The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Event: Event Planning Nightmares and How to Avoid Them

bad event planning

How Marketing and Event Automation Prevent Event Management Disasters

As we approach event season, wouldn’t it be awesome if, instead of experiencing event management disasters, we could prevent event planning nightmares? With thousands of marketers developing their event marketing strategy for Marketing Nation Online, Dreamforce, and SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange, marketers are staying up late at night thinking about what could go wrong at their next event.

The heat is on to eliminate manual processes, improve the attendee experience, and leverage as many opportunities before, during, and after the event as possible to create conversions. So let’s address our nightmares and establish how marketers can set themselves up for event success.

Event marketers and event professionals face many challenges when it comes to executing a flawless event. First, there’s the pressure to sign-up as many registrants as possible, then there’s the expectation to give your attendees the best experience possible, and finally, the need to deliver highly qualified leads to your sales team.

But, without the right combination of marketing technology, event marketing teams are often working harder, not smarter, when it comes to planning an event. However, when marketing and Event Automation are fully integrated, event marketers can capture rich attendee data, create a fully branded, end-to-end user experience, deliver a quick check-in process, enable attendees to review their schedule and book appointments, and accelerate the buyer’s journey with timely follow-up.

Nonetheless, there are many roadblocks in the way of event and marketing teams trying to optimize their event planning. Event teams are often strapped for resources, such as technological and budgetary constraints, and must make the most of a lean, mean team to help coordinate their event.

Additionally, many event marketing teams do not have a centralized system for event registration and check-in. What does this mean? Often times, marketing departments must spend weeks of time and hundreds of man-hours on tasks that could be automated. This creates frustration and stress for event marketing teams, giving them the sense that they are doomed for a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad event.

If you’re not familiar with the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, it’s a shining example of wit and humor, and how once things get off to a bad start, everything that can go wrong seemingly does go wrong. With this in mind, we’ve created the top three pain points event marketing teams face, with literary allusions to the classic book.

Beyond a good laugh, we’ve also provided solutions and best practices for each major event marketing challenge. So read away to put your event marketing nightmares to rest.

Getting Bogged Down In Manual Processes

bad event planning spreadsheets


At large scale conferences, event teams are checking in hundreds, if not thousands of attendees. Without an integrated check-in system, intuitively designed event app, or Event Automation, processes that could be automated are all done by hand. So, event teams must then export registration lists in excel, cross reference each list to find duplicates, and spend weeks manually entering leads into their system of record. Doing this is time intensive, requires valuable man hours, and pushes back the delivery of qualified leads to sales teams, further delaying follow-up with prospects and drastically affecting conversion rates.


With Certain’s Event Automation all of your registration, check-in, and attendee information are synced directly into your marketing automation system. You don’t need to export lists or cross reference different sheets to eliminate duplicates, your event automation system does it for you. This enables sales and marketing teams to send prospects targeted and personalized follow-up immediately after the event, increasing conversion rates by 65xs.

Additionally, once you create a registration page or form within your Event Automation system, you can use this registration page to create an event template. Then, you can make modifications and changes as you need, and leverage your template for other future events, and you never need to create another registration form from scratch again. Plus, once a prospect has attended one of your events, their form fields will pre-populate, cutting down the time they need to spend on the registration process and improving the user experience.

Frustrating Your Attendees

bad event planning registration


Let’s walk through the little shop of horrors that is a manual check-in process, shall we? First, your attendee walks into your event and is greeted by a harrowing line in order to check-in. After waiting thirty minutes for their turn, they must show their ID, and event teams must check through their printed out list to see if the attendee’s information matches the registrant’s name. If it does, then the events team must print out badges, if not, they must reprint these badges if they cannot be found. Additionally, without an event app to easily view agenda and scheduling options, your attendees will feel lost and unwelcomed at your event. All of this gives your attendees a bad first impression, which could deter them from investing in your product or services.


With integrated check-in, you can check in attendees easily, with a single swipe or click. In addition to quickly scanning in guests, integrated check-in enables total branding control and responsive design across mobile devices. It also captures attendee engagement, and gives attendees access to their session schedule and appointments. Event marketers can then combine the data stored in their marketing databases with new data captured at the event to facilitate check-in, improve the attendee experience, and maximize event ROI.

Missing Out On Opportunities

bad event planning opportunities


Did you know that 28% of the average marketing spend is allocated to events, but that most marketers do not follow-up with prospects within the first 24 hours of an event? This means that marketers are overlooking the short window of opportunity when they have their lead’s attention. Additionally, event marketers are not making the most of the opportunities to capture data at events by sending personalized suggestions and recommendations based on attendee behavior. What does this result in? A low amount of qualified leads from events and low Event ROI.


With a fully integrated marketing and Event Automation system, attendees can receive personalized session recommendations, and based on their behavior or interests, receive targeted email follow-up about their subjects of interest or invitations for product demos. When an attendee takes an action like visiting a booth, responding to a poll during a session, or engaging in an exit survey, all of this data is captured and enables marketers to accelerate prospects through the buyer’s journey. Additionally, there is no lag time in the syncing of this information, so sales teams can contact prospects in real time, book appointments, and develop and strengthen their relationship with prospects at event.

Learn How You Can Optimize Your Event Marketing Process

Do these event marketing nightmares sound too familiar? With fully integrated marketing and Event Automation systems, half of your event marketing related headaches are alleviated. You can eliminate manual processes, improve the attendee experience, and fill your marketing funnel with highly qualified leads by leveraging marketing and Event Automation. But how else can these systems streamline your event marketing strategy and help you deliver credible ROI?

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