Engagement + Marketing

‘Smaller Is Friendlier’

Here are three great tips for associations and other nonprofits.

Erin Fuller, CAE, is group president of the Coulter Companies, which offers management, events, and consulting services for associations and other nonprofits — meaning she has a lot of experience with a lot of different size meetings and conferences. In a post on Coulter’s blog, she draws three conclusions about face-to-face meetings based on events that Coulter managed for two of its clients, the International Association of Continuing Education & Training (IACET) and Association Media & Publishing (AM&P):

1. Smaller is friendlier. This is actually stolen from Claridge’s hotels, but rings true. The relatively intimate scale of the IACET and AM&P events made them feel special, and more like a celebration than a convention center filled with hundreds.

2. Bells and whistles might be overrated — both events used a minimal amount of staging, production, signage and marketing.

3. We all obsess over lead time — and just in time works just fine too. Neither event had a long lead time in terms of planning — but the right people showed up just the same. When it is important, people will come.

The whole post is worth reading. And, lest you think Erin doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of meeting planning, allow me to remind you of her last appearance on our blog. This is someone who knows what time it is.

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.

  • omnimeetings

    These are really interesting observations and the theme of ‘keeping it simple’ is a refreshing reminder to many event planners who can often get lost in too much detail.

    At Omni Hotels & Resorts we have seen similar trends. Event planners are increasingly aware of setting up the right atmosphere and type of event to create an experience that is meaningful, memorable, and perhaps most importantly, profitable.

    While there is certainly a time and place for large scale events, there are many benefits associated with smaller niche ones that focus on a specific audience, topic, and goal. Smaller and more scaled down events can yield greater return than larger extravagant events, as they are far more cost effective and the attendees are often more engaged and interested.

    In order to determine if a small event is best, it really comes down to the identification of goals. Planners should ask themselves, and their clients, what is the primary end goal of the event? Is it lead generation, brand loyalty, and/or knowledge sharing? From there planners can appropriately align the goal and target audience with the most appropriate event size.

    Katie S., Omni Hotels & Resorts