Steve Jobs famously said that "you've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology." The best companies in the world have used this core strategy to build great products and companies. Most marketing execs will tell you, "Customer is King". This makes perfect sense if you follow what Steve Jobs said up-stream to the core of why you are making a product. This theory isn't lost on user conferences and tradeshows either.
What are the top 3 reasons companies and individuals attend conferences?
Number 1: Education
Attendees go to the events that provide them with the best product education and training, and/or industry education. Generally speaking, most people want to get out in front of trends that will help them move forward in their career, or, they want to learn more about a product they are using so that they can be more efficient and have better all around expertise.
Number 2: Networking
Corporate events and conferences are the best way for anyone interested in a product or industry to put themselves in-front of other likeminded professionals. The opportunity to make beneficial connections that can lead to partnerships or new ideas is critical to the success of an event.
Number 3: Exhibitors
Think about it, what other opportunity do individual attendees have to speak with dozens, or even hundreds, of companies making products that can potentially help their business be more successful? Attendees and exhibitors get a chance to have face to face interactions with sales and marketing teams to discuss products, services and industry trends. It's like getting inside access to the people and companies innovating the future.
The core reasons why attendees go to events is understood, but how can an event organizer measure whether or not the event was effective in any of those areas? Some would argue that because a certain number of people attend the event, they are pretty sure that the event is a success. Another measurement that has been used for years, is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). The NPS Calculation is made on a single question, using a 0-10 scale: "How likely is it that you would recommend [Brand/Event] to a friend or colleague?" This simple measurement has been proven to correlate with growth and growth potential.
But an NPS has to be sent out to attendees at an event through a survey, which also requires that the attendee take some action. So there is a chance that there will be attendees that do not take the survey. Yet what if the NPS score could be automatically derived through data collected from attendees interactions at events? What if you could send out an NPS survey and compare the responses to the data collected through a smart badge? What if you never missed another promoter of your event or product again?
Lots of events will get their customer success team involved with their top customers to shoot promotional videos that talk about the benefits of the product and the event. This is a great marketing strategy to show off your biggest promoters. But who have you missed? Who has been at the event attending all the sessions, speaking with all of the exhibitors and networking with hundreds of attendees? Those are powerful metrics that can be understood in real time!
Understanding the behavior of customers is universally understood among marketing professionals as a key component of building products that start with the customer experience. So a smart company, and a smart event organizer, will want to capture every relevant data point so that they can measure the NPS against real time engagement of attendees. No more guessing. Events are a data gathering dream! Every CMO and Event Marketer should be asking themselves why they hold events, and how they can leverage this unique opportunity with thousands of customers to get real time data about the customer experience.