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Published in Audience Engagement category on (07/01/2022)

5 Best Practices for Creating Personalized Event Experiences

Marketers are on board with the idea that they must deliver personalized event experiences with content and offers that are relevant and customized to the needs of the individual. Meeting this challenge requires data from disparate sources, coming together to yield recommendations, offers, and content based on what we know about the individuals we’re attempting to influence.

In the same way personalization is important to other marketing channels, it’s important at events. Why? Because attendees are demanding greater value and marketers need to bring events closer into the buying cycle.

At Certain, we promote the idea of event personalization. With personalized event experiences we gather and utilize specific information about an attendee to tailor an experience that is more meaningful and relevant to that individual. The result is a more highly engaged and satisfied audience—and a better opportunity for brands to nurture customers and prospects along the lead-to-revenue cycle.

Here we highlight five best practices for personalization and how each applies to the event marketing space.  These practices were outlined in a recent IBM white paper on personalized customer experiences.

1. Capture and apply all customer analytics

Data is the foundation of personalization. It’s the fuel for the entire process. It’s the information and preferences we collect about an individual—across marketing channels—that triggers our personalization efforts; allowing us to define the ‘rules’ for engaging with each individual in the right way, at the right time.

When it comes to events, personalization has historically lagged behind because there had not been a mechanism to capture customer data across marketing channels and platforms.  This is where the integration between event management, marketing automation, and CRM (the so called marketing software trifecta) comes into the play.  With the integration of these three systems, event marketers can tap into the full breadth of customer data to deliver personalized event experiences—from personalized registration paths to targeted content and connections facilitated by matching engine technology, and social and mobile apps before, during, and after the event.

2. Monitor marketing decisions and tactics in real-time

Effective personalization requires the use of real-time information. Think about how frequently our behaviors change as we work our way through a particular buying process.  One action or conversation triggers another set of actions and so on. If you’re still operating on the assumption that your prospect is still in the early phases of researching a product, when in fact they’ve moved well beyond that point, your messaging is not going to be relevant.

The same can be said for events. Having the ability to monitor attendee behaviors, preferences, and actions throughout the event lifecycle gives marketers the ability to target messaging specific to where the attendee is in the buying cycle.

3. Deliver a consistent dialogue across channels

Let the retailers’ omnichannel challenge be a lesson to all marketers when it comes to customer expectations. Prospects and customers expect a company’s interactions with them to be consistent, regardless of the channel. Whether through email, website, in-person, mobile, or any other channel, customers expect a dialogue that reflects appropriately on their current relationship with a brand.

In relation to events, the expectation of attendees is that the experience they’re presented with is reflective of everything the event organization should already know about them.  If they’re an existing customer, they should be invited to the event in a way that acknowledges their patronage. If they’re a prospect early in the buying cycle, the communications they receive and sessions recommended should be aligned with this reality.  And don’t forget, branding should be consistent with what they have come to recognize across all other areas of your marketing.

4. Test, monitor, analyze, and adapt for truly personalized event experiences

What is measured can be managed. Across all marketing activities, we’ve grown accustomed to the importance of testing, monitoring, analyzing, and adapting our approaches based on what we learn. In the era of personalization, this is even more important.  As we strive to get more granular in how we communicate, we run the risk of mistargeting our messages and content. Events are no different.

5. Automate your personalization processes

It is unrealistic to personalize the customer experience without the help of an automated process.  Marketers are turning to marketing automation to create a more personalized experience. Similarly, event managers can create personalized event experiences by using data from all prior interactions and additional information gathered as attendees interact with the event site to tailor the right content and connections to each attendee. And, as mentioned above, when the trifecta of marketing software comes together, all of these best practices are simplified.

Personalization is at the forefront of today’s marketing methodologies as companies look for ways to separate their brands from competitors and accelerate the lead-to-revenue cycle. What event management technology will you use to bring personalized event experiences to your organization’s event channel?