Successful Event Promotion: Create WV 2008
The picture at left, while somewhat blurry and low-res, shows one important measurement of the success of an event: a packed house!
At Maple Creative, we measure a successful event in three ways:
1- Packed house, standing room only
2- Full media coverage
3- Smiling happy client
The fellow standing on stage is our smiling, happy client, Mr. Jeff James. Jeff, who is one of the most gifted, passionate leaders I've ever known, is the chairperson of the Creative Communities Team of Vision Shared. Working with Jeff and his team of passionate volunteer leaders (change agents), made promoting the Create West Virginia 2008 Conference "an easy sell." In Jeff's words, "I feel good that the event execution has been in Maple's hands this year. It's great when things are organized. Great work by your team.
In terms of full media coverage, the state's newspaper, The Charleston Gazette, wrote two excellent stories. One was published on the 2nd day of the conference; the other, a conference recap, was featured on the front of the Sunday business section. These and many other positive stories were the result of a strategic, statewide media plan that we implemented over a four-month period from July through October. In crafting this plan, we worked carefully to create compelling storylines that provided diversity and relevance by focusing on various aspects of the conference: keynote speakers, record attendance, entertainment, venue and diversity. In such work, it is important to offset media fatigue, helping to mitigate reporters' potential burnout on event coverage. Again, in the client's words,"Really great work…I’m hard pressed to think of any event I’ve read more about since I’ve been to WV the last three years."
When we talk about full attendance and standing room only, we are not exaggerating. The goal for attendance was 300, which represented a healthy 20% increase over the 2007 event. In the end, we had over 400 participants in attendance. Despite the fact that we over-prepared, we still ran out of lanyards and name-badge holders. And on the final session of the last day, a full assembly and keynote presentation, when we expected some attrition, the venue catering staff had to set up extra tables and had to rush to prepare extra lunch plates. What a good problem to have!
In the end, this success story is one of planning & execution, teamwork & passion and the implementation of a leadership team's vision!