Four ways to guarantee ROI regardless of your event budget

You’ve been tasked with creating an event to launch a new product. You’ve got a team of enthusiastic, experienced event planners at your side. You’re full of ideas of how best to introduce your product to the world. There’s one small catch, however; your event budget is – to put it democratically – extremely tight. So, what to do? Before you throw your hands up in the air and declare your task impossible, here’s everything you need to know about garnering ROI from an event, regardless of budgetary constraints:

1. Invite the right people to your event

Ask any marketing manager about the contingent of guests who show up to events only to take advantage of the free food and liquor, without ever investing in the brand, and you’ll be regaled with countless tales. Spending your event budget on guests who haven’t or won’t invest in your brand in the future is a sure-fire formula for an event that results in a loss. The only way to ensure that your event results in ROI is by inviting guests who have spent money on your brand, or who are in the process of doing so.

2. Have adequate and accurate data on hand about your guests

Yes, we know we talk about this all the time, but with good reason. Without accurate information about your guests, creating an event that resonates, and in turn, motivates them to invest in your brand, is almost impossible.  The chances that your event will then result in ROI are slim if you’re aware of who your guests are, what their preferences are, and what they enjoy. Your event, when planned in line with this data, will be an effective means of marketing.

3. Create an experience that resonates, engages, and is of value

Simply having access to the necessary data doesn’t mean that your event will result in ROI. It’s your job to use this data strategically in order to maximise the impact your event will have on your guests. Remember that every cent of your event budget needs to be spent on touch points that effectively convey your brand, in a way that’s welcomed by your guests.

4. Make use of event management software

With the right reporting tools, you’ll be able to establish which guests repeatedly show up to your events, i.e.: the people who’re invested in your brand. You’ll then be able to focus your efforts on creating brand touch points that result in ROI. Equipping yourself with event software that gathers and stores crucial information about your guests is a smart way to ensure that your event budget is spent in the wisest way possible.

We know how important it is to make sure that your event budget is money well spent. That’s why we’ve created sophisticated event management software to help corporate marketing managers and event planners manage events that achieve ROI. From the RSVP process, to guest list management and post-event surveys and reports, our software helps leading brands hold world-class events.

Interested? Find out more about our event management software here, or give us a call.

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A year end function is without a doubt, the most important corporate event of the whole year. It’s a chance to wow your clients, thank them for their patronage and reinforce your brand’s standing. Unfortunately, when it comes time to plan their year-end bashes, many companies find themselves short on budget. Attempting to pull off an impressive event with a limited budget isn’t ideal. If you want to ensure that you’ve got enough money allocated to this all-important function, it’s wise to approach your event budgeting with care from the start.

Prudent event budgeting conducted at the beginning of the year safeguards against a budget shortage when the party season rolls around.

The best way to ensure that you have adequate budget for your year-end events is to plan in advance. In order to avoid an event that’s planned around a limited budget, plan your year-end function at the beginning of the new year.

When it comes to event budgeting, a thorough knowledge of your clients’ requirements and expectations is crucial. Once you’ve found out exactly what kind of event they’d like to have, planning your budget becomes inordinately easier. Many clients prefer a personal, more intimate affair compared to a massive blow-out come the end of the year.

Another important consideration to bear in mind is that there should be a separate end of year function for clients and another one for staff.  By the time December rolls around, your guests want to attend an event where they can let their hair down, and your staff are no different. Avoid potentially embarrassing and unprofessional incidences of staff over-indulging in front of all your VIP guests by holding two separate events.

End-of-year functions left to the last minute end up being substantially more costly than those planned in advance.

Many corporates leave the planning of their year end functions too late. This results in having to spend far more money than was originally allocated, as available venues are able to charge what they want due to the fact that they’re so scarce. What’s more, preferred suppliers are fully-booked during the silly season, which means that you’ll have to use a vendor who’s more than likely to offer subpar services. Besides having to spend more than you bargained for, putting the fate of your year-end function in the hands of suppliers who provide lacklustre services is incredibly risky.

Remember that the year-end function has to outshine every other event held during the year, and if you’re not using the best caterers, DJs, decorators and bar services, your event is bound to leave guests disappointed.

Besides efficient event budgeting, the most successful end-of-year events are actually year-long processes.

In order to ensure that your year-end event is well attended, send out your save-the-dates as soon as possible, ideally in the first few months of the year. Follow this up with teaser communication in order to build a sense of anticipation and excitement amongst your guests. The more efficiently run, the better the end result. Making use of event planning software like our very own RSVP management solution enables you to simplify the process and ultimately, plan and run a year-end event that delights guests and clients alike.

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Corporate events involve big budgets, and even bigger expectations. As an event specialist, your job is to make sure that your client gets the most out of their investment. Being responsible for a substantial budget can be downright terrifying – that is if you’re not taking the following crucial considerations into account. If you want to ensure that every single cent goes towards positioning your client in the best possible light and creating a world-class event, read on for the non-negotiables of event budgeting.

Accurate event budgeting relies on preparing for every possible scenario.

The old Boy Scout mantra: ‘Always be prepared’ rings true for event managers in particular. If you’ve forgotten to include contingencies for last minute emergencies, your event is unlikely to result in ROI. Having to ask your clients at the eleventh hour for additional money to cover the cost of hiring a generator, due to yet another Eskom failing, is unprofessional. Fortunately, it’s entirely avoidable. Including a contingency of 10% is imperative. Remember that if you allocate a portion of your event budget to ‘emergency proofing’ an event, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this money will be spent, but in the case of a power outage or strike, you’ll have the means to deal with the situation. If your function has gone off without any hiccups, always produce a full recon and be honest about any left-over funds. Failing to do so will only result in a black mark on your reputation.

Reconcile your budget within 24 – 48hrs after an event to ensure accuracy.

It’s not uncommon to leave the reconciling of your event budget to the last minute. After all, planning and executing a high-profile event is exhausting, which means the last thing you feel like is crunching the numbers. However tempted you might be to delegate this to the bottom of your to do list, it’s imperative that you tackle the breakdown of your event budgeting as soon as possible. This safeguards against losing receipts and forgetting to include last-minute purchases. An accurate budget breakdown isn’t only crucial for your client, but for you too.

Smart event budgeting entails negotiating with your suppliers.

Making sure that your budget adequately covers every single element of your event requires a strategic approach. Be savvy when it comes to choosing a vendor. Negotiating a reduced rate from suppliers with whom you have an established relationship allows you to reduce your costs without having to compromise on quality. The majority of suppliers require a payment of 50% of the total amount upfront, with the remaining 50% paid after a function. Many vendors will be open to granting you a discounted rate if you pay them the full fee upfront. If you do get a rate that’s less than your event budgeting forecasted, always be honest about this saving with your clients. In a cut-throat industry, transparency and trust go a long way in establishing yourself as a professional event manager.

Be aware of the ways in which your carbon foot print impacts your event budgeting.

Many planners don’t give a second thought as to the origin of their supplies. Failing to do so often results in spending more money than necessary. If you’re organising a benefit or charity event, don’t import Scottish salmon when locally caught trout will suffice. Be environmentally conscious about every single detail. This includes (among other things) your lighting – LED lights are just as effective as their energy-wasting traditional counterparts, as well as your centre pieces – opt for re-useable plants instead of cut flowers. Besides being an efficient way of cutting down on your budgetary requirements, positioning yourself as an eco-conscious event organiser is a quality that’ll be admired by your clients too.

Transparency is key throughout all aspects of event budgeting.

At the end of the day, corporates want to see how their event translates into numbers. Besides having a detailed breakdown of every single expenditure, being transparent about any left-over contingencies is imperative. It’s far more profitable to pass back a saving of say, R2000, than to keep it and risk being found out. Don’t put your reputation on the line for pocket change. Event planners who are honest about their budgets enjoy the benefits of repeat business from clients.

Your approach to event budgeting is a crucial. Be meticulous about every aspect – from keeping receipts, to researching your suppliers, to timeously compiling a breakdown of expenses. Corporate events involve substantial budgets that require the utmost attention to detail and professional handling throughout.

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Compiling an accurate budget can be a precarious endeavor – after all, the success and profitability of your event hinges on a precise calculation of costs. Unfortunately, budgeting for events continues to be an aspect that many event managers struggle with. Whether due to time-constraints or unreliable suppliers, budgets end up being based on ‘guestimates’ – and ultimately end up adversely affecting and event’s ROI. The next time you’re faced with creating an event budget, keep the following in mind:

Transparency is key

In our experience, creating a budget that is transparent goes a long way in building a client’s trust, and as a result, their willingness to do businesses with you. A transparent budget is one that shows actual costs from your various suppliers, with your management fees listed separately. While it may take some additional time and effort, the benefits of establishing accurate prices instead of merely guessing them are considerable.

Being greedy doesn’t pay

The largest portion of a budget generally goes toward the hiring of a venue and catering costs. Smart event budgeting relies on a mark-up that won’t put your clients off, but will also ensure your event is profitable. An unreasonably high mark-up doesn’t just look greedy, it’s unprofessional too. If you’re unsure as to whether your increases are reasonable or not, work out your cost per head. Do this by dividing the number of guests by the total cost of the job. If the cost per head is too high, you may be at risk of losing the job.

Use industry standards as a guideline

All event managers have differing ways of calculating their mark ups when budgeting for events, depending on the size and nature of the event in question. The general consensus is that a rate of between 15% and 25% is advised -depending on the value of the event. The more expensive an event, the lower the mark-up. Another method of conducting your event budgeting is to mark up each item (e.g.: catering, venue, entertainment, staff, gift bags, etc.) individually. Some items will carry a higher mark-up than others, depending on their value.

Don’t let hidden costs trip you up.

It’s an all too common occurrence – you’ve meticulously planned an event from start to finish, and done it within budget to boot – when you realise you haven’t accounted for the crew’s catering. Extras like daily stipends for staff, transport costs and event insurance can end up blowing your budget off course. Make sure to take pre-production time and its resulting costs into account too. When it comes to budgeting for events, there’s no such things as being too meticulous.

Be an expert record-keeper

There’s nothing more infuriating than having to pay for a last minute event purchase out of your own pocket, due to not having a receipt or record of the transaction. Avoid this by having an order book on site as a record of your client’s acknowledgement of additional budget requests. This will safe guard against losing money and also serve as a written record that can be included in your final budget recon. Make sure to collect and file all receipts for future reference so that you and your client have a complete record of every single cost involved.

Budgeting for events doesn’t have to be a dreaded exercise. An accurate budget benefits not only your clients, but your event management services too, so approach this endeavor with care in order to ensure all parties profit.

Image Credit: Times Live