As delegates expect increasingly more from their experiences, we’re finding that in order to keep our worldwide events from going stale, we need to offer more than just the event itself. It seems ridiculous at first that you would need to provide your customers with more than they have actually asked (and paid) for, but in an industry where we pride ourselves on our excellent repeat business, it’s important that we are living up to the Xperiology brand – the science of experience.
A little reading up on some event success stories has brought to my attention the idea of ‘the event within the event’. This is not to mean that when you attend a conference, a second conference is happening inside a secret room, but that you should treat every aspect/interaction/contact with your attendees as an individual experience (or mini event) – maximising your opportunities to expose your product or service.
People take away far more from physically experiencing something than from just hearing or reading it – that much we all know, but the experiences that we remember the most are those that make us feel something. Every one-on-one interaction with your attendees is an opportunity to stir up an emotion inside them, whether it be their journey to the welcome desk, the way their coffee is ordered or the registration process. Inc.com wrote an interesting article on ‘The New Rules of Event Marketing’ which talks about how they employed this tactic during Sundance.
“We were doing VIP and celebrity shuttling to events in our vehicles, and the goal for us is to create an event within the vehicle. For Ray Ban we did a truth-or-dare themed campaign. We had video within the shuttles, and asked the passengers truth-or-dare questions, and were giving away free sunglasses. We had people dancing in the middle of the street, we had people telling us their biggest secrets. And that was not only fun for participants, but became a huge hit online after the event.”
What they achieved was creating an experience before the attendees had even arrived at the event. It takes the overall experience to a whole new level as something as typically mundane as the transfer to the venue became an interactive game. It’s something we always bear in mind when organising our roster of international conferences, whether it be welcoming sponsors with themed care packs or, incorporating unusual, one-off tours. The question we ask ourselves through every decision-making process should always be: how will this make the customer feel?