For the 4,800 attendees at PCMA Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh—including more than 900 Live Stream attendees and 980 first-time attendees—the surprises around every corner added up to a treasure trove of rich insights worth putting to work right away. Here are some ideas from day two that you can steal.
Date Your Prospective Attendees
We were lucky enough to have the incomparable @ThisIsSethBlog on our main stage to open #PCMACL today. Hear a quick clip of his thoughts on building the best audience for you! #eventprofs pic.twitter.com/iXZqcZcJLl
— PCMA (@pcmahq) January 7, 2019
The opening session with author and marketing pioneer Seth Godin pulled some of the most “aha-moment” insights from his 18 books, including this observation: You wouldn’t send a mass email to all possible people you might want to share a romantic dinner with; similarly, you need to customize your invitation to attendees.
“We don’t sell breakout sessions,” Godin said. We sell the way it feels to be in the room and seen. We are in the business of making change happen.”
Not everyone has the same problem, however, so business event strategists must learn what makes each person special and speak to that.
Godin advocated for sawubona, the Zulu greeting for “I see you and your desires and fears.” Help people feel seen.
Cultivate Smart Feelings
A new era emerged at #PCMACL as leadership announced initial attendance numbers-4,800 (including more than 900 on livestream). PCMA Foundation totaled $664K in scholarships and grants. pic.twitter.com/91EUNAY62a
— JT Long (@SmartMtgsJT) January 8, 2019
A couple of hours later, the results of a shared PCMA and Marriott International study echoed the need for emotional intelligence when designing conferences.
“One size fits all is dead,” said Kate Fairweather, senior innovations consultant for Fahrenheit 212. Planners need to know what makes attendees tick. By learning their hobbies and passions and proactively creating personalized experiences based on those insights, they can show every attendee they are special.
Other insights from the report included the value of embracing orchestrated serendipity—scheduling freedom and surprises—and embedding an overarching message in all aspects of the agenda.
The five trends that can help planners deliver better conferences will be covered as part of the Marriott Convention and Resort Network (CRN) Mastermind program. The peer-to-peer communities of small groups of planners will launch in March, leveraging Marriott mentors, subject matter experts and a digital lab with video resources—”:60 Smarter” and “Meetings. Made Here. A Marriott CRN Travel Show.” Senior Marketing Manager Amy Popper announced that in addition to five-month programs of monthly virtual discussions, a partnership with PCMA will allow groups to meet in person.
Be Data Wise
How do you safely acquire and manage all that information about your attendee’s deepest desires? Freeman is glad you asked. The brand-experience company announced the launch of Freeman Data Solutions, a real-time, comprehensive data capture and analysis solution.
This is an end-to-end service that combines Freeman and other data platforms with human and artificial intelligence benchmarks in a seamless experience for the attendees and planners, explained Ken Holsinger, Freeman vice president of digital solutions. “It gives event organizers the ability to make better and more informed decisions,” he said.