Post authored by Mitch Cooper, Marketing Specialist
As the year that was 2016 comes to a close, many of us will spend a few moments reflecting on the past 365 days. We will think about the good things that happened, the bad times we experienced and how far we have come since the year began.
This year, we’ve been thrilled to host some terrific articles on our Event Industry Blog that have inspired, offered advice and helped event and conference planners to be more successful.
Of the many posts we’ve had, five of them have risen to the top as the most interesting pieces this year. We encourage you to take a few moments and look through Our Top Five Posts of 2016.
If there’s a buzzword that can cause more excitement and dread simultaneously across the industry, it’s “data.” We don’t want to make the smallest decisions without it, yet there is so much data to be collected and sifted through that it drives us crazy. You can make the data prove any point you want.
So, what do we do with all this information to make our events more successful?
“To conquer this data challenge, we need trusted advisers who are equipped to help us improve and better compete,” wrote Brian Scott, Experient’s Chief Information Officer. “Advisors who know our organizations well and who can efficiently guide us to solutions best poised to improve business performance.”
When you create your event experience design, do you have a clear picture of your attendees in mind? Are you able to put yourself in your attendees’ shoes and picture what they would want in an event? Creating event personas helps planners put a face and name to the person they want to please, making their efforts more intentional and effective.
“Sketching out blueprints for each persona makes it easier to compare and identify commonalities and differences among your top personas,” said Cynthia Hornketh, CMM, VP, Experience Design. “This is crucial, as you’ll likely be managing quite a few production conflicts and financial constraints as you advance to the execution stage of the design process. This makes experience design more scalable, as there are often tactics that will delight multiple personas.”
It comes as no surprise that most people inside–and outside of the industry–tend to think from an “inside-out” perspective. We carefully plan from an internal perspective, wanting to know what “we” can achieve. But, according to Jeff Fugate, SVP of Sales and Marketing, that approach can be flipped on its head for a new way of thinking: outside-in.
“This outside-in approach is hardly new—it’s a mainstay in tech circles. User Experience (UX) designers begin with the end in mind and they’ll test assumptions thoroughly before they start mapping out a plan. They start with the WHAT and the WHY for their end user, because if they’re going to invest time to solve a problem, they want to make sure it’s the right one.”
At Maritz Global Events’ annual e4 conference this year, John O’Leary, the author of Live Inspired, took the stage as the opening keynote speaker and delivered a powerful message. Even though he nearly lost his life at nine years old, sustaining burns over most of his body, O’Leary shared his story of courage, overcoming tragedy and incredible odds to make his circumstances benefit countless others.
“Hearing John O’Leary talk about how to go through life as a brave soul, how to speak your truth and face your challenges head on,” wrote Pattee Brown, Marketing Manager, “inspired me to take a different look at my personal experiences and to apply those life lessons to aspects of my professional life.”
The most valuable, yet elusive, piece of information that will make your event flourish is behavioral data: knowing what individual guests actually DO once they arrive at our events. Knowing what people spend the most time at and where they avoid is a gold mine of vital information to the health and success of your event for years to come, according to Terence Donnelly, Vice President of Sales.
“Behavioral data is indeed the new trade show currency and those who pursue this soon will have a decided edge. As you firm up goals for your 2017 events, I would encourage you to include at least one goal that’s focused on advancing this area.”