The conference market is saturated with commoditized information-driven attendee experiences.
Most conferences are nothing more than status-quo, average, predictable information overloaded experiences. They reek of sameness.
After you’ve attended a conference for the first time, it loses its freshness and excitement. It feels too familiar.
Focus On Creating The Attendee’s Experience
So how can a conference set itself apart from other commoditized experiences?
Reconnect with its conference attendees in a new, fresh, unique way! Get creative with the attendee’s conference experience.
This means that organizers need to focus on designing that attendee’s experience.
How do you do that?
You consider each moment of engagement your registrants’ have at the conference. How does it feel? What does it look like? What will attendees do? What are the emotions, ideas and memories these touchpoints will create between the registrant and your conference?
Creating An Emotional Bond With Attendees
Creating a loyal attendee that returns to your event year after year requires a long term investment. It requires commitment to the goal.
Why long term commitment? Because short-term financial investments are difficult to quantify. This means you need to focus on the life-time value of your paying attendee. That requires creating an emotional connection with your attendee.
To create an emotional bond with an attendee, you as a conference organizer need to:
You need to reconnect with your registrants to glean new insights. You have to ask different questions than you normally do. You need to do a competitor analysis from the view of your attendee not your organization’s perspective. And you need to change you conference satisfaction survey.
2. Identify Your Conference’s Heart Values
What makes your conference unique from your competitor’s conference? Identify those and the heart, the mission of your conference. These should also be tied to your target market.
3. Create An Incomparable Conference Attendee Promise
Now armed with your attendee intelligence and your conference’s heart values, create an extraordinary conference attendee promise. This promise should be based on what customers really want.
Note: Remember, just because some of your attendees say they want CEUs does not mean they really want CEUs. Certification and CEUs are commoditized. What they really want are recognition and job promotion. Focus on providing an experience that helps them get job promotion, not just CEUs!
4. Create A Conference Experience That Aligns With Your Attendee Promise
Finally, you need to make sure that your conference experience—the networking, the learning opportunities, the collection of business leads—reflects the attendee promise.
Take Starbucks for example. Their customer promise is outlined in their operational book called The Green Apron Book. Starbucks identifies five core values as “Be welcoming, be genuine, be considerate, be knowledgeable and be involved.” Then they give practical tips to their team on how to connect with their customers.
Although it will probably take a few years to create emotional bonds with conference attendees, the rewards are worth it. Do it well and your attendees will become raving, intensely loyal advocates.
Emotional bonding steps adapted from ATKearnery’s How To Create An Entirely Different(iated) Customer Experience.
Looking for more tips about Creating A Conference Attendee Experience, consider these posts:
- Conferences Need To Focus On Creating Experiences, The E Of EPIC Conferences
- How To Create A Bodacious, Mind-boggling, Unforgettable Conference Experience
- Improving Conference Attendee Experiences
- Does Your Conference Foster These Five Core Attendee Experience Principles?
- Your Conference Attendees Avoid And Crave Change Simultaneously
What are some conference attendee promises that you have heard? Who should be in charge of creating the conference attendee experience: meeting professional, conference organizer, education coordinator or someone else?