If it feels like the competition for corporate event attendees’ attention has gotten fiercer — that’s because it has.

The number of corporate events is on the rise. With so many product launches and account-based marketing events to choose from, your corporate event needs to be flawless. One step in the wrong direction can hurt your bottom line — and your brand.

Want to make sure nothing slips through the cracks? Follow this corporate event planning checklist.

Getting started: 8-12 months out

In this phase of the corporate event planning process, you’ll lay the foundation for success.

1. Establish your goals and objectives

  • What is your corporate event’s purpose?
  • How many people do you want to attend in person? Watch your livestream?
  • If your event must turn a profit, how much do you want to make?
  • How much will tickets cost?
  • Where will your event take place?

2. Put together a rough budget

  • Borrow similar figures from past events for a baseline
  • Fill in the holes with educated guesses

3. Choose a format and theme

  • Brainstorm formats (tradeshow, conference, dinner) that will fit your goals
  • Outline of who’s attending your corporate event and select a theme that resonates with your audience

4. Choose a location, a venue, and vendors

  • What geographic area is best for your event?
  • How many people will be attending your event?
  • Do you need to provide Wifi?
  • Does the venue have the infrastructure you need?
  • Are there local vendors you can rely on?

5. Select a date

  • Choose an optimal date and a second best for backup when getting sign-off

6. Research speakers

  • Research speakers who have spoken at similar events to yours
  • Compile a list of your ideal speakers
  • Determine your value proposition to potential speakers before reaching out
  • Contact your ideal speakers and invite them

7. Start your sponsor search

  • Determine what kind of activations you can offer
  • Look at similar events to yours and see who sponsored them
  • Compile a list of your ideal sponsors
  • Segment attendees to understand their value to sponsors
  • Determine the market rate of your sponsorship packages

Getting granular: 3-4 months out

With the foundation built, the next phase in your planning process puts the final touches on your corporate event before registrations open.

8. Finalise speakers

  • Sign your speakers and panelists
  • Balance your agenda to keep attendees engaged
  • Get bio information and photos
  • Arrange travel and accommodation

9. Organise your financials

  • Choose your ticketing or registration technology
  • Finalise sponsors and their contributions
  • Set your ticket prices (VIP, early bird, and launch sales)

10. Build your branded website

  • Craft copy and images that faithfully communicate the attendee experience
  • Update your site (if recurring event) or build your new event’s site
  • Make sure your website infrastructure can handle the increased traffic during peak times
  • Make sure your website is mobile-optimised

11. Begin to promote your event

  • Develop a messaging doc aligned with your event brand
  • Spark early interest with email and social media
  • Reach new event-goers with paid advertising and event distribution
  • Distribute your event on online event calendars
  • Write blog posts about your event
  • Create a promo video

12. Finalise venue details

  • Work with the caterer on approving the menu
  • Secure A/V equipment and Wifi
  • Review security needs and plans with your team
  • Make sure you have special permits, licenses, and insurance
  • Determine event signage and attendee communication plan

13. Draft a schedule

  • Put together a working draft of your event’s schedule

Finalising details: 2 months out

Months before the big event, you have an opportunity to build excitement and (if you haven’t sold out yet) urge interested attendees to register before it’s too late.

14. Send reminders

  • Engage attendees on email and social media
  • Reach out to speakers, panelists, and sponsors to make sure they’re taken care of
  • Contact vendors to confirm their commitments

15. Push promotions to meet your attendance goals

  • Rekindle interest with retargeting
  • Encourage last-minute buyers to register on email and social media

The week before your corporate event

Your event is a week away, but there are still a few important details that need your close attention.

16. Finalise event schedule & scripts

  • Make sure everyone has the same schedule
  • Get sign off on any speech scripts

17. Communicate final details with your partners

  • Update the caterer and venue with final registration numbers
  • Confirm your schedule with vendors, including when to arrive and set up
  • Double check the A/V equipment and WiFi

Stay competitive with industry trends

Increased competition is just one of the many challenges facing corporate events in 2018. Get an inside look at the opinions and strategies of over 800 event professionals and industry experts in The State of Conferences and Corporate Events in 2018: Trends and Challenges.