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Diploma in Business (Marketing)
Unit 38 Business Event Management
Business event management is one such industry which has grown by leaps and bounds. It is estimated that globally more than $500 billion is spent every year in conducting business events. Even though business events have existed since ages, but over last few decades industry has realized the important of business events. For example today business event as team building is an integral part of anyorganization’s human resource policy. Similarly there are events such as product launches, trade shows, opening ceremony etc. Important aspect which is associated with all such business events is their organisation. Today there are specialized organisations which are expert in organisation of such business events. Business event management is a complete industry in itself. This task will focus on understanding various aspects associated with a business event. For better understanding, product launch as a business event has been considered in this task.
Product launch events are highly critical for the existence of an organisation, this event is even more important in case of businesses which are just launching or establishing themselves in the market or industry. Primary purpose of Product launches is to create awareness and publicity for a particular product/brand. Many industry observers believe that product launch event at times can also determine the fate of the product as product launch is directly associated with the immediate and post-launch sales which is generated for the product. Thus the core purpose of the product launch is focused on generation of lot of buzz about the product/brand. However it can be said that the ultimate aim or target of the product launch is to boost and provide momentum to the sales of the product. It is important to understand that a successful product launch, to a large extent depends on careful planning, preparation and execution. Product launch in fact can also be termed as final stage of the PDP (Product development process), which also indicates and represents a significant amount of investment in future revenue of the organisation and profit for the small level organisations. One must understand that a successful product launch is capable of taking a product into new markets or give the organisation and behaviour access to new customers or geographies, along with increasing business with the customers who are already associated with the business organisation. One important aspect which needs to be understood is that product launch should be seen as a process and not a standalone or an individual event.
Before understanding more about the product launch process, it is first important to understand about event or business management process. Event management can be defined as the co-ordination, planning and execution of all the people, teams and features that either comes together or organized together to create and manage various types of events (Jones, 2014). Event planning is an important aspect of the event management. Event planning can be defined as a process where projects such as product launch, tradeshows, and ceremony and various other business and non-business events are managed (Jones, 2014). Following are the important activities of an event planning process:
In order to have a better understanding of the concepts related to organisation of business event management, this task will focus on conduction of a fictitious product launch event. For example product launch event of a new mobile company in the European market.
Based on below table, it can be said that estimated budget which will be spent for the conducting the product launch event of the new mobile phones will be $40,000.00. It is important to understand that activities related to organisation of the product launch will can be categorized in three main categories which are:
Launch Event strategy
Total estimated cost of the product launch
In order to conduct a product launch and organizer might come across several constraints as well. These constraints are:
Financial constraints: For example in this case considering the fact that the company is new in the European market, and wants to conduct a product launch which is low on budget, at the same time company wants the maximum impact of the launch. Since the allocated budget for the product launch is only $40,000.00 in such situation conducting and balancing the product launch can be highly tricky and risky in nature.
Human Resource related constraints: such type of constraints to a large extent makes the event organizer handicap. For example for conducting a product launch where invitation has been sent to more than 5,000 people there might requirement of at least 100-150 people. However assuming the budget constraint the organizer might be forced to hire only 75 people resulting into unnecessary stress and tension.
Time constraint: This is one major constraint which often brings down the quality of the product launch or for that matter any business event. It has been observed that in majority of the cases events are organized on strict timelines which means that there is no scope of analysing the output of each stage and correcting any mistake.
Technological constraints: Today product launches are not a simple affair. It involves use of lot of technologies such as laser lights, audio video equipment, lightings etc. More the technologies are used higher is the cost of the event. Hence at times organizer might be forced to use limited technology but create maximum impact, which might downgrade the quality of the product launch event.
Knowledge Constraints: Before conducting a product launch, for an organizer it is highly important to gain proper knowledge of the product, and the company launching it. Because creating the overall theme of the event and environment is derived from this knowledge. In a situation of limited knowledge over all designing process of the event might get hampered (O'Tooleet al,2005).
Event Preparation:Thus entire business management of the product launch event will be split into two main categories i.e. research and administration. And the entire management will be focused on three key aspects which is:
Above mentioned functions are the three major aspects which will drive the entire product launch event. Below mention table clearly highlights the timeline which will be followed for the event management, planning and final implementation (Kohli, 2005). Thus each aspect will have several activities which will ultimately lead to successful organisation of the product launch. However following are the key activities which will be part lead to the preparation of the product launch:
Hence above mentioned activities are the building components of a product launch. These activities such as marketing of the product launch, setting up the objective and strategy of the product launch event, decision on venue and budgets etc. lay down the foundation of the entire event. That is why for an event organizer it is important to carefully select and detail all possible activities which can be included in the event preparation stage (Lemahieuet al,2005, pp.28-35).
Product launch planning:creation of launch plan is another important aspect which enables the final implementation of all the launch related activities and conclude the final product launch. Following activities can be considered as part of the product launch planning:
Thus product planning basically leads to conducting the final product launch event. Planning for the product launch majorly includes all the actionable items such as managing administration and logistics, checking all premises and services, conducting the opening ceremony of the launch event etc. It is important to understand that event if the event preparation is done meticulously if there will be loopholes in the event planning then all the preparation related to product launch might go waste. Hence focus of the event organizer must be to ensure that both event planning as well as event preparation are given equal importance so that there is no gaps in the planning and preparation.
As mentioned in the task, the agreed timescale for the event will be 11 weeks before 20.12.2014. Hence following will be the activities and their timeline for the event. Before starting the actual planning of the launch event, and estimating the budget and expenses for the event, it is first important to set up the segregation of the management and operations team. Below chart clearly marks the hierarchy which will be used to conduct the event.
Gantt chart for the product launch
Considering the fact that the event time line is of 12 weeks, hence it is important that entire planning, managing and implementing should be split into various phases. This will ensure that each activity related to management of the product launch is followed up closely and there is no room of any kind of mistake before the final product launch takes place. Considering the fact that mobile company is first time entering the European market, hence stakes for the organisations are very high. In such situation it becomes critical for the event organizer to ensure that there are no glitches in the organisation of the product launch. At times it has been seen that due to poor planning there are several critical activities which are missed and ultimately have a negative impact on the final product launch.
Marketing focus of the event
Objectives and strategy of the project
Promotion and communication plan
Management and Operations Team
Venue and dates
Sources of funding
Programme of the product launch and side events
Soft promotion campaign
Promotion and communications materials
Mailing list (database)
Finance, budget and administration system
Customers’ information service
Registration and stand allocation
Managing administration and logistics
Monitoring participation progress
Checking all premises and services
Briefing all involved staff
Trade fair and side events
Assessing and evaluating results
Considering the fact that the event is a product launch, hence it is important to organize the resources which are relevant to the product launch itself. Resources can be identified as tangible and intangible and will consist of following:
It is important to understand that, not all above mentioned resources might be used for the product launch. In order to ensure that only applicable resources are used, it is important for the organizer of the product launch event prioritize the resources. For example, for a product launch audio visual equipment can be one of the most important resources as it will help in displaying the images, presentation and videos related to the mobile phone. For an organizer it is essential to understand that important resources can be identified as those which are the most necessary to fulfil requirement of the customer’s essential requirement. For example in this case where launch event is planned for the mobile phone, the most important requirement of the company launching the phone is that it should get maximum publicity and people should get maximum possible clarity about the new product. Thus accordingly organizer should focus on the resource organisation.
Once the product launch event is over for the mobile phone, organizer and its partners needs to conduct a self-evaluation of the activities built up progressively during the implementation of the activities related to product launch. There are various methods through which reviews and evaluation can be carried on. For example the participants’ survey which might have been conducted at the launch event must be compiled and analysed as soon as possible. Other than providing a factual feedback, the results provide material for post-show press releases.
A report on the product launch event should be prepared by the Organizer and made available to all parties, including the company that was main stakeholder in the promotion of the product. A meeting with the organizational parties and stakeholders should be convened to honestly review all aspects of the event and draw the relevant lesson learned. It is important for the organizer to conduct a post-show communication and publicity. Press releases and event briefings must be prepared and selectively distributed at local as well as international level.
Project can be considered as the product launch event for a new mobile phone being launched in the European market. Since the estimated time frame for the entire product launch event is of 12 week hence following are the dates for the product launch event;
Thus entire product launch event planning, preparation and implementation will take place between these two dates itself. Following will be the key people who will be responsible for conducting the product launch event:
Product launch event Manager: This person will be complete in charge of the launch event. He will be coordinating between the mobile phone company and the event management organisation to ensure that the expectations are set correctly and both parties understand clearly about what to expect.
Product launch backstage manager: This person will be coordinating for all the backstage related activities. During the course of launch event, there are lots of activities which take place behind the stage and needs to be coordinated well.
Event finance manager: This person will ensure proper management of the funds which will be allocated for the product launch event. Hence he will be central authority for disbursement of the funds for various activities.
Product launch operations manager: This person will be complete in charge of all the operational aspects related to the product launch event, and will report to the product launch event manager.
Contractors: Contractors will include various people who will be hired temporarily or might be volunteers as well to support the ground activities related to the launch event. For example there will be requirement of people to manage the registration desk, or guiding people from parking to the main venue where the launch presentation will take place.
Hence above mentioned responsibility should be able to cater to the requirements of the product launch event.
As an organizer it is important to understand that it is only in the hands of the organizer to successfully conduct the event. Irrespective of the fact that whether the budget allocated or provided by the product company is sufficient or not, it is sole responsibility of the organisation to plan and implement the event based on the available resources. It has been observed that at times event after having more than enough resources, product launch events fail miserably (Andersson& Getz, 2014, pp.148-389). This happens majorly due to poor planning and strategy of the business event. Hence the product launch planned for the mobile product will be managed by three teams which are as follows:
Thus operations team will focus completely on all the operations related activities such as arrangement of the audio visual equipment, ensuring correct seating arrangement etc. This team will be majorly responsible for ensuring a smooth and successful event. Administration team will focus on administration of all the activities which will be taking place during event planning and preparation. For example sanctioning budget for hiring the audio visual equipment, or reviewing the security aspect of the venue decided for the event etc. Research team on other hand will act like a background team which will support both operations as well as administration team.
For a product launch type business event, it is important for the organizer to ensure a proper monitoring of the product launch event. Monitoring can be at both micro as well as macro level. For example for the product launch of the mobile it is important to ensure that all the preparation and planning related activities are monitored by a review or monitoring committee/team. This team will ensure following:
Every project has a possibility of deadline slippage. So is the case with launch of mobile phone product launch as well. For example a situation may arise where due to market condition manufacturer of the product wants to make the launch one or two week before the actual decided date. In such case, there should be proper planning to take care of preponing postponing of the event (Foleyet al,2014, pp.53-64). Logistics and other operational aspects should be kept flexible enough so that any such changes in schedule can be managed easily. In event of schedule change, corrective actions such as proactively informing the logistics partner and making all the other partners aware of the situation should be done.
It is important to understand that no event can be made successful without an effective coordination and communication between the team members who are responsible for conducting the event (Bacharet al,2014). Hence in case of product launch of the mobile phone the assumed team size will be of 80 people who will be spread across various functions which have been highlighted in above sections. Considering the fact that operations is one of the most important function related to the product launch event, hence maximum people will be allocated to this function. Approximately 50-55 people will be part of the operations team. In order to ensure that the event coordination remains smooth, it is also essential to use tools and techniques which can help in smooth execution of the event. Hence devices such as walkie-talkie can be provided to each member of the team, so that they can stay connected with each team member and get real time update about the event coordination.
Team composition will also play an important role in the success of the product launch. For example people who are expert in operations and have proven track record or handling various operations related activities will be the one who will be part of the operations team (Debruyneet al,2002, pp.159-170). Similarly people who are expert in finance and accounting will be given responsibility to manage the budget allocated for conducting the product launch event. During organisation of a high profile event at times there might be serious situations where some team members of the organisation team might lose temper. In such situation it is important to ensure that there should be proper mechanism to diffuse the anger. Firstly, such team member should be identified who have short temper, and they should be placed in teams with other team members who can handle them. In a situation of tension, the event coordinator should have a personality who can calm down the anxiety of people and can motivate them to work in a positive and calm situation. Anger management is an important area which should be addressed on proactive basis. Hence some expert who is capable of anger management should also be made part of the team.
Conducting an event which has limited budget and tight time deadline can result into stress and pressure on the people who are involved in the organisation of the event. Hence Event Manager will ensure that from time to time he will discuss problems being faced by the team members in organizing the event (Rojek, 2014, pp 32-47). For example if an person allocated for handling the gate pass believes that he needs more support then he should be provided extra support. This will ensure that all the team members are not stretched beyond their capability and are able to support the event with a positive frame of mind. It is important to understand that in order make the event successful, effective communication and coordination among the team members is the first step towards ensuring success of the event. At times, miscommunication can lead to major issues in the event. For example, if there is no proper communication about arrival of chief guest, then entire event schedule might go haywire. That is why, first protocol which the entire event organizing team should agree upon is regarding clear communication about every activity which might impact the event. Coordination among the teams is also important, poor coordination can directly impact on the future event and can push the event towards a failure.
Effective communication and coordination is like a back of the event which connects all the teams and ensure that there is no confusion or misinterpretation of the information. Hence smart phone based project management applications can be used to ensure that any important update or information related to the event is passed on to entire organizing team in a timely manner. One major factor in the success of an event or project is its planning. No matter what amount of budget allocated for the event, if there is no planning then it can result into various issues such as, failure of event due to poor fund allocation, unorganized use of manpower to organize the event etc. That is why, from the initial stage itself, the organizing team should first insist on setting up a proper project or event plan before doing any other activity. A well-made plan will not only help in efficient resource allocation, but will also ensure that all the manpower is utilized effectively with proper work break down structure. Overall it can be said that if there is proper planning of the event then there is no way an event cannot be a success.
Business communication systems such as e-mails, databases, digital records etc. are very critical for success of the event. At times it has been observed that several organizers loose the track of all the information once the event is conducted. One major reason behind this is that often information is not recorded and by the time the project is over that information or experience which was collated gets fizzled out (Bowdinet al,2012). This impacts the reusability. For example if the same organizer gets an offer to conduct a similar product launch of mobile phone but for different company, then in that case he can use the information and other inputs from his pervious event and customize as per the new client’s requirement. This will save a lot of time and effort in creating a new event plan from scratch.
Records of communication both internal and external can be maintained through various mediums. Today, digital devices such as tablets, smart phones etc. can be extensively used to record the communication. Considering the fact that event organisation is such task which demands lots of mobility, hence teams should have smart phones and tablets with application installed which can capture notes etc. Thus, any captured internal or external communication can then be shared among the group through a common e-mail or a project blog. It is essential to have clear record of the communication as it helps in maintenance of communication record which took place during an event, and in case of any dispute or disagreement these communication records can be then referred.
Information technology if used strategically can help in saving lot of time and money which his spent on organizing a business event like product launch. For example, on the day of event walkie-talkies can be used by the members of the operation team to communicate with each other, this will help them to save effort and stay updated about each and every activity taking place around the event. Similarly, use of digital displays placed across the venue will enable the audience a better and clear presentation of the product during the launch. Information Technology needs to be used strategically without increasing the budget of the event. At times it happens that event budget shoots up just to include some new fancy technology. Hence only those information technology tools and applications should be used during the product launch which are absolutely required and can help in saving some money for the organizer.
For an event organizer of an event like product launch, it is important that information related to event should be produced and circulated regularly (Allen, 2002). For example in the run-up towards the product launch of mobile phone, every week till the final event is conducted, organizing team should produce weekly reports and progress of the event preparation which should be shared within team and with the customer as well. This will give confidence to the manufacturer of the mobile as well that planning for his event is going on properly. Similarly from time to time minutes of the meeting should also be published within team so that every team member of the organizing team is aware of all the expectations, tasks and activities which needs to be performed.
Conducting a business event is a highly complicated task. There is lot of planning and preparation which goes behind conducting an event. That is why role of event management and organizers have increased significantly over last few decades. Product launch as a business event is one of the most critical business event which requires lot of attention and focus, especially since in many cases future of an entire company might be dependent on the success of the product. That is why event organizers who conduct product launch has to be extra cautious in conducting a product launch, since there is hardly any scope of error.
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Debruyne, M., Moenaertb, R., Griffinc, A., Hartd, S., Hultinke, E. J., & Robben, H. 2002. The impact of new product launch strategies on competitive reaction in industrial markets. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 19(2), 159-170.
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