At a time in the market where companies are cutting promotion costs, there is a category of marketing tools that is showing growth, namely events. To find out more, we talked to Giorgio Mondardini, a person with considerable knowledge of events having warn different hats, as both an organizer and a performer. Among his many roles in Italy, Giorgio has worked as artistic director of the Teatro Verdi, he organizes the Savignano Wine Festival, created Bella con Bio (an event dedicated to bio-cosmetics) and together with Alessandra Plachesi runs the agency That’s Event located at Villa Glicine. But he is also a composer with experience in theatre. Together with Passodue and other professionals, he was also creator and organizer of Camp Me Up.
What are events and what purpose do they serve?
Giorgio defines an event as “live communication”, that is a promotional tool that involves physically meeting customers and companies in an entertaining context, with the purpose of generating a positive, and perhaps even memorable, experience. Compared to a traditional trade fair, for example, an event allows you to focus more on your relationship with the participants, tailoring the experience to render it unique, creating an immersion in the company’s “value building system” that you can only gain by experiencing it from within.
How much does it cost to organize an event?
Organizing events is now affordable even for small businesses or freelancers, you just have to choose the right format. To do this, you need to understand the type and scope of your target and ask yourself whether the event you’re planning is aimed inside or outside your company. In the first case, we are looking at Corporate (for employees and investors) or Trade Events (suppliers and distributors), while in the latter, we are dealing with Consumer Events (customers and users). It is then necessary to define the goal: presenting a new product or service, reinforcing reputation and image, creating team spirit or selling. You will thus choose between a convention, a meeting, a workshop, a gala dinner or one of the other types of event present on the market, according to the budget available. The professional you select (avoid “do-it-yourself”) will help you rationalise your costs: it is not worth trying to save money and then failing to achieve results, or even risk damaging your corporate image and your relationship with the participants!
Which details ensure your event will be a success?
Firstly, you need to choose the most appropriate period for your target, goal and theme. For example, when organizing Camp Me Up 2016, we opted for a time when people were returning from holidays as we wanted to talk about change and a new approach to work, and we thus chose a time of the year when people might be finding it difficult to get back into routine. Bear in mind that implementation and creativity are equally important: even the most innovative idea, if not well-structured, can turn into a negative experience, whereas a “mere” dinner may create an unforgettable memory if the style and atmosphere are right. Another fundamental aspect is considering the correct follow-up. To capitalize on your investment, you must enable those who participate to answer the question “And now what?” Digital tools, such as apps and sites that allow you to collect data and stay in touch with the participants (such as Amiando and Anymeeting) are invaluable here. You could also design ad hoc promotions, give away gadgets, or provide downloadable photos and videos.
What events are currently trending?
The current formats tend to be hybrid, i.e. they include a physical part and a virtual one, possibly streamed. But mixed events are also very successful: training and entertainment, workshops and team building are combinations that work well together. It is important to exploit the features of the place where the event takes place. At Camp Me Up 2016 we have always promoted the concept of “Training from Close to Home” by choosing local speakers who are experts in their sector, as well as catering with regional foods in a deliberately simple and informal atmosphere designed to make you feel at home. Web and TV have strongly influenced the world of events and certain reality show modes have become fashionable. One example would be team cooking that makes you feel like you’re competing in Master Chef. The web, on the other hand, has encouraged an informal style, which chooses not to hide possible flaws but underline them as elements of identity.
Some final tips for those considering organizing events
Try to anticipate any difficulties by creating alternative plans where possible, but be flexible and ready to adapt. The skill, competence and creativity of an event consultant is revealed by their ability to manage the unexpected. If something goes wrong, staying focused on the main objective will help you find effective solutions, perhaps enabling you to turn a mishap into a memorable experience. During Camp Me Up 2016 it started to rain and everyone, from the speakers to the participants, collaborated to reorganize the location, giving rise to a spontaneous team work session that was consistent with the goals of the day! As organizers, you will have to show skills of diplomacy when dealing with both the client and especially the participants. There will always be somebody who is going to criticise, but do not make the mistake of making such people feel judged or abandoned; rather, try to remind them of the main purposes of the event you have organized, inspiring them with greater confidence and enthusiasm. With clients you must try to be realistic, listening to their needs and motivations but retaining your role as director.
Event organization is potentially one of the most stressful jobs that exists, but also one of the most powerful marketing tools. From our Camp Me Up Experience we’ve learned that finding agreement between organizers (8 in 2016), suppliers and participants (over 150) may appear a gargantuan task, but if you work with passion and mutual respect, perhaps enjoying yourselves at the same time, everything becomes easier. By the way, we and Giorgio Mondardini are waiting for you at the imminent Camp Me Up 2017, scheduled for the 26th and 27th May 2017. Registration at www.campmeup.it
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