Building successful events has many elements, but the three most critical for sustained success are Profit, Product, and Marketing. They comprise what I would call the Event Triangle.

Here’s how I would describe them:

  • Profit – The ability to build an event for which revenues continually exceed expenses.

  • Product – The event consistently delivers benefits to participants that are not available either from other events or other market resources. The event clearly must be superior to alternatives, and its managers must continually evolve the event (both in terms of content and structure) to meet changes in the market(s) it serves. Participants must leave an event feeling they’ve received value for the time, expense, and opportunity cost. And participants should be confident that the next iteration of the event will deliver similar value.

  • Marketing – The ability to position the event in ways that emphasize the benefits it delivers to participants. It employs the best tools and methods to identify and reach out to the desired audience, executing outreach through the right modes of communication, with the right cadence at the right time. The marketing plan must minimize costs while achieving the attendee number, quality, and revenue goals. At the same time, the strategy and tactics must reflect insight into the known and unknown needs of the communities it serves.
Optimizing all three of the above is both an art and a science. It requires:
  • Knowing where (and where not) to spend money.

  • Knowing what to improve and what to leave alone.

  • Understanding your audience at the deepest, personal level (not just via spreadsheets and analytics).
  • Maintaining close contact with your stakeholders such that they want to help you succeed.

  • Understanding when to make midcourse changes if you are not meeting milestones (and what to change).

  • Being vigilant and agile regarding external factors that may impact success (competition, market changes, etc.).

  • Remaining humble and grateful for your customers regardless of your success (so that you don’t become greedy, disrespectful, blind sighted, etc.).

  • Being opportunistic regarding chances to expand your event.
Ensure that your focus on profit, product, and marketing is balanced, so no side of the triangle is overloaded. If you concentrate primarily on profit and neglect the other two, you are likely to fail. Yet, if your attention to product and marketing leads to neglect of profitability, it will leave you with an event that may lack long-term viability. Excluding extraordinary circumstances such as our experience with COVID and the periodic challenges of difficult economic conditions (impacting exhibitor/attendee budgets), almost all the success or failure of events can be attributed to whether all three elements of the event triangle are healthy, and working in synchronicity with the others. Usually, the ability to build a healthy and qualified audience means you can attract the necessary exhibitors and sponsors to make money. 
Everything above sounds easy to do in principle, but without attention to the three key components and keeping them in balance, it is tough to do in practice.

For more information on how to build such an event from scratch, go here.
Many of you are well aware of the above; so, if that’s true, I am likely to be preaching to the choir. But if you are having problems, review the key three elements and make the necessary changes.
Looking forward to hearing news of your events, I am here toasting your present and future success!

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