How to Use Buyer Personas to Improve the Attendee Experience

Marcella Lavras |

event attendees exchanging business cardsBuyer personas have become the cornerstone of most successful marketing programs. Content and digital marketers utilize buyer personas and buyer process maps to deliver quality content when and where the buyer would like to see it. Let's see how we can use buyer personas to help enhance the attendee experience at events.

According to Hubspot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers”

As an event marketer, what can be learned from how content and digital marketing are able to prove effectiveness and ROI to the organization? For our purposes, we will call them Attendee Personas.

How Can I Develop an Attendee Persona?

Research, Research, Research

Arguably, the most important part of this process is what you learn and how it can be reapplied or replicated to achieve success over and over again. This will be a combination of primary and secondary research such as surveys, interviews, CRM Data and your team’s existing knowledge of the target attendee.

Ask the Right Questions

In order to create and replicate a successful attendee persona that drives engagement, consider asking questions that motivate or persuade the attendee throughout his or her day to day. Don’t get me wrong, typical event registration questions about age, location and company information is important, but it’s only half of the story. Consider getting answers to questions such as:

  • What motivates him/her to be successful is his or her career?
  • What motivates him/her to attend the event?
  • What keeps him or her up at night?
  • What challenges does he or she face in her job?
  • How does he or she measure success within his or her role?

Bonus Questions for Personalization:

  • What type of TV or books do the attendees enjoy?
  • What other events does he or she attend?
  • What type of restaurants/hotels are his or her favorite?

There are many other variations or types of questions that can be asked. To determine the right questions, first outline the expected outcome of each answer and how it will affect your decision making. The answers to these questions can be obtained by surveying your attendees. If you have key attendees, interviewing current and prospective attendees can supplement additional psychographic and personality information.

Why is This Important to my Organization’s Events?

With the abundance of brands using content marketing, digital ads and face-to-face interactions to reach their target audience, it is important to create touch points that add genuine value to the individual that will enhance their attendee experience or you risk the chance of being ignored. Today’s audience craves content that is related, personalized and meaningful. Which is why, creating the sense of personalization through attendee personas is key to standing out among the content noise. The learning from the attendee persona’s psychographics, motivations, challenges and personalities can have an effect on all aspects of the event life cycle. However, the work is never complete whether its quarterly, yearly, or whatever period of time you choose, remember to assess your process, data, findings to make driven decisions when necessary.

After the persona(s) have been created, you can strategize on how to capture important data about the attendee when he or she is registering for an event that helps to inform each individual’s persona. If you’re using an event management software to create custom registration pages, an integration with a marketing automation tool such as: Marketo, Pardot or Hubspot, allows you to segment your event audience and tailor your messaging based on the motivations, challenges and/or preferences of each persona. Forget about mass sends. Increase the quality of your sessions and the attendee’s engagement, you can develop and promote sessions with content that the attendee finds meaningful to his or her experience and impactful to his or her career.

To take your discovery even further, consider how personas can influence the attendee experience beyond content. Are there key characteristics or personality traits common within your attendee personas that could enhance venue selection, networking or sponsorship?

Let’s say, during your discovery phase you find that attendees prefer to spend their spare time outdoors or prefer to read books about journeys or traveling. It may be a good opportunity to search for venues that fit your event’s criteria and cater to your attendee’s adventurous side. Perhaps, you can add a twist to the usual networking and set up time for the attendees to hike or discover a curious landmark in the surrounding areas.

There are many different ways to personalize the attendee experience. Like many other B2B or B2C transactions, it’s about providing the attendees with an equal gain for their time spent at your event. While buyer or attendee personas may at surface seem arbitrary or superficial, their goal is to truly allow you to walk a mile in your attendee’s shoes. Dedicate your team’s time to learn more about how you can better help him or her enjoy the experience and gain intangible knowledge. If you take the time, your attendees will be thanking you for the experience.


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This Post was Written by Marcella Lavras

Marcella is the Marketing Project Specialist at Aventri focusing on campaign planning and execution.

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