Obsessing about Target Audience in Conferences

Obsessive focus on the target audience is absolutely must for conference event managers so that they can create optimized networking and educational experiences for participants. And that’s the MindTrrip mantra for sure! Always make sure that you continuously analyze and clean your data for maximizing participant experience.

Peter Fader, professor of marketing at Wharton, author of “Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage”, writes that the lifetime value of the customer is key to focusing on your best customers. Conference strategies must be future focused. For determining your target audience for premium conferences, these five parameters are key:

  • Who are the clients that your sponsors and exhibitors value most?
  • Which corporate has the professional development budget to attend every year?
  • How does attending a conference impact retention and spend for other products and services?
  • Which segments have the highest influence for referrals?
  • What segments are tackling the biggest challenges or driving change?

Future ready

Using the insights of Fader, here is a basic thumb rule process that gives a clearer understanding of each event’s audience.

True Attendee Definition — Obviously not all attendees are your true audience. Always remove the clutter whilst analyzing. Keep that data clean and tidy. Those definitely not the true attendees are staff, exhibitors, sponsors, guests, students if any and the press. Volunteers and even speakers do not count as true attendees. What you are looking for clients with referral as well as purchase capability.

Attendance Loyalty — This of course is for regular conferences of companies. More than 2 years of attendance can be termed as loyal. You must have ensure that you have a growing list loyal attendees. If not, something is going wrong somewhere. The loyal and non-loyal categories must be used to analyze and compare demographic data. This should be done across data fields like region, job titles, seniority etc. The insights that you gain by this comparison of loyal and non loyal participants is amazing.

Organizational Data — Company loyalty can provide insight into organizational vs. individual participation. For example, at some conferences, 25–50 companies could represent 20 to 50 percent of attendance. These then of course are your cream target audience. In cases where companies send different team members from event to event the email did or domain can be helpful in categorizing your database.

Tracking —Important in defining who actually is travelling to visit your conference. This will give you insights into core participants who travel to your conference wherever you hold it.

Demographic Fields — You don’t want to ask for too much or too little. At a minimum, be sure to collect role/position, work setting, and years in profession. These should all be required fields. In case you are doing this manually for some reason, make sure that all required fields and filled up in legible writing. Ensure your data entry for this data is top class. Data is king.

Happy Mindtrripping! Implement these rules and see the difference in your Target Audience selection. Please do leave comments or thoughts.