Before you consider incorporating digital initiatives into your events, you need to strategize. Part of your strategy should include attendee personas. A persona is similar to an author’s character sketch. Picture a typical member of one segment of your audience and then create a brief synopsis about him or her that includes their event needs, goals for attending, and typical behaviors at the event.
You don’t have to go overboard when creating attendee personas. Just segment based on who the majority of your attendees are. Your audience may be made up of 20% Boomers, 40% Generation X, 25% Millennials, 2% students, 5% academic and 8% “other”. When you create personas, you will focus on the Millennials, Generation X and Boomers.
Of course, we all know no two people are exactly alike, but there are some commonalities. To find out what those commonalities are you can employ two approaches. The first approach is to come right out and ask these groups about their needs, goals and behaviors as they apply to your event. You could do this in the form of a survey and/or a focus group.
The other way to gather information is by observation. Look at your website analytics and see how different segments of your audience use your website. Observe who typically attends your live webinars and who is more interested in viewing on-demand content? Does one segment prefer video and another gravitate towards podcasts or text based content? Which social media platforms do different segments of your audience frequent?
Observation also includes watching what your attendees are doing at your event. Take note of who is interacting with which technology. What sparks their interest? Does one segment like to take impromptu photos posing in front of eye-catching decor and another prefer taking photos in a staged location with props? Does one segment seem all business when it comes to interacting with technology, while another segment just wants to have some fun? Are you finding that gamification is active across all segments, but your female attendees are more active than male attendees?
Once you’ve created your attendee personas based on the information you’ve gathered through observation and asking, you can use those personas to create your digital strategy. It’s also going to help you target your messaging to each segment ensuring your attendees get the information that is most relevant to them.
Let’s say you’ve determined your boomers struggle with new technology, but love to compete in contests. Your millennials might be big Instagram users and want to network with those in the industry who could act as mentors to them.
Your digital strategy for your boomer segment might include a tech help center in your registration area, and you could ask for millennial attendees to volunteer to assist there. Boomers can get the help they need learning to navigate your mobile app and your millennials just may find a new mentor in the process.
If you discover that no one is interested in digital gaming, then you don’t need to spend time or money incorporating some sort of gamification into your event.
Written by Traci Browne