No, that’s not a typo.
It’s a nod to the antics of a certain celebrity family and their firm grasp of who their audience is and what they want. The parallel for event organizers is that even though your name may or may not start with a “K,” you can learn from their example by getting a better sense of who modern attendees are and what it takes to create an engaging experience that will have them hungry for more of what you’re cooking up!
You might be thinking this seems a little superficial. But, knowing enough about your audience to be able to create a positive and memorable experience for them has a direct connection to the bottom line. Satisfied customers spread the word about their success and keep coming back for more. Simple as that.
Live, Eat, Breathe Technology
It all starts with an acknowledgement of just how much technology has impacted our daily lives. For better or worse, the tech boom has made it possible for us to access unimaginable amounts of information at the touch of a button. Wherever we go, we are connected and we use this new digital empowerment to do basically everything, from literally, keeping up with the Kardashians, to shopping for products and services and sharing our thoughts on the latest headlines.
Modern attendees are no exception and if you really want to create a positive experience that caters to their needs, you have to weave these new priorities and behaviors right into the fabric of your event.
In the true spirit of the reality tv empire that inspired today’s post, I’ve broken down this new hierarchy of attendee needs into five main categories.
Beyond their basic interest in the subject matter, attendees of today view events as prime opportunities to find new communities they want to belong to—and, surprise, surprise!—they’re using their mobile devices to lead the search.
You can encourage and foster this sense of community by making sure your website is fully responsive and connected to the social networks you have an active presence on. Add another layer here by hosting pre-show Tweetchats that allow registrants to make informal introductions and get a better feel for what they can expect at the event itself. And, of course, don’t miss out on the opportunity to add a fear of missing out into the mix by including easy sharing tools on your website that encourage registrants to blast their plans for attendance out to their connections.
The next factor in creating exceptional experiences for today’s attendees is to recognize just how accustomed they’ve become to having vast amounts of information available in the palm of their hand.
Not having access to plentiful power sources or charging stations, spotty Wi-Fi access and an event website or app that hasn’t properly curated content to meet their needs are going to be increasingly big stressors for modern attendees. Make their comfort at your event a top priority by properly addressing each of these issues in addition to leaving space in the schedule for them to attend to the needs of their digital life and they’ll thank you with their loyalty and shared enthusiasm for your event.
The average number of Facebook friends of US users is 350. Couple that with the fact that the average number of social media accounts for all internet users is 5.54 and it becomes clear that making connections is now a priority in our lives. Same goes for your attendees whose very presence at an event where networking is a key feature indicates an even greater inclination toward forging new relationships.
There are several strategies that can cater to this demand for your attendees. Including matchmaking or networking functionality in your event app is a great place to start. Creating easily accessible, shareable content is another. Games that encourage networking or feature leaderboards are also great ways to connect people who might not otherwise meet at your event.
Another effect that the digital revolution has had on our lives is the expectation of options. Attendees are now quite used to being able to exercise control over virtually everything by selecting from several available choices they’re presented with on a daily basis.
The most obvious way to satisfy your attendees desire for agency is via a mobile event app. Create a sense of control by including functionality that allows them to build a personal schedule, make and store info about new contacts, share socially and take personal notes.
You can also satisfy your attendee’s desire for control via meeting design that takes into account the varied ways people may want to interact throughout your event. Design the overall flow to include places to chat, places to check and charge devices, and intentionally quiet spaces where people can unwind and unplug, maybe literally.
Hybrid events are another way to let users have a greater sense of control over their experience by opting to attend sessions in person or from an off-site location where they’ll be able to live stream the presentation and participate virtually.
5. “Kan’t Buy” Experiences
This last motivational driver of modern attendees is as tied in to the new preference for “experiences” over “things” as it is the desire to have something fun and unique to share with connections.
Today’s attendees are always on the lookout for ever greater “can’t buy” experiences. Satisfy their thirst for shareable surprise and delight by choosing venues and destinations that are outside-the-box or in close proximity to attractions that could serve as a standout setting for your evening events.
Taking the time to really get to know your attendees and using that knowledge to design an exceptional experience for them is a surefire way to build a following that rivals even that of reality TV’s first family (ok, maybe not literally. But relatively speaking, at least).
If you’re interested in learning more about how Ungerboeck Digital might be able to help your event reach celebrity status through truly exceptional, 360-degree digital experience, contact us or continue the conversation in the comments!