Creating a "great customer experience" is something often said in the world of event marketing, without a lot of explanation. For this article we’ll borrow Forrester’s definition: an interaction between customers and a company that is useful (provides value), usable (easy to find and engage with), and enjoyable (people want to use them).
How can event marketers create interactions that meet those three criteria, while also accomplishing their own objectives? There is no simple answer, but there is certainly a right way to approach the problem. Customer experience is cumulative, each interaction like a brush stroke in a painting that captures a company’s brand. It is essential for marketers to develop a process that allows them to evaluate and learn from interactions so their brush strokes become more precise and perfecting their brand over time.
This post outlines a process to evaluate each event and gather insights that can be carried into future events.
Define an Objective
State, in a single sentence, the outcome that you are trying to achieve by hosting your event. For example, “I want to generate actionable sales leads for our business development team”.
Limiting an outcome to one sentence is purposeful. Building a strategy around a single objective will help it remain focused and straightforward. Ultimately, that makes it easier to measure, and thus easier to improve.
The outcome should also be the primary metric used to evaluate your events. In this instance, the success of an event will be evaluated based on the amount of leads created.
Define a User Flow
User flow, refers to the actions a person takes to accomplish a task. It is similar to a marketing funnel where leads do things that eventually result in them becoming a customer.
If you are holding an event for the first time, imagine the steps you think a person would take before accomplishing the objective you’ve set for them. For instance, if you are hosting a user conference for the first time with the goal of moving users from a free account into a paid plan your flow might look like this: sees new feature demonstration > listens to user case study presentation > networks with other users > schedules introductory call for a premium account.
Chances are your initial assumptions will be completely wrong, which is fine. Collecting insight requires measuring something. So regardless, of whether your user flow is worthless in its current iteration, it needs to be established so you can start learning.
Change your user flow
Experiment with your user flow in any way you think will convince more people to reach the objective you’ve laid out. This will allow you to test one approach against another, the same way an A/B test works. For instance, if you had a feature demonstration at one event and replaced it with an educational workshop, you can measure the success of each approach by the amount of leads they generated.
How to Measure
In an ideal world you will have technology that provides detailed information at each level of a user flow. It is the same concept as measuring each level of a marketing funnel. It is useful to know how why people are leaving or staying at each level of the funnel, which requires detailed data. While technology to provide this sort of detailed information exists, don’t be afraid of taking a more simplistic approach to testing if you are just starting out.
Even though you may not understand exactly why one flow works better, it is still empirically valid to compare their outcomes. I.e. if the educational workshop results in far more leads than the feature demonstration, not knowing why does not make it a less valid insight.
As you continue to experiement, you will start asking more granular questions, which may be the cue to find a technology solution to help you cultivate answers. In the beginning however the main battle is making sure that every event is treated as an experiment with an outcome attached to it. That attitude is the only way to consistently improve customer experience over time.
To learn more about data driven event planning, read our white paper. It explores and compares technology solutions for managing and measuring events.