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Insights

Think Like Your Audience: The Secret to Successful Events

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Katherine Zimoulis
Katherine Zimoulis

VP, Content Marketing

Three steps to challenge assumptions for better brand experience engagement

A version of this article originally appeared the “The Chatter” published by PCMA Capital Chapter.

It’s no longer enough to produce the same annual event year after year. Today’s audiences expect more.

The marketing landscape is wide open for smart organizers to make a lasting impression on attendees as well as exhibitors and sponsors. But to truly deliver, you can’t operate under the same ol’ assumptions.

You need to get in there and actually think like your audience. Here’s how to get started.

Find the right mix

As a show organizer, you often focus on the quantity of attendees and exhibitors. And yet, quality is equally important.

To strike the right balance, review your business objectives and marketing goals then identify and prioritize your audience segments. Once you’ve done this exercise, understanding what each segment needs and expects from your event will become more obvious.

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Get to know your attendees

You likely already have a wealth of information available about your attendees, so harness this intelligence! Tap the following sources to gather data about behaviors, challenges, and opportunities:

  • Email marketing data
  • Website analytics
  • Social media engagement
  • Event technology deployed at previous events
  • Post-show surveys

Exhibitors will only want to attend your event if it offers qualified attendees and ample interaction opportunities.

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Develop strong relationships with exhibitors and sponsors

Exhibitors will only want to attend your event if it offers qualified attendees and ample interaction opportunities. They want targeted, engaged audiences who influence purchases or are ready to buy. 

Sponsors also seek lasting, personal connections and are eager to become part of your digital and storytelling network. But be selective about the sponsors you choose — they should integrate seamlessly with your marketing goals and company culture. 

Evaluate the fit by asking key questions such as:

  • What are your reasons for wanting to be involved with this event?
  • What is your audience goal: to maintain exposure and awareness with your existing audience or reach new audiences?
  • What are your program’s goals?
  • What type of engagement do you expect from this event?
  • Are you looking for a passive or participatory experience?
  • What is your budget?

Attracting and retaining high-value sponsors and exhibitors can add new dimensions to your events. Most notably, they can increase audience engagement, resulting in both an increased ROI for sponsors and a meaningful impact on the event’s overall success.

For more strategic planning tips tailored for show organizers, download our latest insights paper.

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