By Aaron Raybe, UK director of live events, Momentum Worldwide
When delivering an event for the first-time fear inevitably creeps in. Primarily it’s fear of whether the audience is going to turn up. We’ve all been there. Some people say build the experience and they will come. I say ensure they’re coming, then build based on your insights.
During the planning phase, it’s important to gather as much information about the users, visitors or fans. This includes what drives or motivates them, how do they see or perceive the event, what are they looking for and how will it make a difference to them? These insights will tell you how to show up, when and where, and answer all the key questions in the planning process.
The conference and exhibition industry does it really well. By gathering this information, the organisers can ensure the correct buyers and sellers are matched or the correct content is matched with the correct audience. Some of the best organisers set a ‘go or no-go’ target which involves setting a sales target of X by a certain date. If this is achieved, the planning is continued, and the event is launched successfully. If not, the monies are returned and they either shelve the idea/event or the marketing team dig deeper, analyse why it failed and change the strategy and go to market again, often with success.
During a live event, the audience can give real-time feedback through the use of smart technology. Spatial analytics that can capture footfall, dwell time and frequency are just a few data points that can help with real time feedback. Using brand ambassadors through sampling will get an intimate understanding of what does or does not work and most importantly why? Armed with this information, organisers can manage and make decisions about the overall experience during the live phase.
Post show sentiment surveys woven into the end of experience will provide a holistic, live, final snapshot about the event. It tells us whether it was a great event or not or how successful we were at meeting the needs of the attendees.
With all this insight you can now work backwards from the previous live event to plan the next up and coming one. Consider it a loop – upfront insight, live event insight, post show insight.
At the creative focused festival, Cannes Lions, we produced an event by working closely with our insights team. They provided us with the information that then informed us on how best to tailor content for our client. The biggest insight was knowing our client’s customers would be in Cannes – a captive audience – so we built the experience with them in mind. We had celebrities returning three nights in a row out of their own choice because the experience had all the elements they wanted.
In addition, we constantly received live feedback which enabled us to make subtle changes to maintain a positive sentiment throughout the event. We now have this and the post show insight which means showing up again in 2020 will be simple.
Using insight allows you to familiarise yourself with your customers. Knowing your target audience intimately will take the guess work out of creating experiences and keep people coming back over and over again. Great insights help to create great experiences.
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