How to Build an Attendee Journey

Viewers watching the show. Long exposure shot.

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?

Want to learn more about building an Attendee Journey? Contact us at or check out how we did it for one of our clients: Global Conference Case Study


Tech Trends in 2014

Source Credits: Dan Hanover, Event Marketing Institute
Photo Credit

90% of event marketers will increase their use of technology in 2014, all the while becoming smarter about how technology can be applied to bring real value to events.

So what exactly does “smarter” mean? Here are just a few key takeaways:

Social Currency
In our world, the keyboard is mightier than the sword. Social participation and online engagement have monetary value: it’s essential that we understand the literal value of each tweet, Facebook “like” and YouTube comment…

The focus for next year is not only getting our audiences to talk about us, but how we motivate and reward them to do so in meaningful and purposeful ways.

Going from “Like” to Love
How do we transform our audiences from passive attendees to active participants? We’ve spent years attempting to get audiences to “like” their experiences, understand the content, etc. The focus in 2014 is getting them to share, do and practice what’ve they’ve experienced.

How do we focus on the “lovers,” creating truly special and unique and experiences designed exclusively for them?

The Second Screen
Audiences today are looking at their tablets, phones and computers… all at once. 2014 will be all about catering to audiences by utilizing these platforms in new and different ways that pull them in and drive deeper engagement.

Niche Social Media
Understand your audience. Which platforms are they using? What are they reading? What content are they absorbing? What are their likes and dislikes?

It’s no longer just about the go-to social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube)… it’s about what works. More and more niche social media outlets will pop up, and the job of Event Marketers will be in understanding which one to use… and when.

Personalizing the Experience
How do we enable attendees to design their own experiences? Technology may make it easier for them to set their preferences, but it will be up to Event Marketers to determine how those insights are used to drive a more engaging live experience for attendees.

Technology for a Reason
Always ask yourself: Is technology really necessary? What’s the reason? If it doesn’t help, don’t use it.

What tech trends will you be focusing on in 2014?

Nicole Bojic, Senior Digital Strategist, InVision Communications

Technology Closing the Gap of Human Connection

One of my colleagues recently posted on our internal social network a heartfelt video on the power of connection by using the popular video calling technology from Skype. It got me thinking about the humanistic side technology offers that I never really thought about. Technology is cool. No argument there, right? But what I think we forget sometimes is that although technology itself is cool, what about the humanistic impact technology delivers?

Emotional and human connection is unmatchable. There’s an argument that technology is destroying the quality of human interaction. Instead of calling someone, we email. Instead of meeting someone for coffee, we text message them. So is it really destroying the way we interact?

I see it both ways, however for this post, I’m going to focus on the benefit. I believe technology is another gateway for connection that we otherwise would never have. Take the Apple commercials, for example. When FaceTime became a reality on our mobile devices, Apple’s commercials didn’t focus on the technology, but rather how it can seamlessly fit into everyday life. One of the most memorable commercials for me is the grandfather who sees his granddaughter for the first time on video. Ten years ago, this would have never happened unless he got onto a plane and visited in person.

Still not convinced? Take a look at the Skype video and see if it changes your mind. You’d be amazed how much of an impact technology can make on one person’s life.

Amanda Chartier Retter, Marketing, InVision Communications

Disneyland…Seriously the Most Innovative Place on Earth

Leave it to Disneyland to come up with yet another cool way to up-level your experience at the happiest place on earth. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s called the Disney MagicBand, and magical it might possibly be. This wearable device contains information of your theme park ticket, hotel room keys and even your credit card! Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs says that the technology allows visitors a much more personalized experience. For example, if your child wanted to meet one of the princesses, the princess will know the little girl’s name right away. Although the Disney MagicBand isn’t available yet, it certainly makes me wonder how we could use a device like this in our event programs. What can we do to make an attendees’ experience much more personal?

I’ve Seen This One. It’s Where…

Let’s face it – it gets harder and harder to impress people. When it comes to events, a seasoned employee has often been to as many corporate annual meetings as the production teams behind them. Here are a few things to consider that might just shake things up. Start reconsidering.

Go somewhere weird.
Meetings are in Las Vegas, we know that… but perhaps it’s time to try something new. If Vegas is a must, don’t hold the event at the tried-and-true ballrooms on the strip – look at newer facilities like the Event Center in Frank Gehry’s Keep Memory Alive center and shape it to your will. Or go wild and consider somewhere entirely different like Cleveland, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, or even San Juan, PR. It’s just as hot as Vegas…

Hire a decoy.
Plant your talent in the audience. If it’s jugglers during a cocktail hour or even your disguised keynote speaker, surprise people as one in their number does the unexpected: performs.

Play with your food.
Meals and classic catering are standard-issue… but meals are some of the most important social moments in daily life – dates, catch-ups with friends, family holidays. So turn the tables and make onsite meals interactive or meaningful – if your theme or corporate message is about combinations (mergers, acquisitions, cross-functional teams), offer stations where people create their own food combinations: tacos, crepes, make-your-own trail mix – you get the idea. Or consider using the meal as a teambuilding activity. Perhaps even incorporate menu planning for the week into the activity, with a vote at the end. Something to make the ordinary a little different.

The expected meeting format is everyone, all together, in one location. The networking and the collective enthusiasm are powerful, but consider a new twist: maybe do a few mid-size meetings instead of one, and connect them at deliberate moments to share ideas and applause.

With the emergence of appropriate technology, the events business lagged as companies used virtual meetings to cut budgets. But they’re not mutually exclusive. Hold local meetings – in your company’s hub cities or regions.  Before you do, though… have employees vote on their peers for an “exchange program.” Send Delia from the Northeast to be an ambassador for the Southern California office. SoCa sends a few reps to other offices in kind. Connect the offices so that it becomes a project to share and interact, but tailor the local meetings to the flavor of that city, state or area. The technology becomes a tool to bring people together, but doesn’t replace the importance of new blood or face-to-face interactions.

Think about your meetings… what’s become a formula? These are some suggestions about how to approach a new perspective, but they’re in a vacuum. Think about what you’ve done in the past, and aim to do something different.  Whether small or radical, the unexpected helps keep attendees on their toes.  Which, after all, is really the idea…

Plug N’ Play

Imagine throwing a party and you want your whole house to be bumping and pumping with adrenaline-rushing tunes. As your excitement starts to peak, you sorrowfully realize, “Huh. That would require wiring speakers throughout my house, which is really expensive and I only have enough money for food and drinks.”

Seems hopeless? Not if designer Jinseng Shin brings his concept of plug-in and play speakers to life. Named Plug In & Enjoy, these small, portable speakers insert directly into your electrical outlets and receive FM signals from your stereo, iPod, or cell phone. Pretty cool!

This is a great example of thinking outside the box of making something complicated into something simple…or just simply less expensive. What are some of your out of the box ideas or wishes? We promise not to patent it.

Amanda Chartier Retter, Marketing Specialist, InVision Communications

How IVC-ee It: Technology – How Wow Is It?

The goal in corporate communications is to successfully communicate the company’s objectives to their intended audience. As their partner, we know that the overall experience will make or break an event so we consistently push the envelope to create amazing experiences that move audiences to action. A crucial component in this process is finding some of the most innovative technologies to help achieve our goals. But how do we know what’s right?

Technology has always been the forefront of the “wow” factor for any event. But a “wow” technology can only get you so far as a marketer. It needs to have a clear purpose. While it’s exciting to have that holographic image appear on stage, theater tricks doesn’t always produce the results you are looking for.

Take for example social media. Don’t integrate Twitter into your event just to say you had Twitter for your event. Create a digital strategy with a clear vision that aligns to your overall goals. Ask yourself why is Twitter important for X campaign and how will it help you accomplish your goals. You might even find yourself realizing as you develop your plan that Twitter isn’t even the best social media channel for your particular campaign.

Another example might be audience response systems. Plan ahead and ensure that you have a clear vision for how you want to use an audience response device. Are you using it to gather audience feedback in real-time? Is it for attendees to ask questions to the speaker to help guide a keynote? Always make sure that it’s easy to use, serves a purpose and produces results.

My tip for the day: Never use the reason to integrate a technology into your event because it’s cool and trendy. If that’s your only answer, don’t use it.

What tools have worked at your events and what hasn’t? Why?

Nicole Martin, WC Receptionist, InVision Communications


What’s New in 2013?

We’re only a week into 2013 and the web is already blowing up on what newest, coolest technologies are heading our way in 2013. It’s no surprise that Google Smart Glasses are on that list. It’s been hyped up enough for the last two years that we thought it already hit the shelves. Some predict that we’ll finally be seeing it in stores this year.

Augmented Reality in the Eye of the Beholder

Want a new way to change the entire attendee experience at your next meeting? Google is currently in the process of developing augmented reality glasses (Google Project Glass) that allow users to view real-time information right before their eyes. Imagine a virtual playground at your next meeting as the room is setup like an expo-style format. Attendees roam the room uncovering information and watching demonstrations right before their eyes, literally. The glasses can serve as outlet that will allow attendees to choose their own adventure for your meeting while still absorbing the information you want them to gain since you’ll control the journey. Check out the video to see what kind of ideas you come up with on how you can take advantage of this incredible gadget.

Magic or Highly Advanced Technology?

Augmented reality (AR) has become increasingly popular in today’s tech world. You can use AR in a variety of means including presentations, demonstrations and games. Marco Tempest once again entertains us with his blend of digital media and magic by demonstrating his take on AR in last year’s TED conference.