Keep asking ‘what’s the problem?’ for smarter meetings

July 1st, 2014

Marketing-oriented blogs, I’ve found, often are gold mines of inspiration and general business advice transcending multiple job functions.

This week I discovered Jeffery Slater’s blog, “momentslater. ” Marketing teams, he writes in his post “Skipping to Tactics,” tend to immerse themselves in working on tactical executions before they’ve fully agreed on what problem they’re trying to solve.

In the events management field, I think we’re all guilty of this—event planners, session speakers, product managers, content developers, and their C-suite leaders, too. It’s human nature to spring into action too quickly. As a result, Slater jokes, “Slowly our ‘to do’ lists grow like bacteria in a petri dish.”

Before trying to solve a problem, Slater says, the team needs to do some serious probing. Slow down and take a little time articulating exactly what the problem is. Crystallize the team’s consensus into a written statement, and determine your strategic direction, before delving into tactics.

At the event planning level, that mindset will have huge implications. Before we launch a series of webinars, for example, do we really understand who are we inviting, what challenges they are facing, and what would incent them to attend? Have we shared those insights with everyone who will be interacting with attendees?

With a written statement of how our event helps solve a problem, we can proceed intelligently with developing effective tactics for pre-event promotions, session planning, and content development. The same approach for problem definition should be applied to each session. Also, by articulating the problem—at the event’s macro and session levels—we’ll have better insights for engaging with attendees and deciding how the event’s outcomes will be measured.

Casey Cote

Casey Cote

Casey Cote is the Chief Executive Officer for Omnience. Joining the company in 1995, Casey established its strategic direction as the industry leader in marketing event management and a technology innovator. He launched initiatives that made the company a pioneer in applying technology to the challenges of managing a large portfolio of events. Casey is also actively involved in managing customer relationships, seeking out partners and acquisitions, and directing the company’s expansion into new markets. Previously, Casey managed forecasting and budgets at Sprint.

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