How we organize our IT events: a look behind the scenes

How we organize our IT events: a look behind the scenes

Lviv Euro DrupalCamp, IT Sales&Marleting Summit, ConversionCon, Bid&Tender Winner Conference, DrupalTour... All these and many others IT events are “house specialties” of InternetDevels, created by the careful (and beautiful) hands of our event managers Maria and Victoria. We caught our always busy bees and asked them about the secrets of how these events are born in order to tell you about it.

It’s now hard to believe that once it all started with several projects dedicated to one area, which was Drupal. With time, the InternetDevels website development company grew and needed development — not only for web developers, but also other experts. Based on our needs, we started organizing more and more diverse events.

Previously, we had just one major conference a year, and this year we have already held three, and the fourth one is approaching (Lviv Euro DrupalCamp 2016). And between these there were a lot of small ones, each of which had its own purpose. In addition, one of the event managers, Maria, also began to hold her own events with herself as the sole speaker. And it’s just the beginning!

Event managers: what inspires them in their work?

"We are inspired by the creative process, because each conference is unique, although the basic steps are the same and already worked out. But still, there is something different, a moment of creativity. It's cool when you create something new and then see satisfied people who also share your satisfaction from the job and its outcome,” says Maria.

An event manager is a person who is working when the others are resting or studying. This is one of the professions that lets you travel, communicate and meet interesting people. The field is extremely interesting and useful! And any tech company should consider organizing its own events.

3 main reasons to organize events:

  • You are the one to shape your program, so you can train your staff in any area you find useful.
  • It is wonderful advertising for your company, because you speak to an audience that already has areas of common interest with you.
  • You create an image of an active company that seeks more and more development.

Event organizing: a few brief notes about the main thing

So, first there is a need for specific skills, development, acquaintances in a particular area. Therefore, we shape the event’s main mission and main goals, and think about how to achieve them.

Having defined the mission and goals, we make up a list of issues we would like to be covered by the speakers, create the event’s concept, shape the marketing strategy, set the budget, select the speakers, and make arrangements with the contractors. Next comes the event itself, and then is the time for the follow-up. After that, it all starts all over again!

Event organizing: more detailed highlights

Information forever: a marketing campaign

The most important component of a good event are, of course, its participants. As we organize events not only for our colleagues but also for a large audience of other visitors, a lot of time is spent on the marketing component of the conference. We use a lot of marketing tools, but the most effective ones for us are Facebook, partnership agreements for sharing information, and the event’s own website (which of course we build ourselves, since we are a web development company! :)

The event’s website development is viewed as a separate interior project that is an opportunity for development and growth, as well as using new tools and showing our creativity.

Concept formation: considering all the details

Each conference is unique not only in terms of its subject, but also because of the different elements that create the event’s individual style. For example, each event gets its own color: green, orange, blue. We try to create an aesthetic that will let us be remembered and distinguished from the rest.

We are also paying attention to the creative and fun elements. For example, delicious green apples arranged on the plates during Bid&Tender Conference with a note "eat an apple — write a review" had a huge popularity. After the event, there were plenty of social network posts with our hashtag.

Selecting topics and speakers: according to our needs

The organizers’ technical background (for example, Maria used to work as project manager, sales manager, and also has great marketing skills), as well as the opportunity to consult our colleagues, helps us create an excellent preliminary list of topics for the speeches. Having defined the topics, we select potential speakers and ask them whether they can cover the topics we need. Quite often, the speaker list is ready before the main marketing activities for the event, because we find speakers by ourselves and invite them to speak.

This is an important point that distinguishes us from others. We do not expect all speaker applications to cover our entire program. On the contrary, we are happy to search for and invite professionals from all over Ukraine, try to weed out promotional speeches, and rely on those who bring high-quality and unique content. So we find new speakers who have not yet spoken to us but are excellent specialists in their field.

Our own speakers: a special advantage

For many topics, we need speeches from our employees, because many of them have a unique experience in certain fields. The company especially encourages this willingness to share the experience. Thus, at almost all Drupal events, our colleagues are also the speakers. We also cover such topics as management, QA testing and personal development in the IT sphere.

Finding contractors: no place for a mistake

For the event, we need to make arrangements with the contractors who will provide everything necessary for the event. This includes food, printed products, souvenirs, photo and video services, entertainment (music, etc.), and other things that may vary depending on the event.

When choosing the contractors, we are guided by whether a person appeals to us during our communication, how fully they provide information about their products and services, and whether they quickly answer our queries. We also pay attention to their credentials.

An event’s “hottest” days

The busiest are the last two weeks before an event. At the event itself, we already know what to do, and so does the team of volunteers that arrives with us. Everyone immediately starts doing what they should. The team is not only very reliable but also cheerful, so everything happens with a positive attitude.

An event’s follow-up

Organizing an event does not end with its official closing. A lot of work is still ahead: summarizing, reporting, collecting reviews, sending thanks to everyone, and posting photos (because everyone expects that). You need three days to a week to actually finish the event.

We always collect feedback after a conference to see what people do and do not like, and we consider it in our next events. And, of course, we analyze our own activities, marketing channels and established contacts.

This year, we decided to make more experiments, so we tried changing something for each conference — for example, using new contractors, coming up with a new concept, or experimenting with printed goods or souvenirs. We see what gives the best outcome and use it to try and create our perfect formula.

An event’s nicest moments

The most pleasant moments are when people thank us, write nice reviews, and publish nice messages and photos of our hashtag — for example, with our souvenirs, certificates, badges and even with us :)

Some tips for event organizers from our event managers

  • Do your best to deliver a high-quality product, because it is your face, your image.
  • Do not be afraid to experiment, invent something new and creative that hasn’t yet been on the market.
  • Do not be afraid to give refusals, for example, to the speakers, who, according to you or your technical department, will not fit the conference. Do not be afraid to reject the contractors who do not provide high-quality services or do not act reliably.
  • Thank everyone — for a well-done job, for the experience, for help, for communication, for participation. Everyone loves, thanks!

"After all, a conference is more than just about a few people who organize it. It’s about all speakers, all the participants who create its atmosphere, as well as all contractors involved in the preparation," says Victoria.

And this is a great moment to thank all our readers! We hope to see you at our events, which are worth following on Facebook! :)

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