While the world continues to do more and more virtually, there is no replacement for face-to-face interaction with your customers and that’s why marketers are increasingly turning to customer events to drive engagement, loyalty and results!
In fact, 98% of customers say they are more inclined to purchase from a company after attending one of their events and 74% of customers have a better impression of a company after an in-person event. You can’t afford to miss this opportunity! So how do you balance meeting your customer needs while making the event mutually beneficial and cost effective for you?
Here are the top 5 things your customers are looking to get from your events and how you can leverage each to differentiate yourselves from your competition and drive ROI from your customer events.
They want to give input
If you want to know what your customers want at your events, just ask them! Surveys, while scalable, don’t give you a good interactive forum for input. One of the more clever ways is to create a committee of customers to help you plan your customer event. Not only is a great way to get ideas and feedback, but you will have customers with “skin in the game” to ensure your event is a success. This group will become the advocates that help promote the event, as well as ensure it is high value for attendees. A win/win for all!
They want a PERSONAL experience
Every customer feels like their needs are unique to their organization and they’ll want to feel like you took the time to create an experience designed explicitly for their individual needs. Creating personal agendas for attendees, guiding them on what sessions to attend and developing personal messages delivered through the mobile app are easy ways to make your customer feel like they had a unique experience.
I have also seen other creative approaches such as hand-written notes left in customer hotel rooms or if you really want to impress your customer, take advantage of RFID, beacons or wearables that allow you to deliver a “customer journey” summary to your clients. They can see where they spent time, copies of the session slides they attended, and any additional information they requested during the event. This goes a long way and you can tailor all of this in a way that puts your customer in the best position to learn about products that make the most sense for their needs! Benefits for everyone!
They want to get educated
Customers don’t want to feel like they are coming to your event to be sold! But they do want to learn something while they are there. Keep sessions, demos and the agenda focused on topics where the customer gets educated about why your products/services should be considered.
What risk does your product mitigate that they need to be educated about?
How will your product help them maintain compliance with certain regulatory requirements?
How did another client use your product in a unique way that helped solve a major challenge that other customers may have?
These are great ways for your customers to get educated without feeling like all you did was promote your product/service and they walk away with a better understanding of how your product could help them recognize tangible benefits.
They want to feel special
People love to be part of exclusive, special things that demonstrate your appreciation for their business. Some of the things you can do at customer events to emphasize this are:
- VIP dinners and events (create exclusive groups based on length of time as customer, dollars spent as a customer, etc.)
- Round tables with executives at your company to allow them to understand the company’s vision, get a sneak peek on what’s coming and to have a “voice” that is heard in an intimate setting
- Recognition events where certain clients are highlighted for a major accomplishment (preferably as a result of your product or service)
These types of programs create very loyal customers who will sing your praises and become the biggest advocate for your products and services. You can’t go wrong by showing your appreciation for a customer’s business!
They want a memorable experience
It’s not all about your company, products, and services. Some of the most successful customer events incorporate “special programs” for customers to participate in that create lasting memories.
For example, add:
- A charitable event (like a habitat for humanity project)
- A road race
- A special learning experience (like a painting class or wine making)
- Gamification (scavenger hunts, contests, etc)
These types of programs are a lot of fun and promote loyalty, a sense of pride, and a sense of team building and networking that your clients will find invaluable! All of this is going on while you are building significant brand loyalty among your customers. Not only that, but delivering memorable events for your customers will have a significant impact on your event ROI and set you apart from your competitors.
While all companies and their customers are different, most customers want the same thing from customer events – high value, a sense of appreciation, some education, consideration for their input and feedback, and an engaging experience that they don’t forget! Creating an impactful customer event that provides a tremendous amount of value to your customers will always have a significant impact on your customer satisfaction and loyalty while differentiating you from your competitors – and that always translates to ROI!
Written by: Kathleen Roberge