To open the New Year, I am thrilled to get Michelle Bruno’s perspective on the experience of a decision-maker attendee. She’s a good friend and straight talker, so with pleasure, here’s her open letter to all of us:
Dear Show Organizer:
You’ve convinced me to register.
When I Googled your event website, it was great that you optimized your content to make it easy for me to find you.
But I had to read a lot of irrelevant information before finding out quickly what was in it for me and there was no phone number to call to speak with a human. Nevertheless, I figured it out for myself and signed up anyway.
When I registered, you made no attempt to understand who I was and what I wanted through surveys or session choices. But since you had already hooked me, I went with the flow.
I don’t have time for serendipity.
When I go to your event, I feel as if I’ve become one of the hundreds or thousands of other attendees who took the bait and suddenly I’m on my own.
I’m really busy. Taking time away from the office is difficult for me to justify. Yet, no one reaches out to answer my obvious questions—Who should I meet? What companies should I visit? What should I learn? There are no attempts to help me get the most out of the event in the least amount of time.
You track my every move with technology, but you don’t do anything with the information other than feed it into your marketing machine with the intent to lure me back next year.
If I’m really interested in a session, you make me work for the information—take notes, snap photos of slides with my smartphone, go to a website to get a copy of the presentation. Why don’t you capture the information for me and just send it to me automatically?
After the event, show me you know me.
I understand that maybe it’s hard to meet with me during the event—there are only so many of your staff and just three days. But after the event, you’ve got a whole year to continue our relationship.
Stop sending me information for the following year as if we’ve never interacted. You have data on me now. You know what I’m interested in. Let’s start there.
Change your relationship with me from transactional to (long term) relational. Pick up the phone and/or meet with me. I’ll know that you’re truly interested in addressing my needs and I’ll likely attend your event again.
Make it really easy for me to come back the following year with my team members. A good experience for me is worth sharing.
From this point on, don’t only contact me when you want to sell me. Remember what I want and send me good ideas and information year round.
In case I haven’t made it clear, here’s what I’m trying to say.
I’m a human, not a data point. Get to know me and deliver a personalized experience to me all year round. Put yourself in my shoes and let’s get to know each other.
Your Most Loyal Decision-Maker Attendee (maybe).
As a former supplier and conference planner/trade show manager, Michelle sees the technology and evolution of the live-event industry through a unique lens. She chronicles change through articles in event-industry publications, event-tech company blogs and at EventTechBrief.com. Reach Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org