Why You Should Make Your Meeting Feel More Exclusive

Something for everyone — it’s a selling proposition that many meeting and event marketers use in their promotional efforts. The logic is simple: By letting every prospective attendee know that they’re sure to find some kind of education that fits their professional learning objectives, more of them will register, right? Not necessarily. Sarah Robb O’Hagan, an entrepreneur and the marketing brains behind major global brands — named to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” list — believes organizations can benefit from narrowing their audience-acquisition efforts. Robb O’Hagan will share her insights during a Main Stage presentation at the PCMA Education Conference in New York City in June.

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“Don’t be afraid, when you’re thinking of creating agendas and experiences, to be exclusive,” Robb O’Hagan said in an interview with Convene, to be published in the April issue. “What I mean by that is sometimes I think when we’re creating marketing ideas — certainly employee events or consumer events — it’s easy to want to appeal to everyone and make sure everyone has a great time. But sometimes when you do that, you make the experience less memorable because you’re trying to appeal to everyone.”

For example, consider how an organization might approach educational development for a conference. If the aim is to make sure that attendees will visit a trade-show floor or meet with suppliers on site, it can be tempting to add dozens of programming tracks and hundreds of sessions that cover every topic and trend that might be on a prospective attendee’s mind. And the “Why You Should Attend” section of the meeting’s website reflects the everything-under-the-sun approach to education, too, in order to attract every type of professional from every type of company and every generation.

As you look ahead to your next event, think about how you can define your offerings with a smaller, niche audience in mind. “When you design something with such specificity,” Robb O’Hagan said, “it has a much stronger and more breakthrough point of view that brings others along than when you try and appeal to everybody.” Her perspective seems especially on trend in the era of personalization. As customers see more online messaging that caters to their specific attitudes, they don’t want products, services, or experiences that are designed with their peers in mind. Instead, they want them to look and feel like they’ve been crafted and curated with one end goal: to satisfy their individual needs.

Interested in more insights from Robb O’Hagan? Click here to register for the PCMA Education Conference from June 11–14, and be on the lookout for Convene’s full interview next month. Until then, visit Robb O’Hagan’s official blog for tips on transforming your career.


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