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B2B Event Planning Lessons: Steve Jobs

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It’s that time of the year again. Apple’s Keynote is set for September 7th, and everyone’s really excited. Apple has created a property for themselves with this event, and there are lessons for us from it. But this will be yet another Keynote without Steve Jobs, who shaped their product launches and personally delivered the keynotes. He was not an event planner, but it’s hard to miss the kind of impact that Apple’s events have had on the events industry. They showed everyone else what a successful event looks like.

His events and keynotes have become so iconic, they defined the tech culture of the time. His ‘Stevenotes’ were structured well – Talk about the problem first, and then show them how Apple solves it, and how they solve it like nobody else does. We don’t attribute the entire success of their trendsetting product to the launch event itself, there’s no doubt it acted as a springboard.

There are many aspects of events that define its success, but there are certain aspects that Jobs looked at which ensured the success of the event.

What can B2B event planners learn from him?

Focus on what really matters

When Steve Jobs took back control of Apple in 1997, he started by cutting back on the products Apple was selling. He optimised Apple’s product line, to focus only on the things that they were the best at. This made it easier to focus on what matters most to the company unstoppable growth.

What matters most to your company from events is the RoI – everything else is supplementary to it. You can improve your event RoI by scheduling meaningful meetings with other businesses. You will be given more leeway to experiment with the other aspects of your event (exotic food, live bands) if you get the RoI right.

The user’s experience is the most important thing

Steve Jobs always put his product on a pedestal, with thousands of man hours spent perfecting how users interact with Apple products. Even though they are a tech company, they garnered most of their success by focusing on the user experience, finding innovative ways to delight their customers. And when they talk about their products, it not just about what the product does, but about what the product does for you.

As an event planner, your main product is the experience that you offer. That’s what sets you apart, and that’s what drives people back to you. So, keeping RoI as your guiding light, you can tailor the experience that you offer to steer your prospects into a meeting room, and into your sales pipeline.

Be a storyteller

Building a product is one thing. But weaving a story around it, about how it’s going to change the world, give people unparalleled convenience, and how that convenience affects their lives. This is a lot of information to process, and they only way it can be memorable is if it’s told in the form of a story.

Event experiences need to be centered around a narrative too. How does your product simplify the lives of your users? Why should they care? You can use these questions to frame your event experience, which conveys your value proposition effectively.

Push for perfection

Every aspect of Apple’s keynotes is perfect. They’ve not (yet) had a gaffe like Microsoft’s infamous Blue Screen of Death incident for their Windows 98 presentation on TV. We don’t see the amount of work going behind ensuring perfection, but if there’s a job worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

In event planning, there’s always room for improvement. Being a perfectionist could be your calling card, and it’s a great one to have. But don’t let your quest for perfection delay completion. Steve Jobs also stated, “Real artists ship”.

Put on an event people want to share.

In our previous blog, we discussed how encouraging interactivity can help better your event experience. If selfies were popular when the iPod first launched, we’d sure have seen a lot of pictures (on Myspace? We don’t know.) People still found a way to show off their newest acquisitions and loved the way the product made them feel.

Your event needs a kicker like that. At least one aspect of it – your VR Product demo, quirky giveaways, the food. The one thing you want your attendees to think when they see your booth is, “Man, this has GOT to go on my Instagram!”. And let’s say you send them an awesome invite for your event – if that get’s shared socially, it’s free promotion for your event!

There are a lot more industry pioneers who can offer us valuable insights into the events industry. We’ll be talking more about that in our following blogs.

Did we miss out any other lessons from Steve Jobs? Let us know in the comments below.

For more insights on B2B event planning and sales advancement, visit the Jifflenow blog.

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