Innovative Ways to Personalize Event Engagement
14 Jul 2023 | Heather Pryor | 3 minutes
During our annual INSIGHT conference, we strive to empower events and marketing professionals to personalize event engagement through a range of expert-led sessions. One of the most popular sessions at INSIGHT 2023 earlier this year was “The Journey to Belonging Begins With Personalization.” It was led by Naomi Clare Crellin, founder and CEO of Storycraft LAB, joined by RainFocus enterprise account director Sina Hanson and RainFocus senior sales engineer Matt Sparks.
The session showed the many important connections between personalization, preferences, and belonging. Crellin illustrated how to complete human-centered design processes with fascinating examples from Google Xi, PCMA, and NASA that were quite literally out of this world.
The Importance of Belonging
Everyone has a natural desire for belonging, Crellin explained. According to research published in Harvard Business Review, individuals who experience a sense of belonging are 167% more likely to make a recommendation — a clear indicator that belonging is valuable to a business’ bottom line.
“It’s really important for us to pursue belonging because it connects the dots between making our experiences more meaningful, joyful, human-centered with the bottom line, with business,” Crellin said. She further explained that belonging is a combination of inclusion and preferences. When skillfully planned, events meet both of these qualifications.
Creating a Sense of Inclusion
When your event attendees feel included, they are much more likely to participate in more sessions, network with others, and engage in other event activities. Friendship, understanding, representation, and recognition are all important components of inclusion. Consider how to incorporate these elements into your event experience wherever possible. Look at email marketing, content design, social media, networking, badge design, and many other event facets for opportunities to foster inclusion.
Exploring Attendees’ Preferences
To help attendees feel included, you need to know who they are and what their preferences are. The data generated by event registration and attendance helps build a rich understanding of attendees’ preferences and behaviors if you ask the right questions. Using the tools you have at your disposal, consider how to personalize attendee recommendations. Presenting attendees with personalized recommendations is one powerful way to increase engagement.
How to Inspire Event Engagement
There are thousands of ways to personalize event engagement at an event, but knowing where to start can be difficult. Crellin suggests these three steps to include in your event planning:
- Develop a central theme. A theme serves as a unifying throughout your event, connecting every experience to the central idea or takeaway.
- Decide on your tone. Whether your brand is more playful or serious, determine what your tone of voice will be throughout your event experience and maintain consistency.
- Categorize content for like-minded individuals. Create a fun set of journeys for different types of attendees so that everyone can find what they’re looking for.
- Evaluate attendee feedback. Ensure that content delivery is centered on the preferences expressed by your audience in their pre-event survey.
Overall, as you are building out your experience, think about the data you need to gather from attendees to personalize their experience. Be intentional about the data you ask for from your attendees, and how you ask for it. Asking too many questions at once may cause attendees to abandon your survey or registration workflow. Ask in phases and tie their answering to clear benefits to them. Practicing data minimization (collecting only what you need) is also a security best practice, so only ask for information that will be used to enhance the experience.
Once you’ve identified which data needs to be collected, determine how that data can tie back to your central theme to create fun and engaging experiences. Consider fun ways you could go about collecting that data. For example, Matt Sparks demonstrated how personality quizzes might be used to personalize attendees’ experiences while capturing data along the way. To learn more about personalizing events and creating inclusion and engagement, check out the full session on demand.