How Buyer Personas Impact Event Planning From Start to Finish
When planning an event, everything flows from knowing your audience, also known as your buyer personas. With a detailed understanding of what they do for a living, what they do for fun, where they hang out online and in real life, the types of resources they possess and what types of special needs they might have, your in-depth knowledge of your buyer personas will drive all aspects of your event, from ideation to execution. Understanding your buyer personas, you’ll be able to craft a targeted marketing campaign, define content that will be relevant to them, and produce an event that speaks directly to their interests and preferences.
Expanding Our Audiences, Branding and Staying Consistent
Jessica Levin, President and Chief Connector at Seven Degrees Communication, explains how events can be a powerful extension of your branding. “Many brands have wide audiences. It's not as much about staying on brand as carefully planning messaging and being strategic.”
Our events can be the vehicles for expanding our audiences if we understand the need to be consistent in all phases of planning. As Levin explains, “When targeting a new audience,” it’s important to ask the question, “What value do they bring to your organization and the attendees? What value can you deliver to them?”
By focusing on a high quality value exchange, we offer our attendees a unique buyer’s journey that speaks directly to their needs. When we expand this vision to include an entire season, then we have the opportunity to create a whole suite of events that reach different personas on different levels. These can include conferences, user groups, road shows, product launches, trainings, seminars, webinars, sales kickoffs and leadership meetings. Even with this many offerings, consistency from marketing to execution creates a brand cohesiveness that is difficult to challenge.
The needs of buyer personas always drive content
“It’s all about understanding what a buyer’s needs are and creating messaging and content to fit their needs.” - Jessica Levin
Most events host a variety of different personas, all of whom must be taken into account during the planning stages. For example, a conference along the lines of Techsytalk LIVE, the NYC-based yearly event tech conference, hosts a good mix of 3rd party planners, agencies, corporate and agency event planners. Session content reflects the needs and priorities of all four of these different personas.
Says Levin, “One event may appeal to many people and those people want to meet each other, but their individual learning needs may differ.” Thus planners will offer separate tracks of presented content geared towards each group of buyer personas in attendance. This commonly takes the form of breakout sessions, where people can choose which track they find most relevant to their particular needs. When an event offers multiple offerings along different tracks, there are definitely opportunities for audience expansion, but again, care must be taken in maintaining consistency.
We all want to create dynamic and exciting events, but even quality content can fall flat if it’s not in line with your buyer personas. Jessica recalled the following situation: “One group I work with created an amazing forum event. Great topic - very timely. But the core audience wasn’t interested. The group didn’t have the right audience in their database, and it didn’t meet the immediate needs of current members. It [the content] had value, but to a new group. They struggled to get attendance at what should have been a very strong program.”
Nuts and Bolts, Buyer Personas and Budgets
It really does pay to do your research up front and understand exactly what your buyer personas want and need in an event. This understanding will define the types of resources you bring to the table, how you allocate your budget, and the kind of tools necessary to execute your vision. Smart planning dictates that you gather as much data about your attendees as possible, beginning with registration and continuing through to the event and its aftermath.
As you come to understand your personas over time, you’ll be able to cultivate your communication and marketing strategy accordingly. This will include how and where you socialize your event and the types of outreach methods you use, and will ultimately connect back to the nature of your event presentations. You’ll want to make sure that you budget appropriately into the sectors of your event that track to the main personas at the heart of your audience.
Building Your Own Event Community
Over time, you’ll be able to develop a community around your events, capable of driving an entire season of offerings. Building an intimate understanding of your buyer personas is at the heart of your ability to explore new horizons within your industry and expand the limits of your engagement. Once again, Levin offers some words of wisdom on the subject:
“At the end of the day events are social. They bring people together, and that's your best driver of excitement - other people.” An excited group of attendees can elevate your event to a whole other level: “How they help promote it, how they actively participate, how they encourage others to participate. Breaking from the norm helps too. How many events have you been to where you learned nothing? So many events play to a common denominator and then noone is happy.”
In the end, it’s best to listen to your people. “Give people exactly what they are looking for and you'll blow their minds.”
Contact us to learn more about how Attendease can help you achieve your event objectives.