I find it very frustrating to go to events that are poorly organised. I’ve had to organise or attend events many times in my career, and design and present meetings and training programmes. The key is planning. The other night, I attended an event that was a classic example of poor planning. It could have been either very effective marketing to new customers, or a valuable loyalty building exercise to existing customers, but failed utterly to do either. I came out of it feeling nothing but frustrated. The owner of the company (that provides the software and prints my photobooks) had flown over from Australia. I don’t know if she had planned it or her local representative, but I imagine that she was mortified. If she wasn’t, she should have been!
I have to be fair, so there were some points they did well:
- There was champagne. That’s always a plus.
- There were lots of examples of their product. I’ve only ever ordered on-line, and so only ever seen my finished products. It was good to see the other options available, to be able to touch and feel the differences.
- It was free.
But it could so easily have been so much better.
- They needed to decide at the outset if it would be aimed at new customers, or existing customers, and make this clear in the original advertising/invitation. As it was, it wasn’t tailored to either, and so both groups ended up being dissatisfied.
- Registration was a convoluted process, through an on-line ticket sales group. I accidentally registered twice, and there was no way to change that. Considering that the event was free, and with limited numbers, they should have done it personally by email or Fb group. That way they could have provided additional information on the evening’s format, and most importantly, gained a clearer idea in advance of the attendees’ reasons for going, and structured the event accordingly.
- Timing was shoddy. If they were going to have 30 minutes of drinks and reviewing the products, then this should have occurred before 6 pm. And we could have been notified of this in advance. That would have given them time to attend to the two key features of the evening. As it was, three people had to leave before they even got to the second feature, because they were over time.
- Considering the presentation went from 6.00-8.30 pm (though it was scheduled to finish at 7.30 pm), some food to accompany the bubbles would have been a good idea.
- If you have an expert, then they need to have clear direction on how long they have to speak, and what you want them to say. I got one or two useful (I’m being generous) hints from the photographer, but his presentation was completely unstructured. In fact, it wasn’t a presentation at all.
- If half your audience has used your product, then spending half the time showing the audience how to use it is a lost opportunity and a waste of everyone’s time. The software is extremely simple. Anyone who can’t use it … well … doesn’t deserve to use it!
- Still, if you are going to present on how to use the software, then you should have it planned out, with some examples prepared in advance, clearly demonstrating the key features. It’s not rocket science!
- They didn’t think about why people are there. I didn’t go to get a mechanic’s version of how to use the software. I went to get inspiration. I got none. Many of the examples were more poorly designed than my own. Including the photographer’s. One or two were beautiful. But they were available on the website, and so I’d seen them before.
I came away frustrated and fed up, feeling more negativity towards the company than before I went, even though I am a big fan of their product. A big fan. Basic marketing, which is not rocket science either, was completely ignored. I could have helped them design a much more satisfying evening in the ten minutes it has taken me to write this. Sigh. So now I’m trying to decide if I should convey my disappointment to the company so that they can learn from this fiasco or, given that it was free and I got a glass of champagne, just shut up and get over it!