3 tips for powering personalized events with technology

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Offering effective personalized experiences at events is less daunting than it seems. With the right approach and the right technology, personalization can play a central role in the attendee journey and lead to greater satisfaction at every event touchpoint.

Personalization nowadays is more than just a nice to have. This is especially true at events where there are likely to be multiple messages competing for an attendee’s attention. Taking a traditional approach just doesn’t cut it anymore as your customers are becoming more and more adept at filtering out generic advertising. However, with technology, event organizers have the power to create personalized events experiences that are unique, hard to ignore, and can even be welcomed.

Your customers are becoming more and more adept at filtering out generic advertising.

AI-powered recommendation engines, chatbots, and wearable beacons are all areas of growth in event personalization, and they come to life most effectively through an event app. These apps have evolved from simple, digital guidebooks to personalized engagement tools that can guide attendees and keep them engaged throughout the entire event experience.

The potential for personalization is huge, not just for different audiences such as customers, sponsors and organizers but also for different interest groups and demographics. Follow these steps and technology will allow you to personalize at scale, create experiences that surprise and delight, and make your event an even greater success.

1. Keep attendee experience front of mind

The key to any successful personalization is to keep the experiences of your attendees’ front and centre. All sorts of new and exciting ways to create personalized events are possible through technology, but choosing which to incorporate should be guided by what your attendees actually need, as well as what will exceed their expectations. Ask yourself: why are they downloading the app in the first place? Then, what are the features that will elevate their overall experience at the event?

Practical information will rank highly in answer to the first question, as the event app is a powerful tool for keeping attendees informed with relevant updates. Using personalization, you can notify individuals of any changes to the event schedule as well as issues like traffic flow that could dampen their experience.

Beyond that, attendees may also be interested in personalized session recommendations, trip planning ideas, networking suggestions, and even to book meetings in advance. Whatever features you choose, begin by deciding what will have the most positive impact on the attendee experience and design based on those principles.

Begin by deciding what will have the most positive impact on the attendee experience and design your app based on those principles.

2. Make the experience both rewarding and useful

When planning your  event app experience, stay mindful of how you can craft an experience that is rewarding as well as useful to attendees. The best event apps will go the extra mile, incorporating new technologies such as AI to power a chatbot that can answer frequently asked questions at the tap of a button.

Technology in this space is advancing rapidly, with new and better ways of offering personalization being launched regularly. Leading the way is TurnoutNow’s Prescriptive Recommendation Engine (PRE). Rather than relying purely on historical data, PRE can use real-time data at an event to make more accurate predictions and recommendations for individual attendees. From creating seamless networking opportunities to suggesting new ways for an attendee to interact with an event, these types of features deliver above and beyond what a traditional event app can do and make the overall experience more rewarding for users.

It’s important to remember that when people download your app, they’re expecting a certain degree of personalization and – crucially – communication on their terms. As Airship’s SVP of Marketing, Michael Stone puts it, “Good app messaging techniques are important – only ever send the right message to the right person at the right time.”

Last but most certainly not least, make sure your app sets its foundation in good user experience and design. You want to delight your attendees and spread positive sentiment, and both of these things can be achieved through an app that brings your brand to life and is a pleasure to use.

3. Integrate your tech stack for ultimate personalization

A good event app is never going to exist in isolation. In order to understand who your attendees are, as well as the elements of personalization that are right for them, you need a holistic view of your data.

You need an event app that integrates with your existing technology stack for that complete view of the attendee.

Your app needs to be fueled by the information already available in your organization like attendee role, self-selected interests, event history, and personal preferences. So when considering your next investment, it’s vital to ensure that everything works in tandem. You need an event app that integrates with your existing technology stack for that complete view of the attendee.

The lasting benefit of taking such an integrated approach is that your app will only become more effective with time. Once someone has been to an event and used the app, you can continue to iterate and develop personalization features based on the growing data set. Only then can you ensure that the next experience that attendee has will be even better than the last.
For more tips about creating personalized event experiences with technology, download our ebook Experiential Marketing Trends from SXSW.