For those marketers who are all in when it comes to incorporating experiential marketing into their strategy, events are commonplace. However, what these same experienced event marketers will tell you is that it is impossible to be too prepared. Events by their very nature are unpredictable, so it is the manager’s or producer’s job to make all preparations leading up to the event as clear, cohesive, and proactive as possible.
When designing and running an event, there seems to be a never-ending amount of small logistical items that need to be addressed. Does your location require permitting? How are you going to train your staff? Is all collateral ready, and has the copy been fully updated and proofed? Do you have plenty of time to print? Are your vendors on point? Do you have another event that just concluded that needs to be wrapped up? Or maybe one that is occurring shortly thereafter that needs initial prep?
This laundry list can be overwhelming for anyone. Do what smart marketing managers do and incorporate one important thing into your planning: an event timeline.
Why Make an Event Timeline?
Even if you’re comfortable working with an “organized mess”, creating an event timeline is critical. All successful events thrive within the details. Attempting to create an event without precise and deliberate organization can lead to disaster.
Your event timeline:
- Serves as your guide to keep you from getting lost in your own plans.
- Helps you easily track the tasks you already did and you should be doing next.
- Lets you know your priorities for the current and the following months. Especially in the case where event execution overlaps the planning of a different event, having a road map is invaluable.
What Should be in Your Timeline?
Every event is different, from target demographics to budget. But, there are still some components that should always be present in every timeline to ensure a successful event.
These are the items you’ll need to indicate in your timeline. Feel free to add or remove some items depending on the event.
6 Months Before the Event
- Organize and discuss team roles and responsibilities
- Who are the people that I should assign in leading, planning, and delivering the event planning process?
- Schedule planning meetings
- Brainstorm and create an Event Management Plan where you include the following:
- Event dates
- Number of people
- Sampling/Demo/Consumer Experience Ideas
- Unique Attractions
- Social media strategy
- Continuing engagement strategy
- Investigate the venue
- Are the needed facilities/location available?
- Is the event accessible?
- Investigate insurance coverage
- Public liability
- Employer’s liability
- Cancellation cover
- Investigate staff requirements
- What activities will they be doing?
- Any special skills needed for the event such as foreign language, certifications, etc?
- Contact staffing agency and discuss requirements.
3 Months Before the Event
- Confirm bookings of the following:
- Photographers and/or videographers
- Costume characters or specialty staff, when applicable
- Plan how you will advertise your event
- Social Media
- Press Release
- Regular email
- Confirm the key roles and responsibilities of the team and circulate this information
- Check insurance coverage for staff and contractors
6 Weeks Before the Event
- Review and check
- Event Management Plan
- Site Plan
- Booths and/or consumer engagement activities and associated requirements (access to electricty, water, etc.)
4 Weeks Before the Event
- Review and finalize
- Event Management Plan
- Gifts and giveaways
- Ensure post-event attendee engagement plan is ready to implement
- Organize clean-up teams for the event if applicable
1 Week Before the Event
- Train the team for the following:
- Event goals/Brand information
- Consumer engagement
- Emergency procedures/general information
- Booth or activities setup/management
Day Before the Event
- Check if everything is set up properly in the site
- Ensure the team members are present on the site for the event
- Set up temporary structures and booths in the event site
- Hold a initial briefing for your event team
Day of the Event
- Hold a final briefing/training for your event team
- Keep the site clean
- Debrief with the team to know the lessons or amendments on the Event Management Plan for future use
One Day After the Event
- Check if waste has all been removed, including advertisements, temporary structures, and signages (if applicable)
- Check if the event venue and area are all left in good condition
- Collect feedback from event staff for post-event evaluation
- Begin post-event attendee engagement
One Week After the Event
- Calculate event Return on Investment and Return on Objectives.
- Create post-event evaluation report
Tips in Creating a Successful Timeline
There are points to remember that make your timeline as efficient and effective as possible. Here are simple ways to create a successful timeline:
- Include all the details
And by all, that means all. Nothing gets missed.
- Create your timeline in advance
Create the timeline well before you start event preparations. Write down the details before you and your team jump into action, and then add/edit along the way.
- Make sure the whole team is on the same page
It’s not only you who’s in charge of this event – your team is also accountable! Give copies of the timeline to your team members. Set a meeting wherein everyone understands responsibilities and all event information. Let the team throw out some suggestions that may improve the timeline.
- Make your timeline digital and portable
Send a digital copy of your timeline to your teams via email and any group messaging apps. Having a digital version of the event timeline makes it easier for everyone to track the timeline anytime and anywhere.
An Event Timeline Keeps You on Track
Now that your timeline is complete, check off your tasks as you make progress towards your main goal: a well-planned and successful event!
What do you think? Are you ready for your next big event?
Do you need assistance in planning and executing your event? Since 1999, EPS has worked with agencies, Fortune 500 brands, and more, to staff and execute experiential marketing events. Contact us for a proposal to see what we can do to help your next event be a successful one!