Remember what it’s like to be an attendee of an event? You’re a spectator, watching and listening, hoping to walk away with some sort of call-to-action. Maybe it’s putting the information you learned into use or feeling more motivated to continue to do what you do every day, even better. Whatever the case, you attend these events hoping to gain something new and to be inspired.
So how do we as event marketers, ensure that most (if not all) of our attendees feel more connected to our brand; prepared for the future ahead; recognized for their achievements; or feel re-energized for a brand new year?
It’s simple. We build an Attendee Journey. An Attendee Journey is our holistic approach where we immerse ourselves into the mindset of the audience while also keeping in mind the objectives and messaging that we want to communicate. It’s the perfect blend of designing a campaign that delivers measurable results and potentially new behaviors. It goes beyond a simple production of an event by transforming a traditional ballroom into an environment immersed with your brand and messaging, staging that stirs excitement, stunning graphics that convey visual stories and compelling speakers whose energy radiates into the attendees.
Below are just a few key insights that will help you develop an Attendee Journey that delivers engaging experiences that inspire lasting results.
Know Your Audience
Who are they and what are their mindsets?
Set Objectives and Envision Success
What kind of campaign?
What does success look like and how will it be measured?
Are your objectives measurable? (ROI, ROO, ROE)
Design with Purpose
How will attendees be engaged?
Are there any compelling industry trends that you can integrate into the program?
Is the message woven through the entire event?
How will you extend the message beyond the event?
For most of us, we experience our life visually. What we see is one of the primary ways we gather information. But what we might not be consciously aware of is that our brain ultimately decides what we choose to look at. This is one of the reasons why eye-tracking has become a valuable tool for marketers. Marketers can use this technology to discover what intrigues and attracts a consumer’s (or in our realm, an attendee) attention when faced with a variety of products or actions. Even further, eye-tracking can give indications about the person’s presence, attention, focus, drowsiness, consciousness or other mental states (Citing Source: http://www.tobii.com/en/about-tobii/what-is-eye-tracking/). This information gives us deep insights into people’s behavior and actions.
In the B2B event space, eye-tracking opens the door for marketers and leadership to understand an attendees’ engagement level. While social media gives attendees the voice to express or communicate online, eye-tracking reveals a new kind of “voice” by exposing behaviors that we might not otherwise notice. For example, a learning station at an event can capture what attendees are specifically looking at onscreen and even determine if they are engaged or not. Through collective research, marketers can narrow down what exactly worked and didn’t work on their learning tool. Maybe it was color or choice of words…or maybe the material was too wordy so attendees lost interest…or maybe something was too distracting. No matter the challenge, eye-tracking has the ability to help marketers re-examine, adjust and try again until there is success.
One of the most obvious benefits of eye-tracking is helping companies understand their consumer. Among a choice of five kids’ cereals that are similar, why does one sell more than the other? What grabs and holds your attention longest? Fortunately, there is a science and eye-tracking helps cut down hours and hours of focus groups and surveys.
Be on the lookout for more eye-tracking developments in 2015. In the meantime, we leave you with *three takeaways on what eye-tracking can tell you in your marketing efforts courtesy of Perception Research Services (PRS).
Do people even see and notice a package on a cluttered shelf, a display in an enormous store – or a link of a cluttered web screen?
Do these marketing efforts hold their attention – or are they quickly bypassed?
Viewing Patterns/Communication Hierarchy
Which specific elements or messages draw attention and are consistently seen/read (and which are frequently overlooked)?
*Citing Source: Perception Research Services (PRS): http://www.prsresearch.com/prs-insights/article/getting-the-most-from-eye-tracking/).
Photo Credit: http://blog.grabcad.com/blog/2011/06/14/festo-smartbird/
Drones “flew” off the shelves during the 2014 holidays as more and more technology enthusiasts opened their wallets to purchase some of the most talked-about models.
It won’t be long until we start to see more and more of these flying drones with integrated video camera technology in the B2B events space to capture a different point of view of the audience experience. Using a birds-eye view, drones deliver a valuable perspective for marketers to see where their attendees are and what they are doing. It’s certainly a different kind of data gathering, but undoubtedly a priceless one because you can capture attendee emotions and reactions to your tradeshow floor or general session, as well as note which areas or booths have the most traffic.
Not a fan of insect-looking creatures flying around your venue? What if it looked and flew just like an actual bird? The SmartBird (an autonomous ornithopter utilizing bionic technology, if you want to impress your friends) was first introduced in 2011 and caused quite a stir in its beauty and agility. How incredible will your walk-in be with these beautiful herring gull-inspired birds flying around your ballroom ceilings?
Flying drones are not only attractive to watch but can get your attendees involved with some added fun. At CES 2015, Nixie was introduced as a wearable bracelet drone that flew away from your wrist to snap a picture of you from a further and higher distance. Essentially, it’s a huge upgrade from your selfie stick. Instead of capturing your face and maybe a little bit of background, Nixie provides a wider view of you and the surrounding environment.
These drones are approaching fast. I, for one, am excited to see where they land.
It’s no secret that the attention span of the average B2B attendee is shrinking. And why shouldn’t it? With increasing access of mobile phones and Internet, we have access to massive amounts of data and information flowing through our fingertips with every tap of our mobile devices. Additionally, the audience demographics are shifting as more millennials take their seats in general sessions. The millennial generation is significantly more connected to technology than any before them, so the way they consume information will be unlike generations past. And don’t always assume that “millennial” is based on age; the definition also includes habits and lifestyle. A 56-year-old can very well have adopted millennial behaviors.
So how can we engage this rapidly growing audience of millennials? It’s likely you already know some of these tips. It’s more important to start doing them.
Rise Above the Noise
With so much going on (technology, social media, etc.) you’re going to have to do something that grabs their attention. As a tech-savvy group, an easy way to engage a millennial is to bring a digital solution to your event. Millennials love to connect with people and interact on the cloud. Take advantage of the device they are already carrying and use it to communicate your messages and connect them to your brand. Whether it’s adding a mobile app or introducing gamification based on your brand, make sure it’s relevant and serves a clear purpose… and more importantly, that it has some sort of action. Millennials don’t just want to be handed information. They want to interact and be involved. This could include be live polling, games, check-ins, networking and discussion boards.
Short and Sweet
The average millennial stops listening at the 30-minute mark so keep presentations short and avoid busy-looking PowerPoint slides. A great lesson comes from TED Talks: not only are the presentations a mere 18 minutes, the speakers are generally engaging and humanize their content. And let them talk. Millennials are active participants so they want to be heard. Before a presentation, ask them what they want to hear about. Allowing them the opportunity to voice their interests gives you the ability to craft a keynote that is important to them.
Network, Network, Network
Allow ample time for networking. If there’s one thing millennials are really good at, it’s networking. They do it all the time on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. They crave the chance to meet people.
Experience of a Lifetime
Millennials want to be more than spectators; they want to be a part of experiences. In other words, don’t talk at them about your brand. Instead, infuse them into your brand. You’ll be pleased to know that by practicing this, millennials will carry out marketing and promotions of your brand for you. How? There are a number of ways to do this…let them take photos of themselves with your brand and post it on Instagram. Or let them play with your brand physically. Live demonstrations are also more interesting than diagrams and charts.
How have you engaged your millennial audience?
Hello! It’s Andy from Chicago. One of the unique features of Chicago is that once you get out of downtown, the city is made up of dozens of neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are where the people live, shop, dine and stroll. On a human level. Street level.
The IVC Chicago office is in just such a neighborhood—Northcenter. Far from downtown, our neighborhood is comprised of a few main thoroughfares along side streets lined with single family homes of all shapes and sizes. Along the main streets are a dizzying array of restaurants, coffee shops, taverns, diners, sushi, Thai, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, Irish, German, pizza and encased meats (hot dogs-no ketchup).
So as a public service, the colleagues at IVC Chicago have taken it upon ourselves to do a careful analysis of the variety, quality, value and overall customer experience. Consider this a first salvo in the continuing search for the best lunches available in the North Center / Lincoln Square neighborhood of IVC Chicago.
Nhu Lahn Bakery
A tiny, almost invisible, little Vietnamese bakery close by was listed by the Chicago Tribune as having one of “the top 25 sandwiches in Chicago”: Lemongrass marinated tofu Banh Mi. The bread is a huge factor, fresh baked Vietnamese baguettes stuffed with this marinated tofu that could get past a pork lover if you didn’t tip him off. Crisp cucumbers, jalapenos carrot and cilantro combine and surprise. Rod Mickels, IVC CEO said, “This is a great sandwich.” Check it out on Yelp
This is a favorite delivery option for the Chicago office. This is what we usually are eating during the monthly staff meetings: falafel and lamb shawarma sandwiches, hummus and pita. Spicy for me, medium for everyone else. We like to think it’s a healthy choice, because it’s vegetarian-but we pig out on it so it isn’t exactly like diet food. Check it out on Yelp
Chicago’s finest ‘sausage superstore and encased meats emporium’: gourmet fois gras dogs, the Elvis polish: (smoked and savory, just like the king), the Brigitte Bardot (Andouille sausage and mighty hot!). Cognac and Bacon Pheasant Sausage with Chevre Cream, Wild Boar Pate and Truffle-Balsamic Drizzle. And be sure to get at least 1 order of the fresh cut fries cooked in duck fat. Serious indulgence. The line goes out the door and on a nice day, you might wait half an hour or more, but you make friends, and by the time you order and your food comes up, there’s a table ready. We have to jump in a car to go to Hot Doug’s but we still consider him part of our neighborhood. Check it out on Yelp
In the next food blog from IVC Chicago, we’ll do a tavern crawl for lunch: Bad Dog Tavern, The Bad Apple and the Globe Pub. Two of them have good food. Stay tuned to find out which…
Andy Flanagan, Account Director, InVision