Your target audience for an event is the one to whom your message at the event is directed. The people you want to have at your event is based on what they do in their companies or businesses. Generally speaking, these people fulfill one or more of the three roles for you as advocates, enablers, or customers. Each member of your target audience signifies different characteristics in relation to your sales strategy. Think about all the personal touch aspects that can set your events apart and can thus play an invaluable role in your sales strategy. Multiple touch points are the key differentiators in the success of an event. During the entire event cycle there will be several opportunities enabling you to connect with each member of your target audience. The key to the success of your events is that the interface is meaningful and resonates with the target audience.
DETERMINE THE PROFILE
Getting your target audience at your event is a challenge. It starts with determining the profile of your target audience and then identifying those who match it. I have learnt in a long corporate career that there are only so many types of industries and so many people within those industries. Often people’s roles within their organization either overlap others or they are shared. Each industry has its list of roles and titles. Take a look at the top events that are hosted in that industry to research their content, presentation, and attendees.
INVOLVE SALES PEOPLE
Begin with your sales people in ascertaining the target audience for your event because the ultimate objective of events for a business is to connect its sales force with the target market. Identify and involve the sales people responsible for the markets and seniority levels that are relevant to your event. Sales people’s support and buy-in to an event is essential for its success. Get executive backing from sales early on and associate your sales people in identifying the industries and people that you need to have attend your event for meeting its objectives. Sales force also provides you with a valuable resource for marketing your event, allowing you to overcome access and personality issues. Whether it is a trade show, a golf tournament, a gala, or an executive meeting; sales people’s live performance is highly important for the success of your event. Marketing that is not aligned with sales is pointless. Therefore, a collaborative sales and marketing relationship must be constantly developed and leveraged.
Not only are events a tremendous opportunity for the sales people to directly reach their customers and channels but by involving sales in your event strategy you also bring or add to the account-based marketing perspective. Account-based marketing is about establishing relationships around a customer account where moving within or leaving their organization of some people you interact with does not much difference to B2B relationship. It allows you to go deep with the company. You have several contacts at various seniority levels within that account. You then have account-wise sales objectives in addition to product or solution centric goals. Understand the organizational structure of your customers to target the right players.
OTHER BUSINESS SEGMENTS
You have to be discerning in your treatment of various segments of your target audience. These may include:
CHIEF GUESTS, TOP EXECUTIVES, AND BOARD MEMBERS
Understand the hierarchical dynamics to be able to look after them well. There is generally enough information available on these people for you to build familiarity for a highly skillful handling. They expect white-glove service.
SENIOR TO MIDDLE MANAGEMENT
These people are critical for conducting day to day business with their entities. Making them look good in the eyes of their superiors will be helpful in creating embedded relationships with them.
Be wary of the sponsors that are targeting the same market as you.
It is more about educating them to better understand your business. Some of these may require more embedded relationships.
Once you have profiled your target audience, you have to know what your goals are from an event and how the success will be measured. In order to be able to impact the bottom line your sales people have to be able to follow up to establish relationships and/or conduct transactions.
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