On-time, On-budget, On-point.

Of these three, which is key?  Always, your answer should be time.  Why?  Some would say that a delivery that is not 100% “on-point”, does not make the cut.  On its face, this is true.  However, if it is slightly off-point and still gets the job done – albeit in a new or unorthodox way, then the end can be said to justify the means.  In this same way, delivery under-budget is good for now, but it also means that the next time – thanks to your stellar success – they will simply ask you to achieve far more, with even less, and expect to get it.  Delivery over-budget or with cost overruns is important to avoid, yes.  But, where the timing is most critical, a directive to “get it done, now, at all costs”, shows that dear, Old Father Time, still trumps the others.

That phrase “on-time”, also has a deeper meaning, when it comes to Event planning, design, and coordination (EPDC); Product launch programs (PLP); and Conference and trade show support (CTSS), both for exhibitors and presenters.  To be – on time – in these arenas, should be the watchword of one’s overall strategy and approach.  Let me explain.

 

O-N-T-I-M-E.

O-bjectives, for the exercise, should be clear and defined.  What do you wish to achieve?  Is it to show the product or service, gain a following, or draw traffic for follow-up demonstrations or trials?  Is it to run a raffle for discounted or complementary samples? I will expand on “Objectives” a little more, under “I”, below.

N-iche, means you must distinguish yourself from the competition; especially in harshly competitive, recessionary economic environments.  What sets you apart from the man or woman in the next booth with an almost identical product in appearance or functionality?  What distinguishes your custom and pricier service from the generic, hungrier, leaner, and nimbler competition?  Is it your quality, your location and accessibility, your name brand that has stood the test of time and will likely still be around to service its wares, when others have long disappeared?  Then again, with cheap and highly-functional knockoffs flooding the market, and new generation products coming out faster than rabbits replicate, does anyone really want a multi-year warranty when they can regularly recycle or trade-in, and upgrade?  This ties-in to “M”, below.

T-heme, always helps to set the mood, draw the eye, and focus the mind.  A catchy and memorable theme works best; although when it includes loud blaring music, over-brash announcers, pyrotechnics, and clowns or jugglers, it can drive more traffic away than it attracts.  A modicum of moderation for the moment, is never a bad thing to build-in.

I” is trifocal, and stands for Impact, Influence, and Impetus.

Impact, if and as a positive thing, can be immediate on those event or conference attendees who immediately step forwards to make orders, request a further solicitation, or otherwise opt for an immediate initial or heightened business relationship.

Influence, can be demonstrated, at a later time, on those event or conference attendees who do or do not “openly” show that they have been positively impacted, but who do go on to speak of what they experiences in glowing terms, and so act as your indirect (and uncompensated) marketers to spread good words about you, your brand, their positive experience at the event, or your reputation.  This, is word-of-mouth advertising at its best, and can create a plethora of leads and opportunities.

Impetus, is the excitement built-up around a product or service.  It can start with savvy product placement; those brash announcers with pyrotechnics, clowns and jugglers in a medium where those “not moved” or “not amused” can change the channel or turn down the volume (although I must admit, that some of these ads with changing scenery, unusual taglines, and novel storyboards, have really been quite successful, of late).  That ultimate success in advertising, public relations, and brand management rests on targeted demographic, the depth and breadth background research, and a little luck in finding the right pitch mix, the right pitching forum or fora, the right pitcher, and the right attention-span buttons to push, that will get the desired results time and time again, should be clear!

M-arket, as in the specific market segment of focus, should be identified and approached with an appropriate theme; as backed by deep and broad background research (surveys, market analytics, and common cultural or demographic knowledge).  As it is so often said, you really should “know your target audience,” so that your presentation lands well.

E-ffective cost, just goes to show that the budget is still important, as I always conceded.  However, the importance and timing of the actual task will drive (and sometimes blow) that budget.  The question is, how much is it really worth, and to whom?  The Board of Directors, under normal circumstances, will tend to have greater budgetary authority than the Chief Executive Officer or the Chief Marketing Officer.  One should always try to be aware of just how far up the corporate ladder a planned event has that “invested support”, even though dropping the ball on a CEO’s pet project and the Board’s pet project, can be equally disastrous, career-wise.

In the final analysis, ON”-TIME is money!
So, do always try to be on-time, as habitual lateness has been known to draw “sanctions up to and including (…).”

 

Author:

Ekundayo George is a Lawyer and Strategic Consultant.  He is a published author in Environmental Law and Policy; licensed to practice law in multiple states of the United States of America, as well as Ontario, Canada; and has over a decade of solid legal experience in business law and counseling, diverse litigation, and regulatory practice.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed for their content, accuracy, or availability.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.

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