Quizzes and Video Add to Ways to Personalize Your Event Marketing

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The International Security Conference & Exposition, which will take place in November in New York City, is using an interactive quiz to both personalize an attendee's onsite event experience and convince people to attend.

"Based on your responses, we'll create a personalized itinerary with recommended events, education sessions and exhibitors to meet your specific business needs," the webpage reads. "Put your plan into action by registering for ISC East at the end of your survey and remember, different answers drive different recommendations."

"Try and best describe your role or job function in two words or less," it asks, for example. (Though two words could be difficult in these days of customer satisfaction content officers and such.) Or, "Do any of the following topics spark your interest?"

Once you answer the five questions, organizers can create your personalized roadmap for the event. Even if someone does not register, important data is being collected. At the end, they write, "Thanks for taking this survey. Please tell us a little bit about yourself before we display your results." Prospects can also re-take the survey later on if they want an updated set of recommendations—or needs change.

According to research from Accenture, 75% of customers are more likely to spend their money with brands that recognize them by name and remember information about them. Personalized emails are vital for customer retention. A company called getfeedback recommends that you "use time-triggered sends for a hyper-relevant subject line, like 'Review the purchase you made yesterday.' Specifics help jog recipients' memories and increase the chances they'll open your email."

For Arno Langbehn, CEO of Behr's GmbH in Hamburg, Germany, personalization has moved to video. "For our annual quality management conference, we successfully tested a new form of advertising," he told me recently. "We sent a personal video to the participants of the last two years who had not yet registered. The result was 30 videos sent, three registrations and $6,000 in revenue from these former participants. The time expenditure in total was two hours."

Langbehn also posted a YouTube video for an upcoming event with an English translation underneath. The translation is a good idea for any video you might target to a foreign-language speaking country.

"Being a participant, you already know about the Annual Conference QM! (quality management) since you attended previously in Frankfurt," the video begins. "In addition to the lectures in the seminar hotel there was a tour of Frankfurt airport. You have not yet registered for this year's annual conference. Whether it is for time reasons—or because some of the topics do not suit you—I regret that very much. Because our aim is to support you in your responsibility at work..."

A recent survey from the event software firm Cvent says that the majority of event attendees—especially in the United States—want personalized session recommendations before and during the event, based on their past attendances and interests. They would also like networking recommendations.

In addition, 59% of those surveyed from the U.S. would like a fully detailed schedule at the event—in print and in an app—including session descriptions, where to eat and what social functions to attend. That same percentage also wants recommendations about other professional events to attend. Those who download an event app are more likely to attend more events.

"Our results show that technology is shaping the future of events, with mobile event apps and onsite technology having an extremely positive impact on the attendee experience," said Patrick Smith, CMO at Cvent.

Among event factors that contribute positively to the overall event experience, in-person networking with other attendees was at the top, with 63% saying this contributed to an overall positive experience. Aside from being a key component of events, many attendees reported that networking opportunities have a significant impact on their lives beyond the event itself. People want more networking oportunities, especially if it can be personalized.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…