The importance of audience analysis – Design Thinking Camp’s case
Events that take place year by year can be surely named a great success. However, it’s easy to forget about the importance of audience analysis and checking on the target audience’s needs before every edition. After all, every year it might be different due to changing needs or trends. That was the case of Design Thinking Camp organizers. Read the article and find out what happened!
Every event is an effect of a certain need. Organizer’s work is way too demanding to engage in creating something meaningless. This is why behind most of the successful events stands a clear goal that determines their purpose. Along with determining the event’s goal goes the value provided to the audience. As time flies, it may turn out that what previously was attractive for our target participants, is no longer adequate.
The knowledge of your target is the key at the beginning
The very first step, of the event planning process, after defining its goal, is the analysis of the dream audience. You go through determining the core participants of your planned event. Then, you know why you organize it and what you want to offer. What’s more, thanks to the prosecuted target audience research you are able to tell what they want to get and why they would be interested in participating in your event.
Later on, when the time of planning the agenda and attractions comes, you know how to select topics to be covered. Having done a proper target audience analysis, organizers are able to provide workshops focusing on the areas of attendees’ interest, invite adequate speakers and plan activities that will let their audience fulfill personal event goals.
The thing gets a little more complicated when the event has a long history.
Target analysis is crucial in every step of an event’s evolution
Taking place annually, an event gathers in some part the same audience. When it’s successful, organizers can assume participants will come back. They attend it, year by year, enhancing their knowledge, skills, and contacts.
Automatically, the goals participants have are evolving. What was the purpose to attend an event in the first place may not be applicable anymore. Eventually, they may find themselves bored by the formula or provided content of the event they previously loved to attend. It’s the fact that it’s crucial for organizers to remember about analyzing the potential audience with every edition of the event and exploring the target group’s preferences. However, often this importance can be outshined by other organizational aspects.
It’s extremely easy to get used to a proven formula and forget how things may change. Especially, when you provide educational value for attendees and they love it. Organizers of Design Thinking Week learned the effects of this mistake on their own while dealing with Design Thinking Camp.
A good quality which leads to the “burnout”
Design Thinking Camp is a meeting for the volunteers and organizers of Design Thinking Week. Taking place year by year, the event had a very clear purpose from the very first edition. The attendees needed to gain certain substantive knowledge in the specific area of topics. Therefore, it offered a variety of valuable workshops and lectures with experienced professionals.
“At the beginning, Design Thinking Camp was necessary, considering that not every one of our organizers was very experienced and highly skilled in the Design Thinking field. It’s a quite simple methodology, but we sure saw the need to provide more substantial knowledge. It offers many interesting tools, so it was great to enhance our skills.” – says Małgorzata Rzepa, Project Manager of Design Thinking Camp.
Starting with enriching the organizer’s knowledge about Design Thinking methodology the event took place annually since 2014. After a few years, previously satisfying meetings started to go off. The mecca of Design Thinking fresh novelties and skills started to crumble.
The purpose got inadequate
Three years after the first edition, the event continued the mission to educate its attendees. The edition was full of workshops and speeches of the method practitioners, but it turned out not to be enough.
“Our participants got more and more experienced. They stayed open to new knowledge, but what we prepared for them was just too basic. In the end, both sides, the lecturer and participants weren’t satisfied because the level was not adjusted to them. We simply overlooked the matter” – explains Małgorzata.
Naturally, when it was clear that the formula is not working anymore, appropriate actions were taken. Organizers joined forces to understand their audience and come up with a solution that will allow making the next edition a satisfying success for all, once again. Design Thinking Camp managers didn’t have to look far – they had it right at hand.
“We decided to change the form of the event a little bit. We realized that, at this point, our organizers have their own vast knowledge, they have their own experiences and projects worth sharing. They simply have a lot to talk about and we don’t need experts from the outside to guide us. Using our potential within the group, the purpose of our refreshed event was to let attendees share their ideas and experiences to inspire and mentor each other.” – explains Małgorzata Rzepa.
Adjusting your event to new target’s needs can take it back on the right track
And so it happened, Design Thinking Camp changed its formula. From workshops and an event that provided substantive knowledge to organizers, it became a networking event where they could share their experiences, exchange ideas and educate each other with the knowledge about design thinking tools and methods they use. Once again, the purpose of an event fit the attendees’ needs.
The event with its new goals and the change of structure met with much more interest (you can read more about the refreshed edition of Design Thinking Camp in the interview we did with Małgorzata, a while ago). Participants have found a new value in the attendance and could see the benefits coming out of it. Accidents happen, we can all agree on this one, but what characterizes the best organizers is the ability to quickly learn from the mistakes and make everything work great again.
Spotting the point when there’s a need for change is hard, is there a way to avoid the situation described above?
Yes, there is! Keep track of your attendees’ views and needs
To minimize the possibility, that you miss the change in your target audience’s preferences while organizing annual events, the solution is monitoring their attitude. To do so, make sure that you have your ways to run target audience research and gather important information.
Firstly, monitor the attendees’ behavior at the ongoing event. You can simply run personal observations to determine whether participants enjoy prepared attractions, but it surely cannot be enough and is rather subjective. Alternatively, you can reach for technological help. New solutions, such as beacons or QR codes, will help you track paths at the event and spot the most popular places (workshops, partner stands and so on). They can, by scanning a code or receiving a phone signal, follow your attendees and measure which spots are most frequently visited. This way you can determine which stands are no longer interesting and the ones that are enduringly gathering crowds. Also, applications, such as Eventory, allow attendees to rate separate lectures and workshops, so it’s a great way to find out what topics start to bore your audience. Then, you can use the Eventory Scanner to check your event’s attendance by scanning individual codes.
Secondly, gather the proper, first-hand feedback. Now, doing it in a traditional way by handing out paper forms to fill out at the event, is not effective and rather out of use. Instead, use technology. It is more efficient as the platform you use to run the survey automatically count the votes and gather questionnaires in one place. The open polls, also available on the Eventory platform, will allow you to track the satisfaction level of your attendees.
Speaking of open polls. Don’t forget about preparing a separate questionnaire, to sum up, the whole event. Conducted at the end of the conference, it can give you the insight into attendees’ opinions about separate aspects of the event and therefore determine what to change, improve and what should stay exactly as it is. Mind that the questionnaire should have an adequate form to work best. It should include form questions which will give you answers to a vital issue, for example, whether the event helped attendees to expand their knowledge. If you don’t feel strong in this matter, check our guide to preparing a post-event wrap up!
Also, don’t forget about your, an organizer’s, gut feeling. Remember that you know how it all started, what journey your target audience made and you probably can tell when it’s time to refresh some aspects of an event. However, it’s good to support your intuition with proper data analysis that will give you certainty about your predictions.
When the event, year by year, is a success and its purpose with provided attractions satisfy participants each time it’s easy to forget that this won’t last forever. Participants evolve as the event should. Constant control of the change in attendees’ preferences is the only way to ensure that you will prepare every edition of your event in accordance with actual audience needs.
Organizers of Design Thinking Camp managed to quickly change the formula of the event because they knew their target inside out. If that’s not your case, remember about measuring the level of satisfaction after your events and gathering proper feedback from your audience. After all, you don’t want to miss with your offer, do you?
Do you analyze the changes in your target audience’s mindset?