Monthly Archives: May 2021

Has ‘Quality is the New Quantity’ Become Today’s “The Dog Ate My Homework”?

If estimates are to be believed, though we may be able to run events this year, both attendance and exhibitor participation will be down. Given COVID-19 and responding corporate restrictions, lower numbers and revenues for 2021 events are to be expected.
Does that exempt us from trying to understand attendee and exhibitor needs, given we have the handy excuse that attendance will likely be down? No, we still must treat the last 15 months as an opportunity to learn more about our customers.
It’s depressing that the expressions “the quantity is down, but the quality is up” or “quality is the new quantity” have made their return – much as they’ve always done during market downturns. Not that they might be appropriate in certain instances. But my reaction is more to those lazy marketers and event strategists who hope they can convince us that the presence of fewer attendees will necessarily be inversely correlated with their quality – that fewer attendees inherently means they are better attendees.
Guys and gals, this is tired thinking, and most of your customers will see through it. It’s much the same as you might have said back in the day when your excuse for failing to turn in your homework was that ‘the dog ate it.’
Rather than rationalizing a decline in attendance, what you should be doing is reaching out to the attendees and exhibitors who haven’t returned to past events to find out why. Now is the time to better understand your customers and apply that insight to enhance the customer experience and value.
We’ve all worked hard to keep things going over the last year. And we’re stressed out with wondering what the future will bring. Unfortunately, the bad times are not quite over, but we shouldn’t be resigned to accept whatever happens. Let’s ensure that we continue to build our competitive advantage during this downtime, with the knowledge that our customers of the future will be pickier than ever.
And I hope the dog never eats your homework…

Your Event has a Brain. But Does it Have a Heart?

Most long running events are viable because they continue to offer value, making enough money (or otherwise generating sufficient benefits ) to prompt their owners to continue onward with them. These events are supported with strong project plans, sufficient revenue, well-managed costs, the right content, competent staff – and they are proven to be profitable. These events can be considered to have “brains” in that they are well-run machines, and probably generate expected outcomes. Typically, these events have a formula of some kind that can be replicated in different locales, spanning different content topics.
As we return to running face to face events, we must remind ourselves that our events need more than the intelligent execution of a “brain” that focuses upon the logical reason for the event’s existence. They also need a “heart” that embraces the emotional attraction and ‘pull’ of  the event. It is my contention that of all the events that exist- only 5% represent events that people really want to attend. That’s a mere one event out of every twenty. The others fall into a range of categories: “I have to attend’, ‘I don’t know why I am attending’, ‘this is my first time attending’, etc.).
I am fascinated by this topic, because I think it’s one which is frequently overlooked. The focus is ‘pumping them out’ versus ‘why these events should exist”. If you are interested in looking to see whether your event has a heart, then I challenge you to dig deeper in your analysis.
Here are some examples of the questions you should ask to determine whether your event has a heart:
  • Do you personally know any of the visitors attending your event?
  • Do you get jazzed up when spending time with your customers at your events
  • Do you look forward to your events?
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions above, then it may mean that your event doesn’t jazz up your customers either.
If we want to be in this business, we’d be well advised to handle the things that are completely within our control. Disconnection from our customers and our events is one of a few symptoms which may indicate that your event does not yet have the requisite heart. With all the challenges confronting the operation of face-to-face events during the upcoming couple of years I suggest we do our utmost to make sure that people want to come to our events. There should be a connection – with our attendees and sponsors caring about us, the event organizers. If it has a heart, you already know.
Without a heart, I don’t see how your event can succeed in the long term.
Something to ponder.