My job at Towson requires me to wear many hats – one of which is Event Planner. DECO’s Integrated Marketing Team (IMT) is comprised of five consultants; all well-versed in the areas of website development, social media, print and web marketing, and event planning and management.  Most would probably say the role of Event Planner was made for me, likely because I am the one always planning my friend’s birthday dinners, girl’s weekends, and family vacations.

When beginning the planning process I like to stick to an acronym we all learned in grade school – WWWWW. Also known as the 5 W’s or spelled out: Who, What, Where, Why, When. The answers to these questions will be the foundation of your planning process and they should be your starting point.

WHO: Who are your prospective attendees? Are there VIP attendees? What special needs might these attendees have (dietary, physical disabilities)?

WHAT: What are the objectives for this event? Do you have a draft agenda developed? Have keynote speakers been identified?

WHERE: What are your space and set-up requirements for this event? Will there be multiple locations? What location will be most conducive for the prospective attendees? Is there adequate parking?

WHY: Why are people going to attend? What will the attendee’s take-aways be?

WHEN: When is this event being held? Are there reoccurring dates? Is this an annual event?  Is it necessary to have a back-up date?

Answering these questions will help you to determine things like your event marketing plan, costs, logistics (food, set-up, parking, etc.), and what kinds of local accommodations you might need. The most important event planning advice I can share is this: create a timeline, stick to your budget, and stay organized. There are plenty of planning checklists and budget calculators available online to help you stay on track. I found my favorite planning guide when I was working with the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel for a client event. I would suggest checking it out before planning your next meeting, small event, or large conference!

Starting to feel overwhelmed? Don’t worry; the IMT is here to help! We can create an exciting and effective marketing strategy to ensure you reach your goals for attendance and exposure. Additionally, our team can manage your entire event from selecting venues to coordinating catering and technology needs. We also handle all on-site, day-of logistics. Download our brochure to find out more!

The IMT was specifically created out of a need expressed by our partners in business, government, and non profit organizations and works in collaboration with the other DECO centers that provide IT services, GIS application development, economic analysis, corporate training, and more.

About Nicole Schiraldi

Nicole Schiraldi is the Communications and Events Manager for the Office of External Affairs. Nicole serves as the primary events manager for the division’s events and the division’s student internship coordinator. Her blog posts commonly share best practices in event planning and management, as well as the occasional shout-out to some impressive student interns and their projects.

One Comment

  1. Marina
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Great Tips! Especially the checklist site!

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