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When to Hire Outside Expertise to Plan Your Next Meeting or Event

Every day, I talk to association CEOs and meeting planners about their events. In the hundreds of conversations over the course of the last year, a fascinating trend has emerged: CEOs tend to believe their internal teams can plan digital and omnichannel events that are on par with their in-person events, while EVPs of Events tend to want to hire outside help, yet they are afraid to ask their CEO.  

Odds are that your first-ever virtual event within the last year didn’t generate the revenue you needed it to, and this next one really needs to deliver to get your organization closer to being financially whole. Whether this next one will be fully digital or omnichannel, the stakes are simply too high not to acknowledge reality.  

The reality is that:

  • We are in uncharted waters—almost no one has been where you need to go this year
  • Financial shortfalls for this year’s events could be catastrophic for your organization

Association CEOs should recognize that it’s probably not fair or realistic to expect their internal events team to plan lucrative experiences with innovative models on their first (or second) attempt. They should further understand that if there were ever a time to invest in outside expertise, it’s during a once-every-hundred-years pandemic that has disrupted our lives, threatened our livelihoods, and required massive innovation to your core revenue model with zero advance notice.  

Think of it this way: if you could hire someone to build a custom home for you, would you hire someone who built their first one last year, or someone who built 30 custom homes last year? It’s not fair to expect the same product from both options.  

CEOs: Now is the time to hire outside expertise to plan your next event, because it will have to be different than ever before, and will likely be the model you follow for the foreseeable future. The omnichannel event will be one of the many lasting impacts of COVID, and it requires completely new strategic planning and execution layers which you’ve likely never needed before. Events have always been a team sport—it doesn’t make sense to enter this new era alone.  

Meeting Planners: It’s okay to hire outside strategic help for your next event. You’ll co-create the event framework upon which you’ll be building for the rest of your career. Forward this to your CEO if helpful.  

You should hire outside expertise when:

  • The stakes are high
  • Failure is not an option
  • The task requires specific experience and expertise you don’t have in-house
  • The work product will serve as the new foundation of a critical revenue stream for your organization for the foreseeable future

Jack Macleod
Chief Revenue Officer
360 Live Media


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