5 Common Pitfalls When Producing Events

Investment in events and live marketing is growing globally at a considerable rate. The UK 2018 Pulse Report survey revealed that the majority of marketers (63%) plan on investing more in live events in the future both in budget and number. This same study also revealed that an overwhelming majority of C-Suite executives (87%) believe in the power of live events and plan on increasing spend in the future. But what is driving this growth? Marketing.

The way in which we market products, goods and services is changing exponentially. This has been impacted by digital transformation and the increased spending power as well as influence of millennials who value real-life experiences which educate, inspire and foster community. In fact, 80% of millennials would sacrifice something in their lives to fund going to more festivals/events. This paradigm shift has given rise to what experts are calling “the experience economy”. We are now more interested in spending money on doing things rather than buying things; sharing the results on social media, inciting a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in our followers!

In fact, 80% of millennials would sacrifice something in their lives to fund going to more festivals/events. This paradigm shift has given rise to what experts are calling “the experience economy”.

However, the market is saturated, with more and more experiences and innovative events entering the market on a daily basis. So as organisations scramble to erect their own robust events strategy, how do you stand out from the crowd and maintain your relevance?

In my four years as a conference and events professional, I have noticed a few underlying themes and obstacles which have prohibited organisations from maximising the power of events. I would like to share these with you to provide some food for thought as you embark on your journey to mastering events and making them work for you:

The Brand/Audience Disconnect

Many organisation’s simply do not know how to target this new age of “experience-focussed consumers”, especially when they are looking to diversify their target market. Empathy is the key factor here. It can be difficult to develop a successful event/festival/conference if you simply do not have knowledge of your target audiences’ interests and engagement methods. For example, extensive keynote addresses may work for one audience type but not another. Whenever you can, ensure that your strategy is informed directly by your target demographic to maximise your results!

Do You Have The Capacity?

Many of the organisation’s I have engaged with appreciate the value of an effective live events strategy but simply do not have the time or capacity to dedicate to such an endeavour. When discussing a new project, we often focus on the monetary elements, but time is a precious resource not to be underestimated. Events production requires a lot of time, managing a plethora of moving parts. Ensure that your team have the capacity to work on such a project to ensure the results aren’t lacklustre. If this is not the case, seeking an agency or production house could be a good option for you.

Project Management – Where Do You Begin?

Organisations who have expressed interested in producing their own events but simply do not know the process of curating their own conference/event. Now we all have our own preferred methods of working, but producing a conference is typically a group effort. Think about appointing a project lead who can oversee the production process and break down all the elements into manageable chunks. Make sure you plan ahead and incorporate processes that are transparent and easily consumable by all involved. You have to accept that you are going to make mistakes and some things may get missed, but practice makes perfect!

Content is King & Queen!

Some of my clients simply do not know which content angles to explore for the development of their events. Similar to my first point regarding the issue of disconnection, ensure you employ deep research to ascertain and validate content which is highly relevant to your target audience. Conduct surveys, phone research, curate focus groups and other methods to get into the mind of your consumers.


Producing your own events can be a financially intensive exercise and potential clients face the challenge of commercialising their event offering. Different events have different models of commercialisation depending on the wider ecosystem and stakeholders involved. Some events are heavy on sponsorship revenue whilst others are driven by ticket sales. Carefully assess your target audience, spending habits and brands you could potentially partner with to ascertain which category your event falls into.

Now I hope this has been helpful in providing you with an introduction to the common pitfalls when creating your own events. If you have any other challenges that you have dealt with when developing your own events strategy, please feel free to share them in the comments below!

Written by Andrew Odong, Founder & CEO, Pesa Productions

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