By Stéphane Parent, Le Concierge Marketing
When we work in the event sector, we often concentrate on logistics. We try to develop events that look good, that are really “hot,” that will create a sense of “wow.” All too often, strategy is put in the background or forgotten altogether. I am often told: If the event I put on has a super look, people will come and my tickets will sell all by themselves…
On the other hand, we forget to ask fundamental questions, such as:
- What intrinsically motivates participants and makes them want to come to an event?
- Why are they willing to sacrifice their evening or weekend to come and participate in our event?
- How can we justify the expense we are creating to come to the event?
Why is it vital that we ask these questions? Let me respond:
These days, you need more than a fantastic room or a well-known artist to sell tickets. Especially in a world in which people are solicited more than ever. People must be strongly motivated to sacrifice family time and make space in an already crowded agenda. Keeping this in mind, it’s our obligation to know what motivates them, what interests them and how we can fulfill their needs. With this knowledge, you’ll succeed in creating a successful event rather than a flop.
With experience, I have noted that the most successful events are those that meet at least three of the eight basic motivating factors. My recommendation is as follows: when creating a new event, think carefully about what you can do to maximize the attainment of your objectives. The winning combination will be the one that is best adapted to your clientele. You must therefore know your target clientele.
Integrating a new discovery by means of the five senses has always been a winning formula. Just think of the growing presence of regional products or the appearance of creative environments in which people can immerse themselves.
A moment with family or friends
In an era in which balancing work/family relationships has become a priority for many, whatever free time we have, we would like to spend with those close to us. This reality must be integrated, especially if we want to plan events on the weekend or in the evening. With transportation getting ever more complicated, 5-to-7 events have become nearly impossible to attend for parents with young children.
When we are caught in the routine of the daily rat race, the need to escape from it, to be transported elsewhere to enjoy an out-of-the-ordinary experience, becomes all the more important. Think of the Cirque du Soleil or the Giant Marionettes in 2017, with their aura of magic.
People love to learn. Workers need to perfect their métier; it’s the basis of all symposiums, congresses and meetings between professionals. Make sure that there is plenty to learn and that speakers have plenty of energy.
Contact with the unexpected
What makes an event like Burning Man so popular, is the fact that you are transported to a parallel world which, in everyday life, doesn’t exist. Plenty of people like going to places where they can meet interesting folk, where they can participate in unusual activities and experience things like being transported to another universe altogether.
In the middle of the Maslow pyramid of needs, we find the need of belonging. For many people, especially in professional fields, networking is important. But this need also applies to groups of younger people attending a music festival. Look at them closely and you will soon see that the participants want to connect with each other and enjoy multiple interactions. The need to feel connected even has repercussions in the digital world and explains the success of social media.
Adrenalin and self-accomplishment are often primary needs motivating participation in a sports event (e.g. obstacle courses).
Living in a fantasy
For example, we could mention Disney as being the place for experiencing a world of fantasy. To get away, to feel transported and have the impression that the event we are attending is unique, are all extra reasons to attend in the first place. Even in the business world, this can have value.
To incite presence at an event, several needs must be met. As we have seen above, the motivation that is driven by these needs varies greatly and may play different roles depending on the persons involved. Your events will be easier to sell and market if you integrate these elements into your overall design (programming, thematic, universe) and thus meet these needs. To achieve this end, you must know your clientele very well.
Text by Stéphane Parent