Drawing up a budget for your event? Ask yourself what your delegates really value

Drawing up a budget for your event? Ask yourself what your delegates really value
Organisations are typically blessed with an abundance of great ideas, and then cursed
by ever-shrinking budgets with which to implement those ideas. Budgets set parameters, says Sun International. It's true. In a decidedly less predictable world, we are all pressed to focus spend on value-creating and memorable experiences.

Every organization can and should aim to run successful events within budget. The trick is to allocate your finite and precious budget to the right items. And those kinds of decisions must happen early on in the planning of your event.

A good PCO can guide you through this process of deciding where money is best spent, enabling you to make better choices, and harvesting valuable learning for shaping future events.

These are the kinds of considerations we work through with our clients.

What are all the wish-list ideas you have for your event?

Create a wish list of ideas. Think about what makes an event memorable, such as inspirational guest speakers, engaging entertainment, unusually useful gifts (local and green preferably), beautifully themed dinners and stylish cocktail events.

Now consider some of the things that can make your event memorable in a way you don’t want to be remembered – they are only noticed when they are not up to scratch. They include reliable and accurate booking and registration processes and/or systems, and seamless, safe transport options. These days we expect reasonably fast WiFi so that we can connect, share or just keep an eye on work. We know we have better learning experiences in clean, well-lit and technology-enabled conferencing facilities - think big enough screens for everyone to see, and good sound so that everyone can hear. These environments allow for engagement, they energize and they inspire. They pave the way for delegates to pass on the good experience.

Lastly, consider what can you do to take your event to the next level, to make it stand out. Ask your professional conference organizer and event creatives to mix new ideas into this part of the event-planning phase.

Working out what your customer actually values

Now that you have assembled your wish list, consider the parameters set by your budget. Allocate your budget wisely by working out which activities are value-creating and which are wasteful, and aim to cut out the latter.

Eric Reis, author of the Lean Start-up, says we have become used to making assumptions, and treating them as facts. How much do you really know about what your potential attendees want? How are new generations shaping expectations? What are the memorable elements, for the right or the wrong reasons, that need budgetary attention? What do your customers really value? Make sure that you are not making assumptions about what they value. Sometimes our assumptions rely too much on what was valued in the past.

Reis says we need to separate facts from assumptions, and to test our assumptions. Simply asking your customers what they want does not produce an accurate steer. You need to have observed choices and behaviors.

Minding confirmation bias in matching ideas to budget

Selecting ideas to invest in can be tricky. We are overconfident in evaluating our own ideas, says social scientist and “Originals” author Adam Grant:

When we’ve developed a new idea, we’re typically too close to our own tastes – and too far from the audiences’ tastes – to evaluate it accurately.
Adam Grant

This is called confirmation bias and we readily fall prey to it, where we accentuate the strengths of our ideas and ignore possible limitations. If you know what your customers value, you should use this to direct your budget, that’s if you have a serious focus on sustainable business.

Take input and guidance from professionals, not only for making decisions before the event, but also in terms of learning from each event so that your validated learning can feed the success of future events.

Running impeccable events, so smooth and seamless that the PCO’s job looks effortless, takes skillful consultation, planning and management. At Ripcord Promotions we provide a comprehensive Professional Conference Organiser service. We’ve been in this business for over 25 years.

Contact us to find out how we can pull strings for you: https://www.ripcord.za.com/about-us/contact-us

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