Corporate event planning is a challenging task that requires a considerable amount of effort. Even the most experienced event organizers need a team of professionals and experts to help them pull it off seamlessly.

In addition, an efficient event management platform equipped with all the necessary tools is crucial to ensure the success of the event, whether it is virtual, in-person, or hybrid.

With 2023 promising more exciting and informative events for attendees, it’s time to gather inspiration from these corporate event planning tips. These best practices and tricks of the trade will empower you to plan, execute, and follow up on your next event with confidence and enthusiasm.

The ins and outs of planning a corporate event

It’s important to understand what a corporate event is before we offer relevant corporate event planning tips. Here is a handful of examples, all of which could be considered a corporate event:

Types of corporate events

The term corporate event really refers to any type of event hosted, funded, or sponsored by a corporate entity. These events can range in size and include anywhere from 50 attendees to thousands. Corporate events often fall under the following familiar formats:

  • Conferences
  • Trade shows
  • Exhibitions
  • Shareholder meetings
  • Product launch events
  • Team building
  • Workshops
  • Experiential events

These types of events focus on either hosting the corporation’s employees, or clients, potential clients, and stakeholders.

When a corporate event hosts employees, it produces value by facilitating a healthy company culture, encouraging employee engagement, and helping your employees develop strong professional relationships with each other and your business.

And when held for clients, potential clients, and stakeholders, corporate events help generate and nurture leads, increase brand awareness and loyalty, and strengthen relationships with investors.

The challenges of planning a corporate event

The tremendous undertaking of planning a corporate event—no matter its size—means there are some challenges that event planners will have to navigate.

Address obstacles and potential roadblocks as soon as possible to reduce any surprises or delays. It’s common for events with this much eagerness to see thousands of attendees—and if they’re taking time to purchase a ticket, travel, or sign on and dedicate a portion of their day—they deserve a top-notch experience.

Here are some of the top challenges event organizers face when planning a corporate event:

  • Meeting event budget
  • Producing meaningful event content
  • Retaining attendees’ attention
  • Adhering to strict timelines
  • Running into unexpected technological issues
  • Handling logistics

To help you expertly maneuver these challenges and to reduce your risk of encountering them after the event doors open, it’s best practice to have a comprehensive plan in place.

The five C’s of corporate event planning

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Event planners should keep the five C’s of corporate event planning in mind when building out their agendas:

  • Concept: What is the event? Think about who this particular corporate event is for and why you’re planning it. What’s the event theme? Outline the basics of who, what, why, and how.
  • Coordination: After conceptualizing, you’ll need to coordinate important details, such as the date, time, and location of the event. Getting these ducks in a row as soon as possible is the goal, so the marketing team can start rolling out pre-event marketing content.
  • Control: This one is pretty straightforward, but often overlooked. As the event planner, you have (a lot of, but not entire) control over the experience, so it’s your responsibility to make sure that everything you’re planning is feasible.
  • Culmination: This C is for event day. Everything you’ve planned for has culminated to this moment, and you need to stay on top of every detail to ensure the event stays functioning throughout its duration. Your team should have their assignments, and your backup plans should be in place.
  • Closeout: This last C is inclusive of everything that you’ll need to do post-event, such as following up with vendors, receiving and providing feedback, and executing your post-event engagement strategy.

Now that you’re aware of the five C’s of corporate event planning, let us highlight some essential tips for each step in the process. These tips can help keep you on track, hold you accountable, and ensure you’re in the best position possible to deliver an exceptional and successful event.

1. Concept and coordination

All five of these steps are important, but the first two—concept and coordination—help guide what’s to come. When you know what type of corporate event you want to plan, as well as where, why, and how you’re going to make that happen, it becomes a touch easier to accomplish the rest of the steps with confidence.

Set goals and objectives

It can be easy to get overambitious about what you hope to achieve with your event. While that optimism is great, it’s important to make sure that the goals you’re setting are realistic and can be easily measured. One straightforward way to do that is by making your goals “smart”:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

By following this simple goal and objective rule, you’ll be in a good position to hit your marks.

Confirm your budget

It can be hard to plan an extravagant event when there’s uncertainty afoot about how much money you’re able to spend. Get confirmation about any and all budget-related matters before you start planning.

It’s much easier to plan according to your budget than to readjust plans later if something doesn’t align. Once you have that number, use these tips to stick to it:

  • Research everything, including venues, sponsors, speakers, and event management platforms, and consider their costs to ensure you’re making reasonable decisions.
  • Start planning as early as possible to leave yourself enough breathing room to make changes if problems arise or priorities shift.
  • Prioritize activities and experiences based on how important they are to the event theme, or how likely they are to help you achieve your event goals.

Research your target audience

Knowing your target audience is important to ensure that the planned event activities resonate with attendees and encourage engagement. If you’ve hosted a swath of events before, this planning aspect may be a bit easier. However, if you’re unsure who the target audience is or should be, consider these tips:

  • Analyze your past event attendees and consider how they may be similar or different to this new event.
  • Dig into your competitors’ target audience and analyze their strategies.
  • Create an attendee persona.
  • Send out a survey to your contacts.

Choose the perfect venue

People mingling in front of large window overlooking city view of Chicago

This is one of the more important considerations when planning a corporate event. In order to choose the right venue, you need to know approximately how many attendees are expected. Even if you’re planning something fully virtual, you need to ensure you have adequate bandwidth to host everybody. When choosing the perfect venue:

  • Consider its location.
  • Be mindful of its size.
  • Ensure it offers ample amenities and services.
  • Consider its accessibility features.

Begin promoting the event

Closeup up hands holding cell phones with various like, comment, and emoji notification popups

Get started with event marketing sooner rather than later to decrease hiccups in the process. The earlier you conceptualize and coordinate the experience, the faster you’ll be able to build anticipation with event marketing content.

Consider these event promotion tips:

  • Take advantage of social media and hashtags.
  • Create an event website.
  • Consider offering incentives, such as early bird specials and discounts.

Corporate event planning: Control and culmination

Yes, as the event planner, you’re in control. But don’t go overboard! Once things are in motion, you shouldn’t force experiences on anyone. Instead, manage the event flow, track real-time metrics, and support the rest of your team as best you can.

It’s cliche, but: When hosting an event, it’s a general best practice to hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

Here are some things you can do during these preliminarily control and culmination planning stages:

Manage logistics

Logistics are a major part of event planning, so it’s important to pay extra attention here. When you get the logistics right, everything should run according to your plan. Consider the following when thinking about event logistics:

  • Assign the right team members to the right tasks.
  • Align with vendors on logistical expectations.
  • If at a physical venue, conduct a tour for event staff.
  • Make sure signage throughout the venue is adequate and displayed appropriately.
  • Have a communications plan in place.

Measure real-time performance

Aside from being a great way to heighten the corporate event experience for attendees by being a hub for important information and gamification techniques, organizers can delight in a mobile event app, too. Taking advantage of a mobile event app puts real-time data and insights into the palm of event organizers’ hands to facilitate important event decisions.

Facilitate the production

As an event organizer, one of the best things you can do during the event is to help facilitate its production. Continually check in with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page and performing their assigned duties. This helps optimize production flow while minimizing preventable mistakes.

Corporate event planning: Closeout

When an event concludes, it’s not really over. There’s still much work to be done post-event to take full advantage of everything you’ve gained as a result of hosting such a successful experience. Consider the following as you close out the event:

Evaluate the budget

By measuring ROI and evaluating the total amount spent after the event ends, you can optimize your budget for your next corporate event. Our best tip here is to keep organized documents, spreadsheets, and records of all expenses.

Gather feedback

person asking question at an event

Feedback is valuable, especially for corporate events. It helps you understand what went well, the activities that attendees enjoyed, and whether or not the amenities provided were sufficient. Beyond that, feedback can also give us insight into areas that could use improvement.

Here are some ideas for gathering post-event feedback:

  • Send out a post-event survey that asks both general questions and questions about specific activities.
  • Keep an eye on social media and track what people say about the event.
  • Have a conversation with attendees and ask them their thoughts.

Improve future event experiences and performance

The information you gather through your closeout and post-event efforts, including any feedback, budget details, and attendee data, can be used to your advantage.

Organize all of that valuable data into spreadsheets, and refer back to it during the concept and coordination phases of future events.

Why your corporate event needs event management software

Planning a successful corporate event requires a lot of time and effort, but using these corporate event planning tips can help make it easier—or at least a little less stressful.

When planning your next corporate event, remember the five C’s:

  • Concept
  • Coordination
  • Control
  • Culmination
  • Closeout

Working through your event planning process in this order—and keeping the tips we provided in mind— helps set you up for success.

And you don’t have to shoulder it on your own. In addition to your talented event planning team and like-minded event professionals, an event management platform, like Webex Events, can help further smooth the process from start to finish.

Webex Events offers a comprehensive, end-to-end event solution with branding, engagement, reporting, and more features to drive better results for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.