Marketing Events Mishaps: Expect the Unexpected


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, November 28, 2016

Some event circumstances are completely out of the organizer’s control. The event manager must therefore do their best to best to prepare for different issues and eventualities, as thorough planning is the key to running a successful event.

Article 3 Minutes
Marketing Events Mishaps: Expect the Unexpected

Read on to find out how to prepare for mishaps, so that when they arise they can be dealt with efficiently.

Have a plan

Marketing expert, Katrina Klier, suggests that you:

Have a plan and a back-up plan and a crisis escalation plan. Decide who can make what kinds of decisions on the fly and make sure everyone knows the back-up plan as well.


Through staff training, thorough research, attention to detail and back-up investment, potential problems and their after effects can be minimized to avoid the negative impacts on a marketing event.

Why things go wrong…

Things tend to go wrong when small details are ignored or missed through assumptions and miscommunication. Event management is highly pressurized; managing a team of people, event staff, organizing visitors whilst also maintaining the company's event day requirements allows room for error. Therefore, according to My Customer:

It is not possible to guard against every eventuality. To attempt to do so might well be futile and may lead to micro-management, which is generally counter-productive.


What could go wrong?

Dropouts of guest speakers – Ensure that you are notified of a dropout ASAP by inserting a clause into the persons’ contract. Give them a reasonable timeframe, so that should the issue arise, you can replace the guest speaker with enough time to notify attendees to avoid disappointment.

Guests don’t show - Eventbrite says that:

even when people have paid for their tickets there will still be a certain number who can’t make it on the day. For this reason, it’s safe to assume a 20% drop out rate and either oversell or create a stand-by list, depending on the nature of your event and venue.


Technology failure – Rehearse everything and test all systems as many times as possible. This will help you identify any technological issues and allow you time to fix any problem areas.  

Unexpected weather – Have indoor options, so that if any part of the event is held outside, people can reconvene inside should the weather take a turn for the worse. A marquee would also be beneficial as it’ll provide guests with an outside shelter. It would bump up the price, but would keep guests happy and prevent them from getting wet and irritated, which could taint the reputation of the event.

Role of the events manager

A company can take preventative measures so that event day issues can be resolved rapidly, or avoided altogether. To counteract potential problems, the event organizer should:

  • Urge staff to familiarize themselves with the event planning systems, and to keep up to date with any amendments.
  • Break down the plans into different components, delegate but ensure you oversee all completed work and identify any changes.
  • Make back-up resources available, in case initial processes are inefficient.
  • Encourage staff to review the processes and give perspective on any potential issues. They may spot something that had originally been overlooked.
  • Check the wording of all event advertising is uniform across all channels and that the key information could not be misread.
  • Instill key customer service values in the staff.
  • Identify the potential weak spots, so that perspective issues can be dealt with immediately should they arise.
  • Be prepared for any eventuality.
  • Make sure that staff inform management of any major issues straight away.


Event day eventualities cannot be predicted. Thorough planning will reduce the risks and prepare you for the potential issues, ensuring that you are fully equipped to address and overcome the problem.

“Be prepared. No event is perfect. There will always be issues, so allocate a buffer in your budget for last-minute issues. Think quickly, and be prepared to improvise,” - Search Engine Journal.


Expect the unexpected and tackle mishaps immediately so that they can be rectified, ensuring that minimal damage is done.

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