A great marketing tool for businesses and organizations is holding an event. It can be an open house, a launch party for a new product or service, a grand opening for a new location, an anniversary party, or a party themed around a particular holiday or tradition...the possibilities are endless.
The important thing to keep in mind is that a business event is not the same as a social party. Yes, much of the planning is the same – when to have it, where is the perfect venue, who should be invited, what food will be served, how should the room be decorated, etc…. The difference lies in the fact that a business event/party should have a goal involved other than just everyone having a great time. After all, if the planning is done well, the byproduct is that everyone will have a great time.
When a business hosts an event, the most important thing to keep in mind is that it must stay true to the overall feeling of the business. For example, if a law firm specializing in representing DUI defendants throws a party where liquor is overflowing and the most of the attendees (including the lawyers of the firm) are drunk, then what message is that sending about this firm? And, if the press is there, what is the public perception going to be?
A business event doesn’t need to be uptight. It absolutely should be fun. By the same token, it is a marketing tool, whether the planners intend it to be or not. People will decide if this is a company or organization they want to do business with based on perceptions they garner when the company representatives let their hair down, or don’t.
Determine your goal for the event – thank existing customers, woo prospects, garner publicity, create good will in the community, create awareness of a new product/service/location, etc….- and then plan from there. Make sure that you keep your business goals in mind as you plan. And yes, planning is crucial. Last minute planning will always look last minute. If you’re not planning at least six months in advance, you’re probably already late.