenzy right away, step back and first run a quick workshop or an evening meet-up to talk to people and see if there’s even a demand.
Step 5. Check your competitors
Usually, people are trying to outdo their competition and try new things. However, the presence of competitors in any environment or area is a sign that there is demand.
Check out what your competitors are doing.
Do they run events that always have the same theme? Are they successful? Do they have a strong audience? Obviously, the idea is not to copy them, but just notice what they’re doing, so you can see what’s working and what’s not.
Planning an event requires a great amount of time, effort, and resources. You can’t allow yourself to set up something big without knowing if your ideas will work or not. Validating your event idea is your first call to action.
Be proactive and build a narrative. Ask event stakeholders what they think and track their emotional responses. Run quick experiments and review the testing results. Finally, check what your competitors are doing and highlight the things that work. This set of simple steps will help you kick off having a powerful event plan and know for sure that you are heading in the right direction.