Stretching every dollar: Four hacks to mastering event budgets

Mastering your event budget

Ever felt the pressure of creating a standout event on a shoestring budget? 

You're not alone. 

Kimberly Wong, Senior Manager - Field Marketing, Global Events and Experiences at Paddle, knows that struggle all too well. Having worked in the hospitality industry prior to entering the B2B SaaS space, Kim’s experiences with running events are as unique as they come!

That’s why we sat down with her and discussed tried-and-true strategies to make every penny count and elevate your events without emptying your pockets!

And since ‘time is money’, let’s save you some and head right into the takeaways.

Hack 1: Build genuine vendor relationships

As event marketers, we all deal with vendors who help us translate our vision to reality. At this stage, it’s important to not think of your vendors as mere service providers, but rather as partners in your success. 

Kimberly's approach underscores the value of these relationships. She notes, "Coming from hotels, I had a network of vendors that I rely on for various needs like swag, rentals, lighting, AV, and more. Building relationships with these vendors is crucial because you develop trust in their work quality." 

How does this help with your budget? A better relationship means a better understanding of each other's needs. More open communication channels can lead to smoother operations, fewer misunderstandings, and even better deals or value-added services!

Hack 2: Know your non-negotiables

Every event rests on key pillars, the non-negotiable elements that define its core. Kimberly advises to identify and prioritize these from the get-go. 

She suggests, "Start with the non-negotiables. Things that are never going to change." This isn't just about budgeting; it's about understanding the essence of your event. By identifying these pillars, you’ll ensure that the most critical aspects of your event remain uncompromised, allowing for flexibility and cost cuts in other areas without diluting the event's main objectives.

“For example you know how many people you're going to send on the team, you know you're going to need to do XYZ meals, you know you're going to have to pay this speaker right? When you start with that you get you get a base of what you're going to need to spend.” adds Kimberly.

Hack 3: Tap into community insights

In today’s super-saturated space of B2B events, no one person has all the answers. Kimberly champions the idea of leaning on the collective wisdom of the community. 

She mentions, "Joining an association... you connect with planners and suppliers that become your back pocket." This isn't just about networking; it's about shared experiences, learning from others' successes and mistakes, and tapping into a reservoir of knowledge that can help you navigate challenges, anticipate trends, and make informed decisions.

Hack 4: Prioritize quality over quantity (at any cost!)

The phrase ‘do more with less’ is great - as long as you don’t end up coming off as a cheapskate.

Kimberly offers a word of caution that while cost cutting, you may want to steer clear of cutting high-impact elements too thin, which in turn dampens the “oomph” factor of your event.

For instance, she emphasizes, "You don't want to skimp on the kind of swag or giveaways... if it's good, they'll keep it; if not, they'll probably leave it back at their hotel room." 

This is about the legacy of your event. It's about ensuring that every touchpoint, every interaction, and every takeaway resonates with quality. 

Liked these tips? Try ‘em out and let us know what worked for you? Also, you can watch our full conversation with Kimberly Wong on-demand for more insights!

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