The magical Memphis marketing matrix

An instant red flag for new events

Back when I was a nicer person, I would often get on the telephone with event organizers.

My goal on these telephone calls was to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by event organizers. Then, give some sage advice, if I was qualified to do so.

Most of the telephone calls were with new event organizers. They had found my website and decided to reach out to me.
One of the most common themes during my calls with first-time event organizers went like this:

"Eugene, we're going to do something completely new and different. We're so excited because there has never been an event like this before!"

For me, the previous statement is an instant red flag! Especially for new events. Not because I didn't want people to be successful with their first event, but because the cards were stacked against them.

Thinking of starting a new event? Here's the advice I emphatically give to everyone ... "don't do it!"

"Wow, that's kind of harsh! Eugene, aren't you here to help people with their events?!?!?" Yes, but not at the expense of good people going broke because of their events!

To the best of my knowledge not a single person I spoke with over 13 years has a successful event today. If you're one of those successful people, and your event continues to grow today, please let me know. This is something I welcome being wrong about!

The most common points of new event failure: far too ambitious attendance targets, underestimating budgets, and a fundamental lack of event marketing skills.

I believe so firmly in my first-time event advice that I rarely take a new client who doesn't have at least 5 events under their belt and 5 years of event financials. The only exceptions are in niche markets where I can provide a tested and proven blueprint for success.

A BIG success key: Those niche events also have other events with a proven market and track record. Not a market that needs to be created for the event.

If you decide to ignore anything from above, it's your event and your choice.

Here's the one piece of advice I give every new event organizer: "Think BIG, start very small and build up to something great!" Back then it was just, "think big, start small!"

Start by getting 10 to 100 paid people to attend your first event, not 10,000. At least break even on your budget and know what marketing works. When you hit that initial (small) goal, then increase your attendance targets by 25%-50%. Take the lessons learned and grow slowly & smartly.

You might be saying to yourself, "Eugene that seems like a long and tedious process!" You'd be correct. Many of the people I gave the advice to were offended by my "start small" suggestion.

I still stand by my new event advice. Starting small is the single best way to understand your market without risking your pocketbook or that of your organization.