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The Conference Owner’s Guide: From Conference Touchpoints To Journey Experiences Part 1

Touchpoint OrchestrationToo often conference and meeting professionals assume that their role is best suited to planning and executing the conference.

They leave the big decisions about target customers, their needs and their aspirations to the organization’s leaders, the marketing department or even the education division. Sometimes they say, “Well, I’m not in charge of programming, content or speakers. I get that from the education section or the conference technical teams.”

They assume that this default response eradicates them from any customer interactions or responsibility for the customers’ experience. Since they are not involved in designing the customer experience, they can ignore it. However, savvy meeting professional know that their conference’s success depends upon moving from customer fragmented touchpoints to designing holistic conference customer experience journeys. They own designing the conference customers experience journey.

From Touchpoints To Customer Journeys

Armed with evidence and insights, savvy conference organizers act as customer-experience leaders. They focus, from the beginning of their planning, on the holistic experience of that customer. Their goal is to

  • Build deep customer loyalty (repeat conference customers),
  • Redesign the conference experience so that it creates value in a customer-centric fashion and
  • Educate other conference leaders on the conference customers’ perspective regarding that conference experience.

They put the conference customer—not the needs of the organization—at the center of their decisions.

How do they do that? Here are some of the steps they take to encourage everyone to move from conference touchpoints to conference customer journeys.

1. Observe Through The Customers’ Eyes

Smart meeting planners understand every conference interaction through the lens of their customers’ brain. (We see through our brains, not our eyes.) This means identifying and understanding how their customers’ brains react to each part of the conference journey. This spans the entire progression of touchpoints from the first marketing material, to registration to onsite sessions to the evaluations.

Why focus on the journey and not the touchpoints?

Sometimes each individual touchpoint such as digital marketing, the onsite business meeting, education sessions and receptions is done well. However, the overall conference experience can still disappoint. The combination of those touchpoints is still lacking.

Ultimately, the conference customer’s journey should be correlated to the customer’s business outcomes more than the success of each individual touchpoint. Understanding and quantifying the factors that are most critical to the conference customer experience leads to an ongoing focus on what matters to those customers. Then you can concentrate on reaching the target market, improving their satisfaction and increasing loyalty. That’s when you can begin to redesign the conference experience around your customers’ needs and aspirations for the best customer journey.

Look for steps two – five in the next post on transitioning from conference touchpoints to journey experiences.

Hat Tips and resources: Lynn Hynnsaker’s Keys To Customer-Centered Growth and McKinsey Quarterly 2016 Number 3.

What does “owning the conference customer experience” mean to your daily conference planning tasks? Who all needs to be involved with owning that conference customer experience journey?

The post The Conference Owner’s Guide: From Conference Touchpoints To Journey Experiences Part 1 appeared first on Velvet Chainsaw.

Jeff Hurt

Jeff HurtJeff Hurt

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