Often “it” occurs after several years of success.
Your conference attendance, exhibitors and revenues reach a plateau. Or they start to decline.
Why does “it” haunt and hunt your once-successful conference?
You have never learned how to acquire new business. Or you’ve depended on repeat business. Or you’ve expected new registrants to arrive at your conference website waving cash in the air.
There comes a time in every conference’s history when there is a need to pursue new business and wrestle it to the ground.
The challenge facing all conference hosts and organizers is identifying the people who have the budget and need for what they have to offer.
Lasers Or Shotguns?
Less is more.
The identification and creation of new conference audience targets should be a highly-amplified, coherent focused beam, like a laser gun. It should not be a shotgun approach where the aim is to cover as wide an audience as possible.
Too many conferences try to offer something for everyone. They don’t have a specific target market in mind when they secure speakers and content. They lack a coordinated strategy. They try to be the Walmart Department Store experience focused on discounted quantity offering something for the masses.
In their efforts to offer something for everyone, they use a shotgun approach, blasting conference education to the masses. The content is defined by the whims and concerns of leadership and management. It’s not based on accurate predictors of their consumers’ demands.
You need to start by identifying your target markets. The fewer new target markets you choose to pursue the more likelihood that your conference focus and concentration will have a payoff.
Less is more.
Start With The Need
In theory, there is some existing market that wants what your conference offers. In other words, some registrants (buyer) wants to improve a condition that they hope will be met by your conference experience.
People enter a Chick-Fil-A to buy food, not to browse. People go to a gas station to fill their tank not debate the charge. People go to your conference to meet others and learn. You should start your conference planning with those needs–to meet others (network) and learn (education sessions)–not with the amount of meeting space you need or the call for proposals.
If your education sessions do not solve your attendees’ pain points and problems, they will be seen as missing the mark. If your conference experience does not reflect your target audience’s values, emotions and expectations, your competing marksmen will hit the target before you do.
Your education sessions should meet the pain points of the top three audience segments that have the most growth potential. Your conference growth is enhanced when the number of potential attendees is maximized. If you don’t know who the top three audience segments are, then it’s like trying to sell a service to every bystander.
Remember, you want a laser approach, not a shotgun. Don’t try to be all things to all people. And start with the needs of those top target segments.
What are some tools you use to identify your conference’s top market segments that have money and need? How do you go about identifying the needs of your top market segments?