What planner doesn’t want a perfect event? And who amongst us in the industry don’t bend over backward trying to achieve it? Probably very few, since it seems nearly impossible to accomplish. However, here at Endless, we want nothing more to help you put together the best events you possibly can. So today, we’re breaking down the three elements that lead to a perfect event outcome.

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Our always amazing host, Will Curran, brings you the essential pillars of event planning. Straight from the Global Event Forum report, these are the elements that can make or break an event. But what are they all about? Well, that’s exactly what you’re about to learn. Press play and join us on this amazing journey towards the perfect event outcome!

perfect event

A Perfect Event: Three Elements That Lead To An Ideal Outcome – Video Transcription

Hey, what’s up, everyone? It’s Will Curran from Endless Events. And today we’re talking about the three elements that lead to a perfect event outcome. I admit this topic isn’t my own. This came from a very long, multi day discussion that the group over at the Global Event Forum had. And the Global Event Forum is an event put on by the International Live Events Association, also known as ILEA. And this is my second year doing it. In past years we talked a little bit about commoditization. What’s going on in the events industry and how do we prevent commoditization happening with our roles as event producers, as event planners, as AV companies, caterers, florists, anyone in the industry?

And this year was the followup to that conversation. Which was talking a little bit more about how do we describe what we do? How do we avoid this commoditization? How do we become a larger subset of the whole business world and make sure that the events industry doesn’t get commoditized? Well, interestingly enough we talked a lot about these three buckets that we as professionals need to fall upon. And definitely how these top two that I’ll talk about don’t get utilized enough. And how we kind of play in this bottom bucket a little bit too much.

A Perfect Event Outcome

But I’m going to kind of explain it, and explain everything starting off with the high level of what we aren’t really doing and then working our way back into what we are commonly falling into as event professionals. So, let’s dive into this and kind of unpack this whole entire Venn diagram of awesomeness right here. So, starting off with strategy, which is kind of the area that as event professionals we’re trying to move into. There’s all these articles and books being written upon how to be an event strategist and how to kind of move into that level, right?

The Strategy

The problem is, a lot of the times as event strategists really what we’ll talk about is design. But really when it comes to event strategy we’re going beyond thinking what color are the linens? Going beyond writing show flows. And going beyond even thinking about what the theme is of the event, and going even higher level. This position as an event strategy bucket of roles, and again this isn’t necessarily just like three separate people or a specific role. This could be five people. It could be two people. Or this could be 100 people down here. But ideally within the strategy role, the person, people, I use the word person, but the role is really going to be focused on the larger strategy of why this event is happening. So they’re going to be really ingrained into the goals of the company, the goals of the organization what they’re trying to achieve, the culture. The larger subset of where the company is going and where is that event taking place inside of that?

So, they’re really going to understand not just hey yeah, we’re going to choose red linens because it matches the theme of fire for the event. But instead it’s saying you know what, this event ultimately needs to sell our product. And to sell our product, we need to do X, Y and Z. We need to get in front of customers, get hands on and things like that. So they’re kind of thinking about those things. You’re not thinking about how it’s going to be executed or what it is going to be. It’s very much the why and everything like that.

What’s The Gist?

When it comes to event strategy, you have to have a really good understanding of larger business trends going on into the entire world as well, the climate of the business as well. As well as the climate of the events industry as well. If you know that for example, you’re going to set this event is probably going to cost us $10 million to produce. You have to have a good understanding of general event budgets as well, to put that whole strategy together. I think we’re going to end up putting an entire video together based on how to create an event strategy, and what that role entails and everything like that. And I’m really excited to see the report that comes out from the Global Event Forum detailing this a lot more. But I think you get a general idea, this is starting off at a very high level. This is a person sitting side by side with the CEO, the CMO, the CFO at the board level talking high-level strategies for how to execute these events.

The Design

As they say, this is going to be the person sitting at the board table for all these sorts of conversations. All right, so you’ve got kind of event strategy, we may circle back to that a little bit more. But the next kind of bucket is event design. And this is where I think our roles as event planners, meeting planners, even producers, tend to fall into this design bucket. This is the person who’s taking the strategy of saying why are we doing this? What’s the ultimate goal? What’s the ultimate big strategy behind this entire event? It might be taking a very high-level budget and then breaking it down even further. Okay, we know that this event’s going to cost us $10 million. The design team and design role is going to say okay I think we should dedicate $1 million of that to AV, $1 million of that to the venue, a $1 million to food and bev and everything like that.

And because they really think that impactful is for us to sell more products, that CEO keynote’s going to be the most important thing. So we’re going to make sure that we have a hotel with a stage and everything like that. There’s going to be a product demo so we’re going to need a separate room for that, and we’re going to need a lot of tables and the people are going to be interacting with it. Everything like that. They’re going to be taking more of the plan and putting it together. I think again, this is why we’re more of a meeting planner, event planner role kind of falls into.

What’s The Role?

They aren’t necessarily doing what we’re going to call the execution, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. But they’re designing everything else. They’re also the ones that are going to come into the nuts and bolts when it comes to that budget too, right? So they gave us a $10 million budget. But we really need this much to spend on this area,” and this design interface is really going to work closely together with each other. And also a big part of that is going to kind of get output out as you see this intersection between the Venn diagram. Is this attendee journey design too that basically the strategy is going to be … we have this idea for what the attendee’s going to experience, what it’s going to be like for them. And then they’re going to be putting together the design for what that looks like and working really closely with the strategy element for what it’s like being in the journey.

So, very much nuts on bolts, building the plan, putting a lot of the pre-production work will come into design. Everything like that. What you might find too is that when it comes to being on-site, the strategist might not end up being there. They might not actually be at the actual event, they’re just putting out the strategy and everything like that. The designer probably might be there, right? Overseeing some things a little bit more. But then it starts to bleed toward the third bucket which is execution, which we’re going to talk about in just a little bit.

The Execution

So, what’s going to end up happening is that they put together the budgets, they design, they choose all the elements. They’re getting nitty-gritty and start to pick out some things. But then they hand it all off to the execution. And the execution is kind of what we’re all used to in the events industry, where for example we are setting up tables and chairs. We’re building out the AV. And we’re the ones calling the show. We’re the ones managing the stage. The ones making sure the catering is happening on time. All the execution kind of ends up happening in this area.

I think this is kind of a no brainer. We understand what execution is when it comes to events. And they’re taking all the plans that the design team have put together, and then executing upon that, right? So ultimately as it kind of says on here, they’re going to be doing a lot when it comes to creating and executing the data portion as well. Feeding that back to the strategy which we’ll talk about in just a sec. But what’s interesting enough is ultimately they’re the ones who are taking that budget of design and executing upon it.

Bringing It Together For The Perfect Event

And there might be a little bit more pre-production work falling into execution, right? They’ve got to put together things like for example your run of show schedules. You have to put together things like when vendors are showing up and everything like that. And kind of that’s where this intersection between design and execution comes in. The production element as we’ll call it. Design, and turning it into tactics, figuring out exactly what are we going to do in order to execute this?

For example, the design might say yeah, we want 1,000 glass tables. But then they hand it to the execution team and they say guess what, that’s going to be not possible. Because all of them are over at the Superbowl right now so we can’t execute on glass tables. What if we did metal for example? And they’re getting on the nitty-gritty.

The Intersections

All right, you guys hanging on there so far? I know this is a lot, and a lot of very broad general topics. But we’re going to continue on down. So, the next one that comes after the execution is the intersection between execution and strategy, which I kind of hinted at a little bit. And this is where very much the strategist has to understand things like data, how to take that data and implement it based on the strategy. So, the execution team is collecting that sort of data. They’re the ones spending the money, while the strategist is the one determining the ROI of that. They’re the ones saying okay, the ultimate goal is to sell more products, did we sell more products using the execution? And they’re taking all this data. There’s a valuation that is happening in the event, the post feedback of data, and plugging it back into the strategy. So you can kind of see that overlap there as well.

Ultimately the biggest thing that comes out of this is the ultimate perfect event outcome, right? Our deal, attendee experience, our perfect event is the outcome between all three of these. Because we all know as event professionals, as awesome event professionals as you are, that a lot of times we end up getting stuck in this execution aspect. People say, “I want this many lights, this many microphones”. For example as an AV company, when really you want to kind of be moving into this design element. You want to be putting some thought leadership into your design. But ultimately you also want to be getting into the strategy element. The big problem with our events industry is that we far too often are charging for this, the execution, the speakers, the labor, things like that. And we’re kind of covering up our costs for design and strategy.

The Road Towards A Perfect Event Outcome

Instead, what we need to start doing is starting to charge for design and strategy separately. And so that way we can start to see the value. So, our clients, our end clients start to see there is value in the strategy outcome, the why we chose what we chose. The design and the creativity that we put behind everything as well. They’re not just charging just for the light, sound, video, staging that we’re seeing as well. And so that’s a big move the events industry needs to do over the next coming years. And it’s a big part of the conversation that we were having at the Global Event Forum is how can we elevate beyond just charging just for execution and kind of blurring these lines and not really ever charging, bringing to the forefront. Kind of letting this be the leader of revenue when really everyone needs to start seeing dollar signs around this sort of area as well.

We see a lot of design, again that’s why the meeting planning, event producers exist. But not a lot of event strategists. And that’s why we’re all trying to move into that event strategy to kind of move into the boardroom, doing larger conversations as well. So, I hope this was really, really helpful for you in kind of understanding some higher-level aspects when it comes to the events industry. And how we can move again beyond the execution into the design and then into strategy as well. How it takes a little bit of everything to be put together to make a perfect event outcome as well.


I’d love to know what sort of things do you think fall under each of these buckets? For example, on the strategy side, what do you think is important for an event strategist to be able to have as a skillset? Design, what do you think is important in that aspect? Execution, what do you think is important? Also, I’d love to see what you think about this concept. We talked about this for a lot of time. We sat in rooms just discussing and debating and coming up with ideas. But I really hope this was super duper helpful for you all. If you disagree though, make sure to leave a comment down below with your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you. We always love hearing your comments. Thank you again for always putting those down below.

And if you did really, really love this content, make sure to smash that like button so we know we’re doing a good job. And if you really enjoyed it and you want to see more Whiteboard Wednesdays, make sure to hit that subscribe button and stay tuned for future Whiteboard Wednesdays. Where we do this every single week, breaking down the craziest event topics right here on this whiteboard. My name is Will Curran, Endless Events. I hope to see you guys again very, very soon and we’ll see you guys next week!


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Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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