Make your Event Personalized
Back to Experience channel

Personalisation – Making your Event Messaging Relevant for Changing Audiences

What’s the latest approach marketers are leaping on board with? Personalisation marketing: the ability to make your audience feel that your marketing messages are directed solely at them.

By MCI Staff

The 2019 events season promises to be the busiest and most dynamic yet, with plenty of new industry trends coming to the fore, and a whole host of new event marketing tactics making their debut. As ever, thinking outside the box, embracing new technologies, and staying ahead of the curve is going to be essential for those in event marketing wishing to stand out from the crowd. The latest approach which marketers are leaping on board with? Personalisation marketing, and making your audience feel - more so than ever before - that your marketing messages are directed solely at them.

Ask any events professional about contemporary event attendees, and they’ll be quick to tell you that today’s event-going public are more demanding than ever before. While that comes with its own set of challenges, it’s by no means a bad thing… and it’s also by no means a challenge which we’re unable to rise to. Personalisation marketing helps brands and event marketers hone their skills, and make the most of the latest marketing technologies, allowing them to target audiences and (more importantly) specific audience members in ways hitherto unimaginable.

Ensuring that your brand message is completely relevant to the individuals or groups who come across it is not merely a desirable factor anymore - it’s absolutely essential for standing out in an increasingly saturated marketplace. Brand personalisation is about many things, but the bottom line has everything to do with showing your audience that you know them, you understand them, and you respect their individuality and individual wishes. Harness that essence during the events season to come, and you’ll have the ability to a relationships with your prospective clients and customers which goes above and beyond the usual, and which will drive outsized results for your brand.

In this blog, we’re going to be taking a closer look at the importance of personalised messaging and personalisation marketing as a whole. It’s something central to the ethos of all of us here at MCI Experience, and the we couldn’t be more excited to see more unique, personalised, and tailored marketing opportunities becoming the norm in the events industry.

Personalised Marketing Takes Off

Few would deny that marketing of all sorts is less irritating when it is personalised. Even spam emails which use the real name of the recipient are far more likely to be opened, read, and engaged with than those which appear generic at first sight. We can see this in the most obvious ways via marketing giants such as Amazon; their tailored recommendations algorithm blazed an impressive new trail for others to follow, and opened up new horizons for marketing drives of all colours and shapes. 

77%
Preferred  Personalised Messaging 

The events industry has long since been using similar tactics to drive up attendee numbers and engagement; major events sites frequently have ‘recommended’ pages, and it isn’t difficult to link brands that fit the preferences of users to individual user profiles, via the use of cookies and other tools. A few years ago, there were rumblings about such approaches seeming invasive, but all the evidence nowadays points to a reversal of this opinion. 

In fact, a recent survey by Attest (a major consumer insights platform) found that millennial audiences overwhelmingly preferred personalised messaging and recommendation, with 77% of those surveyed claiming it helped them choose the events, brands, etc to follow and spend their money on. However, personalisation for events goes far further than an Amazon-style list of recommended products, picked out by algorithms for your shopping cart. Here are just a few ways in which marketers and events managers can tailor their messages for changing and diverse audiences:

Personalised Invitations

Why not start your personalised messaging from the very beginning? There are a whole number of ways of making your invitations more personalised and customised, from simple methods involving software which ensures your recipient’s name appears on the email, through to old-school (but massively impactful) hand-written letters. 

There’s also a growing trend for personalised and customised video invitations, inspired by Facebook’s highly successful viral ‘thank you’ and ‘year in review’ seasonal videos. Software which pieces together images of events or brand engagements your recipient has been involved in over the year, and conjures up an attractive video which ends with a brand message are becoming more commonplace, and are a highly attractive option many brands are going for.

Personalised Check In

Being recognised when you arrive at a location always makes people feel good about themselves. Think about how great it feels to go to a favourite bar, and for the barman to not only know your name, but to remember your favourite cocktail… and exactly how you like it. Nice, isn’t it? Personalised check-in is a powerful new form of audience personalisation for events, and facial recognition and RFID technology is making it increasingly popular at events across the globe.

Setting up check-in points where the attendee can walk up to a camera, have their face recognised, and their name appear on a screen does away with the need for barcodes and physical tickets. Not only is it faster and more efficient, it opens up loads of opportunities for personalised marketing, too, with brands being able to ‘remember’ what an audience member likes, is interested in, and the presentations they’ve already participated in.

Making Signage Personalised

At any event, the attendees will have different stands to visit, different panels to attend, and different brands they want to make a beeline for. Personalisation marketing is all about reflecting those attendee priorities, and personalised signage is one way that can become a reality. 

Radio frequency technologies, such as RFID and NFC, can facilitate this in interesting, creative, and attendee-centred ways. Smart badges or similar can be issued to individuals upon registration, pre-loaded with information such as the attendee name, company, and sessions or demos they plan to attend, which then allows higher levels of personalisation to manifest as they wander throughout the event space.

For example, with RFID antennas in the badges, attendees can encounter personalised welcomes on screens as they enter the event, followed by tailored information popping up on the signage they walk towards or past. This might be a room number for their next talk, or a reminder about a brand activation that fits their interest coming up in another part of the conference hall. This technology was utilised in a highly effective way at last year’s Outdoor Advertising Association of America conference; smart badges provided customised welcome messages, and fixed points around the venue could offer custom content and social media feeds, zapped straight into the delegates’ mobile devices. Impressive stuff!

Bringing the Right People to the Right Presentations

Social media has made networking an absolute breeze compared to what it was once like. However, AI has made it a whole lot easier, helping event attendees hone in on the people and brands they most want to get up close and personal with. Platforms such as Grip are taking event personalisation to a whole other level, by using an AI matchmaking algorithm - which interprets data from major social media networks - to make personalised recommendations of people to meet, products to try, or conference sessions to engage in.

The Importance of The Experience

Nowadays, nothing is too much for contemporary event audiences. They expect the full shebang like never before; entertainment options are more grandiose than ever, catering menus are offering culinary delights which rival even the most outgoing restaurants, the twin worlds of AR and VR are making science fiction a reality… and personalisation marketing slots nicely into the new paradigm of what contemporary events are all about. 

Indeed, the personalisation factor in brand marketing has shifted from being a novelty to being a marketing must. To understand - and then demonstrate that understanding of - attendee’s personal interests and passions is key to standing out, showing you’re a brand that wants to connect, and demonstrating your commitment to marketing to individuals… rather than to vague audience demographics.

Over the next year, we can expect to see the brand experiences on offer become a far more blended and seamlessly collaborative affair. Data and new technology will come together with social media influencers, AR-enriched presentations, and traditional booths and speakers, in order to create a personal experience through the entire cycle of an event. It’s important to note that personalisation marketing isn’t at odds with traditional marketing drives and techniques; indeed, it is something which can bolster and support rather than overtake. At the end of the day, those face-to-face encounters and moments of engagement remain the number one opportunity to convert and accelerate. Audience personalisation is about taking those moments one step further, and demonstrate a commitment to the bespoke which attendees are increasingly craving.

Personalisation Marketing for Branding Success

As we’ve seen, the latest technology, and the unstoppable desire for greater levels of personalisation and personal recognition at events is driving a whole load of fascinating changes. As the tech catches up with even the loftiest plans of event marketers and brands for deeper personalised experiences, new doors are being opened for more immersive, more satisfying, and more effective brand encounters at events worldwide

MCI Experience is top-notch provider of brand activations and out-of-the-box marketing events, and we’re endlessly excited by the developments we’re seeing and getting involved in. Want to find out more about how we can help you and your business stay ahead of the curve? Get in touch today, and see why we’re the best in the industry.