Corporate events are important for your business! They have the ability to grow your brand through trade shows, conferences, and conventions, or solidify your employee-base through (internal) conferences, meetings, incentive travel, and more.
Out of all forms of marketing, a live presence has the greatest potential to influence your audience – And that means events.
There are several different types that all have a place on your schedule as you are planning for the upcoming year. Many with varying goals and objectives that will help your business grow.
Also, keep in mind that as we’ve seen recently, most of these events can be transitioned to virtual if budget or other circumstances require it. While goals and objectives are typically lowered for a virtual event, there is a positive ROI to be had!
Most Common Types of Corporate Events
- Incentive Travel
- Team Building Events
- Trade Shows
- Executive Retreats
- Business/Corporate Dinners
- Corporate Golf Events
- Product Launches
Conferences are intended to bring together a large group of people to raise brand awareness, provide education and training, increase collaboration, and much more.
Companies can use conferences to influence external parties like customers and partners, or their own employees through events like a sales kickoff.
Because the goal is to reach a wide audience, these corporate events can be very large in nature, many times requiring a large venue that has the main ballroom for large all-hands sessions that you typically see on the front-end or the back-end of a conference, but also small rooms for break-out sessions or meetings.
Conferences can last a single day or several days depending on a few different factors, including:
- Size of audience
- Purpose of the conference
- Amount of content
- Goals and objectives
Keep in mind that the longer your corporate event, the more off-site events and activities you’ll need to incorporate.
Conferences are an amazing opportunity to produce excitement, engagement, and productivity. These events are designed to produce positive ROI with both your internal and external audiences.
We love these corporate events!
You’ve heard us say it before, but an incentive trip is one of the best tools you can use to increase production for any department, although we typically see these corporate events used to motivate a sales force.
Incentive travel involves a luxury trip to an attractive location where all elements are typically comped, including the resort, airfare, activities, and dining; your attendees are usually allowed to bring a +1. This event is awarded to your top performers – In the case of sales staff, achieving a high revenue number of 15 or 20% over quota is common to qualify.
Because of the nature of qualifying for the trip, ROI is almost guaranteed! Studies have shown that in the short-term you can expect a 20% increase in production, and up to a whopping 44-48% after 6 months.
Whether you already leverage an incentive trip to increase production and lower attrition rates (31%) and are just looking to improve, or you are looking to host for the very first time, consider a 3rd party event agency.
This will be one of the most meticulously planned events on your schedule; spending an average of $4,000 on qualifiers.
Team Building Events
Team building corporate events are entirely focused on increasing engagement and collaboration, and it works for both internal or external audiences!
For external events focused on your customers and partners, consider hosting an icebreaker or other team-building event early on. This effectively takes a group of strangers that might have some degree of apprehension and forces them to collaborate, breaking down walls.
After this one corporate event, your audience is more comfortable and engaged, which means great things for the content you are about to deliver.
For internal events, team building has a crazy amount of benefits for increasing productivity in the office. As uncomfortable as it seems at the beginning, even just one session can be the catalyst that unifies different people and groups within your company – Ultimately making their work-life a more positive experience.
Getting buy-in to attend trade shows usually isn’t hard. (Unless of course, the attendees aren’t aligned with your target audience)
Trade shows are an excellent way for companies to meet qualified prospects and customers face to face. The audience is usually already highly engaged through speakers and content, and many are ready to talk shop to exhibitors.
There are a few options that companies have when attending these corporate events. They can either be a sponsor, an exhibitor, or just an attendee.
As a sponsor, you pay for your brand to be present in some way – There are usually numerous sponsorship opportunities varying in price. Perhaps your logo is on every swag bag, or t-shirt. Maybe you want to sponsor the breakfast or trade show giveaways. There are pros and cons to each choice, but it’s a great way to get increased visibility.
As an exhibitor, you pay for booth space. At larger trade shows, this might be a 20′ x 20′ booth space or larger, where you get a custom-designed booth made and set up various demo stations and invite several of your staff to man the booth. For smaller trade shows, you might only have a table present with 2 of your sales staff.
Lastly, the most cost-effective (but limited) option is to simply attend the event. With the number of people that usually attend a trade show, chances are you’ll network with customers and prospects during lunch, at happy hour, or during a break.
Company executives are busy people and often find it difficult to connect with other C-levels to strategize without being pressed for time.
An executive retreat is a perfect corporate event for pulling your company’s leadership away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle to let them connect on big picture items. This is also very much a team-building event as well.
Usually, a retreat lasts a few days and is driven by the CEO or President of the company who sets goals and objectives at the beginning. Typically retreats happen to prepare for an upcoming year. It gives everyone a chance to reset; to talk about their departments’ goals and also challenges.
The idea behind a retreat is to be isolated from the outside and avoid distractions. Because of this, many organizations choose a cabin, glamping, or another isolated (or semi-isolated) destination. However, that’s not always the case.
If you want the trip to be fun as much as it is productive, you can compromise on the destination and pick somewhere that allows for fun after-work activities for your leadership to let their guard down and connect.
They say the food is the way to the heart for many people and we agree. That makes this type of corporate event straight-forward and very common!
Dinner is a great way to bond with customers, partners, or employees. For a small expense, the time you get to connect 1 on 1, or in a small group is fantastic – This is how you build relationships.
Dinners can be a stand-alone type of corporate event for your team or your clients, or it can be an off-site event after a conference you’re attending.
Corporate Golf Events
Golf is the language of many business professionals. It’s a relaxed sport that builds relationships within small and large groups outside of the office, which as we all know, is when our walls are down.
Not only do they present an excellent networking opportunity, but they are fun! And your audience attributes your company with that good time.
There are usually sponsorship opportunities if your organization isn’t directly hosting the event, that’ll enable you to get visibility while keeping costs down. We typically see sponsorship in the form of giveaways or sponsoring holes.
If you are the host of the event, sponsorships are a fantastic way to recoup many of the costs sunk into the event, while also networking with your partners that are sponsoring!
Think about creating your golf event as an annual affair that people can look forward to year-round, and watch it grow year over year!
Product Launch Events
Most people aren’t aware that 95% of product launches fail! And get this, 80% of companies have introduced a new product or service in the last year.
I was blown away when I heard those statistics for the first time. But when I thought about it, I can remember several instances when I was at software companies (as a salesperson) where I had experienced this. It’s usually discreet as most companies don’t want to parade around the fact that they invested a boatload of money into R&D, and supporting a product that never got off of the ground.
One of the biggest reasons listed for product launch failures is a lack of internal communication. This means several things:
- Truly explaining the benefits
- Training personnel on product information(sales, support, technical, product managers, leadership)
- Creating energy and buzz
Going back to my personal examples, it probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in R&D and product management resources to build and roadmap. In all likelihood, they were fantastic products.
However, the downfall was primarily informing teams like sales and support via email, or webinar. Your employees are busy people! You can’t expect to send a lengthy email about the benefits of this new product, insert a customer reference, and expect it to sell. You need to get your entire company behind it!
An effective product launch event will drastically increase the likelihood that your new product or service will succeed – Consider it a critical corporate event!
Meetings, although one of your most prevalent and important corporate events, usually get a bad wrap from most employees because they are not properly planned and managed.
In the world of corporate event planning, meetings can many times be thought of as similar to conferences but with a smaller audience or duration. For instance, a sales meeting has many of the same goals as a sales kickoff but may occur quarterly and/or regionally to provide periodic training, updates, and motivation. While the sales kickoff is the big annual event for your sales team, it’s important to stay in touch with your sales employees through smaller meetings.
Many meetings fall short of expectations because they don’t have defined goals and objectives, an agenda, and engaging content to connect with your audience. We recently wrote an article on Meeting Management and how you can improve your efficiency that’s definitely worth a read.
Out of all corporate events, think of each one as having a certain amount of potential in achieving your goals and objectives. The more time, experience, (and many times money) you put into planning and managing, the greater the outcome you’ll achieve.
Having said that, there are diminishing returns for anything – The key is to know how much time, money, and experience you need to dedicate to each to maximize your ROI across the board.
If you are looking for an event agency to help plan or manage any of your corporate events, contact us! We’d love to talk.
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Jeremy Sweat is the Sales and Marketing Director at J.Shay Event Solutions. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling with his wife, scuba diving, and triathlon training.