The Versatile Events Strategy Guide

A well-thought-out corporate event experience is capable of generating an emotional response from your attendees, which is incredibly difficult to achieve when it comes to other forms of marketing.

Creating an emotional response amongst your audience, on the simplest level drives behaviour. So, basically the more people that are aware of your brand and what it stands for, the more they will consider buying from you and the more likely they’ll be to remain loyal.

In this piece, we’re going to cover the advanced event techniques you’ll need to employ to ensure your event delivers commercial value.

Creating an Effective Corporate Event Strategy

As with many things in life, success depends on an in-depth plan and a forward-thinking strategy. To pull off an event that really speaks to people, you’ll need to decide what you want to achieve and how accomplishing this will offer commercial value to your business.

As an organisation, you will need to spend time refining your thoughts, ideas and end-goals into a brief that maps out the structure of the entire event, from logistics, staffing and the overall creative concept.

Neglecting this phase means you’re only likely to create an event that fails to tap into the target market, but also costs you a great deal of time and money.

By defining a well-rounded strategy, your business can create an event that delivers real emotional impact, which provides on-brand messages and produces a bottom-line ROI and a tangible ROO.

Ask Yourself Why

For you to feature at an event that will ultimately be successful, it requires a purpose and a reason to exist. This is why it’s important to define ‘why’.

The ‘why’ in this instance, could mean any of the following:

Lead Generation

Many businesses use events as an effective way to generate leads, because they create a unique chance for sales professionals to speak face-to-face with so many potential customers to build up their sales pipelines.

Capturing this data is an excellent opportunity to showcase creative technology. For instance, the 2017 Cannes Lions had attendees wear Connect Bands, which enabled delegates to share information by bumping wrists. This data then synced with the Cannes Connect mobile app.

Capturing data digitally can make the process quick, fun and straightforward, without the need for physical paperwork or business cards.

Increasing Sales

Events can be a fantastic opportunity for businesses to make sales and increase revenue.

For this to be a success, you need to ensure that you make it simple for delegates to purchase a product or service, which means displaying in-depth product or service information, integrating a variety of payment methods, and deploying expert sales staff, who are trained to make the process as easy as possible.

New Products

If you’re exhibiting at an event to launch a new product, any successful launch will focus on three things:

  • Offering information
  • Demonstrating how the product or service works
  • Encouraging delegates to find out more

The specifics behind the demonstration will vary according to the product or service, but when done correctly, product launches can showcase the experience of owning the product, generating real excitement.

While all events are unique, the successful ones are always those which are defined by a specific purpose, such as those we’ve mentioned above.

Whatever your overall goal is, it must be clearly pinpointed at the outset of the planning stage, so everyone involved knows precisely what is to happen and how they will measure success.

The Strategic Brief

The strategy should outline each crucial juncture on which the event will be built, covering everything from creative concept to the technical details of how everything will fall into place on the day.

This help to establish the purpose, style, direction and KPIs that define success. More specifically, you’ll need to answer the following questions:

“Who Are We and What Do We Do?”

This may sound like an obvious point, but you’d be surprised how many businesses fail to answer these questions succinctly.

For instance, a business may offer their services across multiple sectors, so it’s essential to clarify points like these from the outset correctly.

“How Does This Event Tie-In to Our Wider Business Strategy?”

As with any marketing activity you undertake, it’s a necessity to understand how it will marry with your business strategy. Ask yourself, what is your primary goal, and how will this event help you achieve what you need to as a business.

“What’s Our Target Market?”

You must establish whom you’re looking to target. Think about your key demographics and intended customer base.

“What Are We Competing Against?”

Who are you in the market with, and how does your product or service differ to theirs? Be sure to look into any previous events they’ve attended and pick out things you like and things you feel should be improved.


Design plays a massive role in the experience that an attendee has. Your aim should be to create an environment that gives you the chance to connect with delegates in order to communicate crucial messages.

Your designs should, therefore, support and magnify your marketing message, which will create an experience that prompts emotion, leaving an impression on your audience.

This involves pulling together several different design aspects, which we’ll cover below.

Form vs Function

Form, on a simple level, means your design aesthetic and that which influences the atmosphere, and stirs emotion, by combining space, light, composition and colour.

A typical event will take place in an exhibition hall, where materials, textures and colour will significantly impact the space. For example, using natural colours and materials have been found to create a feeling of peace, wellbeing and creativity.

Your choice of colour palette has the ability to really impact the psychology impression that your audience has towards you – so this is something certainly worth thinking about.

It’s also essential to think carefully about how you’ll integrate your established brand style, which should extend to marketing materials and social media channels.

On the other hand, as the old saying goes, form must follow function. Even the most intricate, beautifully designed event will come to nothing if, as we keep coming back to, it doesn’t help you achieve your business goal.

The more functional aspects of design should consider how you’ll place your exhibition stand in relation to the natural movement of footfall around the exhibition hall, how your staff approach interested delegates, and how those delegates can interact with your event space.


Integrating innovative tech can really help to boost the appeal of your event space, by creating curiosity, interest and buzz.

However, tech itself isn’t enough on its own. It’s essential to think creatively about how you’ll use it to bring your brand and your marketing messages to life. Integrating technology for the sake of it is a sure-fire way to eat chunks from your budget without achieving anything.

Our blog on innovative event technologies features some great ideas of ways in which you can integrate tech.


Any good marketer worth their salt will no doubt talk about the importance of driving engagement, but what does that really mean?

In the events industry, this means encouraging people to participate with a brand, in order to produce a positive, memorable experience that sticks with them.

However, this doesn’t happen by coincidence. It requires careful and methodical planning, much of which we’ve already discussed.

Attending an event is a unique experience for someone since it’s the only realistic way they’d be able to connect with your brand through all five senses.

Understanding People

What makes or breaks your event is: people. From the employees you choose to work on your event, those participating on the day and the visitors you attract, they all play their part in imparting your messages.

Think carefully about the reasons people attend events; not only are they looking to engage with brands, but they’re also on the lookout for networking opportunities with like-minded professionals.

With that in mind, are you facilitating this with areas where attendees can mingle, exchange info and chat?


The exhibition and trade show sector in the UK is worth about £19.2bn in spend every year. With such vast sums tied up in the idea of successful events, it’s easy to understand why it’s important to monitor goals and metrics.

The exact ROI isn’t easy to measure since it isn’t always feasible to gauge direct financial gain. We’d instead recommend thinking of your success in terms of return on objectives. Once you’ve defined your primary objectives, you can then set metrics which will reflect upon the success of your event in realistic terms.

In this section, we’ve outlined some of the data points you can use to formulate your post-event report.

Data Points

The first step is to understand what data points you can use. Then you can decide on which are the most important to you.

The most simple and basic data you can look at is event entry data; then you can ask yourself what time people are arriving at the event and whether they’re returning or not. This can help you establish whether the overall event itself was a success, and whether it’s worth exhibiting there again.

Depending on your technical capabilities, you can also track ‘dwell time’ in certain locations, which will provide some valuable insight as to what the most popular areas, stands and talks are.

You may also wish to collect qualitative data through pre or post-event surveys. This is incredibly valuable information, as it gives you a real in-depth look at the attendee experience, where you can evaluate their feedback to understand what did and didn’t work.

You must also ensure that you’re tracking your existing digital channels, such as Google Analytics, rank tracking software and social media channels to see how your traffic and engagement levels may have changed throughout the duration of the event.


The metrics you choose to track will depend mainly on what your overall goal is. This is the most crucial part of your event strategy as it will determine whether or not you’ve achieved your business goals.

Whatever you’re attending an event for, whether it be brand awareness, engagement or a new product launch, you can measure the event with the same metrics, such as social media mentions, event hashtags, or email sign-ups.

You should keep in mind, though, when you’re tracking engagement, the metrics will vary depending on what is important for your business. For example, if you’re hosting a product launch, you may wish to track brand mentions.

Other goals, such as lead, and revenue generation, are much easier to measure, although the overall target must be agreed before the event begins.


In this guide, we’ve given you an idea of how you may plan, measure and design your ideal event.

As we’ve covered, the planning and strategy behind your event is absolutely fundamental to whether your event is deemed a success or not. Without setting realistic, measurable goals, it’s impossible to quantify whether your goals have been achieved.

We’ve discussed how behavioural economics and emotional triggers can encourage delegates to engage with your brand, and how you can report on these factors.

If you’re looking for any more advice on your next exhibition, then why not speak to us at Versatile? We partner with many specialist businesses to offer complete solutions for eventsexhibitions and roadshowscontact us now to find out more.