• December 2011

Roxanne Ladd's Eight Rules to Event Success

By Roxanne Rukowicz Ladd,
Behind the Scenes Events

Those of us in the event planning industry are particularly impacted by the tumultuous economy, ongoing budget cuts, and increasingly strict government regulations.

That said, this just gives savvy event planners more opportunity to expand their value to their clients, increase their services, and hone their skills when it comes to meeting customer needs.

The real news is that despite the upheaval, the basic rules of the industry haven’t changed.

And those of use who have made a career in planning have long relied on these standard codes of conduct:

• Always start with a plan, a budget, and a timeline.
• The devil will always been in the details.
• To remain successful, and relevant, to your clients—and to contend with competitors—consider looking past the logistics and broadening the scope of your services to other facets of the event.

The same holds true for almost every industry. So here are some tips to keep you, and your business, in tip-top shape.

  • Ask your client about their needs. Get beyond the logistics conversation. Is attendance where they want it to be? Are the right people in the room? Are sponsors happy and seeing value in their investment? What more can be done to meet the increasing needs of clients and their constituents?
  • Bring change, and cost-cutting measures, to the table. It’s easy to get in the habit of running the same drill, event after event. But not viewing each program with a fresh set of eyes could reduce your chances of discovering new, and more affordable, options for everything from the venue to new marketing outlets. Not to mention how repetition can stunt creativity. Start the conversation with your clients; they will be thrilled you’ve taken the first step.
  • Help revitalize and refocus marketing efforts. Whether the goal is to increase ticket sales or expand brand visibility, offer to spend the time helping scrub marketing lists and take aim at broadening the scope of promotional efforts. And get back on the phones. These days, personal phone calls and a handwritten letters of invitation will go so much farther than a broadcast group email.
  • Don’t forget to actively expand your potential for increased business by reminding your clients of how events can positively impact their bottom line, increase employee retention, expand brand visibility, and more. Is there a potential for your client to use events to recognize and reward top talent? Opportunities for networking and generating leads? Employee team-building programs? Help expand each client’s bottom line while growing your own.

Roxanne’s Eight Event Rules for Success in 2012:

1. Think through everything. Plans A, B, and C are your friends. Get to know them all well.

2. Always perform a site visit. Never allow your first time at a venue to be on event day.

3. Keep only one registration list (ditto with to-do list, marketing list, and sponsorship list). The more lists you make, and the more places you need to update them, the higher likelihood for mistakes.

4. Be willing to get your hands dirty. Those event planner help-wanted ads that suggest you need to be able to carry boxes of 25 pounds or more are dead-on.

5. Walk. Don’t run. (Guests will never know something is amiss.)

6. Choose your vendors wisely. Seek expertise, and team-member mentality.

7. Delegate, and make sure to explain the details of the event in advance. You will always have less time available on event day than you expect.

8. Last, but not least, never, ever underestimate the value of ample food and good stage management. The meal and the podium program are the two items your guests, and client, will not forget.

About Roxanne Rukowicz Ladd

Ranked one of the top meeting and event planners in Washington, DC, for 2009, 2010, and 2011 by the Washington Business Journal, Roxanne Rukowicz Ladd’s Behind the Scenes Events, opened its doors in July 2008. Her goal is to offer organizations and individuals access to affordable, full-service meeting and event-planning solutions.

Ladd has worked in the DC meeting and event industry for more than a decade, starting her career in 1999 at the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Her extensive association and nonprofit planning skills are accented by experience working in the social and entertainment markets. Positions with the Walt Disney Companies and as a freelance wedding and special-event coordinator give her experience with A-list celebrity clients and top-ranking government officials.

For more information, visit Behind the Scenes Events.