Types of Event: Best 7 Event Types for Growing Your Business

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In this blog, we listed the seven best event types that will help you grow your network, forge lasting connections with other industry frontrunners, and expand your business.

In truth, there’s no secret formula to growing your business via events. It's different for every business, and there's no one-size fits all hack. Realistically, you need to carefully consider your customer and client base and understand the audience you want to attract the attention of.

Crucially, it’s about knowing your market inside and out, and tailoring things accordingly. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some basic blueprints that you can use to find some inspiration when trying to come up with incredible ideas to wow attendees with, in turn encouraging them to spend money with you rather than competitors. 

The following list includes a number of types of events we recommend considering as a tool of growth, a top-line explanation of what makes the different types of events powerful individually and what format they are best delivered in, followed by an in-depth explanation of how and why you should consider hosting. However, in summary our list includes these event types: 

Best 7 Event Types for Growing Your Business

1. Networking Brunch

2. Conference 

3. Thought Leadership Events 

4. Gala Lunch or Dinner 

5. Trade Shows 

6. Seminars 

7. Community Events 

Ultimately, no amount of marketing paraphernalia, press releases or cold calls will ever match the impact that can be made by hosting all kinds of event types aimed at growing your business. As we learnt the (very) hard way in more than two years of lockdowns across the planet, people really crave direct interaction with other people.

Isolation isn’t nice, and the more siloed we feel the less we are likely to engage with the wider world on any level. Of course, here at Eventcube we specialise in offline and online, digital, real-world and hybrid events, and the success of our live streaming arm proves that even if people can’t be there in person, they are still more than keen to sign up to attend dates hosted by businesses they want to buy from. 

Simply put, it’s much better to go face-to-face, whether that’s in the same room or on the same Zoom call. When we can see and speak to potential partners or consumers it helps build trust and rapport. There’s also the traditional power of demonstrating respect by taking the time to be present and communicate directly with those we want to hear us, rather than simply hitting send on a mailer.

Convinced? We’re pretty sure you will be after reading the following list of the best event types for growing your business, each of which have been tried, tested, and given the Eventcube seal of approval for use in the field. No matter where that field is found, who is in it, or what it looks like.

1. Networking brunch

Format: Real world 

Good for: Small groups having informal conversations which lead to big ideas 

Whoever decided there could and should be a fourth meal sandwiched (ahem) between breakfast and lunch was a genius. And not just because we’re usually very hungry by about 11AM, no matter how much we ate for breakfast. But brunch isn’t just a great way to avoid an empty stomach. In business terms, it’s the most important meal of the day. 

Using this time to bring people together in a professional manner is a great idea. Networking events per se can often be rather staid, and many people find the idea of meeting new people purely for the purpose of gauging what they can do for them, and vice versa, a little awkward.

Choosing to add food and drinks — alcoholic or non — to the equation informalises the situation, and can really help to get people talking. There are, however, some rules you need to remember.

The main one being quality over quantity, because you actually want people to find the process productive, and the more people there are in the room the less valuable conversations will be. On that note, make sure to prioritise (read: only invite) your most prized contacts for the same reason. 

2. Conferences 

Format: Virtual, hybrid, real world 

Good For: Positioning brands as market leaders through effective knowledge sharing, networking

We’ve probably all attended at least one conference in our time. More so, we’ve almost definitely all attended conferences that weren’t useful in any real way. Nevertheless, conferences are a classic example of event types that can make a huge difference to the fortunes of a business.

Again, it’s all about excellence in execution, but when you get it right you really get it right. Firstly, you need to think wisely about the venue. As the name suggests, conference centres are designed for this kind of thing usually on a large scale, with equipment and facilities you need already on site. 

Sadly, though, such places can also be a little drab and dreary, but thankfully there’s no limit to the different types of locations that can be used for a conference, especially if you’re going virtual or hybrid.  Just remember they need to be easy to reach geographically, accessible, and have the capacity and technology to support what you’re doing.

Programming is just as important, mind, and a truly successful conference has a number of different elements. For example, thought leadership talks, presentations, break-out areas for networking, workshops and other interactive elements. There’s also an opportunity to incorporate some trade show elements here: invite associated but not competitive brands to host stalls that delegates can explore in between the core programme. Agenda and timing are crucial as most people don’t want to sit in a room being talked at for hours on end — a sure-fire way of sending the most engaged and enthusiastic audience to sleep.

3. Thought leadership events

Format: Virtual, hybrid, real world

Good For: Company positioning through knowledge sharing 

Thought leaders often play a big part in conferences, but thought leadership events represent there own types of event that are incredibly powerful when it comes to driving sales. We would recommend not going big with this one, although you can definitely invite a significantly larger guestlist than a networking brunch.

Ultimately, this is all about positioning your brand, your staff, and yourself as experts in the industry, and as such you need to focus on one thing — delivering useful, educational, up-skilling information. 

When trying to think about content for your thought leadership event, it’s important to do some research to assess what else is happening of this kind in your sector. Fail to pick up on what other comparable types of events are taking place and you risk regurgitating what others are offering, bringing nothing new to the table.

Instead, you should consider exactly what it is that gives your organisation the edge over others, then work out how you can distill some of those best practices, innovations and ideas into presentations, without giving away the secrets of your success. Think carrot and stick — share enough, but don’t go too far or you might wind up arming potential clients with the knowledge they need to do the job themselves. 

4. Gala lunch or dinner

Format: Real world 

Good For: Brand reputation, philanthropy, networking, entertaining clients

It’s not exactly informal, but there’s not necessarily a direct sales pitch here, either. Galas are expensive to host and not easy to get right, but they are one of the best event examples that help a great business become greater. Picture the scene — the best and better from your client base or target market coming together for a black tie affair that includes speeches, fine food, and a chance to let some hair down a little later into proceedings, with live music or DJs brought in to help on that front. 

You might also want to incorporate an awards element, or even dedicate the occasion to a worthy charitable cause and ask for donations from those in attendance. Ultimately, the overall aim of these types of event is to show everyone there a very good time, increasing the chances of your business springing to mind the moment they think of a service or product that’s even remotely connected to what you do.

In turn, this increases the likelihood of them making a purchase or placing an order. Suffice to say, then, you want decision makers to book themselves in for this one, rather than lower level contacts. 

5. Trade Shows 

Format: Virtual, hybrid, real world

Good For: Showcasing new technologies and products, brand reputation and market positioning, networking

Arguably the largest of the different types of events we have chosen on this list of event examples for business growth, the trade show is a monumental undertaking which only the most effective organisers with serious reach and impeccable reputations should consider.

Simply put, take over a large venue and invite a load of like-minded companies targeting a similar market to set up stall and showcase their wares. As the brand in charge of the lot, you get to ensure your name is front and centre, occupy the most prominent positions on the exhibition space floor, and dictate how proceedings will proceed. 

The main benefits here are supercharging lead generation by having an already interested audience attending in droves. And we do mean droves. CES, the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world, was peaking with crowds of around 170,000 before the pandemic — a fact made even more impressive considering this is only open to the public rather than professionals.

Of course, you don’t have to go supersize, with some shows boasting just a few hundred or thousand attendees. The basic idea is to produce an event with a real buzz about it, displaying the latest and greatest in your sector to clued up experts, no matter how many passes are on offer. Here, layout is key; placing stands in grid designs maximises space, and grouping them together in categories also helps streamline navigation. 

6. Seminars 

Format: Virtual, hybrid, real world

Good For: Knowledge sharing, education, brand position and promotion, corporate reputation, industry advancement  

What’s the difference between a seminar and a conference, or thought leadership event? Simply put, a conference can offer a broad programme, thought leadership is about inspiring ideas and placing your business out in front as market leader. In comparison, seminars are usually focused on direct instruction and training, and are usually quite academic in nature.

You can apply that rule when it comes to gauging size, too, so think classroom-capacity audiences at the very most, and a university lecture style approach to teaching. 

As a result of this, programming needs to be honed down and specific. There’s no use trying to get a range of specialist instruction sessions in the same day — for a seminar to be effective, it should offer a deep-dive into a particular skillset, so everyone walks into the room a novice and emerges an expert.

That may sound overblown, but it’s amazing what people can learn and perfect in one or two days when the best in the business are at the front sharing knowledge. The advantage to your business is multiple — you’ll be able to promote specific products and services within the ‘classes’ to people who are actually going to need to use them now they’ve been trained up.

Meanwhile, they should have found the whole thing so useful they feel inclined to talk about the experience on social channels, increasing brand presence in relevant circles. 

7. Community events

Format: Real world 

Good For: Engaging with established communities, consumer awareness, brand loyalty 

OK, so we promised you seven types of events to grow your business, but cheated a little and lumped a number of event examples under one banner — community events. Whereas most of our list is primarily aimed at b2b markets, where businesses want to appeal to other professionals they think might be interested buying and using their products and services, community events flip that script with more opportunities to reach consumer markets.

Think a brand-hosted street party, concert, festival, neighbourhood swap shop or jumble sale. Basically anything where you encourage large levels of footfall into a location or venue, maximising brand exposure to anyone who has an interest in heading down and checking out what’s on offer. 

Important factors to take into account here are legitimacy and authenticity — allow your business to be seen without dominating. The public in general are incredibly sceptical when it comes to commercialisation of events touted as community-minded, not least if you’re stepping into notoriously fickle and close-knit interests like music or art, where branding can often be off-putting.

Be sure to focus on giving and supporting the community and audience, rather than simply wanting as many people to see your logo and buy whatever it is you’re selling. Don’t worry, they will pick up on the businesses’ involvement, your reputation will improve exponentially if it’s a success, and people do not forget these things in a hurry. 

Hungry for more event management advice?

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