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How to avoid a total event disconnect

Here's the irony of today's recommendation. For years, event organizers and clients insist that they know their event attendees. Yet, when they are given the same post-event survey as their event attendees, the answers are entirely different.

To be clear, the event organizers are asked to answer the post-event surveys as their event attendees.

Even more jaw-dropping, after years of reviewing post-event survey results by their own event attendees, the organizers still provide entirely different answers.

A few years ago, an event organizer angrily told me, "nobody is going to tell me what performers to hire at our event!" To which I responded, "what about your event attendee?" My inner a-hole voice continued (but not out loud to the angry event organizer) "you know ... the same people who make your paycheck possible!"

To be super successful with your event, you need to make sure you truly understand your event attendee.

As the late-great John Collier said, "enter into a conversation already occurring in your prospect's mind." That means putting aside your own personal beliefs and biases. And that's not easy to do! It's also key to hugely successful events.

I'm going to present a powerful marketing concept from two of my marketing mentors, Eben Pagan and John Carlton. It will help you better connect with your event attendee.

Years ago, Eben came up with the concept of a customer profile. He calls it a Customer Avatar. In the event world, your profile is the ideal prospect for your event. You use your customer profile to better plan and market your event.
Specifically, to laser target your marketing message and advertising placements.

Simple Questions to Build Your Event Customer Profile
Here are some quick questions that will help you create your customer profile for your event. The questions below are derived from John Carlton's Simple Writing System.

-Who is your ideal event attendee? (Demographics & Psychographics)

-What are your event attendee's wants, needs or desires regarding your event?

-Do they have an irrational fear or desire?

-What message can you present to your prospective event attendee that drives them toward action?

By answering the questions above, you will better understand what someone attending your event wants and how best to serve them. This is also tremendously powerful for making marketing and advertising decisions.

Over the years, I've seen several event marketing disasters that could have been prevented with a customer profile.

I realize that target market research isn't the most exciting activity, but its importance is paramount. There is zero benefit in planning or creating an event if people aren't going to attend.

Doing a little homework up front can save you a ton of money and agony down the road. If you alreadyhave an event, an attendee profile will help you grow to the next level.

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:



The Consequence of a $5 Ticket Decision

Have you ever contemplated having your event take a hiatus?

There are times when not having an event is an unfortunate necessity. If you're not going to have your event, please consider some of the potential consequences.

About six years ago, a client had to make the decision to either raise their gate price to cover unexpected costs or not have their event. Because the client had very accurate attendance figures, we did some financial forecasting. A $5 USD price increase, per ticket, would cover all their additional expenses and increase profits. The event organizer insisted that the consumer wouldn't tolerate such a ticket price increase.

My recommendation was to test the $5 ticket price increase. Their customers absolutely raved about the client's event. Ultimately, the client decided not to have their event.

At the time, I strongly disagreed with the client's decision and fought hard for the price increase. That said, it's their event and their butt on the line. Not mine!

Before that, numerous competitors refused to enter the same event marketplace. It was probably out of fear and respect. That left the client with nearly zero competition for their event.

What was once a consistent annual event, was no more. And the competition pounced!

Within a year, there were at least three similar events. Instead of one marquee event, the public now had multiple choices.

A few years later, the client decided to bring back their event. Whatever dominance they had established had been diluted with all the competition. They also raised their price $5 USD, with little to no blowback.

To be fair, I can't say that competition would not have entered into the marketplace. But, nobody can deny the dominance of being first to a given market.

In the book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout, it is stated: "the leading brand in any category is almost always the first brand into the prospect's mind. e.g., Hertz in rent-a-cars, IBM in computers, Coca-Cola in cola." With rare exception, the same adage applies to the event industry.

If you have domination in your event niche, not having your event could have dire consequences. Please carefully pro and con your choice. Most important of all, don't let your personal bias get in the way.

Want to get more event ticketing advice? Check out the articles below:

Lost revenue from exaggerated event attendance

Years ago, my lady and I went to a local aviation safety event. Full disclosure: the event was a former pro-bono client. 

During our walk around the exhibit hall, my lady saw a friend from a previous job. Her friend still worked for the same company. That company purchased an exhibitor booth at the event. The company's goal with their exhibitor booth was to try and generate membership leads.

As the ladies caught up, there were the usual pleasantries, "how are you? what's new?" And then the interesting part. The woman working the booth said, "they said that they would have a few thousand people at this event. They're lucky if there are 500!"

It got worse when the woman working the exhibitor booth said something along the lines of, "we'll never do this again! They don't get anywhere near the attendance we were told."

As with all events, attendance is going to vary. If you have an outdoor event, you're all too familiar with wild attendance swings. Hence, the phrase "estimated attendance." That said ...

Event organizers need to have very accurate estimated attendance numbers in their sponsorship/exhibitor packages. Why? 
Because numerous companies that leverage events, especially large events, are very savvy about calculating attendance ... your attendance numbers!

In particular, companies who do product sampling. Some of these companies can calculate your attendance using the temperature outside (for an outdoor event) against on how many samples they distribute!

Those companies calculating your attendance could have a massive impact on your event. If you're estimated numbers are way off, sophisticated event exhibitors will know.

It's your event and your call. But if you're going to give estimated attendance numbers in marketing, exhibitor, or sponsorship packages, make sure you're as accurate as possible. If not, companies are bound to leave you and never return. Which means you lose future bank.