The experience for an attendee can make or break an event. While you’re planning, there are lots of moving parts that all need to align to make it successful. Our agency recently hosted the 11th annual #CustomerBowl event to gather consumer insights into the uber-expensive Super Bowl ads. During the event, we pre-screened ads like Squarespace’s “John Malkovich” and some greatly anticipated beer commercials such as Bud Light’s “Between Friends.” We host this event because our ideology of CustomerThink is to gather research and insights into the minds of the consumer so we can effectively influence behavior change for our clients.
Ads can cost millions of dollars for brands to get a 30-second spot. Sometimes the commercials are immortalized while others fall short of their target. To garner whether the spots are hitting the mark for target audiences, our event needed a range of demographics. We reached out to friends, family and some clients representing everyday consumers in the Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer demographics.
When you have such a large range of demographics attending an event, you need to ensure the expectation is set from the get-go. In comes pre-event communications. Since everyone is busy, we needed to make sure we got on their radar early. With 60% of people being visual learners, make sure your email communications include some visual elements like a creative header or short embedded video clip.
So you’ve got a solid attendee list. Now what? Here comes the fun part of bringing all those moving pieces together. You should start with a layout of the space, but be sure to get your stakeholders in the room for dry-runs early, as you might find out the functionality of the space needs to change. Be ready to throw your layout into the wind and adapt with the change. In order to keep line of sight for attendees and a way for the moderator to stay on pace, we placed the A/V in the back of the house. Wire management was key to making sure it all went up in the ceiling and not distracting or impeding traffic flow for attendees.
To capture the CustomerThink data, we used live polling after the ads were previewed. We wanted the audience to be involved with the data we were seeing, so we placed a monitor displaying results up-front for all to see. Our moderator used this to open up the discussion gauging real-time reactions of the consumers. This can be invaluable as opinions vary among attendees, raising the level of analysis.
Experience is everything.
Depending on the objectives of your event, every touch point needs to be consistent, branded and aligned with your goals. The capabilities of your event manager and creative ideas need to be scalable to handle a 40-person event like a #CustomerBowl or a 5,000-person user group. It helps to have a good agency behind the scenes. Think about the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. If you get creative enough, you can affect all of these through your event. Walk in the shoes of your attendee and see what they see, close your eyes and discover what they will smell or hear.
While the event is happening, it’s like seeing all of your planning come to life. At the end of it all, you grab that “we did it” beer with your colleagues and analyze the data and ROI. Stay tuned for the Roberts Red Zone Report with our findings in next week’s blog or follow us @RobertsComm for videos of the event.