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December 6, 2013

Five Qualities for Top User Conferences

This week, Certain released a whitepaper on creating exceptional user conferences and how these events can help businesses better relate to their clients (and potential clients). 

The best user conferences, the whitepaper notes, avoid “logistics mode” and focus on creating truly memorable and relevant user experiences. Here are five tips from the whitepaper to keep in mind...

1. Strong & Consistent Branding

User conferences are vehicles for driving brand awareness and securing market position. Successful conference organizers understand the connection between the conference and the organization’s brand-building goals. These organizers ensure everything, from email invitations and registration to check-ins and mobile applications, delivers a consistently-branded experience. 

2. The Environment Remains Intimate

As a user conference grows in attendance from hundreds to thousands (to tens of thousands), it can be challenging to maintain the type of meaningful dialogue that makes user conferences so valuable to organizations and attendees in the first place. The most effective user conferences are able to maintain a sense of intimacy even as the conference grows larger and encompasses more diverse participant interests. By designing the event so that it is tailored to different participant types, creating intimate “conferences-within-a-conference,” including sessions, activities, content, communications, and connections, the event can support thousands of attendees without losing—and in fact increasing—impact. 

3. The Experience is Personalized

User conference success is measured by the satisfaction of individual attendees and other types of participants. Yet, each attendee has their own view of what constitutes a successful and worthwhile experience. By giving participants the tools to create their personalized agendas, including sessions, activities, and one-to-one meetings, conference organizers can truly deliver a powerful result. And when participants are given one personalized “view” of the event, which reflects these preferences, there is distinct value and ROI to increase the likelihood they will return again next year.

4. People are Connected

After education, networking is one of the most important goals of conference attendees. That face-to-face connection is what makes conferences powerful. However, as a user conference grows, it becomes more difficult for attendees, partners, and others to wade through the crowds and create connections, let alone the right connections. The most successful user conference organizers facilitate productive connections between individuals through self-scheduled or matched appointments to ensure participants are introduced to the people that matter most to them and are more likely to generate business.

5. The Follow-Up is Meaningful

Events, and especially user conferences, are hardly over when the lights turn out. The real value of user conferences lies in their ability to move attendees from one stage in a prospect or customer life cycle to another. Successful marketing and event professionals connect event management and marketing automation platforms together such that attendee data, event activity, and engagement is collected and shared between the two systems. In this way, attendees and participants benefit by having follow up that is more relevant to them. Simultaneously, organizations benefit by integrating events with their other marketing programs and moving buyers more effectively through the revenue cycle.

Read the full whitepaper here.

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