Is Passive Event Attendee Marketing Viable?

Certainly, attendee marketing which is more about messaging the same information frequently to a fixed internal list (what I would call Passive Marketing) has been employed successfully by many top events. Yet, doing this carries significant risks when external factors, such as aggressive competition or the market or wider economic conditions come into play. As Seth Godin says in his influential book “Permission Marketing”:

“Today, most marketers don’t notice, track or interact with people until they are a customer. And some don’t even pay close attention until the consumer becomes a loyal customer. Unfortunately, a few don’t notice their customers until they become disgruntled former customers.”

While it’s possible to adopt a Passive Marketing approach, the associated risks are substantial, potentially leading to a decline in business that may be irreversible unless corrective action is taken in time.

For those inclined to take more control of their event marketing results, I strongly suggest you seriously consider the following recommendations:
  • Understand and Reach Out to Your Addressable Audience: Develop a strategy to precisely identify and engage your potential audience. Rather than employing a broad approach, assertive marketing emphasizes precision, allowing businesses to allocate resources efficiently with messaging that resonates with the right audience.

  • Leverage Your Database through the Power of Replication: Once your addressable audience is known, distill your understanding of your most valuable customers through specification of their characteristics and behaviors. This will enable the identification of replicas (lookalike audiences) that can be targets for your marketing efforts, given an increased likelihood of engagement given interests that are like existing customers.

  • Segment Customers – Personalization Matters:  Segment your customers based on their buying patterns, preferences, and needs. This facilitates personalized marketing strategies that deliver content and promotions tailored to specific customer segments.

  • Collaborate with Exhibitors to Ensure Aligned Goals: Extend assertive marketing beyond customer outreach by engaging with exhibitors. Understanding exhibitors’ expectations in terms of prospect profiles and methods of engagement will help organizers tailor marketing efforts that meet these exhibitor expectations.

  • Strategic Information Delivery: Avoid overwhelming prospects with excessive content. Assertive marketing encourages a strategic approach that delivers concise, timely, and relevant information. Capture the audience’s attention without inundating them with unnecessary details. This is the essence of Godin’s Permission Marketing.

  • Streamline the Registration Journey: In assertive marketing, clear and logical channels to registration are crucial. Simplify the registration process to ensure a seamless journey for potential attendees, reducing friction and increasing conversion rates.

  • Facilitate Invite Sharing: Extend assertive marketing to involve all stakeholders. Make it easy for speakers, exhibitors, and other attendees to share invites, extending your reach through word-of-mouth marketing.

  • Review and Integrate All Marketing Methods: Assertive marketing is not about abandoning traditional methods, but rather streamlining and integrating them for maximum efficiency. Evaluate all marketing methods – identifying strengths and weaknesses – and optimize the approach to create a comprehensive strategy that adapts to the evolving marketing landscape.
In an ever-changing marketing environment, success will come from taking smart, strategic, and efficient attendee marketing actions. As the industry evolves, embracing will be crucial to staying ahead of the curve.

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