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Evolving to Personalized Conference Experiences

One of the hottest topics in our industry is mass personalization. As consumers, we receive smart recommendations in near real time based on our behaviors, preferences, and past actions. Machine learning, flexible manufacturing systems (small-batch production), and improved interfaces are all evolving to meet the needs of tomorrow’s consumer.

Professional conferences lag in adopting and implementing trends that are successful in the consumer space. Many look to technology as the answer, but realize it could be a long journey for all of the pieces to come together. Consider these principles for your near-term strategy:

1. Smart recommendations. Develop a tagging methodology that applies three to five keywords or phrases to each session. Use these tags to identify sessions that may be of interest to participants. Create and publish a number of recommended itineraries based on attendee role or work challenges.

2. Track what matters. “I love how my association tracks my every move,” said no attendee ever. Behavioral data that is explicit or precise has a higher value for enriching customer intelligence than passive or movement data collected by beacons.

3. Human touch. Look for ways to treat participants more as unique individuals by embracing radical hospitality and concierge-like services.

4. Configurability. Personalization can be partly achieved by making your program more configurable. In addition to 60- to 90-minute sessions, consider offering some that are deeper dives (2-plus hours) or bite-sized (15 minutes).

How are you delivering a personal touch to your conference participants? 

Reprinted with permission from Velvet Chainsaw’s Sticky Conference newsletter.

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