Mapping the Magic Moments
Marketers have used the idea of mapping customer journeys for years, looking at the full set of interactions a customer may have with a brand. This enables teams to identify key ‘moments of truth’ where there is an opportunity to ‘make’ or ‘break’ the relationship. While a single event may be unlikely to cement or destroy a client or customer relationship, adopting the process of customer journey mapping can be a powerful tool in understanding and improving the overall event experience. Thinking about how to handle pain points, understanding when your guests have time to engage and creating opportunities to delight can translate into ‘magic moments’ that both transform your event and provide a framework for discussing plans with business partners.
Handling Pain Points
Plotting the customer journey can help identify times at which a client may experience difficulty or negative emotions. Knowing when this might occur can improve planning to either overcome potential challenges or find a way to inject some positivity. Take, for example, event registration. Long queues at the start of an event can impact the way participants feel for the rest of the day. One approach is to stagger arrival times. As that’s not always possible, think about other ways to lighten the mood. Showcasing innovative technology can make a positive brand statement, such as scanning registration bar codes to speed up the process or handing out iPads with event apps to engage clients as they wait. However, it could also be as simple as offering hot drinks for attendees standing in line such as was done by one company who gave out mulled wine to guests on a chilly evening in Davos.
Understanding When to Engage
As you think through your event timeline and each point of engagement, take a moment to consider what clients might have on their mind. Are they busy reviewing their schedule for the day? Making calls between sessions? The time to deliver messages is when people are likely to have down-time and be more receptive to hearing what you have to say. For example, menus can become a great communication vehicle. Consider one brand sponsor that leveraged the reverse side of its menu at a corporate hospitality event to highlight their sponsorship history and corporate responsibility. Alternatively, if you are using an event app, create brand or business content that people can browse at their leisure. Even the space around your cloakroom can be utilised to provide key messages, taking advantage of time that is otherwise largely wasted and ensuring that one of the first and last images people take away is one that you have designed.
Creating Opportunities to Delight
The ultimate ‘magic moment’ is one of delight or unexpected pleasure. It could be planned, such as a surprise appearance by a celebrity or simply the response to a customer request. The individuals who staff your event represent a unique opportunity to drive satisfaction levels. Make sure that when you are briefing the team you help them to understand your brand values and empower them to create exceptional experiences. Imagine a guest arrives unexpectedly on crutches. Does your team know how to access a wheelchair so that they can offer the client an easier way to get around? Another way to delight clients is by giving them a takeaway that can be shared with friends or family. Offering a small box of branded macaroons, for example, enables your client to win appreciation when they arrive home and extends brand exposure.
No doubt you are thinking about many of these things already, but putting this kind of framework in place can add rigour to your event planning and prove useful in structuring conversations with business partners.