What Is an Event Strategic Plan?

An event strategic plan is a written comprehensive plan that aims to use targeted strategies in order to execute an event smoothly and successfully. 

According to an online article by G2, 29% of B2B marketing budgets are allocated and spent on events. Further, almost half or 48% of event planners start planning for their events 6-12 months prior. Social media is also the most effective tool for event marketing, according to 74% of event planners.     

Tips For a Successful Event

Events are exciting to plan but they can also be challenging to execute. All event planners and organizers want a smooth-sailing event. But more often than not, unexpected problems and issues always turn up. The following examples are simple yet useful tips that can help you stage a successful event. 

Plan for contingencies. It is widely accepted and understood that not everything will go according to plan. You can prepare and plan all you want and as much as you want, but come the day of the actual event, you can still experience glitches and obstacles. Thus, it is important to always plan for these as well. A good contingency plan can decrease your chances of becoming overwhelmed or paralyzed by unforeseen problems and circumstances. It is still possible to have a successful event even when faced with unexpected issues. Your success is greatly dependent on how responsive and effective you are at solving the problem. With a contingency plan in place, it might be easier for you to respond to the matter more urgently and appropriately. Hold a post-event debriefing. Event management can be classified into three phases: event planning, event execution and event processing. The last phase is key in order to create a sustainable and long-term event strategy. Holding a post-event processing session or debriefing to talk about the highs and lows of the event can help team members better understand and learn from experience. This essentially involves being able to identify positives, negatives and also to build or improve on existing plans. It is also crucial for all core persons to be present at this debriefing session. The organizers must make time to process everything that occurred after wrapping up the event. Plus, the more feedback and information is shared, then the more opportunities there are to gain insight and lessons from the event. Value participant feedback. If you want to maximize learning and growth, then you need to be open to feedback and criticism. Events present great learning opportunities and experience. You can gain lessons from first-hand experience but also from the experiences of others. Those who were present at the event or had a role in its implementation (e.g., audience members, partners, event suppliers) can all be potential sources of feedback. It is important to gather their feedback, comments and suggestions in order to craft a comprehensive post-event report. Do not filter or sugarcoat their remarks as well. Both positive and negative feedback are vital; if only the positives are recorded then there will be little or no opportunity for greater improvement.

Activities and Processes In Event Management

The event management industry involves a lot of different activities and demands various requirements, depending on the type of event or its objective. These processes or activities are needed in order to effectively implement an event. The following examples describe just some of the major processes involved in event management.  

Sourcing. A key process involved in the event industry is the act of sourcing or outsourcing. It takes a lot of different partners or stakeholders to execute an event, especially big-ticket ones. A key player in this execution is the event vendor or contractor. They are hired by and work hand-in-hand with the event organizer. The process of awarding contracts to suppliers is sometimes referred to as sourcing or bidding. It essentially is searching for the right supplier who can deliver and meet your event needs. Event planners outsource services or products from external parties out of convenience or simply because they do not possess the means or resources themselves. From heavy equipment rentals, accommodations, venue, logistical needs to food catering, these are just typical examples of the most common outsourced services. Planning. The initial phase in event management involves preparation and careful planning. The length or duration of this phase would highly depend on the kind of event to be staged. Big-scale events such as international conferences or nationwide summits can take several months to prepare in advance. Even weddings require months of planning and preparation. It is safe to say that effective and strategic planning is absolutely crucial for any event. Whether it is a corporate event or an intimate and personal event, organizers should always allot adequate time and resources to plan productively. Without sufficient planning, it is more likely for an event to be poorly managed or executed. This can be summed up with the popular saying that if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Executing. Successful events are all about proper execution. Obviously, this does not happen in an instant or without any prior preparations. Since it is a process, successful implementation cannot happen without careful planning. In event execution, everything must be in place and each member of the team must know and understand their role. If there is an absence of teamwork or coordination, events are highly likely to fail or encounter problems. Thus, you need to ensure that everything is set and in place for execution. Sufficient communication and coordination is a must, especially on the day of the event itself. Even though minor glitches and issues are sometimes inevitable; this does not necessarily mean your event is a failure. As mentioned earlier, it is how you respond with urgency and accuracy to problems that ultimately matters. Processing. Once your event has wrapped up, the work should not end there. As stated in the previous section, the last phase or the processing phase of event management is equally important. You need to be able to learn from the experience and document any insight or issues that came up prior to and during the event. A post-event report should be accurate, objective and comprehensive. You need to take the time to sit down with the team and process the event amongst yourselves. This debriefing session is vital for maximizing learning, growth and improvement. Without it, it can be easy to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Therefore, always make it a point to properly assess and evaluate your event as soon as it is over. It is also better to conduct the processing session right after the event since retention and novelty is still fresh.

How to Create an Event Strategic Plan

To create an effective event strategic plan, you need to have a vision or at least an idea of what your event should look like. And if you are looking for greater ease and convenience, try using any of the sample templates from the selection above. Choose one that meets your needs and simply follow the step-by-step guide below. 

Step 1: Identify the Objectives

The first step is to determine your event objectives. What do you want to accomplish at the end of your event? What is the purpose of staging such an event? What outcomes do you want to fulfill by holding this event of yours? The objectives or purpose will set the tone and determine the direction of your event strategic plan. It is important to lay down specific and descriptive objectives. Anything too general or vague might not be helpful. Make sure to state your objectives in a clear manner as well. You can enumerate them using bullet points for a more organized section. Avoid listing down too many objectives, a couple of short and straightforward objectives should do.    

Step 2: State the Mission or Vision

Once you have established your event objectives, you can incorporate what your mission or vision is for your event. Unlike an objective, a mission and vision statement is driven by values. What are the core values that inspire you to deliver a successful event? It could be customer satisfaction, hard work, or quality service. You should be able to identify what your vision or mission is for the specific event. You can get creative in this section as well, but be sure to use descriptive language and action-based words when crafting your mission or vision statement. A paragraph or two explaining your concrete vision should be enough.  

Step 3: Outline the Strategic Plans

The meat of your event strategic plan should obviously be your plans and action items. This section is meant to address the objectives in the earlier section. What concrete steps and strategies can adequately accomplish your event goals and objectives? Outline these plans using the appropriate format. In other words, use a format that will best present your strategic plans. This will depend on your needs and preferences, of course. If using a table is more comfortable for you, then do so. Alternatively, you may also use a Gantt chart if you prefer. Lastly, keep in mind that your strategic plans must not only be concrete and action-driven, but it should also be realistic and attainable.     

Step 4: Implement a Timeline and Tracker

The last step is assigning a timeline to your strategic plan. Since it is an event, there will always be a start and a finish. So the element of time is key. As mentioned in earlier sections, event management can generally come in three phases. The planning, execution and post-production phase of the event should, therefore, be plotted in your event strategic plan. Each phase must be assigned a detailed timeline and a progress monitoring tool as well. The latter is crucial for keeping track of deliverables and deadlines. For example, a Gantt chart can serve as both a progress tracker and a timeline in one sheet.   


How do you write a strategy for an event?

To write a strategy for an event, you need to establish your objectives, action steps, vision, and timeline. Refer to the how-to guide in the previous section for more detailed instructions on how to create an event strategic plan.

What are the 5 C’s of event management?

According to an article by The Guardian, the 5 C’s of event management are concept, coordination, control, culmination, and closeout.

What is an event strategist?

An event strategist is a professional who helps conceptualize, plan and strategize the best ways to execute an event. They must be skilled in a number of different areas including management, communication, planning, and problem solving.

If you want your event to be smooth and successful, you need to know how to strategize and maximize your resources. An event strategic plan is one tool that can help you achieve that. Browse the sample templates above now to get started on your own strategic plan!