Sarah Halfpenny Events

Why Events fail and the things you can do to ensure they don’t!


by Sarah Halfpenny

I have written a lot about how to make an event successful, meaningful and impactful. I have not yet however tackled the common mistakes people make that lead to events not getting off the ground or failing. In this blog, I share my top 5 reasons why I believe events fail and the things you can do to ensure they don’t!

Failure to outline SMART event objectives.
Understanding why you are hosting an event is paramount to its success. Identifying 2 or 3 key objectives underpins and influences the design and delivery of your event and helps keep the communications well-defined. So, whether your objectives are around generating sales and new business, increasing brand awareness or connecting with stakeholders, be honest and clear from the start with what you want to achieve.

Failure to sell the ‘Why”
We have all seen events being advertised with the event title, time, location and what the event is. But without clear reasons WHY people should attend, it makes it difficult for them to understand the benefits. From the start, be clear about the opportunities you are giving. For example, is it the opportunity for them to gain knowledge, learn and be educated? Are you providing a forum for delegates to connect with peers, build new professional relationships and engage with leading experts? Or are you providing an opportunity for people to participate, contribute, share best practise and raise their profile? Whatever the benefits are, ensure they are clear and consistent across all event marketing.

Failure to plan, do and review!
Without an event plan, you are simply planning to fail. With no tool to help you manage, review and communicate your event progress, it’s easy to overlook, assume and lose control. Whether this is a robust document of 1,000, a checklist of 50 or a to-do list of 10 tasks, it underpins who’s on the project team, roles and responsibilities, key tasks, timeframes and millstones. Those who implement an event plan also tend to have a better grasp of their event budget, deeper understanding of the event marketing schedule and have a productive team working to the same objectives.

Failure to connect with the desired audience
Even with clear objectives and event plan, if you don’t have or can’t gain access to the desired audience then you simply won’t gain an audience at all. Build your community first. Make connections, have conversations, communicate your brand, your ambitions, your story. Once you have utilised online channels you can then think about transferring those conversations into the live event space.

Price, find the sweet spot!
Events fail if the price is too high, or even to low, due to a lack of trust! Do your research and find other events who are tapping into the same market or are running a similar format. With this information to hand, you can then start to ask your audience direct what they would be willing to pay for the experience you are offering. With an eye on your event budget you will find a price that will encourage attendance.

So, the moral of the story is this. Identify your event objectives, articulate the ‘Why”, Plan – Do – Review and get to know your desired audience. Follow these simple rules before you make a commitment and you will certainly be preparing for success.