The very first step of the event planning process: understanding the target audience
Defining your audience for the event is crucial for many reasons. From picking right promotion channels to picking the right venue and keynotes. How to define your target audience to kickstart the event planning process? Is there a way to understand them? How to target your audience? Find all the answers in the article!
Defining your audience: why is it so important for event planning process?
The decision about throwing an event should be based on a solid foundation. It can’t be dictated by a gut feeling itself. Before you even start the event planning process you have to define your marketing goal that you want to complete with the event marketing. Without it, there is no point to start the entire planning process.
The best business strategies can’t afford to ignore the power of events, as I wrote in one of my recent articles. Using event marketing to achieve the marketing goal can be extremely effective. For this to happen, however, you must find the answer to the question: ’Who should I invite to the event to fully realize this goal? Who will be interested in my actions enough to become a prospect?’
To better illustrate this, I will use an example. Imagine that your goal is to attract and recruit new talents for the sales department. You will not achieve this goal if you target your activities to school-age youth or to professional accountants. Your audience should contain people who have experience as a seller and are at the stage of looking for a new job.
What’s more, once you know who these people are, you are able to promote the event more effectively – you choose the right distribution channels and adjust the tone of the message exactly to this group. You will also prepare a venue that will suit their needs. Finally, you will organize the attractions that will encourage them to come.
How to define your target audience?
To properly define the target group, you should find:
- basic demographic data of the target audience – find out how old are they, what is their gender, where they live. Use your insights, market research data, social media data, etc. for this purpose.
- interests and needs of the target audience – think about what your ideal attendee is interested in, what motivates them to act and which of their needs and problems you can solve. Understanding this will allow you to build the right message and select Event’s USP that will attract more people matching this profile.
- the habits of the target audience – find out how they search for information, how they use the internet, where they spend their time, what content they read. This will be the basis for creating a great promotional campaign for the event.
In order to accurately define the target group, use data from various sources. Use the analytics of social platforms and data from your website’s analytics (especially the Career tab). Look at the results of market research. Use the data collected during previous events. Useful tools: Facebook Audience Insights, Google Analytics, Eventory.
Understanding the target audience – the first outline of an event
Understanding the target audience affects the outline of the entire event. After all, it’s the audience that gives the event the purpose and makes achieving event goal possible.
Understanding the target audience’s demographics
Demographics of your target audience is one of the crucial elements for many event planning steps. For example venue selection – if you are dealing with young residents of your city who don’t have a car, you will choose a venue in a location that is easy to reach by your feet or using public transport. On the other hand, while inviting visitors from afar, you decide on a venue located near popular hotels and airports or train stations.
Understanding the target audience’s needs
But that’s not all. As I have already mentioned, the full picture of the target audience also consists of their needs and habits. Let’s return to the recruitment event described in this text. The main purpose of the people you invite is to get a job or do a quick ‘market research’. But what are their motives?
Are they a careerist oriented towards multiplying assets, or people aiming at achieving goals? Will they enjoy winning a difficult customer, stealing the spotlight, or gaining a huge sales commission? You have to admit that these are completely different needs that have to be dealt with differently. Understanding what drives your target audience is the key to building the right narrative around the event and creating relevant content. Speaking of the content…
Understanding the target audience’s habits.
First of all, answer the question which channels your model recipients use. Do they mainly read the news, watch the video or maybe scan social media? What are their platforms of choice? Is it Facebook, or maybe LinkedIn? Finding the answer will help you properly arrange the campaign promoting the event and choose the right (i.e. converting) content.
There’s also a little trick. Many events are triggers for users to share their original content. There are many types of it like we listed in our article How to use different types of user-generated content to enhance the storytelling of employer branding event. You can skim through the user-generated content around the event similar to the one you are planning at the moment. Its tone, aesthetics and place of publication will tell you a lot about the target group’s habits and interests.
Understanding the purchasing habits will also be important from the organizer’s point of view. For example, create the event website – should it be more mobile or desktop friendly? What call to action works best? All of these elements will be important when you create the setting of an online event. By the moment you launch Eventory to create a complementary application and event page you should already know what elements you will use to maximize the user experience of your target audience.
Understanding your target audience – methods
You can acquire such information in a direct and indirect way. The direct way is to conduct a survey among the sections of your group. It can be a direct interview or a poll. It is also worth using historical data if you have already organized any marketing activities targeted at this group.
You can also use indirect methods. Take advantage of numerous market studies, white papers and reports. They are a mine of knowledge about various consumer groups.
How to target your audience to make the event successful
Gathering all the information listed will help you create a full event promotion plan. This is one of the most important event planning steps. Since you already know who you want to address, what you want to communicate and in which channels, you can step by step to schedule the promotion of the event in all channels. When creating content groups, target the demographics as well as the interests, the professional profile and the habits of your potential customers.
Do not be afraid that you will not get to ‘everyone’. From the perspective of achieving the goal of the event, it is better to invite fewer people, who will be most interested in what you offer them. In other words, for an event recruiting for the position of the sales rep, invite salespeople with experience who are looking for a new job, not IT specialists who have settled in their companies. Only the first will guarantee a positive return on investment.
And remember! When organizing an event, collect as much data as possible. You can see how useful it can be in the future. Use platforms that automate the process of gathering information and store it in an easy to process form, so that you can always generate an elegant and complete report before the next event.