Event Tech Strategy, Insights & Trends.

5 Event Disasters and How to Avoid Them

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re running events with your eyes closed, it’s safe to say they come with their fair share of challenges – that is, if you’re unprepared.

The trick is to have a thorough plan in place that sees you turn these into opportunities or, better still, avoid them altogether.

Here’s a rundown of the most frequent challenges:

1. You don’t have enough data

This is particularly common for launch events or established events on an aggressive growth strategy. You’ve got the killer content and the speakers to deliver it, but the data is a different story.hanna 2

Let’s say you’re a B2B services provider and you have a target of 50 attendees for a lead generation event. You have a database of 1000 contacts you’ve not contacted before.
Based on an industry average open rate of 16%, clickthrough rate of 2.11% and conversion rate of 2.12%, you can expect 4 conversions.

That’s it?

Plan this analysis early enough to give yourself enough time to bridge that gap of 48 people.

Ways of securing more data include:

  • Buying data
  • Speaker co-marketing
  • Media partnerships with trade magazines and associations whose members are your target market

2. Your venue costs skyrocket

Along with confirming your venue, budgeting for it should be one of the first activities you undertake as part of your event planning. This includes venue hire, AV, Wi-Fi, and furniture rental.

When it comes to catering costs, however, these can be more than double the cost of room hire alone. It’s where they make their margins. So consider making yours by creating sponsorship opportunities such as networking drinks or cocktail reception that cover those costs.

3. High dropout rate

hanna 1As a general rule of thumb, you can expect a 10-15% dropout rate of attendees to your event. Even higher for webinars, at around 40%. The good news is that the more you do in the build up to the event, the more you’ll minimize your dropout rate.

One way of achieving this is with a dedicated marketing campaign to current registrants. Regular event updates will help build relationships and maintain commitment to your event.

Additionally, build buffers in to your marketing campaign. Let’s say you’re aiming for 200 attendees. Past experience tells you your dropout rate is 10%. Therefore you need to secure over 220 registrations in order to get 200 attendees on the day. This may mean planning 2 extra eshots or negotiating an extra week of banner advertising with your best performing media partner.

4. Your speakers drop out and don’t tell you

With speakers being the main selling point for events, it’s important they don’t start dropping like flies as the big day nears (it’s like watching a car crash in slow motion).

The way to avoid this is in building and maintaining amazing speaker relationships throughout the year. Meet with your speakers regularly for a coffee to chat about the industry challenges, keep them informed about travel and accommodation details, and work with them on creating content.

5. You get bad press on social media I Like

With 200+ million users on LinkedIn, 500+ million users on Twitter and a whopping 1.5 billion on Facebook, it’s no surprise that event organisers have taken to social media in their droves to interact with prospects and clients one a one-to-one level.

However, given that 32% of customers provide negative feedback, social media exposure could slowly burn holes in an event’s reputation if feedback is untreated.

If you are using social media to promote your organization, ensure someone is dedicated to responding to both positive and negative feedback. @NikeSupport are exceptional at responding to all interactions on Twitter. Tools such as Social Bro or Hootsuite make exc
ellent listening tools to monitor what’s being said about your brand and jump in on conversations.


Putting enough time and resource into planning will significantly minimize the risk of your event veering off course, leaving you to reap the rewards!


HannaHanna Leerink – Digital Marketing
Hanna is a digital marketer based in London. She enjoys writing about B2B marketing on her blog and covers a range of topics including email marketing, copywriting, and leveraging social media. Speaking of which, find her on Twitter @hannaleerink and say hello!

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