We’ve all worked in roles where our event budgets have been slashed and, unfortunately, events and marketing tend to get hit particularly hard. Uncertainty over Brexit, growing economic uncertainty and recent changes in political leadership have all challenged businesses over recent months. This lack of confidence can mean restricted budgets and delayed decisions.
So how does this affect the events industry? Well, surprisingly, while marketing budgets have generally decreased throughout 2019, events budgets have actually bucked the trend. Coupled with the fact that there is always continued growth in the digital sector, we can be quietly confident that all is not lost!
Of course, there are ways to do more with less. Some areas of events you can cut back on, but some you really can’t – and it’s important to know where the line is so that you continue to deliver high quality events within your budget.
Review your event budget and objectives
It’s a good idea to set a contingency budget alongside your main budget because you should always, as Oscar Wilde said, “expect the unexpected!”. You also need to set your event objectives and then work out how to meet them within your budget.
Pinpoint the ROI
The best way of doing this is to work out what parts of the event see a return on investment (ROI) and dedicate parts of your budget to these. Careful measurement of the objectives and an awareness of where your attendees are spending the most time and paying the most attention during an event, will show you where to spend your budget at the next one. There is no point putting 10% of your budget on a funky Pinterest board if it will not generate ROI.
No compromise on quality
Save only where quality will not be compromised. As we said earlier, there are some areas you simply can’t scrimp on, such as your AV equipment; it delivers your content to your audience so you can’t afford for it to be anything but 100%. This article looks at why its important to have the right AV solution.
Consider your ongoing requirements
Don’t look at your events as standalone occurrences. If you hold more than one per year, consider what you can use across the events. This will help you to have discussions with suppliers or venues about your ongoing requirements and subsequent budgets.
Habit vs. impact
What do you do out of habit at an event and how much of this really has an impact? Get rid of the ‘that’s what people do at events’ thoughts from your head and you might just be able to free up significant chunks of budget. Think about it; you lay out breakfast religiously at each of your events, but delegates hardly touch it because they’ve grabbed a Costa on the way in and are running late anyway. Sound familiar? Then ditch it.
We’re not talking about taking your whole event online, but what about going digital with handouts and/or screens to reduce one-off, hefty printing costs? Furthermore, you could consider losing the merchandise and instead creating interactions that will actually fulfil your event objectives. For example, if one objective is to get your delegates networking, then spend time introducing mutual contacts. If the objective is to raise awareness of a brand, get people engaged on social media and give them something to tweet about.
Quick event budget-saving tips
Reuse branding: Think about the longevity of what you purchase. Will you be able to reuse it? What about, for example, re-skinning tension fabrics for roadshows or quarterly events?
Repurpose content: Can you use video footage from a previous event to market the next one? Do you have some general content that would make an effective introduction to a new event? Or could the highlights clip be used as a social media piece to your external audience?
Think about location: Does it have to be in London? Can you find somewhere with equally good travel links, without the capital price tag? And what about the venue? A more quirky place can save a large chunk of budget on decor and theme.
Use LED rather than printed set: This can work well for daytime conferences and evening dinner, as you will be spending less on decorations to turn the room around for dinner. Check out our blog ‘LED Screens are the way forward’ for more information.
Don’t pay for extra break out rooms: Can you time your breakout sessions in a way that you don’t need to hire so many extra spaces?
There are many other ways to make your event budget go further. If you need a helping hand planning your perfect event inside your budget then talk to us at FoxWylie.