Post authored by Jeff Fugate, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Do you believe in magic?
There are many ways to define magic. Here are a few entries I found on Webster’s online:
- The use of means (such as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces
- An extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source
- Giving a feeling of enchantment
As a family, we watch America’s Got Talent and we’re always excited to see the magicians and illusionists. During these performances, I’ll often remind our kids, “Magic isn’t real. It’s a carefully planned and well executed experience that leaves the viewer with the perception that the impossible is possible.”
Their response (and I can hear it now): “Yeah, Dad, but how did she do that?”
I don’t know the answer, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a supernatural power. A recent event experience revealed a bit more about how magic happens.
A Magical Event Experience
I recently participated in an event that was amazing. It was my fourth time attending this annual event and it was by far, the best.
Interesting, but there were no preeminent speakers. No five-star restaurants, grand ballrooms or world-class entertainers. In fact, this event was simply held in our corporate offices in Fenton, Missouri.
As for the magic, I didn’t even realize how amazing this event was until after it was over. As I reflect on this experience, I didn’t once look at my watch or wonder when a session would be over. I was fully engaged from start to finish and so were those around me. Much like Baby Bear’s porridge, every single experience was just right. It was magical!
How did the organizers create this magical experience? I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I believe event magic happens at the intersection of Data St. and Design Ave.
It starts with a deep understanding of the participants. For this event, the organizers used data and design to develop personas for various participant segments.
In this case, the participants were sales and marketing professionals and most had attended quite a few events throughout their career.
This group had seen it all, so one persona that was developed was the “Expectaholic.” This persona represents participants with very high expectations – and if anything falls short of their sky-high expectations, they’re disappointed.
This event had plenty of “Expectaholics” in attendance.
Once personas were developed, the organizers used our 8 Phases of a Successful Event design methodology to carefully plan each experiential element – always with the guest personas in mind.
What’s Behind The Curtain
One of the things that resonated for many who attended was the consistency of the content.
For example, three different sessions focused on storytelling and each built on takeaways from the prior session. These sessions also required hands-on participation and full engagement – passive participation was not an option.
Three big takeaways for me from this event experience:
- Deliberate design has a significant impact on the guest experience.This event had virtually the same people in attendance as prior years with similar topics, yet the experience was significantly better.
- It doesn’t have to be BIG DATA!
The data captured and utilized in the planning and execution of this event came from surveys and ethnographic interviews.
- It’s not easy, but it’s also not rocket science.How do I know this? I told my dad about it and asked him if it was rocket science and he said “no.” He’s an astrophysicist – he knows about rocket science-type stuff.
Event magic doesn’t require supernatural powers or a PhD. It’s well within your grasp and it’s something your audience is craving.
Are you ready to dazzle and delight them with a few magical experiences?