Three Luxuries You Cannot Afford That Harm Your Conference Planning

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When we were younger, many of us dreamed of changing the world. Nothing could get in the way of our dreams. We were out to make a difference. We wanted to change lives across the globe. Then we grew up. We began to think of our dreams as unrealistic or childish. We see our aspirations of changing the world as fantasy or impossible to achieve alone. We lost sight of making a difference. Three Reasons We Choose Not To Make A Difference If we look deep down inside, we’ll find some reasons … [Read more...]

Testimonials Don’t Convert Conference Prospects

2014.July_Chaos theory!  Teoría del caos! by Jonathan Emmaunel Flores Tarello, on Flickr

You've heard the litany: Testimonials are great third party endorsements. Using testimonials will increase your conference attendance. Yadda Yadda It’s all bull. Two big reasons you should do it anyway. 1. Smart testimonials will make people pause. Testimonials can give marketers what they want...a better chance of being heard and considered. Our lives are cluttered with emails and advertisements. So much comes through every day that we’ve become a nation of skimmers. A well … [Read more...]

Ambush Marketing: 4 Ways to Diffuse Conference Scammers

2014.07.24_Selling jewelry, Cabarete (Dominican Republic) by Remon Rijper, on Flickr

A few practices keep chipping away at the integrity of professional events. Chief among them are outboarding, when companies bypass exhibiting or sponsoring and set up shop on the fringe of your event, and suitcasing, which refers to non-exhibiting sellers who work the aisles or hallways. Lobby rats — non-registered folks who hang out in public spaces, hosting a series of meet-ups with your badged attendees — is also a growing problem. Left unchecked, these scammers pose a major threat to … [Read more...]

Your Conference Needs A Customer Vision Statement

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What is your vision for your conference customer? In case you are confused by the term conference customer, I mean your paying attendee or registrant. What is your vision for your conference customer, the paying attendee? How do you hope to help your paying attendee to grow, evolve or transform? What traits and characteristics do you desire to create in your customers through your conference experience? Those are some tough questions we need to consider. Many conference organizers have … [Read more...]

Designing Conference Customers, Not Just Traditional Conferences

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We are thinking about conference innovation from the wrong perspective. We usually think about conference innovation as something we create for our paying attendees. Or we think about innovation as something we design with attendees through crowdsourcing. We need to make a critical leap. Conference innovation is a way to design attendees! Innovation should be treated as a medium and method for (re)desigining customer. ~ HBR author Michael Schrage. Evolving Your Conference … [Read more...]

Measuring What Matters To Your Conference

RoundMeasuringSpoonsbyTheen Moy

If the only conference numbers you care about are attendance, exhibitors, revenue and profits, you will never be able to understand why those numbers fluctuate. You’re only guessing and planning conference programming through a shot-gun approach if you don’t get serious about measurement. It’s time to stop relying on your gut. Or your volunteer conference planning committee. It’s time to measure what matters to improve your conference. Data Counting Versus Measurement You probably … [Read more...]

Using Empathy Mapping To Create Conference Target Market Personas

Holdinghands-Valerie Everett

We could all use a little more empathy…and a little less yelling! And your organization could definitely cultivate more empathetic team members who help plan and design your conference and education offerings. Why We Need More Empathy For Our Stakeholders Empathy is walking in another person’s shoes and understanding life through their eyes. It is trying to experience and feel what they are feeling. When we experience empathy, we are known to increase our helping behaviors. It’s … [Read more...]

What Do You Want Your Conference Customers To Become?


“It’s not the attendees’ job to know what they want,” paraphrase of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. “Larry [Page] is into making people what he wants them to be—which is a little smarter,” former Google Executive (from author’s private correspondence).” So who do you want your conference customers to become? Adopting The Ask In Conference Design This simple question, “Who do you want your conference customers to become?” can transform your traditional conference planning. HBR author … [Read more...]