The Power of Small Events

After months of meticulous planning, it can be tempting to get as many eyes on your hard work as possible. But when it comes to events, is bigger always better? 


Intimate events—like this one we produced for fintech company Klarna—can allow for increased face time, measurable impact, and unexpected experiences. 

One person who doesn’t think so is tech CEO Adam Robinson, who recently went viral on LinkedIn for his post about trade shows—and the money he regrets investing in them. “We do far better on small to medium-sized events (where we control the list),” he wrote. “We’re betting big on these types of events in 2024.”

Here at SEQ, where we regularly produce everything from large conferences to intimate workshops, our answer is a bit more nuanced. While we strongly believe that with the right strategy, large conferences and trade shows hold undeniable value, we also appreciate the growing interest in smaller events and, in particular, roadshow concepts that utilize a regional  hub and spoke model.  

According to American Express’s 2024 Global Meetings & Events Forecast, in fact, small events and meetings are more important than ever as distributed workforces become the norm. Intimate gatherings like immersive dinners, retreats, and workshops can offer unique experiences that can help build communities and deepen relationships in crucial ways. 

What are some key benefits to hosting smaller, localized events?

  1. The chance to meet people where they are
    The essence of the roadshow concept in particular lies in its ability to meet people where they are—both physically and mentally!  By hosting intimate, region-specific events companies can tap into local markets with precision and personalization. This approach not only resolves the #1 barrier to attendance, travel budget, but can also foster a sense of community and belonging among attendees. It’s about bringing the experience to them, and tailoring it to their specific context, market, and desires.
  2. Increased face time
    In today's digital world, where remote work is the norm and screen exhaustion is a real struggle, there's nothing quite like good old face-to-face connections.That's where small events shine! They create the perfect setting for quality time between attendees, executives, and sales teams—allowing for in-depth discussions, bonding experiences, and ideally, a better understanding of the audience's needs and feedback. (On the flip side, of course, this means curating the right guest list is an absolutely crucial step in the planning process.)
  3. More measurable impact
    While small events may not always mean smaller budgets, it can often be easier to measure success. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be gauged more precisely when you have a clearer picture of exactly who attended, their level of engagement, and the direct feedback they provided. This data is gold for event planners, marketers, and clients alike, offering insights that are more actionable and specific than what might be gleaned from larger gatherings. It allows for agile adjustments and tailored strategies that directly respond to the audience's needs and preferences.
  4. The opportunity for impactful, unexpected  experiences
    Small events can offer personalized experiences that can't always be replicated on a larger stage. They allow for creative, niche content and targeted  interactions that resonate on a deeper level with attendees. Plus the opportunity to tap into  unique venues or experiences that wouldn’t always work with a larger group. This focus on quality over quantity ensures that each participant leaves feeling valued and heard, filled with lasting impressions, connections, and emotion-sparking memories leading to positive ROI.

How does planning small events compare to large conferences?

With all of that in mind, though, it’s crucial to recognize that small events don’t require any less investment or strategy than a larger conference or trade show. As the American Express forecast puts it, “Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they shouldn’t include the components of larger meetings: Attendees still want to see sustainability, engagement, DE&I, wellbeing, mobile apps, great content, and all the other features they’re accustomed to.”

Just like large events, the success of intimate events and roadshow series relies on meticulous planning, clear goals, and a cohesive strategy that aligns with the larger, year-round objectives of the organization. Each event, while smaller in scale, is a piece of a larger puzzle that requires the same level of dedication and attention to detail as a massive conference. 

Looking for a partner for your next intimate event—or massive conference? SEQ’s got your back.