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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Customer Engagement Strategy for Boutique Event Planning Firm


Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Customer Decision Journey to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A boutique event planning firm is at a critical juncture, struggling to optimize the customer decision journey amidst a saturated market.

The organization has observed a 20% decline in repeat business, highlighting a significant gap in customer retention and engagement. External challenges include a highly competitive landscape with new entrants offering lower prices, while internally, an outdated digital presence has hindered effective client interaction and service delivery. The primary strategic objective is to enhance customer engagement through digital transformation and personalized service offerings, aiming to increase repeat business by 30% within the next year.



The event planning industry is experiencing rapid evolution, driven by changing consumer preferences and technological advancements. Companies are increasingly expected to offer highly personalized and immersive event experiences, leveraging digital tools to enhance client interaction and satisfaction.

Strategic Planning

  • Internal Rivalry: Competition within the event planning sector is intense, with numerous firms competing on price, creativity, and service quality.
  • Supplier Power: Moderate supplier power exists, as the availability of unique venue locations and high-quality vendors can significantly influence event success.
  • Buyer Power: High, given the plethora of choices available to consumers, making client retention challenging for event planners.
  • Threat of New Entrants: Elevated, due to low initial capital requirements and the lure of a creative, high-reward industry.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Moderate, as DIY event planning tools and platforms present an alternative to hiring professional planners.
Emergent trends in the industry include the rising demand for eco-friendly and sustainable events, and the increasing reliance on technology for event management and client engagement. These shifts present both opportunities and risks for traditional event planning firms.

  • Integration of digital event management tools: Offers the opportunity to streamline operations and improve client communication, but requires investment in technology and training.
  • Growing preference for sustainable events: Opens avenues for differentiation, but necessitates partnerships with eco-friendly suppliers.
  • Increased demand for personalized experiences: Allows firms to leverage creativity and innovation but demands a deeper understanding of client preferences and data-driven planning.

A STEEPLE analysis reveals that technological and environmental factors are increasingly influential. Social trends towards sustainability and personalized experiences are shaping client expectations, while technological advancements offer new tools for engagement and efficiency. Legal and economic factors, such as data protection regulations and fluctuating market conditions, also play a crucial role in strategic planning.

Learn more about Strategic Planning Data Protection STEEPLE

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Internal Assessment

The organization's internal capabilities are characterized by a strong creative team and a reputation for quality, but it faces weaknesses in digital engagement and operational efficiency.

SWOT Analysis The organization's strengths lie in its creative expertise and established reputation. Opportunities include leveraging technology to enhance customer engagement and exploring niche markets like eco-friendly events. However, it faces weaknesses in digital marketing and client data analytics, which could hinder its competitive edge. External threats include the increasing competition and rapid technological change.

Core Competencies Analysis Success in the event planning industry hinges on creativity, client engagement, and operational efficiency. The organization excels in creativity but must strengthen its capabilities in digital engagement and analytics to address market demands and enhance customer satisfaction.

McKinsey 7-S Analysis The analysis indicates misalignments between strategy, structure, and systems, particularly in digital capabilities. Strengthening the organization's strategy to focus on digital transformation, alongside adjustments to its structure and systems, can enhance operational efficiency and customer engagement.

Learn more about Digital Transformation Customer Satisfaction Data Analytics

Strategic Initiatives

  • Implement a Digital Transformation Program: Aimed at overhauling the organization's digital presence to improve client engagement and operational efficiency. The expected value lies in increased client satisfaction and repeat business. This initiative requires investment in new technologies and staff training.
  • Develop Personalized Event Planning Services: By leveraging data analytics to understand client preferences, the organization can offer tailored event experiences. This approach aims to enhance customer loyalty and differentiation. Resources needed include advanced CRM software and analytics capabilities.
  • Launch an Eco-Friendly Event Planning Service: Responding to the trend toward sustainability, this initiative seeks to attract environmentally conscious clients. It involves partnering with eco-friendly suppliers and promoting green initiatives, potentially leading to increased market share in a niche segment. Requires research and development, as well as marketing efforts.
  • Enhance Customer Decision Journey Mapping: Focusing on understanding and optimizing every touchpoint in the customer decision journey to improve satisfaction and retention. This strategic move demands analysis of current client interactions and the development of an integrated customer engagement plan.

Learn more about Customer Decision Journey Customer Loyalty

Customer Decision Journey Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


A stand can be made against invasion by an army. No stand can be made against invasion by an idea.
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  • Client Retention Rate: A critical metric to assess the effectiveness of customer engagement strategies.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): To gauge immediate client feedback post-event, reflecting on service quality and personalization.
  • Digital Engagement Metrics: Including website traffic, social media engagement, and online booking rates, to measure the impact of digital transformation efforts.

These KPIs offer insights into the organization's performance in key areas of strategic focus—customer engagement, satisfaction, and digital presence. Monitoring these metrics will enable timely adjustments to strategies and operational practices.

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Customer Decision Journey Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Customer Decision Journey. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Customer Decision Journey subject matter experts.

Customer Decision Journey Deliverables

These are a selection of deliverables across all the strategic initiatives.

  • Digital Transformation Roadmap (PPT)
  • Customer Engagement Strategy Plan (PPT)
  • Eco-Friendly Service Launch Plan (PPT)
  • Client Decision Journey Mapping Template (Excel)

Explore more Customer Decision Journey deliverables

Digital Transformation Program

The organization's initiative to implement a Digital Transformation Program was significantly bolstered by the application of the Value Chain Analysis and the Digital Maturity Model. The Value Chain Analysis, originally proposed by Michael Porter, was instrumental in dissecting the organization's activities to understand and maximize the value delivered to clients. It proved invaluable for identifying areas where digital technologies could streamline operations and enhance client engagement. The process involved:

  • Mapping out the entire event planning value chain, from client acquisition to post-event services.
  • Identifying key activities where digital intervention could reduce costs, improve efficiency, or enhance client satisfaction.
  • Implementing targeted digital solutions, such as CRM systems for better client data management and analytics tools for market insights.

The Digital Maturity Model then guided the organization through the stages of digital transformation, from initial digitization of processes to the integration of digital into strategic planning. This framework helped to:

  • Assess the current level of digital maturity across different business functions.
  • Develop a phased approach for adopting digital technologies, with clear milestones and objectives.
  • Implement training programs to build digital capabilities among staff, ensuring the adoption of new technologies.

The combined application of these frameworks led to a streamlined operation with enhanced digital capabilities. The organization witnessed a marked improvement in client engagement through personalized digital interactions, and operational efficiencies were realized through the automation of previously manual processes.

Learn more about Maturity Model Value Chain Analysis Value Chain

Development of Personalized Event Planning Services

For the strategic initiative focused on developing personalized event planning services, the organization adopted the Customer Journey Mapping and the Service Blueprint frameworks. Customer Journey Mapping allowed the team to visualize the entire customer experience, from initial awareness to post-event feedback. This framework was crucial for identifying touchpoints where personalized services could significantly enhance the customer experience. The organization proceeded by:

  • Mapping out the customer decision journey for different segments of their market.
  • Identifying critical touchpoints where personalized interactions could lead to higher satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Designing and implementing personalized service options at these key touchpoints, informed by customer data analytics.

The Service Blueprint was then used to detail the service processes behind each touchpoint, ensuring that the organization's internal operations could support the personalized services promised to clients. This involved:

  • Documenting the front-stage and back-stage activities required to deliver personalized services.
  • Identifying areas where process changes were required to support personalization, such as supplier coordination and staff training.
  • Implementing the necessary changes to ensure seamless delivery of personalized services.

As a result of these frameworks, the organization successfully launched a range of personalized event planning services. Client feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with a noticeable increase in repeat business and customer satisfaction scores. The detailed planning and execution ensured that the organization could deliver on its promises of personalization, setting it apart from competitors.

Learn more about Customer Experience Customer Journey Customer Journey Mapping

Launch of Eco-Friendly Event Planning Service

In launching the Eco-Friendly Event Planning Service, the organization applied the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework and the Innovation Diffusion Theory. The TBL framework, which emphasizes sustainability in business practices across three dimensions—social, environmental, and financial—was pivotal in shaping the eco-friendly service offerings. The organization undertook the following steps:

  • Conducted a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact of event planning activities.
  • Identified opportunities for reducing waste, using sustainable materials, and engaging in socially responsible practices.
  • Developed eco-friendly event packages that aligned with the TBL principles, ensuring they were economically viable as well as environmentally and socially beneficial.

The Innovation Diffusion Theory helped the organization understand how the new eco-friendly services could be adopted by its target market. This involved:

  • Identifying key market influencers and early adopters within the event planning industry.
  • Creating targeted marketing strategies to showcase the benefits and value of the eco-friendly services.
  • Monitoring adoption rates and gathering feedback to continuously improve the service offerings.

The successful implementation of the TBL framework and Innovation Diffusion Theory enabled the organization to launch its Eco-Friendly Event Planning Service with a strong market reception. The initiative not only attracted new clients interested in sustainability but also established the organization as a leader in eco-friendly event planning. This differentiation contributed significantly to the organization's competitive advantage and market positioning.

Learn more about Competitive Advantage

Additional Resources Relevant to Customer Decision Journey

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Increased client retention rate by 15% through the implementation of personalized event planning services.
  • Improved customer satisfaction score (CSAT) by 20% post-digital transformation program.
  • Launched an Eco-Friendly Event Planning Service, resulting in a 10% increase in new environmentally conscious clients.
  • Achieved a 25% increase in digital engagement metrics, including website traffic and social media interaction.
  • Streamlined operations and reduced manual process time by 30% due to digital transformation efforts.

The boutique event planning firm's strategic initiatives have yielded notable successes, particularly in enhancing client retention and satisfaction, as well as establishing a competitive edge with the eco-friendly service launch. The 15% increase in client retention and the 20% improvement in CSAT are direct outcomes of the personalized services and digital transformation, showcasing the firm's ability to adapt to market demands and leverage technology effectively. The introduction of eco-friendly services not only tapped into a niche market, resulting in a 10% uptick in a new client segment but also positioned the firm as a leader in sustainable event planning. However, the results fell short of the ambitious target to increase repeat business by 30%, indicating room for improvement in strategy execution or goal setting. Additionally, while digital engagement saw a significant rise, the translation of this engagement into tangible business outcomes such as bookings and revenue growth needs further analysis to understand the full impact.

For future strategic directions, it is recommended to deepen the analysis of digital engagement metrics to better understand customer behavior online and refine digital marketing strategies accordingly. Expanding the range and depth of personalized event planning services could further enhance client retention and satisfaction. Additionally, considering partnerships with technology firms could introduce innovative solutions to elevate the customer experience further. Finally, conducting a market analysis to identify other niche segments, similar to the eco-friendly market, could uncover new opportunities for differentiation and growth.

Source: Customer Engagement Strategy for Boutique Event Planning Firm, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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