Successful Event Planning: A 5-Step Strategic Marketing Approach

Activations|Thought Leadership|
Parameters, Process, Partnership, Prepare and People.
Dan Louie, Volvo Cars of North America

Developing and executing events is a specialty that takes experience and attention to detail to successfully implement even the most modest event. Event planning for a business event that anticipates attendance in the hundreds or even thousands can be a daunting task and requires refinement and decision management skills as the Consumer Events Project Manager for Volvo Cars of North America discovered which led him to define and implement a standard he calls the Five P’s for Successful Consumer Events. Dan Louie’s five-step approach to planning successful events includes: Parameters, Process, Partnership, Prepare and People.

1. Parameters – Clarify The Marketing Objectives

Prior to beginning any project, all marketing campaign objectives should be defined and agreed upon. Lack of objectives can lead to many mishaps including: incomplete proposals, frustration, wasted time, and going over budget. Louie says during the planning stage focus on S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) objectives.

2. Process – Use An Objective Decision Making Process

Clearly define the right choices through the Kepner-Tregoe decision-making process to reveal vendor choices that have the right balance of acceptable risk and reward. The four-step four step process: Clarify Purpose, Evaluate Alternatives, Assess Risks, and Make Decisions will ensure that the best decisions are implemented.

3. Partnership – View Each Vendor As A Valuable Partner

Louie emphasizes that relationships based on mutual trust and respect will result in more collaboration during project implementation.Relationships where each person communicates, listens, trusts, and collaborates on creative solutions result in greater rewards, additional benefits and ultimately event campaign success.

4. Prepare – Plan For The Unexpected

Not every project is going to run as smoothly as predicted. Louie advises to analyze potential problems and create multiple action plans for possible disruptions or issues that may come up including: weather, delivery problems, technology issues, equipment failure, and food and beverage delays, to name a few.

5. People – Interact With Consumers At The Event

It is critical for project managers, vendor partners and company stakeholders to attend the event to see the success first hand in order to collect feedback, evaluate partnerships and personally analyze the most effective marketing tactics executed.

Below is a chart of the refined Kepner-Tregoe Decision Analysis Process:


To learn more about developing effective event planning for business, contact our Atlanta ad agency with over 25 years of experience in trade show planning, collateral development and lead generation techniques for business conferences of all sizes.

Learn more about the author here.


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