Event planning is key to luring clients

It is no longer enough to just showcase your product or brand - customers and all stakeholders expect a more memorable experience, recent research has indicated.

This has led to a paradigm shift in the way marketers look at events and meeting planning.

Many corporate executives are becoming aware of the benefit of face-to-face interaction that comes with well-organised company meetings and events in the corporate world.

With insufficient skills and expertise, lack of time, and an inclination to organise events, corporate organisations rely more on events management professionals for this function.

This has led to the growing demand for professional event and meeting management specialists.

As more companies are moving in alignment with international best practice, events and management companies are also becoming more important as strategic partners.

Company events and meetings are no longer seen as something that happen once in a long time.

Instead company events and meetings are becoming an important part of the marketing mix.

Rather than bringing an events management company on an ad hoc basis, many companies are bringing them on contract basis, therefore making them strategic partners in their marketing strategies.

According to international studies by the George P Johnson Company, one of the world's integrated events marketing agency, strategic event planning can be a useful tool for expanding customer loyalty.

The past few years have seen the emergence of event marketing as the most effective tool that marketing professionals have at their disposal, in terms of making a tangible connection to current and potential clients.

The EventView 2006 report indicates that company meetings and events do not only play a strategic role in driving business value within every organisation, they also help in terms of driving sales.

The demand for event and meeting planners has grown significantly over the years.

Both big and small events always require planning and preparation to succeed.

What does an event and meeting planner do?

l Determines the needs and expectations of clients;

l Plans and creates the overall design of the event;

l Develops timelines and production schedules;

l Manages the operations team or support staff;

l Coordinates and provides service to the clients and vendors as needed;

l Oversees all aspects of the event execution;

l Selects and secures appropriate vendors to supply all components of the event.

Where to start?

To excel in event and meeting planning business, you need a combination of education, experience and excellent networking.