How small event organisers can draw inspiration from event giants


In the grand tapestry of events, there exist larger-than-life spectacles that set the standard for awe and admiration. The CES tech extravaganza, the Coachella music and arts bonanza, and the Oktoberfest beer-soaked cultural celebration are undeniably colossal events that reverberate around the world.

But what if you're not in the business of hosting mega-events with thousands of attendees? Is there anything small event producers can learn from these titans of the event industry? Absolutely.

In this blog, we'll embark on a journey inspired by CES, Coachella, and Oktoberfest, and explore how their strategies and successes can be scaled down for event organisers aiming to make a big impact with limited resources.


1. Craft a unique theme

Imagine you're the brains behind a small event, and you're wondering how to stand out. CES, Coachella, and Oktoberfest each hinge on a unique theme that captures the imagination of their audience. CES, the tech wonderland, Coachella, the bohemian music utopia, and Oktoberfest, the beer lover's paradise, are all deeply rooted in their distinctive identities.

Takeaway: Small event producers can draw inspiration from this by crafting an event theme that resonates with their target audience. Whether it's a niche music genre, a cultural celebration, or a tech-focused meetup, having a clear and captivating theme is the first step towards attracting attendees.


2. Harness the power of social media

The digital age has birthed a powerful tool for event marketing - social media. CES, Coachella, and Oktoberfest are masters of this craft. From visually captivating Instagram posts to engaging Twitter conversations, they skillfully wield the power of social platforms.

Takeaway: Small event producers should embrace social media as a cost-effective way to create buzz and engage with potential attendees. Share visually appealing content, tease event highlights, and create event-specific hashtags to encourage attendee interaction and user-generated content.


3. Collaborate with Influencers

Coachella didn't become a global sensation overnight. It engaged influencers and fashionistas to create a unique Coachella style, while CES invited tech gurus to share insights. Oktoberfest, meanwhile, relied on partnerships with local businesses and brewers.

Takeaway: For smaller events, partnering with local influencers, experts, or businesses within your niche can extend your reach. They can help promote your event, adding credibility and reach to your marketing efforts. Get tips from our blog 4 ways to increase event visibility with social media influencers!


4. Create immersive experiences

Coachella might have larger-than-life art installations, but small event producers can create equally immersive experiences within their budget. It could be interactive workshops, panel discussions, or even thematic décor that transports attendees to another world.

Takeaway: Make sure your event provides an immersive experience that aligns with your theme. It's not about size but impact.


5. Optimise digital marketing

CES and Coachella utilise digital marketing extensively. Small event producers can follow suit, utilising email marketing, targeted online advertising, and creating compelling event websites with clear information and registration options.

Takeaway: Even with a smaller budget, invest in digital marketing to reach your target audience effectively. A well-crafted email campaign or a strategically placed online ad can go a long way in filling those seats.


6. Offer unique event swag

Coachella's merchandise and Oktoberfest's traditional outfits are more than just souvenirs; they're an extension of the event experience. Small event producers can follow suit by offering unique swag or merchandise that adds value to the attendee experience.

Takeaway: Event swag can serve as both a marketing tool and a memorable keepsake for attendees. Think creatively about what merchandise aligns with your event's theme. Keep in mind that you don't have to invest in stuff. Embrace the principles of sustainability and choose an intangible gesture that amplifies the essence your event embodies.


Think outside the box! Bring a poet to your event to craft personalised poems to your audience members.


7. Prioritise attendee engagement

CES and Coachella might have thousands of attendees, but they prioritise engagement through interactive sessions, Q&A segments, and networking opportunities. Smaller events have an advantage in fostering deeper connections among attendees.

Takeaway: Focus on creating opportunities for attendee engagement, whether through intimate Q&A sessions, interactive workshops, or small-group discussions.


8. Create a Sense of Community

Oktoberfest doesn't just happen in September; it's a 2-week-long celebration of Bavarian culture. Producers of smaller events can follow suit by creating a community around their event, hosting pre-event sessions, webinars, or discussion groups.

Takeaway: Building a community around your event can foster a sense of belonging and anticipation among participants, making your event a must-attend gathering. Remember, it takes time and effort to establish your event or your brand as something recognisable. Keep engaging with the community outside of your event, too.  The 2023 edition of Oktoberfest is the 188th time it has been organised!

Pro tip! Even the title of your event can evoke a sense of community. Choose to call it a meetup to foster the notion of like-minded individuals coming together.


In conclusion, the giants of the event world - CES, Coachella, and Oktoberfest - have set the bar high with their unique approaches and strategies. While small event producers may not have their resources, they can certainly draw inspiration from their successes. Crafting a compelling theme, embracing social media, collaborating with influencers, creating immersive experiences, and prioritising attendee engagement are all strategies that can be tailored to smaller events.

Remember, it's not about the size of the event but the impact it has on attendees. So, take a sip of inspiration from Oktoberfest, dance to the rhythm of Coachella, and innovate like CES, and your smaller event might just become the next big thing! Cheers to your event success!


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Photo credits
Hero: Joshua Humpfer on Unsplash
In-text: Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash