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Personalisation – Making your Event Messaging Relevant for Changing Audiences

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 experience […]

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 boxembracing new technologies, and staying ahead of the curve is going to be essential for those in experience and 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 previously unimaginable.

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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 be able to establish authentic relationships with your prospective clients and customers, which in turn 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 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% Prefer Personalised Messaging

The events industry has 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 communications

Personalised Communications

By applying a personalised approach to your communications your messaging will resonate more with your audience. It can showcase your brand authenticity, increase the relevance of your messaging and inspires action and behaviour change. But, how do you go about ensuring that your messaging lands?

Data provides us with great insights into our audiences – their attributes on a demographics level and their interactions with your brand. Detailed data is not enough. Even if you can target accurately, you need personalised messaging at an individual level. This can be achieved with dedicated thought, planning and, most importantly, careful consideration about the customer’s next intention. This is where psychographics provides a deeper level of insight into their behaviour through their interests, activities and opinions.

Through Google Analytics and social media analytics you can glean valuable insight trends including interests, attitudes and sentiment analysis to inform the segmentation of your messaging. Surveys and questionnaires can also provide that added level of understanding – as part of your pre-event, onsite or follow-up you can ask your audience how they like to learn, what formats they like to network in and what content they find most valuable.

Knowing your audience’s intent allows you to make the most of your messaging across social media, email campaigns, landing pages, calls to action, in-app notifications and content development. Consideration for the remarketing hook to re-engage your audience is also important in the cycle of communications.

These touchpoints provide opportunities for you to tailor, target and personalise your messaging. It demonstrates that you really understand their specific business challenges and personal preferences.

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/content they’ve already engaged with. It offers a frictionless and personalised experience.

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. This technology can also enable or enhance networking as attendees can be alerted when someone with similar interests is in their vicinity; a conversation starter if you will.

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; they yearn for heightened and personalised experiences that surpass previous ones, that are sharable, and invoke FOMO in those who can’t be there. The twin worlds of AR and VR are pushing the boundaries of experience and personalisation marketing slots nicely into the new paradigm of what event experiences are all about. 

Indeed, the personalisation factor in brand marketing has shifted gear to being the essential component to messaging that resonates. 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. The entire cycle of an event will have distinct touchpoints to create a personal experience and a brand narrative: data and new technology will enhance messaging and content, and deeply enrich AR and VR experiences.

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 demonstrating a commitment to building rapport, trust and loyalty from your key audiences.

Personalisation Marketing for Branding Success

Marketers and brands are searching for ways to cut through the marketing noise and establish more meaningful engagement with their audiences. By utilising data, analytics and technology you can create more impactful messaging and deeper personalised digital and live experiences. New doors are opening for more immersive, more engaging, and more effective brand encounters through personalisation. Taking time to know your audience builds their trust and in the long term their loyalty to your brand.

We love activating audiences and helping brands with their engagement strategies. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you and your brand design personalised experiences.