The ultimate guide to successful corporate events
Whether it's external events to win customers, or internal events to engage employees, find out how to get the most out of your Event Strategy.
Despite the pandemic and rush to digitization in the past two years, the benefits of creating B2B events have not changed. The post covid working world has brought a real revolution to the event industry, new opportunities for interaction and original ways of engagement.
But how is the events industry evolving at the European level?
In 2023, the B2B events industry in Europe was valued at $76 billion. It is expected to reach $114 billion by 2031. In fact, the growth of the events industry in Europe is driven by the massive increase in business activities such as conferences/seminars, brand promotions, employee training activities, the rapid development of the tourism and hospitality sectors, and the expansion of IT centers in Europe.
Having analyzed the European context, what can we say about events as strategic tools?
Events have always been used as a marketing tool to achieve business goals and more. They fuel team spirit, raise awareness of the company, and allow employees to say thank you and celebrate achievements. How? Through three modes: physical event, virtual event, hybrid event.
The opportunity to see each other, share moments and exchange opinions face-to-face is an invaluable experience.
With the flexibility of working from home and the freedom of employees to manage their own time, companies can organize events that involve both in-person and remote people, thus reaching a wider and more diverse audience.
After the pandemic period, there is a desire to return to normalcy and meet in person, but it still remains necessary to continue organizing online events to reach a wider audience.
In addition to the way an event is shared, we can choose its type. In fact, we can identify two macro-categories.
External events are aimed at growing businesses directly and are organized to reach a wider audience of external stakeholders such as potential customers, investors, business partners, and journalists. These events provide an opportunity for the company to present its products or services, network, and learn about competitors in the industry.
Internal events are defined as all those events primarily aimed at employees and designed to nurture team spirit, thank their co-workers or celebrate achievements. These events are important for building a positive work environment in which corporate culture and resource growth are core values.
In the next paragraphs we will delve into these two macro-categories and the most suitable types of events, while trying to identify the ideal corporate figure to manage them.
2. External corporate events
As anticipated, corporate events can be directed within the company or involve stakeholders external to the organization. External events, in fact, can involve customers, suppliers, business partners and aim to promote the company's image, acquire new customers, retain existing ones and promote new products or services.
In this area, event marketing plays a key role: the set of activities involved in planning, organizing and executing an event for the purpose of promoting it externally to the company.
The field of external events is also growing steadily, and companies are increasingly choosing to invest time and resources in planning, organizing and executing events for the purpose of promoting a brand, product or service.
Ninety-seven percent of marketers surveyed believe that in-person events can have a major impact on achieving their company's core business objectives.
Source: Bizzabo Research, The Events Industry's Top Marketing Statistics, Trends, and Data, Jul 2022
2.1 Types of external events
Depending on the goals to be achieved, which are fundamental to planning a successful event, external events can take various shapes, peculiarities and sizes. The industry encompasses several types; let's analyze the most common ones:
2.2 The importance of strategic planning of external events
Regardless of the type of event, what is critical is to understand how to plan and organize successful external events. A strategic, long-term plan has many advantages and benefits for the company and allows for:
- Save time and money
- Allocate resources more efficiently
- Devise a more effective promotion
- Facilitate the achievement of business objectives
Each event has different objectives and consequently targets different customers. It is therefore essential to identify at what stage of the Customer Journey they are in order to understand what type of event would be most appropriate to plan in order to meet their needs and requirements.
Going more specific, let's look below at the 7 stages of the customer journey and the types of events best suited for each:
In this first moment, the potential customer becomes aware of the existence of a product or service that could satisfy a need or desire of his or her. The goal of the company is to make itself known and to provide all-around information.
Event types: trade shows, exhibitions, industry conferences.
The customer begins to consider the product or service as a possible solution to his or her need or desire. The goal for the company at this stage is to present its product or service as a solution to the customer's needs.
Event types: webinars, experiential events, seminars and roadshows.
The customer evaluates the available options and compares the product or service with competitors. The goal for the company at this stage is to provide accurate and useful information to help the customer make a choice.
Event types: seminars, company tours, executive dinners, conferences.
The customer decides to purchase the product or service. The goal for the company at this stage is to make the purchasing process easy and safe.
Event types: customer event.
The customer uses the product or service and evaluates its usefulness. The goal, for the company, at this stage is to provide a positive customer experience and answer any needs or questions the customer may have.
Event types: kickoffs, user training, conferences.
The customer recommends the product or service to others and speaks positively about it. The goal for the company at this stage is to provide a quality service and products and satisfy the customer to the point that he or she becomes a brand promoter.
Event types: user groups, webinars, industry conferences.
The customer becomes a loyal customer and purchases additional products or services from the company. The goal for the company at this stage is to maintain the relationship of trust with the customer and offer complementary products or services that meet the customer's needs.
Event types: roadshows, executive dinners, CABs.
Understanding customers' needs and mobilizing to try to meet them is therefore crucial to establishing a stable relationship aimed at achieving business goals and business growth.
When organizing an event, the first element to determine is the goals you want to achieve. In this regard, it is essential to be clear about the big picture and to define goals in line with the overall brand promotion and corporate mission.
Second, it is necessary to set specific performance goals: that is, goals that can be defined and quantified during the course of the event but also at the end of it, so that their proper achievement can be verified.
These goals must be S.M.A.R.T., that is, they must be: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound).
Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), progress toward goals such as the number of attendees, ticket sales, and social media engagement can be tracked. These indicators will guide the rest of the planning and decision-making process.
After that, as shown in Figure 3, it will be critical to align KPIs with each stage of the customer journey in order to monitor progress toward achieving event goals.
Organizing a corporate event requires meticulous planning and careful coordination of different activities in order to ensure an unforgettable experience for participants and a satisfactory outcome for the sponsoring company
The first step in moving in this direction is definitely to plan a careful strategy in line with the customer journey. And to do so, a few points need to be defined:
- What goals are to be achieved
- Which events reflect corporate identity
- How to translate business goals into event planning guidelines
Once these points have been defined, it is necessary to move on to the operational phase: who to contact, when and where to organize them, how much budget to devote to them.
This stage will determine the success or failure of the event. The choice of location, catering, staff, and necessary services must consider many factors and will be crucial to the performance of the event. In addition to choosing the services listed above, it will be necessary to manage the budget available, devise a program, contact vendors, invite participants, promote the event, and, on the day itself, make sure that everything works as imagined. All of these activities require a great deal of effort; relying on experts in the field allows you to reduce timelines, optimize resources, and drastically decrease anxiety and stress.
However, often even communicating with event agencies or event planners carries the risk of being inundated with endless emails and quotes, without then having real control over the event. An event platform, on the other hand, allows you to have clear planning while delegating the organization, saving you time, resources and energy.
Thanks to the customization of the catalog and services, the reliability of the chosen vendors, and the continuous support of event professionals, it will be easier to manage them from start to finish, interacting with a single point of contact.
In this way, it will be possible to focus on the promotional and strategic goals of the event, with the confidence that any problems will be handled and resolved in the best possible way.
2.3 The benefits of external events for the company
As previously stated, external events drive business success and help achieve goals. In support of this, a report states that 83% of brands claim increased sales as a result of event marketing. The trend is also confirmed by the fact that 74% of event participants agree that their opinion of the company improved after attending.
But specifically what are the benefits?
Companies choose to invest in event marketing because events inherently generate new business and revenue opportunities. When organizing an event, just the process of registering attendees generates a list of people who are interested in the product, industry or otherwise fit the target demographic. In contrast, by attending or sponsoring an event, you can collect leads through an e-mail list, demo offer, or contest.
Allow you to engage customers one by one
Engaging potential customers at events initiates personal interactions that help build trust and "humanize" the brand.
In today's world, this is increasingly critical. In fact, as digital continues to grow, more and more companies have no other opportunity to meet their customers in person and recognize events as a valuable opportunity to make connections.
Because events are perceived as a break from the stress of daily work and are characterized by a typically relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, it is easier to capture attention effectively on these occasions. This makes it easier and more immediate to achieve strategic objectives than a phone call or an office presentation.
Creating brand awareness
Hosting or participating in events is an excellent opportunity to establish and grow your brand. In this regard, 64% of event marketers said that the main reason they organize events.
In addition, events allow a physical identity and aesthetic to be associated with an otherwise digital brand. As in the case of pop-up shops, which offer a truly immersive experience through which consumers and customers can get a real, tangible feel for the brand.
In addition to these aspects, there is a simple reason why it is crucial to hold events to get people to build brand awareness: people talk about it.
Encourage product and industry education
Regardless of the type of event companies host or participate in, it is desirable that there is an educational component within it. This is exactly what makes event marketing so successful: it does not focus solely on a brand or product but aims to educate the audience by providing valuable content.
2.4 Bringing together customers, suppliers and partners across Italy: the Delta Dore case
Delta Dore, a French group that has been in the electrical industry for more than 40 years, aims to meet the needs of professionals in energy management, automation, and security systems. A leader in the Smart Home and Smart Building market, it believes in sustainable development, in which technology makes it possible to decrease energy consumption without decreasing comfort and safety.
Delta Dore had a very specific need: to organize events and catering to bring together clients, suppliers, and partners in different cities in northern Italy.
After allocating a dedicated budget for different activities, the company, together with Kampaay, developed an extensive catalog of Team Building experiences available in more than 12 cities in order to create opportunities for exchange and present its offerings to stakeholders.
Thanks to Kampaay, Delta Dore's managers implemented an innovative, digital tool to support their strategy, being able to organize and manage all events in different Italian locations. The benefits also extend to the operational level, interfacing with a single point of contact, and administrative, enjoying a single customizable invoice for all services.
3. Internal corporate events
Unlike those previously analyzed, internal events aim to improve the relationship between the company and employees by creating and nurturing a sense of community and belonging within the organization .
This leads to improved employer branding and overall company performance. Finally, creating an informal environment is beneficial for employees to relax and socialize with each other.
3.1 Types of internal events
To better visualize, plan, and monitor internal events, it can be useful to divide them into categories by grouping them according to similar criteria.
- More complex events: larger in size and with a broader impact such as events that are global in scope or have an impact on the entire organization. Within this typology we find sales kick-offs and global corporate meetings.
- Less complex events: these can be regional and include certain areas. These include Offsite, incentive trips, and board meetings.
- Small and simple events: characterized by a less complex organization but occurring with a high frequency such as team building and meetings.
3.2 The importance of strategic planning in internal events
Internal events are a valuable resource for companies because of their ability to recruit, train, and engage employees .
Employee engagement, in particular, is a key element of employee retention and long-term productivity. In an era characterized by such phenomena as hybrid work culture and "Great Resignations," internal events take on even greater importance.
Whether virtual or in-person events, it remains essential for companies to create programs that provide employees with training and fun. In fact, 64% of respondents to a survey conducted by Skift Meetings answered positively to the question, "Do in-house events help retain employees?"
However, despite their importance, internal events are often seen as cost factors and do not always receive the attention they deserve. It is important to remember that investing in internal events can lead to long-term savings due to the return value generated by employee engagement. It therefore becomes necessary to build an events strategy in line with our employees' Journey (see Fig. 5).
This phase is aimed at making the employee understand:
- The organization's corporate culture, values and goals;
- One's role and related expectations;
- Company policies.
This is a critically important stage, as it is during these moments that the foundation is laid for building relationships of mutual trust and cooperation.
The types of events related to this first phase are recruiting and onboarding.
The engagement phase aims to create an emotional and lasting bond between the employee and the company. In this part you:
- fosters internal interaction, creating a collaborative and inclusive culture;
- Promotes open and transparent communication aimed at improving employee motivation, satisfaction and productivity;
- lay the foundation for maintaining the right focus on the employee's needs and expectations throughout the employment relationship.
The types of events suitable for the latter are mainly Team Building, Offsite, training courses, workshops and corporate meetings.
Knowledge exchange (mutual exchange)
An exchange of knowledge and skills between the employee and the company that leads to an improvement in the company's productivity and efficiency. This fosters innovation and growth of the company, ensuring continuity even when there is employee turnover.
The types of events that tie in at this time are corporate meetings and sales kickoffs.
Advancement (trust and development)
The last stage fosters the employee's professional growth and loyalty to the organization, thus reducing the risk of turnover. It also contributes to the creation of a stimulating and rewarding work environment that enhances employee talent and promotes company growth.
The types of events most in line are team building and incentive trips.
3.3 Employee and company benefits
As already anticipated, investing in corporate culture means investing in the success of the company. A strategic plan, dedicated to events, meticulously thought out and taken care of in every detail will allow:
- Strengthen corporate culture by valuing work and increasing a sense of belonging;
- Connecting the various levels of employees by improving their collaboration and integration;
- Building strong and trusting relationships within the company, improving the work climate and enhancing motivation and enthusiasm;
- Improve the reputation and perception of the company.
For these reasons, companies, knowing that this can be a competitive advantage and a long-term investment in the company's success, seek to create a positive and productive work environment where employees feel valued, motivated and involved.
Moreover, such an investment is a return for the company's image and reputation among customers and the public, increasing customer loyalty and the chances of attracting new talent, respectively.
3.4 Promoting culture and bringing innovation to the company: the Doctolib case
Doctolib is a tech company serving healthcare whose goal is to improve the daily lives of physicians and healthcare workers through fast and equitable access to healthcare for all.
Marco Vianello, Doctolib's HR Manager tells:
"The well-being of our employees is very important, so we organize events to facilitate sharing and socializing. The teams within Doctolib are very diverse, and it is not always easy for team leaders to think of initiatives to create team spirit."
With the goal of "spreading corporate culture and values," Doctolib and Kampaay designed a strategic plan dedicated to managing events in the company. Today, Doctolib organizes an average of more than 150 events a year, and each manager has a budget to organize a team building every six months.
On the other hand, on a monthly basis, the People Success Manager organizes several meetings: a recurring event with the heads of different functions, onboardings for newcomers, and all employee trainings .
Thanks to the Kampaay solution, the way Doctolib handles events has changed:
"With Kampaay, I take care of my team faster, more effectively, and I am sure of the result!"
As we have seen in these pages, the difference between the types of corporate events can prove decisive in terms of objectives, audience and, of course, organization.
External events, aimed at potential customers, investors, business partners and journalists, are suitable for brand promotion, company presentation and networking. To create an efficient strategy, it is necessary to focus on the customer journey in order to identify at what stage of it the target stakeholder is, and then organize the most suitable event.
Internal events, on the other hand, are aimed at employees and associates to the company and are designed to welcome newcomers, nurture team spirit, spread company culture, and build strong relationships among employees. As with external events, in order to succeed in defining an effective strategy, it is necessary to focus on the lifecycle of employees within the company, the so-called employee journey .
This will make it possible to organize focused and successful events.
Organizing internal and external events therefore requirescareful planning, efficient management of available resources, and the ability to deal with any unforeseen event .
Although event agencies can offer valuable support in management and organization, choosing to use a digital platform can be a revolutionary yet strategic and beneficial choice in many ways.
For this reason, a solution was born that allows you to retain all the advantages of a regular event agency while nullifying, however, the difficulties you might encounter in this process.
Kampaay offers a simple and innovative solution to centralize management processes and make life easier for managers. In this way, the planning and organization of internal and external events will be more efficient and scalable. With an extensive catalog of solutions that can be customized as needed, and dedicated support from industry professionals, the platform ensures a stress-free event planning experience. Indeed, by interacting with a single point of contact, it will be easier to manage resources effectively while focusing on the strategic objectives of the event.
With Kampaay, organizers will be able to manage all aspects of corporate events in an integrated and collaborative way, ensuring a truly successful experience for all.
Did you know that with Kampaay, companies can make a difference in their industry and create unique events for their employees and external audiences?