Tag archives for event management

Sponsors need to tell people face-to-face about their products and services. You, as an event organizer bring people together face-to-face. What could be more natural than getting together to create a productive event for sponsors, attendees and event organizers?

Easier said than done! Matching sponsors with the proper event sponsorship opportunity take a goal, yes, but it also take specific project management skills and emotional investment.

The project requires

  • knowing what language to use that captures sponsor attention,
  • what channels can be used to approach potential sponsors,
  • how to write a market-designed event sponsorship proposal,
  • and in the end, how to shape value for both the sponsors and the attendees

Roberta Vigilance has written a book entitled “How to Secure Sponsors Successfully” in which she provides strategies and tools to help event organizers attract and support event sponsors with successful events.

Roberta is an experienced event sponsorship consultant. She shares her tips for effective events supported by sponsors and shapes a marketing strategy, from the event organizer’s perspective — “Because of you, your sponsors are fully aware of who they are placing their brand in front of.”

Be Passionate:  Be the FIRST enthusiast who leads the way from strangers in the room to connections brought together because YOU know these people can benefit from knowing one another!

Know Your Audience:  Events are most often designed and implemented  for specialized groups of people who share common goals, problems and potential solutions.  When you know your audience’s haves and wants — their needs and strategies, you can broker a great sponsorship event that helps your attendees find solutions for their specific needs.

Help Sponsors Achieve their Goals:  First, you need to know what the sponsor’s goals ARE.  Then you need to creatively help them achieve their goals.  There is a difference in event design for a meet and greet, and a product introduction to a new market.

Be Honest and Knowledgeable:  Promise only what you can deliver. Know what you can deliver.  Know what the sponsor wants delivered.  And know what your Attendees want.  And plan accordingly.

Be Persistent, Helpful and Effective:  Pitching your proposal takes finding the right person or committee in the sponsor’s company, arranging a meeting far enough in advance of the event, helping design an experience for great results, and smoothing the way at the event itself.  Selling a sponsorship is just the first step.  Implementation is where you earn your stripes… and your ROI!

For more information about Roberta Vigilance’s services and book (How to Secure Sponsors Successfully), see


Bob Bly is a long time writer about marketing and sales copy, and it was interesting to see his latest article in “Target Marketing” about how long different kinds of marketing copy needs to be to get productive results.

Several firms researched the optimal length for the following communications forms:

Type of document Length Results
Blog Post 1,500 words SEO results
Podcast 22 minutes / 2200 words
Blog posts (research by SEOMoz) 1800-3000 words Attracts over 15x more inbound links
Blog posts (research by HubSpot) 2500 words Get more shares on social media
Web pages 500+ min. words
2,000 words
Rank higher in search engines
Article length/Web (research by serpIQ) 2,000 words or longer Highest ranked on Google search engine
Whitepapers (Gordon Graham) 6-8 pages Effectiveness and readership
Press release 400-1000 words
Google AdWords advertisement 85 characters

There has been a long term argument between sales and marketing teams and graphic design teams because more words are harder to design in pleasing ways.  I know because I’m both a designer and writer!  But results speak for themselves.  People who are truly wanting to buy your product or service want the FULL story, not just teasers or headlines and beautiful colors.  They want to know the features, the value, the benefits to them and their companies.  And they will take the time to read the details if they want to buy.

So the question — the elephant in the room — becomes, WHO do you want to read your copy:  serious buyers or browsers?

This is not to downplay the role of design in communication tools — but to change the focus from downplaying the copy, to arranging and highlighting it for easy, productive reading. And design can also lead the eye in a logical fashion to get the facts, evaluate them, and ask for action:  either a free trial or an outright purchase with full understanding of the risks and the guarantees and service that will accompany the purchase.  And the results they can expect!

We’re facing a brave new world in marketing communications every month, it seems, and new tools, new channels, etc. keep us challenged.  But the consistent factor in the mix is our brain!  We absorb information in very specific ways, and we make decisions in very specific ways — so it is important for marketing and design professionals to work together to create the message and deliver it in a way that our brains work.  We love words!  And we love color!  And we appreciate great design that gives us value and results!

Carolyn Allen
CEO of SureToMeet, experienced in marketing communication including writing, editing and design.

Meeting people at networking events is a great way to grow your professional network of connections — plus increase the frequency of visiting with people you already know.
People who share a common interest, problem, or profession benefit from spending face-to-face time with like-minded people.
You know networking is great — however, there are times when you can’t find a well-matched networking group near you that meets your needs.
Solve this networking dilemma — when there’s no networking group near you, start one.

Benefits of starting a networking group

Starting and running a networking group is a lot of work, so you need to think about how you will not only spend the time necessary, but benefit from your time investment.
A few years ago a few friends and I started a networking group because we wanted to network with other entrepreneurs like us, and there was no group in our area. Some people start a networking group to turn it into a business, while others start a networking group that’s part of their existing business. And yes, some want the social benefits.

The three Ps of a networking group

There are the essential ingredients to a successful networking group:

  • Purpose — How will attendees benefit from attending meetings and making new contacts? Is there a “passion” that will encourage participation?
  • People — What common interest or need will hold your community together?
  • Place — Where will your networking group meet that attendees will find comfortable and convenient?
  • Promotion — How will you reach out to new people in the area who share an interest in the networking group’s purpose for meeting?

Mission and purpose

Here are several leadership questions that will help you create a clear picture of what your networking group will accomplish:

  • What interest will your attendees and members have in common?
  • How will people benefit by attending your networking events?
  • How will people meet new contacts that will lead to beneficial relationships?

There are a wide variety of networking groups, such as:

  • Business and social networking group — People who want to socialize and form relationships with others in their specific profession or industry.
  • Networking leads and referral group Salespeople and business development people who work together to help their customers.
  • Job leads group — People who share job opportunities with others who are looking for a job.

In addition to helping the people who attend your networking meetings, think about how you will benefit, too. It takes a lot of time and work to start and run a networking group, and you need to think about how you will benefit from taking on this leadership role. If you don’t receive a reasonable return on your invested time and money – chances are you will burn out before the group can reach critical mass.
Networking needs people
Every networking group needs several types of people:

  • Founders — People who lead, plan, and recruit others to attend.
  • Supporters — People who help the networking group grow and thrive by inviting their contacts to meetings, making introduction, and, in some cases, sponsor networking meetings and special events.
  • Attendees — People who attend the meetings, participate, and engage with other who are looking to network and create mutually beneficial relationships.

Networking groups need programs

Many networking groups get started with the idea that people will just naturally attend and mingle and meet people. This can work well in the early days when the founders and supporters invite people they know and who have a core shared interest in socializing.
However, as the group grows, it helps to have a “program” that attracts new people to attend. Each meeting’s program also shapes and develops the common interest of the people attending each meeting — new people know that those who share an interest in the programs topic will attend.
The typical program at most networking groups, association chapters, and other interest groups is a guest speaker from outside the group. However, there are several other types of program formats, such as:

  • Featured member presentation
  • Every attendee makes a mini-presentation
  • Every attendee participates in a “speed networking” activity where everyone meets everyone else one-to-one

Places to network

Finding a location for a new networking group to meet is usually easy, but it becomes more difficult as the group attracts more attendees.
New networking groups normally start by meeting at free locations, such as:

  • Conference room at a member’s office
  • Coffee shop
  • Restaurant
  • Lobby of a large hotel

An example of location used by a lot of small and casual networking groups is their nearest Panera Bread location. Their locations have plenty of room, good coffee and snacks, and free WiFi!
Free locations like these allow a networking group to avoid charging for attendance. Each person just pays for whatever they eat or drink.
However, as the number of people who attend increases, it will become necessary to contract with venues that handle larger meetings and events. This means that the organizers need to pay for the room, and for the food and drinks provided to attendees. And, this means that attendees need to pay to attend the networking events. Collecting fees can be handled by either having people register online before the event or pay at the door.

Promoting a networking group’s meetings

Networking groups thrive when there is a mix of regular attendees who frequently attend plus new, interested people at each event — and this takes promotion.
Some networking groups try to promote their meetings by just posting a notice on their Web event calendar and sending a personal e-mail to the people in their contact list. This doesn’t work well because it usually doesn’t reach a significant number of people who might attend, and it doesn’t remind people frequently enough to break through the clutter of media overload.
The very best way to promote a networking event to your core participants is to send several e-mails to everyone who has attended in the past. The easiest way to do this is to use an online meeting promotion and RSVP service, such as SureToMeet.
Networking groups need to attract new people to attend, participate, and become loyal members. This is effectively achieved by promoting the group’s meetings and events in several ways:

  • Referrals — Make it easy for previous attendees to invite their friends and associates.
  • Social media — Post announcements on social media sites where like-minded followers and friends can click through to the event Web page and RSVP.
  • Traditional and online media — Post announcements on Web calendar sites, and send announcements to local newspapers with calendar sections.
  • Sign-up form — Make it easy for people to subscribe to your meeting notices with an online registration form.

Planning the new networking group

Each of the start-up elements of starting and growing a networking group has a lot of details, so to make your networking debut easier for you, we’ve created an interactive planning tool for starting and running a networking group. Just start at the top level of the interactive mind map, and drill down to the specific action items and tasks that will help you create your networking group’s meetings and events.

Read more »

Meeting organizers face interesting challenges as their event approaches. Take, for example, the situation faced by Cindy Klaverkamp, senior event planner for Creative Memories, who had a two-day regional convention with 300 Creative Memories consultants scheduled in Pittsburgh.

The collapse of some concrete flooring in Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center February 5 forced the facility to close temporarily and had several groups scrambling to find different venues or dates for their meetings.

The 6-inch-thick concrete floor in a loading area collapsed under the weight of a tractor-trailer, sending a mixture of concrete, steel, and equipment onto a public area below, and leaving the tractor-trailer trapped in a 20-by-60-foot hole in the floor/ceiling. No one was hurt.

Fortunately for Cindy, her vendors cooperated and she was able to move the event, acquire audiovisual equipment, and change a variety of other details that came up instantly.

This is an extreme example of the roof falling in, but it’s always important to be able to contact vendors quickly.

One way to keep this data handy is to store vendor contact data in your Contacts manager, then add them to a Contact Group you call “Vendors.” Wherever you are when you need a complete list of vendors and contact information, just click over to your “Vendors” group.

You may never invite all of your vendors to a meeting or party (although Cindy might), but a robust contact manager can keep vendor contact data accessible from any Web browser.

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