Let me ask you a few quick question:
- Is your brand built for everyone?
- Do you launch new services with the general public in your mind?
- Are you designing marketing strategies to enchant the whole world?
- Is your intention to attract people everywhere to buy your products?
Hopefully your answer to these questions is no.
The general public is NOT your desired target group, nor do you want to pour your resources into selling or talking to people who have no association with or interest in your brand.
The same way you care about who your followers, prospects, and buyers are, you should develop a high degree of diligence when defining your event audience.
Not doing so will bring you a series of frustrations and disappointments, making you believe that event marketing is not an efficient thing.
Apart from that, there's a series of things (aka consequences) that might happen if you’re careless with determining your event’s target group:
FALLOUT #1. Flawless planning with zero impact
No matter how exquisite your event is or how perfect the entire experience is, if you’ve gathered the wrong people at your event, nothing you do will impact them.
It’s as if you’d be talking about the Falcon Heavy rocket to people who are interested in the life of Kim Kardashian (no offense) or vice versa.
And it doesn’t matter how well-crafted the message and the event itself are—if you aren’t talking to the right crowd, your planning time, effort, and money will go down the drain.
FALLOUT #2. Lack of reaction
The main idea of planning an event resides in making your attendees act, or at least planting some new ideas that will make them change an opinion or a behavior.
However, when you’re not talking to the right audience, your messages will fall on deaf ears and, as indicated earlier, have no impact. That’s why you can’t expect any desired reaction.
If people don’t connect with your message, they won’t take the actions you’d like them to, as a response to the experiences you’ve embedded in the event.
FALLOUT #3. Bad publicity
The worst thing about gathering the wrong audience at your event is the negative word-of-mouth marketing.
If the wrong people attend your event, they most likely won’t enjoy the experience. Subsequently, they’ll tell others how bad your event was, making those people believe your brand doesn’t deserve any attention.
It’s the same as selling your services or products to people who don’t need it. After they buy it, they’ll realize they don’t have any need for it. As a result, they’ll go to Trustpilot or another reviewing platform and leave a negative comment.
If you don’t define the right attendee profile for your event, you’ll fail to achieve your marketing or business goals, at best, or get a bad reputation, at worst.
To keep this from happening, put everything else aside and focus on building the right audience first.
Then (and only then!), start conceptualizing, designing, and planning the event. You can do it by answering the following questions:
Q1. What’s my event about?
Are you running an informative event that will explain the benefits of your products or services? Do you intend to launch a new product? Do you want to connect with existing clients and strengthen your relationship with them?
Depending on your objective, you’ll be able to understand what attendee types are best suited to attend and who’ll be the most interested in what you have to offer.
For example, if your intention is to launch a product or service, you might want to invite those people whose lives you can make better through this new offer.
Again, you shouldn’t have a generalized approach. Make sure you narrow down the characteristics by knowing exactly what demographic and professional profiles you are aiming to attract.
Q2. Whom can I serve the best through the event?
If you aren’t new to event marketing, you already know that selling out will put your attendees off.
To engage and interest them, you must focus on the value and immediate solutions you can provide during the event. Thus, another way to narrow down your attendee profile is to ask yourself whom you can serve the best.
Who’ll benefit the most by attending your event and extract the most insights and actionable ideas by simply being present?
Let’s say, for example, that you’re representing a software company that’s focused on services for solo entrepreneurs worldwide.
The actual event, however, is focused on people who’ve built their companies through the Estonian e-Residency program, and providing them with information on how to benefit the most from their situation.
Obviously, your mission is to run an event that will serve a specific type of solo entrepreneur, even though the company you’re planning the event for has a broader range of prospects.
Q3. What OKRs do I want to achieve with this event?
What are your brand's objectives and key results?
If your goal is, for example, to foster more brand ambassadors, you’ll have to take a look at your existing clients and plan an incentive event for them.
Or if you’re trying to transform your brand into an industry reference, and you’re using event marketing to create a platform for insights and idea sharing, you’ll want to set your sights on gathering attendees who want to expand their knowledge, make contacts, and get involved in the development of the industry.
Each brand, business, or organization goal you set will help you define your audience.
Q4. What values is my brand promoting?
There’s no stronger connection than the one between people who share the same values. Being a marketing extension of your brand, the event itself will carry the essence of the value you want to promote.
To make a real impact on your audience, you’ll want to gather those people who believe in the same things as you (meaning your company, brand, or business).
If, for example, you’re profiling your company as a sustainable and “green,” you’ll want to have attendees who’ll really appreciate your efforts to make the event as eco-friendly and waste-free as possible.
So let’s say you’ve answered all these questions, designed a solid document, and incorporated the attendee profile you want to attract at your event.
The next step is to evaluate all these characteristics and imagine an attendee persona (a fictional character who incorporates all the indicated features). Then, your mission is to build an event message that will resonate with this ideal persona.
Defining the right audience for your event will help you develop an efficient program that will make a positive and powerful impact on those people you want to attract.
By knowing who your desirable guests are, you’ll be able to find the right words, event design, and planning setup to achieve your event goals.