July 27, 2018 by Jeff Hurt
Who wants to attend a common, ordinary, ho-hum, everyday, I’m-just-like-all-the-others traditional conference?
Even worse, who wants to pay to attend one? And who wants to plan or sell one?
Your conference growth and revenue depends upon repeat paying attendees year after year. Customer loyalty is the cornerstone for your event’s success. And your customer loyalty is built upon making your common conference uncommon.
How many people will go out of their way to purchase your conference registration when what you’re selling is nearly identical to all the other events in your field?
When your conference experience is no-frills run-of-the-mill…
And when your conference content can be found on the web for free…
Why would anyone purchase registration to attend it?
Registration discounts, tourist attraction locations, newly remodeled venues, the latest, greatest whiz-bang technology innovations and a jammed-packed schedule of speakers can quickly fade from one year to another. Planning and offering a mundane, mediocre event just won’t cut it. It actually repels loyalty. Your attendees will even exclaim, “Well, I’ve been there and done that. Nothing new for me.”
In making your common conference uncommon, you want to focus on doing the right things right as author Guy Kawasaki says. You’ve got to plan and execute the right programming. You have to design the right experiences.
More than providing a conference experience that meets your customer needs and helps them solve their problems, you’ve got to satisfy their wants. More than meeting your customers’ expectations, you’ve got to be unremarkably remarkable.
To make your common conference uncommon, you need to focus on designing rich, indulgent, authentic, deep learning and networking experiences. You have to provide genuine, lavish-feeling event elements that your participants cannot find anywhere.
You can’t be satisfied planning, selling and executing a conference experience like everyone else. You’ve got to be the Starbucks of your industry conferences.
Consider Starbucks for a moment.*
Starbucks has taken the common cup of coffee and elevated it to uncommonality. They focus on offering higher-quality coffee beans, longer roasting styles, more intense flavors and unparalleled coffee experiences.
Starbucks would have failed in the marketplace if they had offered coffee just like everyone else. They would have failed if they offered low-grade beans, common flavors and customary experiences. They would have failed if they didn’t interact and connect with their customers to foster a loyal, almost cult-like devotion.
Starbucks insists on quality over quantity. They spend more on providing this unique business service because they are unwilling to sacrifice the quality of a customer’s Starbucks experience.
Think about that for a moment: when was the last time you spent more on providing unique learning and networking opportunities because you were unwilling to sacrifice the quality of your conference customer’s experience?
Starbucks attention to each cup of coffee, espresso, cappuccino or latte has earned them loyalty as intense as their darkest roast. They have maintained a competitive advantage. Starbucks customers have overcome their aversion to higher prices because the product, service and experience they purchase is well worth it.
Starbucks raised the bar. And by changing our expectations of coffee, they raised the entire industry.
You can raise your bar and maintain a competitive advantage by adopting and applying some of these Starbucks principles in your conference. Then you can make the common conference uncommon
*Hat Tips former Starbucks branding and marketing strategist and author John Moore for his insider insights on Starbucks culture and making the common uncommon.
Is your conference seen as the uncommon best experience within your marketplace? If it’s not, why isn’t it and what will you do about it?
How will you use Starbucks as a lens when planning your events and avoid sacrificing the quality of your customers’ conference experience?
Filed Under: Event Planning
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