event buyer cycleEvents and conferences are big business for organizations. These events bring sales people, brands, vendors, and sponsors closer to their target customers while providing the ability to educate, drive leads, and ultimately increase revenue. If you have attended a conference recently you may have found that event management is evolving. The traditional (one-size-fits-all) conference is no longer acceptable to any of the stakeholders involved and a more personalized approach is necessary to keep all participants engaged in the event.

The traditional event

The traditional approach to event management leaves the attendee experience to chance. Participants have to sift through numerous session schedules and decipher which sessions will give them the most value, while networking and reaching connections proves beyond difficult.

Hosting organizations get caught up in logistics and the high cost of the event instead of focusing on the participants’ needs. The event gets structured around the theory that a few experiences will fit all attendee requirements which in turn has the unfortunate side effect of limiting participation and engagement. Finally, the organization can forget about tracking the business impact of the conference. Useful information is nearly impossible to retain in a traditional event model.

The move towards personalization

The move away from traditional events is well under way. In addition to the issues already raised, a critical development has materialized that cannot be ignored by an organization that wants to remain in business. A more sophisticated and self-educated buyer has emerged creating substantial changes in the buying cycle. With the abundance of information available to buyers, they can become educated and socially connected long before entering the formal sales channels.

If managed correctly, events can help organizations get closer to these empowered customers. Instead of assuming that all of these buyers are in the same stage of the buying cycle, organizations have the ability to meet each individual attendee at their exact point in the process and then deliver the proper information and connections that will accelerate the rest of the buying process.

5 ways event organizers are using personalization to accelerate the buying cycle

1.  Creating unique attendee profiles to provide relevant user content

Event registration, integrated with marketing automation and CRM platforms, allow organizations to gather information and create rich attendee profiles to better understand each individual who will be attending the conference. Information is collected in relation to companies, industries, titles, roles, interests, preferences and stages in the buying process. Then, participants are guided to specific social networks, educational sessions, activities and networking opportunities that will give them the best chances of accomplishing their unique goals.

2.  Matching individuals for productive one-on-one meetings

The personalization process gets more sophisticated with the ability to match individuals with other participants for meetings that will be mutually beneficial. Connections are facilitated between such individuals as buyers and vendors, users and experts, and investors and executives.

3.  Cultivating current customer relationships

A personalized approach also allows organizations to target their current customers. A company wants current customers to be influencers and promoters and the only way to get your customers to take that next step is to make sure their current needs are still being met.

4.  Creating social communities and virtual events

Social communities and virtual events are used to extend reach and conversation to all participants during all stages of the conference. Each community and event is tailored to specific groups and individuals keeping targeted and relevant information at the forefront.

5.  Capturing data and nurturing leads

Reliable tracking systems are created for all sessions and the informational requests that follow. The follow up process pays special attention to each request focusing on understanding and delivering value in each response. The goal is to create lasting relationships out of these leads.  Finally, results are measured in relevant and quantifiable terms.

A goal of any organization in planning an event is to maximize the value for all the event’s stakeholders. Personalization creates the ability for event owners, exhibitors and sponsors to make more meaningful connections with their target audience ultimately increasing the volume of their pipelines and accelerating their revenue cycles.

Event attendees also benefit in numerous ways, such as feeling as if they are in control and have all the ability to accomplish their unique learning and educational goals. They will maximize valuable connections beyond their personal networks and connect with people who will best serve their current needs.