Personalisation is a big deal in our industry as people increasingly expect both the communication of the event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way. Technology is fuelling the drive too. The popularity of data collection tools like registration systems and apps are helping organisers collect valuable information on attendees to create more powerful and customised event experiences.
But is personalisation worth the time and effort? How much of it should we do? And how effective is it really in driving engagement around our events?
The Value of Personalisation
Creating personalised experiences is something we’ve seen online businesses do very well over the past few years. Think of Google, Spotify and Amazon, all suggesting personalised recommendations based on what they already know about us. In fact, our relationship with them has become so personalised that we’ve come to expect this level of understanding from all our other engagements.
When an experience is personalised, we feel a connection with the message. There’s an element of feeling understood. When good personalisation is done right (ex. when Netflix gives us a list of suggestions based on our past viewing habits), there’s a sense of feeling that we’ve taken a shortcut. Like we didn’t have to go through the painful process of browsing and flipping through pages and screens – and we’ve been given exactly what we want. And it works.
The Importance of Event Personalisation
In the same way these online giants tailor their messaging for different audiences, event planners can use personalisation to deliver content, offers, event experiences and networking opportunities based on what they already know about their attendees.
Have a look at the top four benefits of using personalisation around your events:
1) Build Engagement – In an era where people’s attention is rapidly declining given the vast amount of information they are exposed to, developing the ability to offer people relevance is critical. When the right event content is offered to the right attendee at the right time, they will respond positively and more likely want to repeat the experience.
2) Stay Competitive – People are increasingly expecting personalised experiences. In fact, research has found that customer experience is expected to overtake ‘price’ and ‘product’ as key brand differentiators by 2020. Using personalisation to create better experiences for your attendees can be an important competitive differentiator for your events.
3) Improve Marketing ROI – When you tailor content to a specific target audience based on their behaviour or demographics, your message is much more persuasive which means they’re more likely to convert. So personalising things like invites and emails means more people are likely going to visit your event website and sign up.
4) Establish Trust & Loyalty – Poorly delivered personalisation can have a detrimental effect in the way people perceive your events. But when your attendees see that you are using their information responsibly and in a way that brings value to their event experience, personalisation can be instrumental in building the long-term relationships you want.
New eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation
Though personalisation does have its challenges and its effectiveness can vary from one event to another, creating tailored experiences for your attendees doesn’t have to be as complicated as one might think. A new eBook, titled ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation’ delves into the topic and looks at the key things organisers need to think about to deliver successful personalisation campaigns.
The eBook reveals findings from a recent research study looking at personalisation trends across the events industry – from details on how organisers are personalising experiences to the tools they use and the challenges they face.
It also features an insightful Q&A with The British Council and top UK publishing house, Haymarket Events, on determining how much personalisation we should do at events as well as eight quick and simple personalisation ideas organisers can use. More details here.
Regardless of its challenges, personalisation is worth doing. While your organisation can benefit from better engagement and loyalty, attendees receiving a personalised experience will feel more valued and recognised.
It’s important to remember, however, that personalisation is a data-driven discipline. Before even starting the process, event planners need to think about why they want to do personalisation and align their activities to their business goals. They need to understand what data they need to collect from attendees and agree across their organisation on how this data is going to be used.
Equally, attendees also need to understand why organisations are gathering their information and how it is going to bring value to their event experience. Getting that balance right is critical if you want to get it right.