Creating delighful CX in Events (part 1 of 3)

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Customer Experience (CX) is one of the most common buzzwords used by marketers.

CX in essence is about putting customer needs at the centre of what a company does.  Simply put, customer needs must be fulfilled throughout a customer journey i.e. a journey that a customer takes when interacting with a company or brand from the get go.

Each touch point of the journey is a building block to improving customer buying experience. To achieve this, CX ecosystem such as enabling teams (more often the whole company), technologies, processes and procedures must be established.

Bringing this closer to home – event marketing world, customer journey is described as prospect’s interaction with an event or organiser starting from his/her first to last encounter.

In the event marketing context, CX touch points can be grouped into the three stages of event lifecycle: pre event, during event and post event.

This article discusses some of the major processes, touchpoints and ecosystem required to create a delightful CX experience during the pre-event stage.

Stay tuned for the next upcoming instalments on during and post event CX delivery.

Processes

There are two major processes within the pre-event stage. These processes are: attendee recruitment and ‘in-between’ engagement. Within each of these processes, there are multiple touch points.

Attendee recruitment

Digital channels such as SEO driven websites, targeted display adverts, re-targeting and social media, are some of the most commonly used tools in attendee recruitment campaign.

Trackable data such as digital behaviours, personal interests and motivational drivers are powerful building blocks in creating a look-alike customer profile. A look-alike customer profile can then be used to refine attendee acquisition campaigns.

Touch point#1: Websites and advertisements

Websites or advertisements are usually the first touch points where prospects learn about an event. These first encounters generally set the tone for the rest of attendee’s journey hence it is imperative to set the right tone right from the beginning. This can be done through highly motivational/emotional driven content.

With an emotionally charged statement “escape the rat race and start living the life you really deserve”, Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad Company has been known for its ability to achieve its event registration targets.

The same thing goes to conference websites. Forbes Women’s Summit 2016 utilised an empowering theme #REDEFINEPOWER” at its website to encourage women around the world to step up and support each other to realise their potentials. The theme was further amplified by inspiring images and video showcasing the epitome of femininity and strength[1].

The results spoke for themselves! Registration target was achieved; women rose up and supported each other in their journeys for new heights.

Forrester in its US 2017 Customer Experience Index report has also stated that emotions play a massive role in creating superior CX. “If brands want to break away from the pack and become CX leaders, they must focus on emotion”.

Touch point #2: Event personnel

Event personnel are the most critical touch points in attendee recruitment process. Prospects want to feel important and valued when voicing out their thoughts and concerns with the team. In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Dale Carnegie unpacked this notion and shared some mind-boggling results in overcoming objections and winning people. Imagine how many more registrations one could win by putting this into practice.

Let’s look at how to empower event personnel to create a delightful CX.

Employee satisfaction and engagement

Studies have shown that companies who deliver superior CX significantly better than their competitors have more engaged employees. These companies have 60% more engaged employees than their least performing counterparts[2].

What is engagement and how does this help in creating superior CX?

Engagement comes from feeling good about one’s work and the company. These positive feelings and attachments propel employees in delivering superior customer engagement.

Should an organisation decides to outsource its customer facing team to a third party, it is imperative to ensure that there is a synergy of values between the organisation and its extension.

Touch point #3: Social media

More often nowadays, attendee recruitments are performed on social media platforms such as facebook and twitter. These channels are particularly effective when millennials are the target audience.

Pay attention to the tone of voice that is used throughout these platforms. Tone of voice is defined by how a brand or event likes be perceived by its prospects.

Hillsong church in Australia has been known for its prowness in organising spiritually and emotionally gripping annual conferences around the globe. Thanks to its sassy, inspirational and “millennial speak” content on facebook and Twitter, the church was able to command over 40K impressions and potential registrations[3]

An organiser may also consider using social media platform as a listening post and customer servicing platform in conjunction with call centres. This practice will provide a 3600 feedback loop to ensure a delivery of delightful CX in the omni channel world.

The ‘in-between’ engagement

One of the most neglected process in executing an event or conference is the in-between engagement. The ‘in-between’ engagement is defined as an engagement activities which take place time between registration completion and event attendance.

Touch point #4 Personalised messages

Attendees are often left un-engaged until the day of the event either through cookie cutter communications or communication MIA. Personalised messages can be utilised to ensure delegates are made feel valued and secured about their event purchases.

Content of personalised messages could incorporate individualised hopes or expectations one could gain through attending a particular event or conference. Personalised messages are made possible through data collected in the beginning of the registration process such as personal interests and motivational drivers.

Sophisticated cloud based softwares such as Emarsys and Salesforce tribal enhanced by AI could make a lot of difference in producing quality personalised messages.

To create deeper engagement with returning attendees, consider adding additional data layers such as past content viewing and spending habit. This data could be obtained from event apps and be combined with previous data stored in an organiser’s database to produce richer and holistic understanding about returning attendees.

Touch point #5 online community & User Generated Content (UGC)

When it comes to crafting a delightful CX, attendee inputs play a crucial role. As discussed previously, people like to feel valued and attendee inputs can help achieve this.

There are a couple of ways to generate attendee inputs:

Online community

Attendees are asked what they want to learn, or what they liked/disliked about previous conferences

UGC or social polling

Attendees are asked for their thoughts or feelings on certain subject matter. In its 2016 annual conference, Ulta Beauty created a website where its employees were encouraged to submit a video of their best Karaoke gigs. The co-workers were given opportunities to vote on the best performing gigs and finalists were awarded opportunities to perform at the conference – similar to the American Idols style. The results were astonishing! The website generated strong pre and during conference engagement.

Touch point #6 teasers

People love teasers! Just look at new movies, songs and new product launches.

Creating teasers leading up to an event is a highly charged emotional activity where attendees are being “delighted” of what’s to come.  This touch point could also be used in addressing buyer’s remorse.

Ecosystem

Excellent, seamless experiences at every touch point can only be achieved when upstream and downstream processes are linked. For MICE industry, CX ecosystem includes customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, partners, agencies, competitors, processes (funding, venue search, attendee recruitment & engagement and the list goes on). CX ecosystem looks into the interactions between these stakeholders and processes and ensures they are well integrated.

Pre-event ecosystem for delightful CX might look like the below

 

customer experience table

Attendee needs and value propositions in the above table are incoporated throughout the pre-vent processes. In addition to this, all stakeholders are encouraged to place attendee needs at the centre of their deliverables. Unification in focus, shared values and efforts will help create memorable CX in an event or conference.

This concludes the first instalment in creating delightful CX for event marketers.

 

 

[1] Source: https://www.forbes.com/forbes-live/event/womens-summit/

[2] Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2017/07/08/the-surprising-link-between-customer-experience-and-employee-engagement/#5af41a09b512

[3] Source: https://www.facebook.com/HillsongConference/

 

WeChat, Meipa and Weibo…we will make a good event together

 

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Epicentro was recently asked for its thoughts on how to best utillise China’s leading social media platform such as WeChat, Meipa and Weibo in an event.

Here are some Epicentro’s pearls of wisdom

1 For events in China, how can planners utilise tools like Wechat, Weibo and Meipai?

These social media platforms should be utilised to be in sync with an event’s lifecycle stages – from the ‘pre’, ‘during’ to the ‘post’ stages.

Pre-Event
Use Weibo to blast out the initial advertisements and create mass awareness of the event. Content must be tailored for the specific target audience. For example, the China Annual Conference for International Education and Expo (CACIE) used Weibo to promote its Education Expo 2017 and communicate content to a targeted audience.

WeChat, on the other hand, is very handy once prospects have registered. Cultivating engagement prior to an event is crucial to ensuring emotional stickiness. Thanks to its relatively closed-off ecosystem, WeChat provides a great way to develop a tighter relationship with delegates.

One example is the use of WeChat by Coach – an American luxury brand – to promote an event aimed at recruiting new customers via existing customers. To create emotional stickiness prior to the event, Coach gave point rewards to customers who’d successfully converted their friends into Coach followers. Points collected during the event could be redeemed as cash coupons worth RMB300.

During Event
Video streaming and livestreaming are powerful tools used by event planners to intensify delegate engagement. For example, as a sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival 2016, L’Oreal invited celebrities Gong Li, Li Bingbing, Li Yuchun and Jing Boran to livestream behind-the-scenes segments on the Festival’s official Meipai account. The streams received 160 million likes in total. During the livestreams, Li Yuchun introduced L’Oreal products and recommended a lipstick she wore during the Festival. After four hours of livestreaming, the featured lipstick was sold out at L’Oreal’s T-Mall flagship store.

2. Explain the power of social media to engage attendees. And what are the common pitfalls?

The most powerful aspects of social media include:

  •  Its ability to create UGC (user generated content). Co-creation has been proven to be an effective tool in creating powerful attendee engagement by many event marketers.
  •  Personalisation gives attendees the ability to choose how they participate, share and ‘consume’ an event with their loved ones. The key here is to provide ‘emotional freedom’ for attendees, and thus intensify their level of engagement.

Some of the most common pitfalls stem from not understanding the characteristics of each social media platform. Not all platforms are created equal, so it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of a campaign’s objectives, target audience and event lifecycle prior to choosing a social media platform to engage attendees.

3. What advice would you give to event planners looking to harness social media in event marketing?

  1.  Define campaign objectives
  2.  Use KOL (celebrities versus non-celebrities) appropriately
  3.  Ensure quality content
  4.  Identify your audience demographic (age in particular)
  5.  Know your social media platform characteristics
  6.  Sync social media platforms with the event’s lifecycle stages

Contact Epicentro on +852 2660 4553 for your next event project.

** This article has been adapted by This article has been adapted and publised by Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) - the world’s largest network of Business Events Strategists based in Chicago,USA

Please see the below article link

https://www.pcma.org/social-media-dos-and-donts-for-events/?utm_term=Social%2520Media%2520Do%255Cu2019s%2520and%2520Don%255Cu2019ts%2520For%2520Events&utm_campaign=112217-APAC-Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email

 

 

 

Hitting Your Event Registration Number!

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Show Me the Numbers

As marketers, we all have numbers to hit! number of likes, number of CTRs, number of leads and last but not least number of tickets we sold for our events.

Let’s be honest here, the bigger the event is, the more attendees we strive to acquire. We have our bosses breathing down our necks and say “show me the number!” Does this sound familiar to you?

Fortunately, we don’t need to re-invent the wheel to come up with the latest customer acquisition strategy. Our counterparts, brand and loyalty marketers have made customer acquisition strategy “downpacked”, all we need to do is to give it a bit of “event magic” touch and we have it!  This is also known as delegate/attendee recruitment strategy.

Get ready as we are about to embark on a quick peak into the secrets of maximising event registration number.

Step 1: Know Your Target

While this sounds simple, there are still many instances events are advertised in a less targeted manner.

Knowing your target audience will help organisers tighten:

  •  Event advertisement content – what to advertise
  • Event advertisement channels – where to advertise
  •  Event advertisement timing – when to advertise

Using a tool such as programmatic marketing enhanced with artificial intellegent (AI) will greatly boost organisers’ ability to push messages to the right target at a right time, channel and content

Step 2: Start Early for Big Ticket Item Events

For big ticket item events, it is crucial to start early.

High pricing strategy automatically places an event into a specific niche where target audience pool may be small. The smaller the pool is the longer time we require to achieve the desired registration number especially if the desired number is high.

Step 3: Offer Unparalleled Values

Given that we live in fast paced and busy society, time is an essence.

Tangible and intangible values must be clearly demonstrated and communicated throughout attendee recruitment process. This is particularly applicable to big ticket item events where registration fee is USD$1000 upwards

For instance Date with Destiny by Tony Robins (a 6 day seminar) has a whopping price tag of USD$4995

This is awfully a large investment in terms of monetary and time – hence tangible and intangible values MUST BE CLEARLY spelled out. In this instance, the intangible benefits one could expect from attending Tony’s seminar are the opportunities to life filled with passion, purpose, happiness and fullfillment.

Let’s Recap:

Step 1: Know your audience

Step 2: Start early

Step: Offer unparalleled values

“In closing, may I ask what are you offering?”

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Have something to say about our article? we love to hear from you

Digital Givings are Fun!

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In the world where scarcity mentality runs rampantly, giving tends to be treated as an afterthought or even worse – a “plaque” to be avoided!

Fundraisers and fundraising marketers are working tirelessly to come with up with ways to reignite compassion through heart breaking images such as malnourished children and decimated cities due to calamities.

Put your hand up if these images have successfully “moved” and motivated you to give?

The chance is, most of you would say…

“yep, I’ve seen it all and have donated in the past…NEXT”

Or

“I’m so sorry to hear about this but I have JUST donated …..six months ago”

Or

A classic line which  might sound like this “ sorry, I barely have enough to make ends meet”

The question remains, how on earth will fundraisers/ fundraising marketers cut through this scarcity mentality?

This month, Epicentro was asked by CEI (Asia’s leading meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions publication) on a few tips to make giving fun at events.

Buckled up! as Epicentro is about to share four golden tips which make donors’ hearts sing.

Utilise interactive visual ques

Interactive visual ques is one of the most powerful tools to illustrate the impact of donation in solving world’s problem. Interactive visual ques in this context allows donors to interact and visualise in the real-time how their donations impact the causes they’ve choosen to donate. This gives them a sense of achievement, appreciation and purpose. This visual ques “stimulated” their altruistic sense of self.

For instance, Misereor utilized powerful interactive digital posters to achieve this. Every time when a donor donates, he/she could see how the world’s problem is slowly being alleviated thanks to his/her donation[1].

Make it painless to donate

Misereor embedded card readers into its digital posters and a result of this its donors didn’t have go far to donate.

It was so easy!

Personalise the giving experience

Here we go again… personalisation!

Researches have proven time to time again that people buy brands that are congruent to them[2]. This is also applicable to giving.

People are more likely to give to causes they believe in. Instead of having one or two  world’s problems, give your donors the opportunity to choose causes that are congruent to them or something they can relate to.

The key is not to limit the giving causes.

Tap into the Millennials

Yes, you read this right… Millennials are your greatest ally when it comes to social justice issues. While they don’t necessarily have the income capacity as their predecessors – Gen X, they are likely to possess bigger hearts [3]

Oh.. on that note, the use of techs will be instrumental to unlock their hearts and wallets.

 

 

** This article has been adapted by CEI ASIA http://www.cei.asia/article/creative-ways-to-fundraise/439743?eid=54&edate=20170918&utm_source=20170918&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=weekly_newsletter

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-experiential-marketing-campaigns
 [2] Seong-Yeon Park and Eun Mi Lee (2005) ,”Congruence Between Brand Personality and Self-Image, and the Mediating Roles of Satisfaction and Consumer-Brand Relationship on Brand Loyalty”, in AP – Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, eds. Yong-Uon Ha and Youjae Yi, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 39-45.
 [3] https://www.philanthropyforamerica.org/single-post/2016/06/24/Rethinking-the-Millennial-Generation-Why-Millennials-Are-the-Future-of-Philanthropy-Social-Justice-and-the-Workforce

 

Emotionally engaging event is messy! Think again

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The story

Creating deep, emotional engagements with audiences has long been a holy grail for event organisers and planners. Now, a future in which event organisers will be able to track and respond to the emotions of their audience is almost upon us.

Impressive advances in biometric wearables, facial and emotion recognition technologies have provided technology-savvy event organisers with an ability that is highly coveted: the ability to track delegates’ emotional stage at any given time during an event.

While it will be a few years until it is fully matured and adopted widely across the MICE industry, this highly-anticipated tech will undoubtedly be every event organiser’s best friend.

The tools

Imagine having the ability to track your delegates’ emotional state at any given time, this would open up many opportunities which are not currently made available in the event industry – such as the abilities to engage with the delegates emotionally and address issues in real time.

For instance, when the technology detects a disinterested-looking crowd during a session, this data may indicate that the session is boring.  When used in conjunction with other external stimuli and information, an event organiser could make rapid adjustments to the next session in an effort to improve the level of engagement. In addition to providing real time remedies for issues that arise during an event, this technology could be used as a tool for event forward planning.

On the other side of the spectrum, delegates too can benefit from this technology, particularly in the area of emotional personalisation.

Pepsi’s Bioreactive concert at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Each concert delegate was given a Lightwave wristbrand that captured biometric data like movement, temperature and sound. This data was then translated into emotional insights, which were either aggregated or individualised and then displayed on a leader board. These insights were used to assist the concert DJ in customising the beat, music and volume to suit the crowd’s emotional state.

https://youtu.be/9h5Y8A5knJ0

A word of wisdom

While emotional tracking technology can help create a deeper level of engagement, ethical issues such privacy to be addressed prior to rolling this out to the wider event community.

Facial recognition software and wearable tech will both require consent to allow for ’emotional data’ to be used for marketing purposes—if used without consent, brands could find themselves in hot water very quickly.

The future

As technology and society continue to evolve, capturing and acting on audience emotions in real time will become more mainstream and open up a world of possibilities for event organisers – imagine what an event that would be!

What is O2O and does it really work?

o2oConcept of O2O

Buzzwords come and go in Silicon Valley but one thing that makes buzzwords memorable is when they have words like “billion” attached to it – a.k.a they make money

Before we jump into “How does an O2O business work ,” let’s get back to basics “What is O2O”? For a quick definition, one might say O2O is anything digital which brings people to shop offline, in real-world stores. Famous O2O startups in the West include Groupon, OpenTable, Uber for instance.

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**Courtesy of  innovation is everywhere.com

On demand vs scarcity demand mindset

According to Jon Carder, CEO and Founder of Online to Offline Ad Network Empyr what makes O2O a trillion dollar opportunity is due to its ability to connect millions of online consumers to millions of offline thanks to its “on demand” concept. Customers in this instance are driven by their own timeline instead of the businesses’.

On the other hand of the spectrum O2O could also be used a tool to generate “scarcity” demand mindset where consumers have been previously exposed or been made excited over a series of targeted communication prior to inviting them to a brick and mortar shop. Mind you, this is not a brand new concept!

A classic example of the usage of O2O was demonstrated by Lexus during its RX300 (luxury SUV) pre go-to-market event in 2003. Six months prior to the event, by invitation only VIP Lexus SUV owners were courted tirelessly and elegantly by RX300 through series of targeted and emotionally charged digital and traditional communications. To top this up, Lexus also offered a limited edition opportunity where VIP owners could personalised their RX300 through the exterior colour. Prior to the event, Lexus received approximately 50% of these VIPS expressing their interests or commitment to purchase.

In Lexus’s instance, O2O was used to generate scarcity demand mindset that “I get to own the latest RX300 before everyone else plus to top this up I can to choose my unique personalised exterior colour”

How does an O2O business work?

Carder and Epicentro explained the formula needed to make the O2O business work, please starts with the below

  1. It is all about the Offers – Something that motivates consumers to make a purchase at an offline business.

Offers must be: appealing, time sensitive and easy to redeem in store. Word of caution: a balanced approach must be adhered to ensure business is not haemorrhaging as a result of aggressive offers. Less aggressive and intermittent offers are a way to go.

  1. Deliver the experience as promised

While this is a common knowledge, it isn’t common practice! We have seen so many O2O businesses fail in connecting with their consumers at the store level, simply because they have neglected the promises they’ve made while courting these consumers. It is imperative to deliver the promised experience.

Panasonic Beauty CLUXTA experience centre has beautifully showcased the seamless experience between online and offline world where prospects are courted with a dream to shine through self-help beauty technologies. For more, please see the Youtube link https://youtu.be/mVltwUxJqus.

  1. The Tracking – How consumers redeem offers and how the offline business tracks where it originated from.

The final and yet a powerful step in ensuring a successful O2O business model is the use of data to generate relevant offers. Once again, this is a common knowledge but not commonly implemented.

Sources:

https://www.inc.com/aj-agrawal/the-formula-to-create-a-trillion-dollar-o2o-industry.html

http://news.panasonic.com/global/topics/2015/43853.html

When MICE meets Augmented Reality…

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* Image courtesy of “One Giant Pledge”

 

After spending years as little more than a novelty, augmented reality (AR) has finally broken through as a mainstream technology – at least for entertainment purposes. The technology’s potential as a serious tool, however, remains barely explored – even within seemingly obvious sectors as marketing, events, conferences and exhibitions.

Certainly, attendees at certain exhibitions recently may have encountered booths with AR technology used for photographic purposes, but its application hasn’t gone much further than that. But now, with the technology developed enough, available enough and cheap enough, AR is on the verge of exploding past the novelty stage.

Here are a few avenues being explored in AR for the MICE industry:

AR as a lure

One of the most straightforward of strategies is the use of location-based AR to draw customers into one’s premises.

For advertising and promotional campaigns, a similar result could be obtained through downloading a custom-made brand app with a location-based AR function.

In this case, AR could take the form of:

  • Gamification which Offers users heightened sensory and emotional experiences. General Mills, during the launch its “ONE GIANT PLEDGE” campaign utilised the green giant (an augmented reality character) to excite and encourage visitors to take one giant pledge in consuming more greens.*
  • Enhanced wayfinding to vendor locations, further augmented with product availability information for specific locations, and in-app product purchase function.

AR as a wayfinding aid and brand immersion tool

Similar ‘gamification’ to that described above could also be used to increase user engagement and immersion in a specific brand experience at exhibitions. The wayfinding potential of location-based AR can also be a useful tool in the exhibition setting:

Users who download an event app could receive ‘zone triggers’ when they’ve strolled into a client-designated area, or are in close proximity to certain booths.

  • App could also offer on-site registration.
  • For organizers, GPS data gathered via the app can give an up-to-the-minute view of traffic patterns that can be useful in planning future events.

AR brings the physical world to life by unlocking information and experiences

Already in use are apps combining AR with artificial intelligence (AI) to enable them to ‘learn’ user behaviour over time. Users can point their smartphone at virtually any object, and the app will identify and categorise nearly everything in the frame. When pointed at a brand logo, the app could open a ‘portal’ to the brand, enabling interaction with customers.

The possibilities of such apps go well beyond ‘images searches’, however:

By scanning their tickets with the designated app, fans at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, for instance, gained access to exclusive content – peeks behind-the-scenes, match previews, stadium information, various brand-sponsored incentives, wayfinding information and more.

In another campaign, consumers could use an app to scan cans of Coke and bring the can to ‘life’ with AR – wearing headphones and playing music from Spotify playlist.

AR can be a mainstream tool for engaging audiences and adding a whole new layer to immersive brand experiences. The challenge now isn’t the technology; it’s in discovering ways to make it an effective marketing reality.

*source: https://youtu.be/_-WWMJzDTqE

Emotional personalisation, are we ready MICE?

Epicentro coffee mugFor decades, meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry has been known for its prowess in creating mind blowing events by marrying work-of-art venue design as well as the latest tech gadgets. We – the event marketers have been “brought up” with one size fits all approach when creating an event.

While this certainly still works, our customers are demanding for more personalised experiences. According to Deloitte’s Consumer Review report “in all of things digital, consumers have higher expectations: they want their interactions with businesses, products and services they buy from them to be personalised”. To top this up, 1 in 5 consumers who expressed an interest in personalised product or services are willing to pay a 20% premium according to Deloitte.

In 2014, Burberry launched its first personalised perfume “My Burberry” – offering customers a unique opportunity to monogram their three letters initials on 90ml My Burberry bottles for free. Six months after its launch, 55% increase of revenue was recorded for its beauty division. As a result, this performance had also helped push the total Burberry sales up by 14% (equated to £1.1bn) (Parsons, 2014).

Personalisation has undoubtedly shifted how marketers connect with their audience. In fact, personalisation has been known for its success in growing company’s bottom line growth. Simply put personalisation works!

This begs a question, are we ready MICE? Most importantly, how does personalisation look like in our industry?

Inspiration email

According to Dale Parmenter, CEO of drp, setting up an “inspiration” email among delegates by asking them to send thoughts, images and ideas about what inspire them can be used to create personal touches throughout an event.  Digital displays and venue display walls are the perfect way to showcase them.

Personal anecdotes

Randle Stonier, founder of AddingValue regularly encourages his clients to actively give their delegates a sense of feeling valued by asking them a few personal questions/anecdotes prior to events. For instance questions such as when I was growing up I wanted to be…… or my greatest triumphs in life are….These are the commonly asked questions used to heighten emotional connection and sense of being valued amongst delegates. These personal anecdotes can then weaved into delegates’ journey throughout an event.

The key here is to ask relevant questions in relation to event’s nature.

Photo booths

Photos have been heralded as the easiest and quickest way to achieve personalisation. Personal photos speak volume of ones’ experiences.

For the majority of our events, personalisation takes place in a form of photographs where delegates insert their personal stamp messages and share them on a social media platform said Ken Ng, Assistant General Manager of Pico Global.

Event apps

Event apps such as Cvent Crowdcompass and SXSW GO have been known for their ability in capturing delegates’ digital footprint. Based on these footprints, delegates are given their specialised itinerary and matching networking opportunities.

Biometric wearable technology

Pepsi’s Bioreactive concert leveraged on biometric wearable where music fans were given wristbands which measured their bodies’ temperature and motion levels. As tunes were delivered by the DJ, Pepsi was able to gauge attendees’ reactions to each tune in real time and adjust the playlist accordingly. The  more energy “generated” by the crowd, the more surprise and delight moments they unlocked.

Speaking of personalisation, this comes close being really neat I must say!

Measurement matters

The above examples show varying degrees of emotional personalisation in action however emotional personalisation won’t work if we are unable to measure it.

How does one measure emotions?

AI cognitive technology

AI cognitive technology has been used to track human emotions in real time through facial expression reading. Powered by intelligence analytics, cognitive services and machine learning, this technology is able to analyse emotion flow.

While AI cognitive technology is yet to be implemented in the MICE industry as an emotional tracking/measurement tool, studies have shown that this technology has helped retail sector in improving instore experience. A 30% increase in repeat purchase had been recorded as a result.

Two foreseeable benefits of using this technology from an event organiser’s perspective are the ability to detect and address event issues in real time.

One must err on the side of caution when using this technology, as insights provided by AI cognitive technology could sometimes be misleading. For instance, a negative facial expression detected during a banquet dinner could easily be interpreted either as a poor service experience or poor range of available cuisines. Additional insights such as environment stimuli must be used to supplement these insights.

 Other metrics

Harder metrics such as lead generations and sales volumes will still play an important role in measuring events’ outcomes as per the objectives set out.

In closing, I’d like leave a question for you to ponder.

As an industry, do you think we are ready to embrace emotional personalisation in our events?

How to make your events Instagram-worthy

As event marketers, we understand that not all social media platforms are made equal!

When we run events, fundamentally we want to connect and inspire our participants. We will often go to the extent of influencing our participants to take certain actions such as attending an event or purchasing products and services.

How do we connect and inspire our event participants using Instagram?
In this article, we will unpack how to best integrate Instagram into our events.

Step 1: Visuals sell!

The quickest way to connect, inspire and influence our prospective event participants is through highly engaging and creative visual content. This exercise is about creating a visual appetiser to “wet” our prospective participants’ appetite. It also acts as an invitation for the prospective participants to visualise about the event

Highly engaging and creative visual content is dependent on events and visitor types. For instance, a bridal expo organiser will post stunning models draped in beautiful wedding gowns right through to intricately arranged flower bouquets visuals to wet the appetites of future brides.

Most large event organisers and exhibitors are likely to engage with professional photographers to capture the important visuals as their story telling component. For those who prefer to do DIY may consider using Instagram apps such as Little Moments App, Videhance, Flipagram and Instagram filters.

Please note, just because Instagram is on the rise, it doesn’t mean it is a “must-have” channel to be used when promoting an event, especially when no stunning visuals are available.

Relevant visual posting is the key for effective Instagram execution.

Step 2: Create Shareable Moment Content

Like most social media platforms, Instagram was created on a basis of community engagement through social sharing also known as User generated content (UGC).

UGC has always been known for its ability to amplify a brand message to a wider community. Complied by Business 2 Community, a reputable source of business thought leadership, the best Instagram campaigns in 2016 were held brands who invited their brand followers to share their experiences via hashtags. Phenomenal engagement rates such as number of views, likes, shares and comments were achieved in these campaigns (Pacis, 2016).

In an event and exhibition context, sharing live social updates using Instagram will further drive participants’ rate engagement within and outside of the events. For instance Ford motor company understands the value of having visual content display in all its CES events. Ford utilises several large screen displays featuring dynamic contents being shared with their whos tag #FordCES. Display screens are one of many effective ways to encourage visitors to share memorable experiences (Zuercher, 2014). Collectively #FORDCES on Instagram attracted 1,965 posts – not too shabby for a channel that is on the rise.

Step 3: Incorporate call to action with a perceived value

In an era where a mentality of “what is it in me” running rampantly, participants are highly motivated to acquire something of perceived value with minimal efforts.

This insight has been used frequently by many marketers to persuade and influence their audience. In the event/exhibition marketing context, this can also be applied effortlessly.

Consider posting a contest or invitation to participate on Instagram with a perceived value prize. In 2014, Starbucks reached out to its fans with a challenge to customise their iconic white cups and tag their submissions on Instagram with #WhiteCupContest. The winning design would then be translated to a limited edition reusable cup available for sale in the stores. The campaign received 4,000 plus submissions within a span of three weeks and the winner was awarded with the highest level of publicity where her winning design was used on all of the Starbucks cups for a period of time. (Gibson, 2014)

Conclusion

In closing, our job as event marketers is to connect, inspire and influence the event participants

Takeaway points how to make your events Instagram worthy:
1. Produce visuals that sell
2. Create shareable moment content
3. Incorporate call to action with a perceived value

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