With our expertise drawn from over 3500 international events organized with b2match, we share with you the 6 most important strategic points that directly impact the success of your matchmaking event. After reading through this article – you will have a clear picture if you’re ready to jump into the project, or where adjustments are required.
If you currently are in the consideration phase and thinking about whether to organise an event or not, this article is for you. Events require a lot of resources and before you start investing time, money and effort, you should make sure to check these 6 strategic considerations first.
1. Organise a stand-alone event or join?
The first question you should ask yourself is, do I want my matchmaking event to take place as a stand-alone happening, or could it make sense to join another event, conference or fair with the matchmaking?
- Organising a whole event including one-to-one meetings will need a lot of resources, but you will earn the whole credit for it.
- Supporting a fair or conference with a matchmaking service is done more easily because you do not have to take care of the location, keynote speakers.
For both cases, it is of utmost importance to make sure the participants are well-informed about the matchmaking and that it is properly integrated into the overall event workflow. If you have a question about how this best is done, feel free to contact us and we can advise you on this.
2. Timing, timing & timing
The right timing has a significant impact on the success of your event. Thus, it is crucial to keep several factors in mind before setting the event date.
- If you already have a specific date in mind, make sure to double-check if there are competing events in the same sector at the same time.
- Are there any holidays, long weekends or bank holidays which are likely to affect your target group? If you are organizing international events, you can check foreign dates here.
This very basic research can have a huge impact on your participant numbers. Our experience has shown that similar events taking place in proximity regarding space and time, tend to cannibalise each other. If possible, try to avoid parallelisation of events!
Special remark: Timing also plays a key role during your event. Participants shall have time for their b2b meetings. Therefore, ideally, the layout of your event program has no parallel activities like workshops, pitching sessions or presentations, during a b2b matchmaking session.
3. Thematic focus of the event
As a rule of thumb: “The broader your events focus – the less matchmaking meetings you will have!”
For example, we have seen matchmaking events focusing on a broad range of topics, like one event which covered the topics food, IT, environment and materials. It had 200 participants, but just a few single meetings. The reason, the participants’ group was too heterogenic and thus, there simply was not a lot of interest among the participants to meet with each other.
What does this mean for you and your event? Try to narrow down the focus as much as possible.
When you bring together the key stakeholders in a very narrow field, the likelihood that they want to meet among each other is greatly increased. Also, if you focus on new topics, there is a higher need for participants to meet with each other, because the scope of existing relationships and connections is relatively small.
Example: If you plan an event with a very focused and new topic – like Artificial Intelligence in the manufacturing industry – you will have a lot of meetings among the participants.
We highly advise: thinking about, and maybe even re-thinking the thematic focus of an event is one of the most fundamental tasks to begin with. It influences the overall outcome of a matchmaking event!
4. Targeting the right participants
Even though robots are advancing, events are still made for people! For whom do you organise your event?
- Please, ask yourself, is there a networking need among your event’s target group?
- The second question here is, do you have access to these target groups?
- If you plan an international event - how can you address the foreign target group? Maybe the cooperation with a partner like the Chamber of Commerce or the Enterprise Europe Network can help you to reach your targeted participants.
5. Select the right location
The event location itself is one of the three most important factors that determine if people visit an event or not.
The main question you should ask yourself when considering to have a matchmaking event is – “Can I find a location that is easy to reach?” – also by public transport and from abroad?
Special remark: at the event location, the b2b matchmaking area should be easily accessible (do not spread it on two different floors). And, make sure to have enough tables available for your b2b sessions. You don’t want to close the matchmaking because of a lack in chair and table capacities.
6. Do I have enough resources?
As resources are the limiting factor for any events, you should undertake a few considerations to evaluate if the event project is realizable. Not to imagine, you are right in the middle of the planning phase and run into resource constraints. This has to be avoided!
Enough time is important – the more time the better. What is enough? This is subjective and dependent on the scope of your event. But it has an impact on several factors:
- Cooperation partners: But think about the following scenario; when you ask potential event cooperation partners 12 months before the event, if they want to cooperate, the chance is high that they will be available. If you ask them 5 weeks before the event, they usually have planned other activities.
- The same is for participants – the earlier they get to know about your event taking place – the higher the chance that they will show up.
Costs – it is essential to come up with a rough estimation of how much the event may cost. Main cost drivers are the location, catering, keynote speakers and wages.
Now you should know which topics need further research and clarification, or if you are good to go. If you have any other questions regarding your organisation process, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We do not only cover the technical side of a matchmaking event with our all-in one matchmaking solution, but also advise you on how to best configure and set-up your business event.