Finding new and inventive ways to grow audiences can seem like a never-ending process… and sometimes it is! While it’s important to stay on the pulse of what’s new to keep our tactics fresh, sometimes re-evaluating a tried-and-true approach or taking a counterintuitive path can deliver great results.
Last month, we tackled the audience attraction quandary in our Thinking Thursday panel. Our seasoned industry panelists, Jenn Heinold of Access Intelligence, Meghan Jackson of Infocomm, and Kevin J. McCourt, Sr. of Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), and an energetic audience explored how to grow audiences using digital basics as well as advanced tactics — preview their advice in Digital 101 and Digital 201. As we discussed many attendee marketing tactics, we wondered what approaches might not be performing as well as they once did and if changing course could move the needle in a positive direction.
Here’s what we discovered:
One size does not fit all
There was a time when a “batch and blast” approach was all a marketer needed. Not anymore. Today, brands need to know and understand their customers and what matters to them. People want and expect personalization. Investing in audience intelligence allows marketers to create customized experiences that truly attract, engage, and retain connection. The payoff can be seen in increased interaction and conversions.
Old school is out
Mention the words “direct mail” or “telemarketing” and you’ll get a lot of eye rolls and a few high fives. These old school tactics can still deliver for certain audiences, but be honest with yourself that you’re not just “wash, rinse, and repeating” these approaches because they’ve always been part of your plan. Track, measure, and evaluate everything. Reminder calls had worked in the past for Meghan Jackson of Infocomm, but over time the effort no longer increased registrations. Not surprisingly, she’s replaced both with better performing digital communications. Is telemarketing something you can’t let go of? If so, make absolutely certain your call will be welcomed before you dial or get called out for seeming as if your organization is making unwanted robocalls to mobile phones.
Discount the discount
Discounts can certainly motivate attendees, but sometimes… not so much. Case in point, Kevin J. McCourt of ACRP recently dropped the association’s early bird registration discount. Let me repeat that: They dropped the early bird discount! After scrutinizing the practice, the team realized it only incentivized repeat attendees instead of enticing new ones, while at the same time penalized new and late registering attendees. Although it felt counterintuitive, the shift led to a fruitful new approach where communicating the event benefits and showcasing its value were enough on their own to drive registrations. No discount needed.
If you’re looking for new ways to attract, engage, and retain more audiences (and who isn’t?), take a closer look at what you’re currently doing. It may just take a tweak here or there to really make a difference in your results.