An effective event strategy requires careful planning, resource allocation, and timing. Here’s a suggested checklist and timeline for your event processes and tactics.

Event Planning and Preparation (Starting 10-12 Weeks Before the Event)

Identify Event Goals (All Relevant Teams)

  • Designate a cross-functional team comprising representatives from Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success, as needed.
  • Facilitate a meeting between the relevant stakeholders to define specific event objectives, such as lead generation, brand awareness, or customer relationship building. Objectives should be as granular as possible, e.g. number of leads generated, social media engagement goals, number of conversations with customers, etc.
  • Reach alignment between Sales, Customer Success, and Marketing on the primary objectives.
  • Ensure that goals are well-defined, measurable, and align with your overall strategy. Put those goals on paper and share with all stakeholders, along with the rest of the event plan.
  • Assign specific responsibilities to team members for each goal, ensuring accountability.

Select the Event Type (Marketing)

  • Evaluate the event landscape and determine the most suitable event type to achieve the aligned event goals. Consider factors such as audience reach, industry relevance, budget constraints, primary goal, and available resources. Decide whether it’s a conference, trade show, seminar, dinner, happy hour, webinar, etc.
  • Align the chosen event type with the predefined budget, making adjustments as necessary based on event goals and ROI expectations.

Budget Allocation (Marketing)

  • Identify/adjust a budget for the event, taking into account expenses such as booth space, materials, travel, accommodations, entertainment, contingencies, etc.
  • Establish a system for tracking and monitoring expenses to stay within budget.
  • Collaborate with Sales and Customer Success to ensure they have the necessary budget allocations for their respective responsibilities.
  • Plan for approval processes and contingencies in case of unexpected costs.

Create Event Team (All Teams)

  • Identify the key representatives who will attend the event based on its type and goals.
  • Assemble a cross-functional team that may include Sales, Customer Success, and Marketing representatives.
  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each team member, specifying their involvement and contributions to the event. Ensure that all team members are aware of their roles and responsibilities and have a clear understanding of the event’s objectives.

Event Date and Location (Marketing)

  • Confirm the event date and venue, ensuring that it aligns with the event goals and type.
  • If planning a happy hour or dinner, book and confirm the time and location well in advance.
  • Create a detailed schedule and itinerary for your representatives to follow during the event. Share the itinerary with all representatives and stakeholders.
  • Coordinate logistics such as booth setup, travel arrangements, and accommodation reservations.
  • Establish a communication plan for team members, providing them with all necessary event details.

Create an Event Plan (Marketing)

  • Marketing to develop a comprehensive event plan that includes clear objectives, target audience profiles, and messaging strategies. Ensure all attendees are clear on aligned objectives and talking points.
  • Outline the content and materials that will be used to engage attendees and achieve the event goals.
  • Ensure that all representatives are briefed and have a consistent understanding of the event’s objectives and messaging.
  • Create pre-event marketing materials and campaigns that align with the event plan.
  • Establish a reporting and measurement framework to track progress towards event goals and post-event evaluation criteria.
    • Define specific metrics that align with your objectives, such as the number of leads generated, attendee engagement, or revenue generated.
    • Outline how data will be collected and stored during the event, including lead capture methods, survey responses, and attendee interactions.
    • Determine the criteria that will be used to assess the event’s success, including ROI analysis, attendee feedback, and lessons learned for future events.

Marketing and Promotion (8-10 Weeks Before the Event)

Promotional Materials (All Teams)

  • Collaborate with Sales, Customer Success, and Marketing teams to define the specific promotional materials needed.
  • Develop a content calendar to plan the creation and distribution of marketing collateral, ensuring alignment on target audiences and messaging.
  • Plan, per team, pre-event communication strategy to be inclusive of outreach Sales, Customer Success, and/or Marketing promotional efforts
  • Create high-quality marketing materials, including brochures, banners, flyers, and digital content.
  • Ensure consistency in branding and messaging across all materials.
  • Determine the distribution channels for these materials, whether it’s through email, social media, or physical distribution at the event.

Event Website or Landing Page (Marketing)

  • If applicable, create a dedicated event web page or landing page on the company website. Include essential event details such as date, time, location, agenda, speakers, and registration forms.
  • Set up lead routing processes to ensure that registrants are automatically directed to the appropriate CRM nurture campaigns or assigned to the right sales representatives.
  • Implement tracking mechanisms to monitor website traffic, registrations, and engagement with event-related content.
  • Create personalized email follow-up sequences for registrants based on their registration details and interests.

Email Campaigns (Marketing)

  • Plan a series of email and newsletter campaigns to build anticipation and excitement for the event.
  • Segment the target audience based on criteria such as industry, role, or engagement level.
  • Send out initial event invitations or announcements of attendance, including personalized invitations, promo codes, or simple notifications. Typically, Sales and Customer Success will identify recipients. Create a sense of urgency by highlighting registration deadlines, limited-time offers, or exclusive benefits for early registrants.

Social Media Promotion (Marketing)

  • Develop a social media marketing plan specific to the event, including a content calendar and posting schedule.
  • Start promoting the event on various social media platforms using event-specific hashtags and tagging relevant influencers.
  • Engage with the event host’s social media accounts and utilize any event-related content they provide.
  • Monitor LinkedIn and other platforms to identify and engage with other attendees or influencers attending the event.
  • Create visually appealing social media graphics and posts to capture attention and generate interest.
  • Encourage event-related discussions, polls, and interactive content to foster engagement and community building. (Resource-dependent)

Swag and Booth Presence (Marketing)

  • Determine the quantity and types of swag that will be distributed at the event.
  • Coordinate the shipping of materials to the event location.
  • Order additional swag items as needed to ensure an adequate supply.
  • Ensure that booth materials, such as pull-up banners, tablecloths, and signage, align with the overall event theme and branding.
  • Plan interactive booth activities or demos to engage event attendees and drive foot traffic.
  • Develop a schedule for booth staffing to ensure coverage throughout the event, including breaks and shift rotations.
  • Train booth staff on how to interact with attendees, capture leads, and promote the company’s value proposition effectively.

Sales and Lead Generation (6-8 Weeks Before the Event):

Targeted Attendees List (Sales & Customer Success-Driven)

  • Sales and Customer Success teams to create a detailed list of potential attendees.
  • Identify and segment attendees based on criteria such as industry, job title, company size, and specific interests.
  • Prioritize potential attendees to determine who you want to engage with most during the event, and which team member should be the point of contact for each interaction.
  • Working in tandem with Sales & Customer Success, Marketing to develop a personalized outreach plan for each segment, including messaging and value propositions tailored to their needs.
  • Create a shared document or CRM tool to store and update the targeted attendees list regularly.

Lead Qualification (All Teams)

  • Marketing to work closely with the Sales and Customer Success teams to establish clear lead qualification/priority customer criteria.
  • Define what constitutes a “hot lead” based on behavioral indicators (e.g., engagement with pre-event content).
  • Develop a lead scoring system that assigns values to various lead attributes and interactions.
  • Marketing to ensure that potential leads are nurtured with relevant pre-event content.
  • Determine which campaigns or offers will be presented to leads at the event based on their qualification status.
  • Marketing to establish guidelines for Sales and Customer Success to prepare for lead/customer capturing, including the questions to ask and the information to collect from leads.

CRM Setup (Marketing)

  • Set-up event-specific campaign in CRM.
  • If needed, develop custom lead fields to capture event-specific data, such as event source, engagement level, and follow-up status.
  • Monitor reporting in CRM and via standard marketing reporting cadence to provide real-time visibility into lead generation and conversion metrics.
  • Establish a clear follow-up plan that includes lead nurturing, email templates, and automated workflows to accelerate the post-event follow-up process.
  • Conduct a data hygiene check to clean up existing data in CRM and prevent any data quality issues during the event.

Event Logistics (4-6 Weeks Before the Event):

Booth/Space Setup (Marketing):

  • Plan for booth “security,” including the safe storage of valuable equipment and materials overnight if necessary.
  • Verify booth regulations and restrictions imposed by the event organizer or venue (e.g., height restrictions, power limitations).
  • Arrange for booth signage and banners to be produced and delivered on time by Tradeshow Stop.
  • Arrange for any branded attire to be ordered and shipped to staff attendees ahead of the event.

Travel Arrangements (All Teams)

  • Marketing to convey dates and locations for the event in the plan
  • Each team will be responsible for booking their own travel
  • Develop a contingency plan for travel disruptions (e.g., weather delays, flight cancellations) to ensure team members can still attend the event.

Lead Capture (All Teams)

  • Establish a system for tracking lead interactions beyond scanning, such as recording conversations and noting specific interests or requests.
  • Plan for data synchronization between the event app and CRM to ensure lead data is seamlessly integrated.
  • Set up a lead scoring system or criteria for distinguishing between warm and hot leads based on specific actions or engagement.
  • Develop an event-specific landing page for lead capture, where appropriate. Include raffles, giveaways, etc. as needed.

On-Site Support (Marketing)

  • Identify a point person or help desk at the event venue to address any on-site issues or inquiries. 
  • Create a schedule for booth staffing, including breaks and shifts, to ensure continuous coverage during event hours.
  • Develop a protocol for managing unexpected situations, such as equipment malfunctions or staff illness.

Event Materials and Supplies (Marketing)

  • Inventory all event materials and supplies to ensure nothing is overlooked.
  • Work with the venue/event staff to plan for waste disposal and recycling options for booth materials, giveaways, and packaging.
  • Arrange for the transportation of event materials and supplies to and from the venue

Event Execution (Day of the Event)

Staff Briefing (Relevant Point Person)

  • Conduct a pre-event staff briefing at the event venue or a designated meeting area.
  • Review the event schedule and assigned tasks with team members.
  • Emphasize key talking points, objectives, and the overall strategy. 
  • Ensure everyone is aware of emergency contact information and event contacts. 
  • All attendees should be working from a document or other single source of truth for easy reference.

Lead Capture Tools (Marketing)

  • Ensure that lead capture tools (e.g., scanners, apps, or event landing page) are set up and functioning and that all attendees are familiar with the functionality.

Event Schedule and Assignments (All Teams)

  • Marketing to distribute a detailed event schedule that includes all activities, sessions, and booth hours. 
  • Functional departments as needed to assign specific team members to different time slots and tasks, such as booth staffing, session attendance, and networking.

Booth or Space Setup (Marketing)

  • Coordinate with the team responsible for booth/event space setup to ensure it’s ready before the event opens.
  • Assign team members to oversee booth/event setup and make any necessary adjustments. 
  • Ensure all promotional materials, giveaways, and equipment are accessible and organized.

Session Attendance/Speaking and Networking (All Teams)

  • Schedule specific time slots for team members to attend relevant sessions or presentations. 
  • Encourage team members to actively engage in networking with attendees, partners, and industry peers.

Live Social Media Updates (All Teams)

  • Assign team members to handle real-time social media updates, no matter if they’re in marketing or not. 
  • Include relevant hashtags and people tags. 
  • Provide access to official social media accounts and necessary tools. 
  • Encourage team members to share event highlights, photos, and videos. 
  • Set guidelines for responding to comments and engaging with event attendees online.

Booth Tear Down and Cleanup (All Teams)

  • Assign a team to manage the orderly dismantling of the booth or event space. 
  • Ensure that all materials are properly packed and accounted for. 
  • Coordinate with event organizers for booth tear-down logistics and timing. 
  • Include return labels for any leftover swag or other booth elements. 
  • Verify that the event space is left clean and in the condition required by the venue.

Post-Event Follow-Up and Evaluation Process (Within 1 Week After the Event):

Lead Entry and Qualification (Sales)

  • Promptly enter or upload all collected leads into CRM. 
  • Ensure accurate and complete lead information, including contact details, company information, and specific interests. 
  • Tag leads appropriately with the event campaign and lead source details, as well as other criteria as needed.
  • Assign leads to specific sales representatives or teams for follow-up, and communicate assignments clearly.

Lead Follow-Up (All Teams)

  • Prioritize leads based on their quality and potential. 
  • Define lead scoring criteria to help prioritize follow-up efforts (e.g., hot, warm, cold).
  • Identify which team member will be conducting follow-up activities respective of where the lead originated and who had the conversation.
  • Establish a follow-up timeline and response expectations, considering the urgency of each lead. 
  • Working with Marketing as necessary, personalize follow-up communications by referencing the event and the prospect’s interactions. 
  • Marketing to provide Sales representatives with lead-specific information to facilitate meaningful conversations.
  • Marketing to send any relevant post-event material, such as presentation decks from speaking engagements, etc.

Event Evaluation and Recap (Marketing-Led)

  • Hold a comprehensive post-event debrief meeting/post-mortem involving all relevant teams, including Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success, as appropriate. 
  • Assess what worked well during the event, including successful strategies, booth activities, and engagement techniques. 
  • Identify areas for improvement, such as logistical challenges, communication issues, or missed opportunities. 
  • Gather feedback from team members regarding their experiences, challenges, and suggestions. 
  • Discuss attendee feedback, if available, to gain insights into the event’s effectiveness.
  • Conduct a survey of event attendees (where appropriate) to gather feedback on their experience and satisfaction. 
  • Analyze the competitive landscape by researching the presence and strategies of competitors at the event.

ROI Analysis and Event Report (All Teams, Marketing-Led)

  • Calculate the ROI of the event by comparing total event costs to the value generated. Consider all event-related expenses, including booth costs, travel, accommodations, marketing expenses, and staff hours.
  • Evaluate the revenue generated/potential pipeline from leads and opportunities generated at the event.
  • Calculate the return on investment as a percentage or dollar amount. 
  • Interpret the ROI to determine whether the event met financial goals and whether adjustments are needed for future events. 
  • Create a comprehensive event report to document the entire event’s performance. Include key metrics, such as the number of leads generated, leads converted to opportunities, and potential revenue generated. 
  • Provide a breakdown of expenses and a detailed ROI analysis. 
  • Summarize attendee feedback and engagement statistics. 
  • Highlight lessons learned and action items for improvement in future events. Share the event report with company stakeholders, including executives, to provide transparency and insights into the event’s impact.