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What Personalization in Events really is and how to do it at scale.

Posted on 08/27/2019

Customer personalization is the next event marketing foundation. It’s already filling gaps in the overall event experience and creating distinctive possibilities through technology and information for Marketers and Event Organizers to plan any kind of corporate event.

As event planners are often dealing with specific audience segments, a personalized event experience is on it’s way to becoming the most powerful way to tailor the best experiences that could be possible. In this article, we’ll help you understand the fundamentals of 1:1 Marketing in events, as well as how to apply it and leverage your key metrics. 


1. The importance of customer personalized event experience.

What’s the company that would not say goodbye to queues, complaints and lost time, if they could? It’s not only possible now, but it’s real.

Airports like London Gatwick and Rio de Janeiro Tom Jobim, for example, are already equipped with beacons that provide in-site navigation on your mobile..

Source: Nextweb

That’s how valuable personalization is. Tracking customer interaction and mapping out their moves can optimize their real intention understanding, aggregate value, and reduce operational costs.


Customer behavior captured

A recent Salesforce research shows that 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized discounts and offers

AI, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) brought algorithms that can predict customer behavior. Thus, companies can learn more about someone’s favorite products, brands and other preferences. In events, this data can include booths where the guest spend more time, people they talk, content path they are interested the most and so on.


  • The age of dying brand loyalty 

At the same time, due to an abundance of choices, we’re living in the era of brand unloyalty. For instance, half of discount coupons frequent users in the USA agree they switch brands quite often. Therefore, investing in personalization in events becomes an imperative of any event marketing strategy. In order to increase customer retention, developing customized journeys are now as quintessential as to offer an innovative product.


  • Personalization vs Segmentation

Both definitions refer to the fact that patterns can be analyzed via data. However, Segmentation is often a matter of demographics or common characteristics of a group / attendee type. Basically, we’re speaking about locations, age, gender, income, etc.

Personalization, or 1:1 Marketing, is walking towards the individual experience. It means optimizing the interactions of a person, regardless of the group he/she person belongs to. An effective personalized event experience strategy is micro-segmented at its most, including details such as characteristics and preferences of each and every customer. Thus, questions, push notifications or any kind of communication made with this person will be made only for him/her.


2. Every corporate event and live marketing activation is designed to be consumed. So why do they still fail?

Marketing, by its nature, is a science that requires an audience. You might already have an idea of who the audiences of your events are. But having a deeper understanding will make you benefit of going straight to the point and offering what your guests really want. That’s the exact moment where Customer Experience and Personalization come into the game.

  • A quick recap: User Experience vs Customer Experience

Those are hot topics for marketers. And making a long story short, the difference is: User Experience (UX) deals with people interacting with your product. While Customer Experience (CX), comprehends all of the interactions someone has with your brand. (Source: https://digital.gov). 

Despite the slight difference, both spaces offer endless opportunities for Personalization.

It’s not only applicable to event marketing, but the brand strategy as a whole. Every business use these two spaces to attract new customers, retain existing ones, up-sell and cross-sell. So why do they still fail?

Because they still ignore or don’t emphasize enough efforts on Marketing #1 and golden rule: know your audience. It sounds obvious but, surprisingly, Customer Experience and Personalization in events can only be imperatives of your strategy if you get to know your clients, prospects and broader audience.


3. Event audiences are not a standing solid rock. They move, age, change tastes and ambitions.

60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77 percent believe real-time personalization is crucial (Source: Adobe). And we often hear about real time personalization on topics related to digital CRM channels, like email marketing, social, retargeting and etc. But why not to bridge the gap to the in-person customer experience too, unifying the brand voice in a phygital strategy?

The better you understand your clients, their goals, their concerns, the bigger are the chances of creating a long-lasting partnership. After all, you also have achievements to obtain, as well as desired outcomes.

For event marketing to be effective, your unique selling proposition has to speak to the unique needs of your persona, at the right moment. So, how to have a clear picture of who’s my audience right now?


4. Customer personalization in events: define objectives.

  • Defining realistic objectives:
    • What action you want you persona to take?
    • What metric this is going to influence?

5. Applicable metrics and KPI’s:

For designing a unique experience in scale

Let’s say you just got a registration confirmation from the CEO of that company you’ve been prospecting for weeks. This person can’t just get a “Thank you” email back. With an event CRM tool that integrates to your sales, marketing and operations, you can differentiate the attendee experiences according to their lead score. What if he could, as an automatic reply, get a list of companies that are also gonna send delegates to the event? Or even better, a list of the activities these delegates enrolled for. Or still, what about gathering all of these executives in an invitation only dinner, after one of the days the event is going on? There’s the right thing to do and there’s the right moment. In a given event, you wanna match those two factors.

For event attendees satisfaction

We’ve got an extensive step-by-step guide for you to measure results of your whole event portfolio, as well as how to apply the acclaimed methodology of NPS.

For client and sponsors retention

To align your event marketing with your overall business strategy, the most recommended metrics should involve mid to long term KPI’s. ACV (annual contract value) and MRR (monthly recurring revenue) are a great fit if you want to measure the impact on your bottom line.


6. To make better conversation, live the life of your persona.

Yeah, we just confirmed that customer segmentation and personalization in corporate events are not exactly the same concept. But segmentation is still the top of the iceberg.  Firstly, figure out who your personas are and what’s their intent. Secondly, understand the sector and the industries they work at. This is fundamental to learn how to speak their language and quickly being able to engage.


7. Market Intelligence and Business Intelligence: analyze the world out there, as well as your own business.


Market Intelligence

With a BI department set, you’ll better understand your own business. But how does your business compare to the industry? There’s also a whole world out there. Thus, you also need your intelligence people to monitor tendencies and what competitors are doing. Market research institutes and traditional consultancy groups, like Euro Monitor or Nielsen, often share free rich reports filled up with strategy suggestions to help you with your challenges. Also, for a subscription fee, you have then option to access more specific info related to your field.


Business Intelligence

If you got data to monitor your audiences, your on the right way. If you don’t, please go to Google Analytics and sign up right now. It’s free and it’s still the best school about your audience and customers. Also, keep in mind that intelligence is shared knowledge. Don’t centralize your BI in one person or one sector. Define the data you need, collect it, analyze and disseminate. It brings you relevant info from basic demographics (geography, gender, age) to sophisticated insights such as how that customer ended up on your page, how long they spent there and what’s the device they’re using.


8. Plan experiences that drive revenue: roadmap to applying customer personalization strategy in events, phase by phase.


A. Planning / Promoting

Segmented registration

Why would you go to a boring event, where nothing much will happen? Registration is the perfect occasion to increase expectations and make people feel like something important is arriving. Make them feel it’s a place they have to go. Besides, limit the spaces. With a online registration form developed according to your audience segments, your ticket selling can skyrocket. Also, make use of digital marketing techniques, such as remarketing. Keep reminding people, at the right time, that didn’t fill the form for event registrants about what they’re gonna miss if not turning up to the occasion. You can do that with photos of previous editions, numbers, scarcity or citing keynote speakers names.

Phygital strategy

The segmented registration will be way more effective if you have some previous intelligence work done. An event planner can do that by using event technology / event management software that integrates to your whole CRM, encompassing marketing, sales and operations – online and physically. For instance: through artificial intelligence, a train station outdoor can have the ability to remember a guest that previously received social media ads to carry on with the registration process; as well as an attractive personalized email can be whats missing for someone who physically interacted with a brand before, storing their data via browser cookies.


B. EXECUTION

Mobile check-in

Imagine entering a place with thousands of people, while having a feeling that it all has been created only for you. Accreditation and check-in are usually associated with mandatory procedures, but they are actually unique opportunities to surprise your guests. Once an attendee checks-in your event via mobile, wrist band or QR Code, a world of escapism designed personally for him/her is open. From that moment, every message, activity and networking opportunity will be offered to this guest, according to his/her preferences. These triggers can be even activated by simply entering a defined physical space, via Geofencing or Beacons.

Geofencing 

“Event growth hacking is getting better with Geofencing, scraping attendee lists, custom audiences and more. The idea is hitting people from every possible angle.” Taylor Ryan, CMO of Vauer and serial entrepreneur, stated that on our recent InEvent talk with him. “Using some additional insights like, where they’ve been, their intent, demographics, and company information; you can do some pretty amazing lead scoring and customization.”, he completes. Taylor’s insights on how Martech is affecting the event content and MICE industry are worth a consulting session.

A report developed by Euromonitor International indicates that, in the upcoming years, this kind of extreme event personalization will include optimized seating, facial recognition, food and drink delivery inside the location / venue and even virtual currency.

Event mobile app

After all, your event is a community looking for belonging – regardless if they are exhibitors, students, sponsors or speakers. An event has to connect multiple stakeholders and event professionals. And having a mobile event mobile app is the best way to centralize the attention of all participants, engaging and encouraging them to do networking around their intentions.

Via event app, a given participant can also have access to the conference news feed and live marketing activations, such as virtual reality, to a personalized event experience agenda according to the activities categories they’re specifically interested. As well as they have the chance to evaluate their personalized experiences in real time. In summary, an event app will guide your whole attendee journey and transform the event atmosphere for each of your visitors, establishing a direct conversation between them and your brand. This kind of experience is what will provide with data to create repeatable and scalable experience templates.

Keep in mind that all of that needs to be done respecting your consumer’s privacy and consent – which can only be achieved with a reliable and robust event management platform.


C. WRAPPING UP

Event surveys / feedback

Passive data collection is good. But getting answers is an imperative to increase your event marketing strategy ROI on medium to long term. Satisfaction is a key factor to understand the willingness of your leads to move forward in their buying journey. 


9. Outcomes and key takeaways

Getting personalization in meetings off the ground can sound like a crazy future. But it’s possible right now and it will only yield more value to your brand and its experiences. Optimizing this opportunity is already within your reach. Ideally, it’s an ongoing [Measure ⇄ Execute] process, rather than a one time approach. That’s the way to lift your KPI’s, as well as optimizing your customer preferences knowledge. It’s a high-valued, profitable, continuous cycle

Don’t be discouraged if, at first, it all sounds overwhelming. Think big, but do small. Adapt your capabilities and build your framework foundations one step at a time.

After all, Personalization, Customer Experience and Marketing itself follow the same golden rule: get to know your customer. 


Keep learning. Don’t forget to check our event marketing resources to excel in your career:

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