It is our mission to help you perform at a higher level, so creating educational events with valuable takeaways that present specific solutions just makes sense.
This past month we gathered a few client and soon-to-be clients for a mini-conference called xplore with some of the brightest minds in our industry on the topic of attendee acquisition. Dave Lutz, Managing Director of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting; Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM, President of mdg; and Maddie Grant of Culture That Works and co-author of Humanize shared their knowledge on targeting attendees and getting them to the annual meeting and exhibition.
Dave Lutz sharing some insights at xplore.
“The shotgun approach is no longer working,” advised Dave Lutz. “Be intentional about targeting specific groups of attendees.” It’s important, he said, to segment marketing by the justification story – talk to groups of people who are likely to come for the same specific reasons, and be sure any conference programming addresses their specific needs.
The speakers all agreed most attendees go to meetings because of who else is there. For example, they want to meet buyers, hang out with smart people, or see their industry friends. Recognizing this and designing conference programming, target marketing and networking activities designed to support these objectives is essential to acquiring new attendees and retaining loyalists.
Another great tip came from mdg: “If they cry, they buy.” Point out the pain an attendee may be experiencing and position your event as a way to dry their tears. Telling stories, not testimonials, help create emotional connections between target attendees and your conference. Content marketing efforts offering relevant need-to-know news supports these efforts. A takeaway several guests appreciated was mdg’s recommendation to invite key influencers to a special breakfast during the event as a step toward building them into your show’s ambassadors within the industry at large.
The need to connect people to people, including the people within your association or organization, was reinforced as the speakers came together for a closing panel discussion. Maddie Grant advised everyone to remember their show’s culture is a lagging indicator of their brand. All of it is tied together, so bringing the right people together with positive experiences counts.
Thanks again to our partners whose participation in the event was absolutely vital to its success. Learn more about each of them at the links below.
– Velvet Chainsaw Consulting also offers a multitude of information on attendee marketing, communities and learning online for you to study and share.
– mdg has myriad stories pertinent to the attendee marketing topic that go beyond the 25 Marketing Marvels that Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes and Shauna Peters presented. Check them out.
– Maddie Grant’s association world experience and studies in workplace behavior and generational attitudes give cause to the conversation on community aspects within our tradeshows. Learn more here.