More and more business leaders and marketing professionals understand the real impact of planning events, and leverage this strategy as a primary driver for brand growth and awareness.
According to a survey presented by Meetings Mean Business, “Executives believe in-person meetings are important to their businesses, beneficial to operations and critical to career development.” The same study highlights that “corporate leaders are making in-person meetings a financial priority and report increasing investment in face-to-face meetings.”
Furthermore, an Event & Experiential Marketing Industry Forecast & Best Practices Study indicates, “87% of consumers say events are more effective than commercials.”
The potential of live brand events is undeniable.
From educating the audience on a specific subject to collecting new leads, this strategy can improve your brand’s outreach by strengthening its authority and market position.
However, if not executed correctly, you’ll run the risk of wasting your money, time, and resources without generating a satisfactory marketing ROI.
You see, planning brand events is so much more than just taking care of logistics and setting up a place to gather a crowd. To ensure that your brand messages will have a positive impact, you must consider the psychological layer of your events.
In other words, your mission is to influence attendee behavior.
As a marketing professional or an event planner, your main goal should revolve around shaping the audience’s actions (before, during, and after the event). Your mission is to make them understand why your value proposition is unique, demonstrating how your products or services will improve or change their lives.
Reasons to influence attendee behavior
How much time do you spend on visualizing or listing the things you want from your attendees? Do you have a solid plan on how to strengthen your brand message by generating certain reactions from your event guests? Do you have any specific techniques on how to influence attendee behavior?
Most likely, you don’t have a clear answer, or maybe you’re struggling to understand why you have to influence attendee behavior in the first place.
Why is it your responsibility to persuade your guests to act one way or another, anyway?
To help you find the answer, let’s start by breaking down the reasons why you need to influence attendee behavior.
Reason 1. You’ll generate new leads
If you are planning brand events to attract and engage new audiences, you must find a way in which to convert these attendees into qualified leads. However, this can’t happen without persuading the attendees into taking action. Whether it’s signing up for your newsletter or testing your product or service, you must influence attendee behavior to achieve the wanted results.
Reason 2. You’ll gain valuable feedback
Brand events provide a perfect outlet for further communication and social listening. You can gather interesting feedback by launching a digital survey during the event or by engaging the audience in a live poll. As you can understand, the simple fact of asking for information involves a slight behavior change requirement from your attendees.
Reason 3. You’re likely to establish authentic connections
Your brand has a humane dimension, yet it’s almost impossible to reflect it solely through social media campaigns or ads. Event marketing, instead, may offer you an efficient platform of building meaningful contacts with your potential clients. However, you must influence attendee behavior first by gaining your attendees’ trust, which will make them more willing to establish valuable connections with your brand.
Reason 4. You’ll get people enthusiastic to talk about your brand
There’s no better testimony about a product or service’s efficiency than hearing or reading the positive outcomes others achieved from using it. To make your audience talk about your brand, you must persuade them into understanding the extraordinary value your products or services can add to their professional or personal lives.
Reason 5. Increased sales
You can’t deny it: The main purpose of your brand events is to maximize your revenues and increase your customer base. Essentially, your ultimate goal is to convince your guests to open their wallets and pay for your services or products. And there’s no other way around that to influence attendee behavior and transform a brand event audience into real customers.
It’s important to emphasize that there’s a fine line between influencing and manipulating your attendees. The latter revolves around pushing people to do something against their will or being uninformed about the consequences of their actions.
Influencing the people who attend your brand events, on the other hand, conditions a specific event design based on a win-win arrangement. In exchange for a specific attendee behavior, you are willing to provide high-quality incentives that will improve or consolidate your attendees’ professional or personal well-being.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s check out the techniques you can apply to influence attendee behavior.
Ninja steps to changing your attendees’ behavior
Step 1. Engage the attendees in the co-creation of the event
From deciding the program to upvoting which leaders should speak at the event, enable your guests with a higher degree of agency so that they can choose and shape their own experience. By doing this, you can easily influence attendee behavior through informed decisions and constant engagement in the successful development of the brand event.
Step 2. Provide massive value to your attendees
Your buyer personas are smart, well educated, and prepared for new meaningful experiences. They want to learn more about how your products or services can solve their problems and enhance their lives. Take good advantage of these circumstances and provide them with massive value before, during, and post-event.
Make your attendees understand the real impact your brand event has on their well-being, and make sure your event truly highlights the unique value proposition of your brand. By playing fair and adding as much value as possible, your attendees will be more willing to display a certain behavior, aligning their actions with your goals.
Step 3. Incentivize your audience
To influence attendee behavior, sometimes you may want to give something extra in exchange. If you’re planning a brand event for potential customers, you can give them free products or longer trial periods (for services), which will not only encourage them to attend your event, but also give them a firsthand experience and better knowledge of what your brand has to offer.
Step 4. Design unique brand experiences
As The Value of Brand Experience report, published by Freeman, indicates, “Experiences that tap into customers’ senses, emotions, thoughts, and actions lead to a positive correlation with products, making prediction of customers’ purchase intention more effective.”
What should you do to influence attendee behavior and make people talk about your brand after attending the event?
Provide exquisite catering and your guests will talk about the incredible tasty salmon appetizer. Invite a super-funny moderator, and your attendees will retell his or her jokes. Provide unique in-person brand experiences, and you’ll get your guests to actually talk about how cool your products or services are.
Before planning your brand event, talk with your marketing team and define a series of engaging experiential marketing settings. From augmented reality to sensorial experiences, you have all the freedom to unleash your imagination.
Step 5. Continue the brand engagement after the event
To influence attendee behavior, you must engage constantly with your attendees, post-event included. You can easily generate specific actions from your audience by sending them powerful mailing campaigns and setting up attractive calls to action. So before planning your brand event, decide how you’ll communicate with the attendees afterward.
For an efficient follow-up strategy, apart from the standard thank-you emails, engage with your audience by sharing relevant content you discussed during the event, presentations, videos, etc.
Don’t forget to use a powerful event management software that will help you with the mailing campaigns. In addition, remind your guests about your products or services by offering them a special discount or incentive for attending the event.
Each brand event has an important psychological layer that determines the impact of the messages you’ve decided to launch. If you want to achieve certain goals and increase the value of ROI indicators, the best way to do that is by influencing attendee behavior.
Write down the goals of your event and the specific actions you are expecting from your audience. Whether it’s transforming the guests into customers or getting them to promote your brand, you must establish a series of techniques that will persuade your attendees into behaving in certain ways.
By clarifying what your goals are, you’ll be able to design and apply a series of techniques that will encourage the audience to react accordingly to your brand messages.