The consumer market is a rapidly growing beast, feasting on the innovative brands that continue to break through the glass ceiling of experiential marketing. With new players constantly joining the spread, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain a lasting competitive advantage that assures a target market will remain loyal. Making attendees feel like they have a personal stake in your event is paramount to forging lasting brand relationships. Personalized events, whether for the consumers in your market or the internal business partners you want to impress, has become one of the foremost tactics leveraged by today’s top event marketers.
Consumers are driven by experience. They are willing to see what is new and do what is different. Allowing attendees to tailor their presence within a brand will trigger extended dwell time and build deeper connections. The strategy and outcome vary from brand to brand (sometimes a personalized bottle campaign is all it takes to fuel a multi-city mobile tour), but the rationale is the same: a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit the modern attendee. Following are a few tips on how to please the masses by ditching the cookie cutter approach and creating truly personalized events.
1. Bring in the Biometrics
How can a brand understand consumers’ wants when most of the time it is difficult for a person to know exactly what pleases them the most? As a marketer, comprehending the wants of a market before they do means you need to dig deep. Biometrics analyze physical and behavioral characteristics, measuring for things such as heart rate or brain waves. It doesn’t get more personal than that! Acura used this technique in their Mood Roads activation to successfully capture the attention of attendees at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. By leveraging brainwave technology along with one of today’s ultimate sensory experiences, virtual reality, the brand’s activation featured 90-second engagements with each participant to deliver a one-of-a-kind NSX supercar experience. Partakers were placed inside a motion simulator equipped with a performance driver’s seat and 30 biometric sensors that measured 24 integration points related to their emotional state, such as brain waves and facial expressions. The participant’s mood triggered and changed all aspects of the journey from landscape, music, color, and speed. As a result, no two driving experiences were the same. “Your Mood. Your Journey. What Will You See?”
2. Leverage Passion Points
Creating emotional connections is an automatic win for luring in a new, or pre-existing, market. Hitting those passion points with brand messaging and event personalization is the hybrid of all strategies. Lexus took this approach during its pop-up concert series that targeted younger, more affluent consumers, and their love for music. Partnering with Pandora, Lexus set out to boost awareness of its new line of performance vehicles by capturing a specific demographic and delivering an experience that was undeniable. First, the brands combined their consumer data to identify users who actively listened to four trending artists and were over the age of 21. The participants were then served customized invitations to attend a show featuring their preferred artist – connection completed. The strategy brought music fans closer to the artists they loved, and Lexus closer to the demographic it wanted to reach.
3. Customize Content Consumption
Providing attendees the option to learn in their preferred environment and through their most efficient style is an extremely attractive aspect for all. A turnoff for potential attendees may be the fact that they don’t enjoy the typical sit and listen seminar, or others may skip the engagement due to the fear of interacting with folks they aren’t familiar with. At its booming annual tech conference, re:Invent, Amazon Web Services (AWS) creates personalized experiences for thousands of attendees by allowing them to choose exactly how they want to consume content. “People like to consume technical education in different ways,” said Ariel Kelman, VP-Worldwide Marketing at AWS. “So we have everything from sessions where you can sit, listen and watch someone else do the hands-on technology, to drop-in, hands-on labs where you can do something for an hour and leave to do something else, to eight-hour boot camps where it’s pretty intensive training, to hack-a-thons, which are similarly intense but a little bit less structured.” Attendees were also given the option to livestream the keynote sessions at various areas throughout the venue, such as the on-site beer garden, a charging lounge, or from the comfort of their own hotel room. Perks such as this will promote a better likelihood of keeping the audience engaged and incentivize them to return in the future.
4. Implement an Event App
Digital tools are a great way to create personalized events at everyone’s fingertips. Here’s why – Event apps are the ground breaking technique to reach optimum success with tailored event experiences. Brands that are leading the way are QuickMobile and DoubleDutch, who have each created an app allowing them to customize nearly every aspect of the attendee journey. QuickMobile developed their “Like Minded” tool to present a networking opportunity for attendees. On the app, partakers were given a short questionnaire including anything from preferred session topics to what kind of wine they drink. Attendees were then connected based on similar answers and had a platform to facilitate new individual connections. Similarly, DoubleDutch includes a “channels” function that facilitates attendee discussions based on a specific topic of interest or event session. Other functions on event apps include everything from personalized way-finding maps to build-your-own schedule functions. Depending on the goals a company has intended to achieve, the functionality of an event app can personalize whichever aspects are most important to that specific brand.
Bottom line – spoon feeding the consumer market is exactly the way this beast likes to be tamed. Personalized events allow brands to connect with their attendees in a greater sense, proving that they aren’t just a number within the bigger mix of things. An experiential event allows you to pinpoint the wants and needs of all attendees and make a lasting impression for brand loyalty (big data can help with this). Diving into the world of new technologies that provide the resources to be able to facilitate biometrics, passion points, content consumption, and mobile applications can really set you apart from the rest in creating personalized events. So, say farewell to the old “it’s not personal, it’s business” mantra. In today’s event marketing landscape, leveraging personalization tactics is how some of the most successful brands are taking care of business.