Hello? Is It Me You’re Looking For?
The power of knowing your target audience and other things they don’t tell you when you start organizing events
There is a quiet magic to creating events that matter.
If you want to create something that makes an impact, you need to know who you are trying to reach and what you want them to do, feel and know when all is said and done.
“Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” … but really?
Dr. Seuss’s wisdom rings surprisingly true on many an occasion. But in this instance, we have to explore the possibility that the opposite is more applicable. Building events for the attendees you want to see means being clear on the profile of this audience, their needs, and finding ways to get them in on it.
It is a subtle line, but there is a difference between creating an event for a target audience and ensuring that attendees also feel that the event was created for them.
As much as it is important to come up with the right format, have that oh-so-fun debate around the most suitable virtual meeting platform vendor, it is also key to bear in mind who you are creating this event for.
Everyone needs a good tailor
An ill-fitting suit can, at times, be more glaringly obvious than skipping the suit and just going casual. Similarly, there are instances when it would be better to postpone an event than to prematurely launch one that is not adequately tailored for your target audience. Unfortunately, it can be frustratingly difficult to know if you’ve found this alignment or not.
To help with this, I usually advise founders to ask themselves these questions right off the bat:
- Are there multiple audience profiles to target or just the one?
- What are the needs of each attendee profile?
- Is there an existing relationship or is this a brand new avenue of outreach?
- Why are you creating this event now?
- What do you expect the attendee to do after the event?
- How can you shape the content so that your audience will feel it is meant for them?
You want the event attendee to walk away feeling like they have gained something (preferably because they actually have). You want them to find the value in the time spent at your event.
The many faces of your audience
Just as you build the user journey for your product, app or website, so should you build the experience of your event attendee. Here are some of the top reasons why people attend events, regardless of if they are online, in person or a hybrid of the two. They wish to:
- access cutting edge information
- learn more about and compare your product
- research your business
- learn a new skill
- connect with like-minded people
- boost their reputation in a community
- get a job
- be entertained
More often than not, you will find that you will need to cater to a range of audience profiles. While this may add to the challenge of customizing your event, it will also give it depth and range and potentially extend your outreach further than earlier anticipated.
Finding the right recipe
Give your events an extra leg up by pulling a sample focus group of attendees made up of that carefully identified list of audience profiles. Finding the right makeup here will go a long way in ensuring that every event you produce is tailor-made for your audiences’ needs because you heard it straight from them.
Meet with this handpicked and balanced group on a regular basis. Bounce ideas and concepts for upcoming events with them. Their feedback is invaluable. After all, who better to help shape your events than the very audience you are trying to target?
And, as a bonus, you will have found yet another engaging touchpoint with this audience, one that makes them feel involved. Then they can then help champion your event!
There are no guarantees
Good news — creating events can be very rewarding. This is especially true after months of toiling away on a production timeline and dancing with quotes trying to make them fit within budgets. Events allow you to engage with audiences in a way that is more sophisticated and lively than even the best product pitchbook or interactive website.
Less than good news? There are no guarantees.
Especially in the challenging and ever-changing circumstances that we currently face, it is hard to gauge engagement and expected audience numbers for any event.
Now that most of us are working remotely, we lead different lifestyles. The need for work-life balance could not be more of a priority than when your work is at home.
Even if you try and choose an accommodating time for a virtual event by scheduling it at the tail end of a workday, attendees today can easily just drop off or choose to skip out after having joined a whole host of on-screen meetings throughout the day. Virtual meeting fatigue is a real and present problem.
So what can we do about it?
Be creative and embrace it! Embrace the widely spread geographical locations of your attendees. Imagine the possibilities when it makes no difference if an attendee is across the ocean or across the street. Use a mix of recorded and live content. Brella is an excellent platform for live presentations and on-demand recordings. Don’t fight against fluctuating attendee numbers. Your audience will stay for genuinely value-adding sessions. Extend your KPIs to include viewership and interaction with content well after the scheduled event time. Solutions like Aventri and Evenito are great for post-event analytics assessments.
If you take the time to identify and understand your audience’s needs and you align your program accordingly, therein lies your event’s appeal and guarantee of value.