I attended a seminar on Monday morning. I’m not going to name the event but its intention and audience was pretty clear as it was billed as being a xxx conference for SMEs.
As a past event planner its always interesting to attend events to see how others deal with all the aspects that make a successful event, and one that leaves your delegates feeling like it was time well spent and they got value. With an event ( and indeed any marketing activity, be it a webinar, a brochure, a email learning series) its important to always consider
- Is the content addressing your target customer?
- Is the content doing what you committed?
- Is the attendee/audience going to get out of your event/webinar/other marketing activity what you said (and are you adding value)
And when its an event you will know that as an event planner I’m really focussed on ensuring the venue and set up of the event are right for your audience, so you also need to consider that as well. See our previous blog on Venue Finding 101 for some help with this.
So it’s without any hesitation that I can say the event I attended on Monday did none of the above. And here is why.
Although all the people I spoke to were lovely none of them worked for SMEs – defined by The European Commission as “”The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euro””.
So there is problem number 1 – too many attendees not of the primary audience. Moreover although billed as xxx for SME the content didn’t address the audience. All the examples and case studies used were not SMEs and hence very difficult to relate to and there was no real understanding of who the audience was. I believe it could be a classic case of lets fill spaces even if they are not the right audience. The problem with this is that this steers the discussion in the wrong direction in breakout sessions and away from the target audience to whom the event was supposed to be for.
Check out our know your audience workbook to ensure that you have this right!
An introduction to… was the title of the event, but there was a lot of assumptions on a certain level of understanding, and there was no real consideration of the practicalities and environment in which SMEs operate, no practical hints and tips, no checklists, no do this first. The conference breakouts were as bad – they had no introduction to a subject, just straight into this is what you need to think of – and full of jargon
I did not get what was promised. Yes true I now have more questions then when I went to the event that I know I now need to seek answers to .. but surely a great event or piece of marketing, not only raises those questions but answers them (or at the very least points you in the direction of a solution
And finally the event Venue – Was it fit for purpose? The conference itself was at the NEC – undoubtedly a fab exhibition venue, but is it really the venue for a small 100 person seminar? Part of the event was breakout sessions – which when we arrived were set up in classroom style. Pretty quickly it was apparent that they needed to be in cabaret style, because the seminar leaders wanted us to work in groups so we all then had to shuffle round to move our chairs and organise the room – in a 30 min breakout session. On top of that I couldn’t even see one of the speakers for one of the seminars because they were hidden behind a room divider. Surely one of the organisers must have thought about this. Download our checklist on venue finding to ensure you get your venue right for your next event.
What I learnt from this event, and so important to remember is KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.
I may be being harsh but in this case, the host organisation either didn’t know their audience or didn’t care about their audience – either way not a great situation. They hadn’t bothered to think about what was important to deliver to them for this topic and they didn’t think about how the venue and set up of the event could enhance rather than detract even further from the event.
So remember to know your audience, know what they want and how are you adding value to them with your content.
Please feel free to leave any comments and examples of anyone really knowing or not knowing their audience. We would love to hear them.
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