If you have been working in the marketing industry for some time, chances are you might be thinking about creating your own conference. As the space continues to flourish and grow, holding your own event can be quite advantageous. But if you have never produced an event before, it can be quite daunting when you think of everything that goes into it.

Organizing a conference can be extremely intimidating for both first timers and old hands in the business. A few basic rules apply to every event and if they are followed, there is little reason why everything should not run smoothly and professionally.

Establish The Venue

Finding a suitable venue to meet all requirements is the most important part of the whole event. What is the main goal with this event? Are you trying to sell your marketing services? Or are you trying to network with your peers and create goodwill? The type of event will determine what type of venue is needed need and the location of the venue.

To find venues, consult directories, ask business associates or contact professional conference organizers. They are a central information point and will be able to match practical needs to the right venue and often have an ‘in’ with the venue owners which the public don’t have.

Having a clear understanding of the topics your event will cover is 

Identify Your Topic & Guest Speakers

Picking the topics and appropriate speakers for your event is going to be critical for its success. Because the people who will attend your conference will mostly base the decision on whether or not to attend on how relevant the topics are to them, it is essential that you spend a considerable amount of time thinking about this.

Here are some sample topics your speakers can cover:

Whatever topic you select, you will also need to make sure you can hire the best marketing speaker who can effectively communicate it to your audience. You can find a list of some of the best marketing speakers here.

Send Out Event Details

Send preliminary invitations or ‘Keep the Date Open’ notifications to guests or staff to make sure there is no confusion and there are no clashes. Send the full program, all information on hand in terms of the number and nature of candidates and all extra requirements. 

Make sure the program lists breaks and meal times as well as all dietary requirements delegates might have so they everyone is fully catered for. It’s the small details that make all the difference to an effectively run event.

You may also want to include some inspirational quotes that align with your conference on the event invitations. This helps to set the tone and make a good impression. You can find some on this website.

Double Check The Fine Print

Make sure that costs and charges are confirmed in writing and ensure that deposits are paid on time – not doing this could mean the loss of the venue booking. If there are special requirements, like an entire venue for the exclusive use of delegates, make sure that this is confirmed in writing.

Set Up On The Day

Ensure that the projector, screen , laptop and all other audiovisual equipment needed for this event are set up and all in working condition prior to the event. Make sure that the laptop is running on mains and not on the battery. Make sure all public speakers are aware of how this equipment works and even have a technician on site for the whole period of the event to make sure all runs smoothly. 

There is no quicker way to spoil a good audiovisual presentation, or lose the attention of the conference audience, than to be fumbling around trying to find sound for a video, or a screen that shows a Windows menu. It can make presentations lose all credibility.

Set up flipcharts and pens around the room. Make sure the room is set up in the layout you require for the event e.g. cinema style, school room or u- shape seating . Make sure each delegate has a pen and pad on the table for notes.

Check with venue staff that an adequate water supply will be provided throughout the event for each table. Check the room temperature and ensure familiarity with the heating and cooling system in the room.

On The Day Of The Event

There should be registration in order to have a record of who attended the event. Name badges and all information packs need to be handed out as well, if needed, at registration. The very minimum that these packs should include would be the event program, delegate list and any relevant information on the product or event delegates need to know about.

Presentations and Handouts

Rather than giving delegates all the presentation copies/handouts at the start of the event, consider staggering these and handing out all relevant materials prior to each event so the delegates don’t get distracted with material not relevant to specific presentation.

Have all relevant handouts prepared and delegate the responsibilities of handing this out so that more attention can be given to the overall event and making sure that it is running smoothly. Keep extra copies on hand. There will always be unexpected attendees, or delegates who will mislay their material.

Final Advice

Make sure that everyone responsible for the function is at the venue at all times – this can be invaluable if problems occur and staff need to be contacted, or last minute emergencies need to be dealt with.