November 2, 2010 by Jeff Hurt
Adapted from an image by Jacky Wong.
Nothing is the way it used to be. Little is the same. Not much is a sure thing.
The convergence of the economy, society and technology has turned the old ways of doing things upside down. The old rules for success have changed.
Your ability to learn new things and adapt mean the difference between success and failure. Today, a new set of principles drive your event success.
You won’t find these new tenets in the professional meeting handbook. Yet you need to know these new guidelines to thrive today.
The focus of most conferences and events has been converting people into paying registrants.
People have been called, hassled, manipulated, pitched, pressured, profiled, pushed, recruited, sold and are totally frustrated with the old ways of communication. Many people are tired of the pitch and looking for the path to likeminded people, their tribe, their community. The want to be with others for conversations that lead them to new ideas, new possibilities, new thinking and new solutions. They want to belong.
Be that one conference that leads people to a community that guides them to solutions and value. You be the one that creates community before the event starts, grow it during the face-to-face experience and maintain it after the event until the next face-to-face experience.
What do people value? Family, faith, friends, relationships, safety, security. They also value things that empower, expand, extend, improve and increase their life.
Conference organizers that focus on bringing surprising value to their participants are the ones that set themselves apart from the status quo. Their value is so powerful and strong that it is unexpected and surprising customers. Value is front and center.
Focus on how you bring surprising value to people first. Then focus on how you bring value to their customers and prospects. Surprise them with a discount when they register. Give them a free eBook or download. Make your registrants’ jaws drop by the value they get from your event. Surprise them with unexpected value and they will tell everyone.
It used to be that many conference organizers were about moving products and services at their event.
Participants now make the conference about their life, their experience, their time. They want the event to move them. They want the community, the conversation, the surprising value, the experience to move them.
If your conference experience does not move people emotionally, then you will never move products and services. Your event must move them with the promise of a better life, lifestyle and profession. It must move them with solutions to their problems.
Move them with images and empathy. Move them with a bond to better dreams. Move them with passion. Move them with connections. Move them with a better future and they will be drawn to you like a moth to a flame.
Your success comes in a narrow niche with a huge market. Being the industry best used to be the cry of the conference organizers. Trying to be all things to all attendees was the path to success. Increasing volume meant increasing revenue.
Today, being the best in a niche area will get you attention. You need to set your event apart. Be the best at your niche, which no one else is doing as good, and watch how it attracts people.
Think about the products in today’s marketplace that recreated value and experiences. Apple iPod recreated how music is listened to. YouTube recreated how video is watched. Flip Video recreated how videos are recorded and shared. Facebook recreated how people connect. Blogs recreated how news and ideas are read and shared.
No one had to be recruited. No one had to be pressured.
What can your conference provide that will help participants recreate and revive their dreams? How can you recreate the event experience?
Move beyond just being a meetings logistics organizer. See yourself as the designer of an experience. Someone that can reawaken and restore passion and purpose in attendees.
What are the most challenging aspects of transitioning to these new tenets? Why are event experiences trumping meeting logistics?
Filed Under: Event Planning
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