The Importance of Date and Time in planning a Business/Non-Profit Event

Despite the ever-changing world of technology, face-to-face interactions and tangible experiences will always be an effective way to engage your target audience…provided you execute them properly.  When it comes to corporate event planning, there are many factors to consider.  While it’s important to understand the essential elements of a successful event, it’s imperative that the “little details” are still addressed- specifically event date, time, and location.  In the grand scheme of things, the logistics may seem insignificant, yet in reality, they truly can make or break your event.  Successful events are a product of 2 things – getting the right people to attend and providing value.  We can talk about providing value later but for now, let’s focus on why an event date should be a conscious and thoughtful decision.

When it comes to choosing a date and time, most organizations make decisions based on venue availability, travel time, length of the presentation, and perhaps holidays.  While these are all important to incorporate into your planning process, there are 3 critical things to keep in mind:

  1. Your client’s schedule
  2. Local event competition
  3. Opportunity cost

 In today’s post, we’ll focus on the importance of considering your client’s schedule

Asking people to dedicate their work hours or personal time to attend your event is already a testament to their interest in what you have to say, therefore it’s only fair to reward their loyalty with an event date and time that accommodates their workflow.  This “sweet spot” will vary from one industry to the next so the better you know your clients, the more easily you can schedule events that fit their needs.  Example: Accountants are known to work tirelessly throughout tax season and are therefore largely unavailable for events from January through April 15th.  While this has been acknowledged by the business community, we seldom take the time to consider what workflow patterns exist in other industries.  This is hugely valuable information that can help drive our target attendees in the door for our event.  Here are a few examples for your consideration:

Technology/IT – People in technical positions, especially in IT support roles, are often busier on Mondays. Why? They’re addressing network or server issues that occurred over the weekend.  Many also have hours that don’t conform to the standard 9:00-5:00 because they’re conducting system checks or updates during off-peak hours, and start their day as early as 5 or 6am, or perhaps work different schedules such as Wednesday-Sunday.

Legal – Attorneys are often unavailable in the morning because court hearings typically take place earlier in the day.  Depending on the type of law they practice, they may also be busier in the early morning or evening hours, because they’re scheduling meetings around their clients’ work schedules.

Non-profits –Not for profit organizations are required to spend the money in their budget by year end and often have funds leftover in Q4.  These monies could be used for event registration, seminars, or other professional development opportunities and they might be more inclined to spend it if they’re approaching their fiscal year end.

Once you start delving into these industry characteristics, scheduling your event/date time becomes a matter of accommodating your target attendees’ needs.  Based on the assumptions above, you probably wouldn’t want to hold a breakfast event for IT Managers or Attorneys, but a luncheon or mid-afternoon seminar might be very well received.  Conversely, insurance brokers, salespeople, and consultants with more flexible schedules may love a breakfast event and view it as a great networking opportunity to start their day.

Taking the time to do some preliminary research to better understand your client’s needs can help you immensely.  It can help ensure you structure an event that not only demonstrates you understand your client’s workflow, but it also opens up more opportunities for attendance in your target market.  And if you do some research and come up empty, just ask!  Your clients will appreciate that you’re considering their schedule and will likely jump on the opportunity to provide feedback on how you can better serve them.  Keep these tips in mind for your next event and happy event planning!


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