No matter if you’re an event professional, a CEO, or a marketer, understanding the concept of event advocacy will change your life forever.
Let me ask you a basic question, one you’ve probably overlooked until now: Why do you plan an event?
Maybe your answers are:
- “I want to increase my revenues.”
- “My boss asked me to plan one.”
- “To gather like-minded people.”
- “I want to engage buyer personas.”
- “For marketing reasons, obviously!”
Sounds legit, yet superficial and somehow random.
What’s the problem?
Let’s take, for example, a product you want to sell. What are the steps you should take? Define your target group and its pain points, launch ad campaigns and targeted messages, exhibit your brand at trade shows, etc.
In other words, you (or your marketing and sales department) put together all the communication, highlighting the product’s value proposition.
You’d follow the book, thinking that’s the right (and only!) way of doing it.
However, by focusing on that, you run the risk of missing out applying one of the most fruitful marketing strategies.
The smart way
Instead of wasting money and resources on talking about your product (trying to cover the ad noise on social media and other mediums), you could make others talk about you.
As Bill Lee, CEO of the Customer Strategy Group, notes in an article for Harvard Business Review, “Who sells your products or services? This may seem like a silly question—the answer being, of course, the sales and marketing team. But increasingly, the most important person selling what you’re offering is—your customer.”
Lee go on to explain customer advocacy including the following argument: “As buyers increasingly expect to learn about products and services from their peers who are using them, companies are getting more creative at putting their happy customers in front of those buyers.”
What in the world is event advocacy?
The same thing happens with event advocacy, or attendee advocacy. If you plan events to engage people, sell your products or services, or increase your revenues, you may achieve your goals. However, you’ll fail to recognize that the real potential of your conference, exhibition, or congress involves transforming your attendees into your brand advocates.
Although new, you can easily align the concept of event advocacy with terms such as crowd advocacy, employee advocacy, and customer advocacy. The success of in-person brand experience will translate into happy guests, which subsequently will talk about your brand.
How does event advocacy work?
Before planning a brand event, ask yourself not only what you should do to transform your attendees into customers, but also how can you motivate your guests to talk about your brand after attending your event. Run brand events to attract high quality attendees who later will become your brand advocates.
Event advocacy works by not just providing unique experiences, but by actually connecting and positively nurturing the relationship with your attendees (before, during, and after the event). Events are an awesome platform for finding and nurturing new brand supporters who’d be happy to invest their time and resources (social media space, for example) to promote your products, services, or ideas.
How event advocacy will change your life
Being aware of what event advocacy is and how you can benefit from it will empower you to become more conscious and purposeful when designing your future congress, workshop, or even music festival. Plan not only events that talk about your brand in a compelling and helpful way, but also events that will inspire your audience to become brand advocates.