“If you do what’chu did, you’ll get what’chu got.”
So said one of my business mentors, a great man born and raised in the streets of Chicago.
The point of this “psalm” for event directors is to stay alert to the potential for stale, repetitive event experiences. We’ve all attended events that left us feeling like we wouldn’t mind never coming back. The answer is not a better theme or more expensive gift bag. It’s the underlying investment to make the event easier and more delightful for attendees.
If you polled 50 of your attendees, would the consensus be your events are nice to attend but attendees are looking for more? And what would your sponsors say?
Organization after organization that I talk to tell me one thing consistently: we’re investing in ways to digitize our events.
According to Harvard Business Review in 2021, companies worldwide are expected to invest $6.8 trillion in digital transformation from 2020 thru 2023. And this is not just large companies doing this. Our customers with annual revenues under $5m are actively pursuing solutions that multiply their efforts and increase customer satisfaction.
In the area of signature and prestige events, event directors and coordinators need one solution, not many. And they need ease of setup, along with a low initial investment to quickly prove the value to their C-suite.
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As a proud member of the cord-cutting generation, I’m going to lay-out three benefits to cutting the cord on the traditional corporate event strategy in order to make events easier and more delightful for everyone involved.
Put yourself in your attendee’s shoes. Given the other options on your social calendar, would spend your time and/or money to attend your event as it’s presently constructed? If you could make attendees just 10% happier, do you think they would pay 10% more?
The traditional event experience is laden with “friction,” which is to say the steps from clicking a promotion all the way through post-event follow-up are full of time-consuming tasks, confusion, bottlenecks and frustration. Attendees are so accustomed to “friction” that they rarely say anything. And yet, the unconscious response means your attendees don’t promote you to others, or worse, they actually tell others NOT to attend.
Leaders in your space seek to eliminate friction AND introduce moments of surprise & delight!
Ever been to a hotel that greeted you with your first name or left a chocolate on your pillow when you arrive to your room? These are powerful moments. In the case of events, you can create similar feelings of surprise & delight by providing attendees [WATCH TO LEARN MORE]:
Are you still printing check-in lists or hand-keying new attendee forms? Manual steps delay your ability to follow-up with attendees, causing you to miss-out on new revenue opportunities.
Think about your attendees too… are they still forgetting business cards or missing their own opportunities by failing to write-down someone’s contact info on a paper napkin?
Do yourself and your attendees a favor by investing in a single solution that eliminates hand-keying forms AND missed opportunities. Just by automating your check-in process, organizations cut wait times by nearly 40% and cut headcount in half!
For attendees, providing LinkedIn-like networking tools before, during and after the event do increase attendee interest and sentiment in your brand and the sponsors associated with the event.
If you’re looking to events as a strategy for revenue growth, I’m in! Far too many organizations view events solely as a customer-retention lever. “If we don’t host an event, we’re going to lose this customer.” The organizations that align with my view see events as a customer-growth lever, by enticing prospects to attend or cross-marketing other product benefits, for example.
Events should include a mix of customers and prospects. We recommend your attendee ratio be at least a 90/10 split. However, depending on the event, you should aim for something closer to 75/25. (The lower your retention rate, the more prospects you’ll need to cover the customer churn.)
When you get prospects in the room, you’ll want to maximize those opportunities with features like were discussed above. By cutting the cord on the traditional corporate event strategy, your focus will become generating additional revenue from your events. That can be accomplished pre-event through an automated event email and txt campaign with clickable cross-marketing ads. In your post-event comms, you can pre-sell next years’ event or provide an early-bird promotion to your next event.
If your events are free, then you should focus on generating sign-ups to try your product or meet with one of your subject matter experts about your latest product release.
Events are the best way to showcase your organization, sponsors and channel partners. Now that events are back in-person, it’s time to look forward, not back.
Consider your ability to capitalize on future revenue opportunities that await. All it takes is a small investment.
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