Andy Johnston is president and creative director of The Idea Group and is a sought-after industry expert in developing ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. Andy has extensive expertise in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing and events. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-213-4416.
You have an association filled with engaged, involved members. It’s easy to assume that everyone has the same priorities and expectations, just because they belong. You want to please everyone, so your events end up being like those sweatshirts from airport gift shops, the ones labeled One Size Fits All. The problem is: They fit everyone and no one equally well. You can change that and develop agendas that capture more of your members’ attention and build their loyalty with this one key strategy — by making them feel unique.
Producing an association event takes budgeting and planning to come up with the right combination of location and venue. But as important as those elements are, the reality is that your attendees don’t come for the city, hotel, food, speeches or various parties and activities. They come for the personal experience. Your attendees are looking for diverse opportunities to select powerful content that’s relevant to their specific needs and to leave with practical ways to use the information immediately.
You can break away from one-way communication at one-size-fits-all events and give your members more reasons to attend this year — and every year.
To create a unique experience, reorganize your planning around: Audience Segmentation; Focus on Function; and Target Sessions.
Start by developing a better understanding of your membership. Inside your anticipated event audience will be smaller sub-groups of individuals who share the same interests and requirements. Audience segmentation helps you understand the needs and desires of every person you rely upon for success. For example, a civil engineer, a process engineer and a structural engineer don’t want or need the same conference information or support.
An audience segment is a group of people who share enough common situations, goals, functions or challenges to cause them to have similar needs.