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How to Design and Improve the Attendee Experience

John Kearney |

Attendees sitting on chairs listening to an event speakerThe attendee experience is made up of three elements: making the experience better, leading to better experiences in the future, and developing a more experience-focused team. There are multiple touch points at events for attendees; let’s see how these elements can play into different experiences.

Better Experiences

The attendee experience maps offline touch points and ensures each one is optimized and focused on an established outcome. It requires a deep understanding of your constituents and their needs and preferences. When done right, it leads to emotional connections with a brand.

An American university with a recent history of success in the March Madness basketball tournament was looking to improve the experience of fans, alumni, students, faculty and staff during its annual run to the Final Four. They developed a mobile app to manage pre-game festivities, donor events, and even Sunday church services around each tournament host city. Due to the nature of the tournament, locations were decided last minute, and all logistics had to be determined and communicated in real time. The development team at the university was able to track invitations to events, monitor attendees, and send the right resources to the right events depending on where alumni and donors would be. They had 3,000 downloads during last year’s tournament run and expect to smash records (both on and off the court) in 2019.

Better Future Experiences

The attendee experience collects offline information, like session attendance, session quality and business card contact data. Beyond simply aggregating and reporting this data, great event and meeting leaders are using this information to make decisions that lead to improved events in the future. When sessions are poorly attended, organizations retire topics and conduct research to understand what is relevant. When attendees leave sessions early, organizations switch out speakers or change the forum. When customers attend certain sessions, they can be fed relevant information across subsequent touch points.

An Australian leader in cloud infrastructure and digital technology holds customer events around the globe focused on enabling their clients to leverage emerging technology. To better understand what their customers needed and were interested in, they employed RFID and smart tag technology to track 200+ sessions. After the event, they were able to create more intimate experiences with customers by tying conversations back to the sessions and programs they attended. They were also able to iterate sessions based on attendee activity and feedback. This had led to an average of one additional opportunity per customer per year, and 10% lower churn.

Better Enabled Teams

The attendee experience improves when team members are getting the right attendee information at the right time. When marketing or sales is given great attendee data, they can position themselves and their services based on what is known about a customer or prospect to create opportunities and close business.

A global asset management group holds regional investor conferences around the world. They employed session tracking to understand what sessions investors were attending. This session data was shared with the sales team in real time. Within five minutes of a session’s completion, a sales team member would follow up with an investor. They knew what sessions they attended, what subject matter they consumed, and how long they stayed in the session leading to a 10% lift in assets per investor attending.

Connect Better ebook 2019_CTA 2

This Post was Written by John Kearney

John Kearney is Aventri’s Director of Go To Market Strategy. He is focused on understanding our customers and our market and ensuring the organization is set up to serve both. Prior to Aventri, John spent 6 years with SBI, a management consulting...

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