By: Sabrina Nelson, Johnson Controls Inc., www.johnsoncontrols.com
We all know of the four P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Some of us were even taught about a fifth, People. Well, I’d like to introduce a sixth for your consideration when organizing your next work or personal event – planning. I’ve been doing quite a bit of planning lately as Chair of the annual BMA-Milwaukee holiday party, and I’m finding that planning is key to the continued success of that event. So whether you’re heading up an office pot luck for 10 a sit down dinner for 500, consider the following:
- What are the goals of your event? Is it networking, a specific event celebration or a fund raiser? Decisions for your event from food & beverage, to room layout, to venue selection will vary based on your desired outcome. Networking might be better served with passed appetizers while a specific celebration or fund-raiser might warrant the extra touch of a plated dinner.
- What’s in it for your guests? What motivates your party goers? Is it the warm feeling they get from donating to a good cause or is your party THE event of the season and a place to see and be seen? Does your event provide an opportunity to get a little holiday shopping done via an auction or have a nice take-away like a photo from a professional photographer?
- What are the preferences of your guests? Is your group all about a 9-course meal or is it the cocktail hour that gets them going? Are they a jeans and jersey crowd or do they look forward to the once a-year-opportunity to dress up in sequins and stilettos?
- Timing is everything: Everyone is running a million miles a minute. Giving consideration to potentially conflicting events will help increase attendance at yours! Pay attention to sporting events, school breaks and busy times of the year. For example, a holiday party, held on a Thursday night in early December will probably present less of a conflict than a similar event held on a Sunday during a Green Bay Packer game.
- Sometimes it takes a team: No matter the size of the event, having assistance in dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s will help to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Even if you are organizing the event solo, having someone to bounce ideas off of is always a great plan. A co-worker, spouse or friend can provide a new and different perspective and give you ideas you may never have considered.
Last but most importantly – plan to have fun! All your up-front efforts will help to ensure your event goes smoothly for all to enjoy, including you!