At events and conferences, organizers are challenged by two types of attendees, the structured and the free-spirited. The structured want session registration and planning out their schedules weeks in advance. The free-spirited want to go where the spirit takes them. Pleasing both is exceptionally difficult.
Watch the video to learn how companies with mega-events like IBM try (and largely succeed) at pleasing both types, and what lessons conference organizers and event organizers should consider.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today's episode, a wrap up of content marketing world and some thoughts on event planning, first newly back from content marketing world, which was a great experience first time at that show and got a chance to meet folks that in some cases are not at the other conferences that I attend folks like Michelle Garrett and Teresa Lee and and other folks who don't make it on the big circuit for some people. And this is important for marketers to realize
not everyone can make it on the on the big circuit. You know, not everyone can attend dream for us. And inbound and CES and all these things. For some folks, one show a year is it. And so if you're trying to reach people at
conferences as a methodology for driving leads and driving business, you may want to do much more careful and thorough vetting of your audience and the conference attendees to see who is attending which conference,
I would strongly recommend looking at social media, monitoring software, and gathering people who tweet about each events hashtag and then extracting the biographies of those people to see
who attends each event. And are those people the, the people that you want to be reaching, you may find that spending, you know, quarter million dollars for a 10 by 10 booth dream force may not be the best return on investment in
dream force may have a large number of attendees, but they may not be your attendees. They may not be your
people, the the types of companies that you want to do business with. Now, that is also predicated on you, knowing who your audiences and being able to, to identify and Jason but that would be my recommendation on the event side
content marketing world had a problem that has plagued many events I've been to, which is extremely long lines getting into rooms and things like that some
require you to register in advance. Now, my understanding is that
events like inbound do that now, a content marketing world did that in the past. So requiring people to register in an app to get into a session,
other events let you just kind of wander around. But the penalty is, of course, that you know, you may run into extremely long lines getting into a session room or rooms, they're completely booked up
there. The reason for this is that there are two kinds of attendees
who go to these events by personality type thing. There are folks who are the freestyle spirited just want to see what happens, go where the GO GO, where the flow takes me, and the other folks are like, I need the agenda eight months in advance, I need to plan this thing out top to bottom, I know exactly where every minute of the day is going. You'll see these personalities on display, for example, on vacations.
Some people like I'm just gonna lay on the beach and go wherever or do whatever
happens and other people like this is our schedule for vacation. And this is where we account for every minute
and because the way people attend events in these two groups are radically different. pleasing both groups is extremely difficult. The only event I've seen managed to keep both types of people happy in terms of reducing room lines,
but being able to track
attendees and because the reason for the registered session registration is
to track attendees and I was also the cause of a lot of the long lines at content marketing world, people with little badge scanners,
scanning people wanting to get into a room one person at a time.
The only event I've seen where that was done really well our IBM events and at IBM think, for example, what the way that they do it is I'm gonna see if I have any badges here. I don't. The badge itself has an RF ID tracker, radio frequency device tracker.
It's a passive, it doesn't transmit any data. But when hit with a radio field, it
pings. It's like a Bluetooth beacon, or, you know, any kind
of Remote Sensor. And the way it works is that over the doorways of every session room, and throughout the halls,
there are these transmitters
and as you walk in and out of a room, it tracks you your data and, and can notify event planners like hey, this room is getting too close to capacity. There's a lot of lines and even though even though it's a it is relatively frictionless at a really big event, and when you have 10s or hundreds of thousands of people on site, it's still can even then still get some lines but it does satisfy that requirement for events of tracking attendees knowing who attended which sessions knowing which is sessions were
the most popular and you know how quickly people left the session because the badge badges of course track people leaving whenever so if everyone came in for a big session but people truck without steadily throughout the session you know that speaker may not have been as good as as as they were built or
if a room started empty but people came in and and people the pace of people kind of coming in as word spread through social networks picked up you know, maybe this is a speaker we need to give some more time to
I sympathize as someone who has run events in the past that's just how difficult it is to to keep both camps happy.
A way to get around that is the way HubSpot does it where there's there's dedicated
session lines and then there are a waitlist line so if you register for the session, you get in first and then if there's still room for people
then then the waitlist line gets lead in. I think that's a particularly good way of doing that because it tries to satisfy both and again using those badges as a the badges that that say yep, you're allowed to be in the session. I know you're not allowed to be in the session. IBM did that at an event in in in Europe that I was in last year where you would hold the badge up the radio back up to a scanner and there's this big panel with a green or red light green yellow red so green yes you're registered for this session read you're not registered for the session yellow you're not registered for the session but you can join the waitlist and and and scale into a separate Q
So that would be my suggestion to event planners is you've got a large event if you are concerned with people being happy or unhappy with lines for sessions that you look into that system I am certain it is not cheap. I am certain that it is a a a an investment but if attendee happiness is a priority as it should be for any event, you may want to make that investment so
overall though, I thought content marketing world as a as a fun event. Got to
see a lot of people. I haven't seen other events and things so it will be an event. Oh, keeping my eye on in the future. I know my compatriots at Trust Insights all went to inbound and enjoy the the see the ocean of people that were at inbound this week. So if you'd like to get a copy of my talk from this week, you can get it where can I get the slides.com and if you want our predictive analytics talk, you can get that at will the slides be available calm.
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