How to Host a Successful Business Event

Deciding whether or not to host an event has become an increasingly challenging task for marketing professionals.

At first glance, an event or trade show provides an opportunity to promote your brand to a qualified group in a targeted industry. It can be a great way to build awareness of your offerings and to generate new interest for your products or services. Plus, it also presents an invaluable opportunity to create relationships with prospects and network with industry peers.

On the flip side, hosting an event is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor with no guaranteed financial gain in result. The considerable drawbacks to contemplate include time away from the office and the assumed risk of not accomplishing your goal (such as creating new demand).

If your business has decided the reward is worth the risk, it’s important to have a well thought out event strategy in place to maximize your time and budget. To do this, you’ll first need to identify what it is you are trying to accomplish.

Define your primary goal

The first step to hosting a successful event is identifying your end goal. While it may be a great idea to host an annual customer appreciation dinner, you need to state your objective for the dinner. How do you plan to attribute ROI to reaching that goal? Document what you are trying to accomplish in advance so that all of the decisions made in the planning process are dedicated to meeting a single business objective.

Select your format

Over the years, traditional trade shows and other hosted events have evolved to include a variety of formats that appeal to different audiences. When you’re planning an event, evaluate the individual event types and decide which gives you the best opportunity to accomplish your goal. Popular formats include:

  • Boardroom. These events provide guaranteed face time with  C-level executives in an intimate environment.
  • Hosted buyer events. Meeting organizers pay for qualified buyers to appear in exchange for attending a designated number of appointments.
  • Virtual trade shows. An online exhibition hall replaces the standard trade show environment, enabling attendees to visit sponsor booths from the convenience of their desktop computer.
  • Speed meetings. A quick networking (like speed dating) format enables vendors to meet multiple buyers during one event to try to find the right match for potential business.
  • Golf tournaments. A fun way to engage with prospects, reward current customers, and include charitable giving.
  • Seminars. An educational format that enables you to demonstrate thought leadership and feature special guest speakers.

Unsure which format is right for your business? Discuss the options with colleagues and co-workers to learn about their experiences and the budget ranges required for each.

Set an event budget

Depending on your goal, you may be planning an event or a series of events. To accomplish your planning, you will need a dedicated budget and resources, so it’s time to set and mutually agree on event goals, expectations, budget, and measurement with upper management. Gaining event strategy approval in advance will also ensure everyone is on the same page. Once your budget has been set, break it down into categories and assign the appropriate staff to accomplish individual tasks and track correlating expenses.

Hosting a successful event requires a significant amount of planning, a dedicated budget, and some trial and error. If possible, experiment with a few different format types and budgets to determine which formats are the most effective and beneficial to your business.


Looking to host an event? Let PartnerDemand help you with every stage, connect with us.