Know Thy Audience

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Know Thy Audience

The annual event calendar is overflowing and people continue to get invited to conferences and events every day. How do you make sure you get the right people to your event? Simply filling the seats is not the answer. In the words of business guru and author Jim Collins, it’s getting the right people in the right seats. This lesson also applies to your event audience. The right people are one part of the equation, the other is relevant content. Why should these busy people choose to spend their valuable time with you? You need to provide compelling reasons to attend and highlight your value proposition during the invitation process.

Here are some tips on creating an event model event that attracts the audience you want and keeps them engaged for future event opportunities:

Content is King. Seriously.
Carefully curate the content to map to your attendee care-abouts. Offer them solutions, compelling conversations, aha moments, peer-to-peer engagement, and a LOT of time for networking. Conduct pre-event interviews with your top customers to learn what’s top of mind and use this information to help identify speakers, topics, and personalized experiences for your guests. Develop this strategy early on so you are able to share the content with prospective attendees to drive audience acquisition and engagement.

Define your Audience
Set the criteria for the audience demographics and stick to it. Don’t water down the list just to fill the room, as the inevitable result is a diluted attendee experience. A smaller group of the right people is better than a room full of the 2nd or 3rd tier candidates. The audience will learn as much from their peers as they do from you, plus we all know that the networking component is as powerful as what happens on the stage. If it’s a customer event, limit the number of your team and don’t fill the room with too many of your sales people. This will have a direct impact on the conversation and threaten to make the event feel like a sales pitch. Make sure your internal stakeholders are in agreement here and get their buy-in early on.

Do you really Know your Audience?
Engage a partner tool like Boardroom Insiders to help you truly understand your audience, identify connections, pain points, and opportunities. Provide this information to your meeting hosts so they are able to engage with customers in a more thoughtful, meaningful, and strategic manner.

What is the right formula? The Right People + The Right Seats + Compelling Content = A BIG Success! Simple enough, but it requires deep understanding and careful consideration of your audience.

In my next post, I’ll address how to create an Event Scorecard to help you define and measure success.

Cindy Wilson


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