10 Secret Reasons Why We Attend Events

June 29, 2011   |   AUTHOR: Julius Solaris   |   POSTED IN: tips

Are you sure your event marketing is hitting the right buttons? We mostly think of the usual motivators when trying to get more people to attend our event. Have you considered your audience real motivators? What can you do about it? This post has been written by Julius Solaris for Event Manager Blog (?).

Maybe it is just me but I see the usual messages spreading across different media when I get an invitation to attend an event.

Sad call to actions (i.e. Reserve your space now!!!!), the usual speakers line up and the good old early bird are the tricks of the trade.

What has happened to our Marketing Flare?

The truth is that in order to feel safer, we adopt the same approach of others who we think have been successful. Needless to say this turns out to be a quite risky strategy.

Firstly because we completely bypass our audience and what they are really looking for, secondly because we assume that if something has worked for someone else, it may well work for us.

Not really.

Focus on the drives

What really motivates people to go to an event? For once I want you to think about the inner drives. There are things we will never say during a focus group or on your questionnaire. There are indeed universal reasons we attend events we are ashamed to admit.

In my experience running events, I’ve always focused on trying to leverage on motivators my guests would never mention and it’s (almost) always been a success.

So Let’s have a look

1. I feel alone

Despite we may think that event goers are sociable types, I am genuinely convinced of the opposite. I am actually convinced that those who attend an event are shy and introverted and want to get to know more people, possibly like them.

How do you capitalize?
Make sure your social programme is rich and that you integrate with as many social networks as possible. Services such as Lanyrd or Plancast will tell you who is attending an event. Your shy guest will already feel at ease by discovering that like minded individuals are attending. Somebody call that networking, I call it safety.

2. I don’t want to be at work

One of the most recurrent reasons that drives event numbers up is whether you have given your attendees a chance to be a couple of hours or days off work, while being paid.

I know it is not a nice thing to say, but this is the harsh truth.

How do you capitalize?
Make sure to give on your communications enough reasons for your attendees to justify to their boss why it is important to go to your event. They will kill themselves to get it there and possibly will bring the boss along. We are all humans after all.

3. I want to drink, eat and party for free and in abundance

Most people won’t say so, but they are in for the free meal and party. That could be the only reason why they come in the first place.

How do you capitalize?
There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you have worked your budget correctly that is the case, but you can make it look as it is. Never save on drinks and food and make sure your parties are memorable. I know people that remember events just for the after-parties.

4. I am broke

In a business context, events are a good opportunity to find contacts and clients. Attendees tend to see events as their unique resource when they are not able to turn around business with advertising or traditional marketing communications.

How do you capitalize?
Speed networking sessions or roundtables are a great way to give an opportunity to your guests to do business and make their suffered investment worth every penny. Try also to give some discounts to new businesses, they need your help.

5. My boss told me to go

Kind of the vice-versa of item number 2. Sometimes bosses force employees to attend events. They couldn’t care less and they are overall bored.

How do you capitalize?
Try to establish who the bosses are in your target attendees and make sure you tell them how important it is to get their employees to come. Possibly offer group discounts. Do not worry about the bored attendees, if you have taken care of item number 3, they will come again next year with a big smile on their faces.

6. I want to stay away from my family

OK before I get 300 comments of angry readers, allow me to clarify. Sometimes we all need a break. From life as usual, family issues, kids and frustration associated with any of the above. Events are most of the times a great opportunity for a legitimate getaway. Without the extremes depicted in movies such as ‘Cedar Rapids’ or ‘Boiler Room’, sometimes we want to cut out from the real world and not feel guilty about it.

How do you capitalize?
Just keep in mind the fun component of your event. Make sure that those who attend will have fun, relax and enjoy some nice time away from home. So they can recharge their batteries and go back to their families happier and pre-book a ticket for next year.

7. I don’t know anything about your event subject

We tend to think that only experts and gurus are the ones who should attend our events. Reality is that the majority of people attend events to learn about something they are completely clueless about. They won’t tell you that. Sometimes also the self-proclaimed experts attend to learn.

How do you capitalize?
Make sure to create different learning environments based on beginner, intermediate and advanced knowledge. A blog is a great idea to keep information flowing before, during and after an event.

8. I am in for the goody bag

This may sound stupid to you. But I stopped counting how many people told me in the past they attended events, especially exhibitions, just for the goodies. I have seen attendees who actually feel less guilty about some of the items above (such as partying and fun), because they can go back to the office and share some goodies with their colleagues.

How do you capitalize?
The goody bag is an art!

9. I want to visit somewhere new

Despite you may think we are all accustomed to travel the world, this is not the case. In fact not lots of people get a chance to travel outside of their office or home location. Human beings want to explore and experience the unknown.

How do you capitalize?
Try to select original locations and venues in cities that are within reach, but not the usual stuff. After the whole incentive industry is based on this concept.

10. I don’t want to spend a single penny

Once they paid the ticket, guests don’t want to spend a penny more. When extra money is asked after we spent a lot on the ticket, we experience frustration.

The answer ‘this is extra’ make us angry. Set it and forget it is the way we like it.

How do you capitalize?
Offer all inclusive solutions that make your guests sure they won’t have to reach to their pocket. It requires more effort for them to budget for the event but it will keep them happy once they come. And they will come for more.

If you got more share it, as always, on the comments section.

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