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What Disney taught me about events

Although I’ve been watching Disney movies for the past 25 years, I didn’t think about how they relate to events until recently. And once you start to consider it, you realise there’s so much you can take from it. I know, this sounds crazy, but read on and you’ll see it makes so much sense!

If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take

Whenever I think of Disney quotes, this is top of my mind, from Alice in Wonderland and it stays true for events. When you start planning an event, the first step is to decide what you want to achieve with the event. How will this work in conjunction with your other marketing objectives? Will this support your sales objectives by adding new leads or advancing existing ones through the sales funnel? To generate awareness for your services or positioning your company as a thought leader?

Before you start planning your event structure, you need to decide what objectives you need to reach. Once you establish this, you’ll realise if you need a conference, exhibition, webinar, meetup or something else, what sort of speakers to go after, how many attendees you should target and how you will analyse results at the end of the event.

The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work

Tiana must be one of my favourite Disney characters in the world, because she was struggling to start her own business. And she knew that she can only achieve that through hard work, which is very relevant for event planning.

I’m not going to say it takes hard work to run an event or to make it successful, but I will say that you need put a lot of effort into delighting your customers to make your life easier post event. Think what will stick with them after attending your event and the value you can offer.

If you’re presenting your offering, make sure it’s done in a way that still provides fresh insight and know how they can use in their businesses, even if they may not use your services. Ensure every attendee has his or hers questions answered, that they interact with the speakers and with each other, that you open a clear communication path with them and you’ll reap the benefits when you measure your objectives.

The past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it

Lion King is full of great quotes, but none are better for post event activity than this one. Regardless if your event performed or not, take feedback and note down key learnings, to help you for the future.

Hindsight shows things in a different light and it helps highlight what decisions you took that delivered above your expectations or what might have worked better. Ask the team involved in putting together the event and ask the audience to find out what they loved and what you can improve for future events.

What did they think about the topic, speakers, venue, timing, delivery, structure? Try to keep a balance between asking too much and asking too little. Prioritise your most important findings and make sure they are included in the planning stages for your future events, to ensure you learn from the past and keep doing what you’ve done really well.

What’s your favourite Disney quote? I’m sure you can find a lot of good ones you can take knowledge from, but please, don’t be an Alice:

I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.

About the author:

I am Raluca Apostol, Founder and Account Director at Event Marketing Stars and I have marketed over 60 events in the last 8 years, with attendee numbers ranging from 100 to 13,000, in small and big teams, in B2B and B2C, on 3 continents and helped deliver up to £4,000,000 in revenue.

I am passionate about events, lead generation and monetisation. If you want to reach out, you can find me on LinkedIn here.

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