Special Event 9/15: How to make your next event sizzle like Broadway on an association budget.
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For Your Association Event to Succeed in 2021, THINK BIG!

December 14, 2020
Don

2021 will be a make or break year for many of the events and trade shows competing for the time, attention, and scarce budget dollars from potential audiences. Compound this with the lack of confidence that industry suppliers have in participating in yet another lackluster virtual event. How will you fare?

Big media such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Netflix are growing, and small, local media is shrinking. Your event is also a media product and to succeed in an era of confusion, uncertainty, and “the fog of COVID’ you must embrace that big is better than small, bold is better than timid, and offense is better than defense.

To succeed in 2021, the size of your event, your investment level, your commitment of resources, and your ambition to deliver a world-class virtual experience or hybrid (we call it omnichannel) event has never been more important.

The video game industry is thriving like never before, a testament to how compelling a virtual, non-in-person experience can be. Will your 2021 virtual event be as exciting as Animal Crossing, Call of Duty, or Mario Bros.? Impossible, you say? Why?

Video games, Disney+, and Facebook are your competition. And to compete with them you must invest. Never before has your event been a more important part of your membership strategy, a magnet for member loyalty, and the principle economic driver of your organization.

Here are the first five steps to making your 2021 event a winner on a scale that makes you THE dominant event in your industry.

  1. Call a meeting with the senior leadership team and align around a financial objective for 2021. Determine what level of investment is required to accomplish an operating margin that ensures that your 2021 event's financial performance positions you for a strong 2022 recovery.
  2. Develop a clear vision and strategy to achieve this objective. Schedule a special session for your board of directors to explain what your plans are and have them support and ratify the vision and investment required.
  3. Develop a pricing strategy that ties your event and your membership together: two birds, one stone. This helps increase the level of investment you can make and extends the value of your event to serve your membership growth objectives.
  4. Get expert advice and counsel. Don’t bootstrap a project as important as this. If you want medical advice, you call a doctor; if you need a will prepared, contact an attorney; if you want to minimize your tax payments and meet all of the latest a tax code changes, you hire an accountant. Too much has changed to not seek professional help.
  5. Contact other organizations that serve the same or adjacent audiences. Determine if a partnership or alliance is in your best interest. Larger, more dominant, and better capitalized events will be the winners in 2021. Often, we are stronger together with another organization who can help us get to our goal faster.

To paraphrase Charles Darwin: It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.

Don Neal
Founder & CEO
360 Live Media