The Conference Owner’s Guide: Steps 2-5 To Transition From Conference Touchpoints To Journey Experiences

Enchanted journey

Once you’ve observed the conference through the lens of your target customer and gained insights from conference data, you can move to the next steps. These steps are critical for you and your conference planning teams to embrace, enlist and employ. You want to move from conference touchpoints to conference customer experience journeys. And remember, someone needs to own and to advocate on behalf of the conference customer’s experience.

This is part two, steps 2-5 on transitioning from conference touchpoints to designing customer journey experiences. Read part one here.

2. Define A Common Purpose And Goals Of The Conference Customer Journey

In larger conferences, distributed, siloed teams plan parts of the conference experience. Each team brings tremendous passion, conviction and commitment to their specific area. Unfortunately, this often causes teams to have competing agendas as they jockey for their portion of the conference experience to reach their audience segment. Sometimes they demand equal budget and resources to further their specific itinerary. This results in the conference serving the organization and each team instead of serving the customer.

Savvy conference leaders define and clarify a conference customer experience shared vision, purpose and goals related to that journey that are consistent with the organization’s mission, strategy and conference target market. The conference customer journey serves as the framework where planning teams can deliver value to their customers in line with the purpose and goals. This framework helps volunteer leaders, teams and staff plan in alignment with customers’ needs and aspirations despite their functional boundaries.

3. Shape The Conference Customer Journey From The Customer’s View Back

Savvy conference organizers start with the end in mind. They focus on their conference purpose and the goals of the customer’s journey to help them reach their business outcomes. As the customer’s experience becomes a bigger focus of the conference strategy, more of the leadership and planning teams face the decision to commit their energy, passion and resources to the customer’s experience—the customer transformative journey.

These conference organizers gather data from a variety of sources such as onsite evaluations, focus groups, exit interviews, and attendance data. They seek out and talk to customers who don’t return to the event the next year, first time attendees and veterans along with loyal attendees.

Empowering every person involved in planning and touching the customer to deliver against the conference customer shared vision, purpose and goals creates a solid foundation.

4. Establish Metrics That Capture Customer Feedback And Aid In Decision Making

Employing customer journey metrics that compile what happened and direct action throughout the conference and organization is critical to improving the customer journey. The customer journey is at the center of these metrics and connects them directly to conference and business outcomes. Start at the top with a way to measure the overall conference experience and then drop down into key customer journey and performance indicators. Take advantage of leader and employee feedback to identify areas for improvement in future conferences. Remember that onsite participation in your programming is an early indicator that you may or may not be hitting the customer’s need or aspiration bullseye. Your customers vote with their feet.

5. Establish Cross-Functional Frameworks And Leaders

The task of shifting from organizational conference silos that plan specific parts of the event to conference customer-centric journeys is challenging at best. Even to those organizations that have good collaboration skills, this transition can be overwhelming. To move data-driven knowledge to insightful-action to improve conference customer journeys, the conference needs a team of leaders that serve as champions for the customer. These leaders become the customer advocates. They must role-model the questions to ask, the actions needed and the steps to take with a focus on the customer-journey perspective. They also must celebrate early wins so everyone can clearly see customer value creation.

Hat Tips and resources: Lynn Hynnsaker’s Keys To Customer-Centered Growth and McKinsey Quarterly 2016 Number 3.

What feedback would you want to hear from a loyal or first time attendee? What barriers do you need to remove to transition from conference touchpoints to conference experience journeys?

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1 comment
  1. Kevin Maddox says:

    A great read indeed! Very helpful and detailed. Thanks for this awesome piece of write-up which focuses on customer journeys in a conference. I agree with the blog which clearly points out how customer data, session details and audience feedback can be measured to fine-tune strategies for future events. Customer information and metrics, can also be retrieved from in-app analytics dashboard, which further enable the organisers to evaluate their audiences better. Metrics and statistics, received from an event app, let organisers identify the areas that they need to improve on.

    Good organisers leave no stone unturned to fulfil customer needs. They focus particularly on shaping the customers’ journey, so that first-time attendees as well as loyal attendees get impressed. Right from checking in at an event to taking part in every activity and contest, attendees must have a smooth and enhanced experience.

    It would be great to read more such blogs that focus on reshaping customer journeys in conferences.

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