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Do you want a great conference?

c3I often get asked which events I prefer planning, corporate events such as conferences or social events such as weddings but to be quite honest they are very different and come with unique requirements. This article deals specifically with conferences.

For a successful conference there must be an objective for holding it, unless of course your company has endless budgets. Well-organized conferences can strengthen your brand and build loyalty, increase sales, and generate referrals. They also give you the opportunity to connect directly with customers or suppliers, and build community awareness.

Conferences can also help you  network with customers or industry experts, work on your own professional development, and share ideas; plus, the unplanned connections you make can lead to innovation, opportunities, and important partnerships.

 

Once you know the ‘why’, you can move quite smoothly to the ‘how’.

 

Getting the right venue is a key requirement for a successful conference; the venue also needs to align with your brand, your target market, and your conference goals. For example, if you want to target high-earning executives, you should choose a location that reflects this, and that will appeal to this target market.  A venue that is of premium standard, well lit, central, with adequate parking is always a good start. You must inspect the venue thoroughly to make sure it ticks all your requirements.

It doesn’t stop at the venue. Your key message and publicity has to be impactful for your conference to be successful. You must identify your target market. Once identified, the publicity campaign should carry on right up to the date of the event especially if it is a paid event.

The key publicity messages should include, what the event is about and who the main speakers are and what the audience should expect.  The key messages should be consistent, deliberate and reflect your brand values. A promotional video is an added bonus for your marketing campaign.

These days, there are several ways to get your message across to your target audience such as through paid adverts, sending press releases and social media like facebook, twitter and linkedin.  Your marketing advert is the key to drawing your target audience to your conference.  The design should be eye catching and the content and look and feel should create a buzz .

Delegates will usually register for the event via email, sms or social media. Make sure the registration process is efficient and straight forward. All enquiries should be dealt with immediately.

The day has finally arrived and you have a sold out conference.  Congratulations! Make sure you have a check list which may include registration, programme, signage, staff,  catering, photography, publicity banners, marketing brochures, videography, stage for panel speakers, sound,  audio visual, IT support, water for panel, marketing collateral , light decor, souvenirs, note pads, pens.  You may also want to consider Live streaming. This has become popular especially for sponsored conferences.

Start the conference at the advertised time: This is very important for showing that your company has strong standards in business etiquette and are professional.

What type of experience do you want your delegates to have? And what will delegates do, learn, or take away from the event? Make sure there are ice breakers. A questions and answers session should be included in the programme.  You want your conference to be the talk of town, so make sure there is a fun aspect or surprise element.

At the end of the conference, delight delegates with a giveaway bag and make sure feedback forms are completed, because what they write down is vital for future planning and more success.

Good luck

Rita Okoye  – CEO

 

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