“Anything is possible with a plan” – Sharon Bonner

Imagine this. You and your team sit down to plan your first big corporate event. During the meeting, you realize how much there is to be done. Between deciding on a budget, finding the perfect venue, booking caterers, picking an appropriate theme and decor, and a million other things, you start to get really overwhelmed by the magnitude of tasks that need to be executed to move forward with your event. As a result, your team decides to reach out to a professional who could help out with the planning process for the event (an extremely smart move on your part!).

A simple Google search brings up a giant list of event companies that you could work with, where you see a number of titles like, but not limited to, ‘event production agency’, ‘event consultant’, ‘event management company’. All the terms seem quite similar at first glance, but in reality, they are very different service providers. How do you know what is the best fit for you and your needs? 

As an event veteran who has spent more than three decades running an event production agency, I have noticed that a lot of my clients have a common misconception that Event Production and Event Consulting are the same thing. So, in this chapter, let us dig deeper into what each of these services entails and how they are different from one another. We will show you how to figure out exactly what you need. 

What is Event Production?

Event production, theoretically, is the strategic planning, coordination and implementation of all elements of an event from start to finish.  

In practice, it usually involves, but is not limited to, the following services:

  • A-Z event planning and implementation of tasks (including day-of-event support and post-event debriefing synopsis)
  • Venue research, selection and contract negotiation
  • Creating a working event budget
  • Booking event vendors, managing their contracts, permits, insurance, etc.
  • Theme development & design strategy
  • Event documentation such as scaled floor plans, show flows, production schedules
  • Hiring of event personnel
  • Onsite event management. 
  • Data analytics management
  • Measurement of the return of investment (ROI) on the event.

What is Event Consulting? 

Usually mistaken to be the same as Event Production, Event Consulting is a service that provides you with exactly what you need. It focuses on components of your event by providing guidance to navigate critical areas like budgeting, setting timelines, event branding and marketing etc.

A non exhaustive list of services provided by an Event Consultant includes:

  • Access to their extensive network of event professionals to choose top-quality event vendors.
  • Development of a production schedule and foreshadowing of any unexpected risk.
  • Development of a unique and customized critical path that will map out your entire event project.
  • Finalizing a personalized event plan that suits the event’s objectives and vision.
  • Preparation of an event estimate that optimizes your budget.
  • Setting of relevant KPIs and development of an in-depth marketing strategy.
  • Venue research and selection

Note: An important point to note here is that although your Event Consultant might help you select the perfect venue and vendors for your event, the booking and management of all service contracts is the responsibility of your in-house event personnel.

Thus, if you compare the list of services provided by an Event Consultant vs an Event Producer, you see that the two, though related, are significantly different from one another.

Event Consulting or Event Production? Which one to choose?

I like to think of Event Consulting as a part of the Event Production cycle. This is because a majority of the planning and strategic aspects of the production cycle fall under the scope of this. Event Consultants use their extensive industry experience to create successful event strategies that meet your event’s objectives. These strategies are then used by you and your in-house team to implement the steps of the Production Cycle independently.

It can be quite useful to have an Event Consultant on hand when planning an event, especially because of the great amount of industry knowledge and prior experience they bring to the table. This makes them assets when it comes to budgeting because they know which aspects of the event are more costly. A good Event Consultant will help you allocate your money accordingly to optimize the budget. Their prior experience also proves handy for the creation of airtight production timelines that makes it easier for your team to stay on track and meet all task deadlines effectively.

Another valuable quality of good Event Consultants is their ability to think outside the box. We use our innovation to provide the best value to you, while keeping your constraints and deadlines in mind. This makes us the best decision-makers for an event theme that would fit your company’s corporate culture and event type. When done tastefully, an event can be deemed successful in achieving business objectives, while also entertaining for the attendees.

If you read nothing else, read this:

  • Determine how skilled your event team is at planning events and be honest with yourself where you need help
  • Take advantage of the FREE consultation with an Event Consultant to identify what services you really need
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to your Event Consultant during the planning cycle if you need assistance on something you thought your team could handle in house

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