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5 things I know about: Event planning and marketing

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Ryan Kennedy
guest columnist

Whether you are coordinating an event for 20 people or 200 people, the details can be stressful. Our marketplace hosts thousands of events on an annual basis. Hosting a successful networking event, open house or charity function requires patience and a strong set of organizational skills.

1. Focus on the small stuff

Every aspect of each event comes with its own “to-do lists.” The venue, staff, food, printed material, responsibilities, third party vendors – all combined together – require a lot of communication. The smallest detail (missed or made) can make or break your event.

2. Avoid schedule conflicts

Planning an event? Make sure you research all area chambers of commerce, trade groups and media groups event calendars. Plan accordingly and avoid scheduling an event on the same day as a similar themed event or a popular community event. It can easily hurt
your turnout.

3. Advertise early and often

There are more events than days in the year. How will your’s get noticed? Make sure your audience is aware in advance and gently remind them 150 times. Social calendars fill up quickly, three to four weeks at a time. If you start planning or marketing an event two weeks in advance, you probably shouldn’t host the event. Plan, at a minimum, 15 to 20 business days out.

4. Time management

Every event runs on a schedule. Consider your attendees’ time in designing the program timeline and flow. Consider travel time, time of the event, program timeline, networking, mingling and beyond. The clock is the boss.

5. Anticipate mistakes

Expect the unexpected. Something will go wrong (big or small). The more prepared you are, the easier it is to think on your feet and implement a back-up plan.


Ryan Kennedy serves as VP of marketing for Harvey, Hanna & Associates Inc., a real estate development firm based in Newport.

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