How To Use Contingency Planning To Future-Proof Your Event Strategy


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Event organizers live in the future, constantly imagining how they can make their event dreams a reality. The future is unpredictable and can threaten event organizers’ goals to provide a flawless experience.

Events teams simply cannot control all variables that could affect events. Teams must be equipped with the necessary tools and empowered to face new challenges and uncertainty as they arise.

Nearly all (97%) B2B marketers are They believe that face-to-face events can have a significant impact on business results. As Demand for in-person events Returns, B2B event teams require actionable, proven strategies for executing their events regardless of obstacles.

Situations that rapidly change, such as travel disruptions near event spaces or a virus outbreak, or shifting circumstances like rising costs or labor shortages. Supply chain problems You need agile teams that are able to adapt mid-stream and remain strategically aligned.

Even though 86% of event-organizing groups While most people say their risk management processes are “emerging” and “mature,” 16.6% of respondents describe their teams’ readiness to handle event challenges. Teams should include event contingency planning in every event they organize to close this gap.

Event contingency planning allows event professionals to evaluate different scenarios and predict possible outcomes. This approach adds another layer of planning to your event strategy, increasing its resilience.

Five Steps to Incorporating Contingency Planning into Your Team’s Workflow

1. Create an event contingency planning group

Make an event contingency plan team Before It is essential that you have it. You should think about which job titles (e.g. event experience leader, event technie, event marketer) are best suited to each role within your contingency-planning group.

To ensure your team is clear about the structure of the group, establish a decision-making hierarchy. This hierarchy will help you avoid stress and chaos when unexpected problems arise.

Name the person or people responsible for making game-time decision. This phase allows you to choose your preferred communication channels for the team so that everyone can access and update information quickly or in real time.

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2. To take advantage of multiple perspectives, you can use scenario-thinking exercises

Teams use scenario-thinking to help them imagine unexpected situations that might hinder their event goals. Event organizers can make the most of scenario-thinking by drawing on their creativity, knowledge, and experience to plan for future challenges.

Regular scenario-thinking exercises should be a priority for your teams to help them with contingency planning. Your team should prepare for the unexpected by creating as many scenarios possible during these exercises. You should have at least 20 scenarios with different event impacts.

You can gain more insight by inviting vendors and partners along with team members to a “contingency hackerstathon”. Different perspectives allow teams to spot potential problems and prioritize them, then develop mitigation strategies. Cross-team collaboration fosters trust, transparency, and closer working relationships within your organization, as well as with other stakeholders.

3. To identify your needs, conduct run-of-show exercises

Once the event strategy has been established, your team can conduct run-of-show exercises to help them get more specific as they review the event and identify any event elements that are most likely not to go according the plan.

This is an example. Your keynote speaker is experiencing delays on the flight to the USA from Italy. It is highly probable that a speaker will miss your event in person. Spend some time understanding the issue and making the necessary changes.

  • Is it possible for the original speaker to present the keynote virtualy?
  • Which point in time will your team decide whether or not to switch to a backup speaker for the meeting?
  • Are you sure that you have chosen the right backup speaker? Are you willing to use someone already present on-site?
  • Who will inform staff about the changes? Who will inform volunteers?
  • Do you have the messaging ready?
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You should pay particular attention to the areas most likely to face obstacles. Prioritize those situations to ensure that backup plans are in place.

To help prioritize the time and resources of your team, create a rating system. This will allow you to focus on the most important issues. You can have your event continue, even if things go wrong or there is a problem.

4. Make mock rehearsals to prepare for the most unexpected parts of an event

Run-throughs and rehearsals can be conducted for the most unpredictable aspects of the event. Inviting senior executives to take part in these rehearsals will add stress and imitate the pressure during the live event.

Teams can practice the strategies they have discussed by holding three to four mock runs-throughs

While it is easy to talk about contingency plans, it can be difficult to implement them in a controlled environment. You can build confidence in your team by running through the unpredictable features of the event. This will help you be ready to handle any eventuality.

5. Your planning should be tailored to the event’s specific nature

It is possible to spend endless time and resources thinking about what-ifs for any type of event, no matter how small or large. While contingency planning can give your team the tools to think more strategically and respond to changes, certain events require more energy and resources. For example, consider the impact and value of a flagship event over a webinar.

Event teams need to evaluate the marketing value of each event, and balance their time on future-proofing efforts. They should also know that every contingency-planning exercise will strengthen their ability to plan for the next event.

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No-Regrets Moves for any Event

Each B2B event has its own uniqueness. As your team members improve their contingency-planning skills they will likely discover ways to release tension and improve the situation no matter what happens.

These “no-regrets” moves are important to have in your arsenal, as well as any other useful ones that your team may discover along the way.

Prioritize your audience

When faced with difficult decisions, use the lens of your audience. Which alternative option provides the best experience for attendees Which will create a sense of connection between attendees, and the topic? It is always a good idea to focus on your audience.

Use your event ecosystem

You can benefit from the knowledge of your event ecosystem, including digital strategists, event tech partners, and other vendors who work in the event industry. You can draw on the expertise of these partners to gain new perspectives and learn from them.

Be sure to manage attendee expectations

You’ll be able to benefit from planning for changes in event so that they aren’t left behind, no matter what.

Some organizations post videos before the event to outline changes that are expected and what attendees can expect. Some encourage participation and answer questions via live “Ask Me Anything” sessions. These sessions can help to clarify confusion and give organizers another way to build anticipation while prioritizing attendees’ needs.

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Event organizers who have experience organizing events know that things will not go as planned. Teams will be more comfortable accepting unexpected outcomes and challenges if they have a plan in place. Uncomfortable Taking action in the moment.

More resources on B2B Event Strategy

Rethinking Industry Events: Be Comfortable with Flexibility

Mark Kilens, Marketing Smarts: Event-Led Growth is a Powerful B2B Strategy [Podcast]

How to survey attendees to improve your virtual event strategy [Sample Questions and Metrics]

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