Empathy and the Audience: 10 Questions to Understand Your Participants

Empathy and the Audience: 10 Questions to Understand Your Participants | MCI Group | EN

Calendar icon October, 07 2019

Each month, we want to bring you the latest knowledge and insights from our 61 offices around the world, uncovering how our local teams turn local projects into successful global strategies for our clients. This month: Brazil.

Being in the shoes of your event attendees is an exercise that should be practised frequently. It can benefit your planning, logistics, communication and entire customer journey structure in specific activation moments.

Beyond this perspective, data is essential to translate the public’s behaviour with an effective analysis. Will your message be successfully transmitted? What goals should be achieved? 

Ask these 10 questions to understand your audience and practice meaningful updates:  

1. What do I know about the event’s audience? 

Try to find out reports from previous editions with information about your guests' age, position, company, likes and preferences. This can be an opportunity to create communities with common interests, set up disruptive encounters, pay personalised attention on commemorative dates such as local holidays, birthdays, movie releases or concerts. 

All of these are opportunities to build a great relationship with the client of your brand and to be remembered whenever possible through emails, digital communications or even giveaways. 


2. What social networks do participants use? 

Understanding where your audience is and how you communicate is a big step. This action is important to detect where it is best to invest in content to promote your event, and what is the best way to keep the participant engaged even after the event ends. A tip is important to include this question at the time of registration, so you establish the dialogue at the first official contact with the customer. 

3. How do participants like to be engaged? 

Email, letters, gifts, social networking messages, telephone contact? 

Your event can offer many options for exhibitors and sponsors engaged in keeping in touch with your attendees. Your brand must also be connected to the target audience in a number of ways. So ask your audience where and how to best talk to them. Make them feel part of this decision by choosing to be connected to your brand. This may be the best way to avoid being reported as spam or being labeled as an uninviting brand for customers. 

4. Who could participants influence after the event? 

Every consumer or customer is also an influencer of your brand. He will report to other consumers the experience he’s had at your event. If the impact was a positive one, this can be a way to win influencers organically. 

In the digital age, influencers and icons targeted to your audience can be allies. Let's say an expert journalist in economics reveals trends and becomes a reference on the topic. This can be an attractive contribution to your finance event. A digital influencer who is a reference in the topic you discuss is a personality respected by your target audience. 

An important and recurring strategy to gain relevance and prominence. 

5. How can I activate my audience after the event? 

Would your audience like to receive eBooks with content developments covered during the event? Guest webinars, blog with relevant insights, app poll, exclusive meetings to discuss news and legislation? Be aware of these signs by asking the audience how to best deepen the skills addressed in your event. 

If you were a participant, what would you like to receive? 


6. How would participants like to learn during the event? 

Games, tech activations, interactive quizzes, expert lectures, hackathons? What else talks to your audience's interests and behaviour? This question is a priority to define the content you offer in your programming. 

What issues are trending in your industry? What's critical for your audience to stay active and strengthen their performances? The public seeks interaction, networking and discovery. In this scenario, your brand may emerge in the public taste. You can become exactly what they are looking for and the results can grow significantly. 

7. What could you do to prevent participants from forgetting the main message after the event? 

First, have you set your main message yet? What do you want your audience to remember when they think of your brand name? Impact is key. To constantly mark this “slogan” in the public's memory and build a relationship with it, seek engagement with simple strategies while strengthening the power of your message. 

From an unforgettable talk to memories of the event marked with your brand identity, all options are valid. Remember it is a people-to-people event, and a sense of belonging to a community can fix your message in a lasting and active way. 

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8. What are the barriers I am anticipating regarding participants’ engagement and activation? What can I do about them? 

Limits will always exist and thinking how to break them down may be the strategy you need to achieve engagement. As a tactic, first identify the barriers: lack of participant time, need for registration discounts, unfamiliar speakers, distance, inaccessible place?

Practice empathy on the participant's journey, from the moment he or she sees your ad (online or not), makes a ticket purchase, attends the event, and returns home. From this analysis, you can understand what compromises or motivates the participation in your event. 

9. What do I want participants to feel during the event? 

This question relates to all the expectations you create for your event and the message you want to convey. Comfort, surprise, motivation, learning, joy, connection with technology, networking between people, rewards for performance. What do you want to convey? Betting on people-to-people activations is a tip that can link interests and form a network of engaged participants. 

Parties, cocktails or awards are moments of decompression that mark the event's journey with a positive closure. Already during the event, the practicality of understanding content, mobility and ease of interaction with technology for learning can be allies. 
Check-in totems, tablet polls, well-equipped meeting rooms and good audiovisual form the impact of outstanding experiences. 
You can also go further. Have you considered proposing a gastronomic challenge, team scavenger hunts or even an escape room experience for your participants? It would certainly surprise the invited audience. What would you most like to experience during your event? 

10. How can I create a positive experience including the largest number of people possible? 

Accessibility is one of the pillars of a positive event. In addition to including a wide audience in your event, you become a positive reference for other players in the industry. Large spaces, wheelchair accessibility, simultaneous translation in sign language, floor marking for visually impaired people. What can your brand do to welcome more and more people? 
In addition to this responsive item, does your brand propose to focus on themes that different professionals can enjoy? Let's say your event focuses on technology for financial systems and web integration. Do you have lectures and activities for different professionals in different stages to improve their techniques? 


Can you extend the content of the programming so that everyone feels represented? Remember: As more and more people identify with your brand, more people will respond to your call-to-action, more people will be engaged in your events, and the more impact you'll have on digital media, participants' word of mouth and the reputation of your brand. 
Tip: Once all these questions are answered, you will feel confident in creating your KPIs and defining which goals you want to achieve at each stage of your event organisation. 


Teresa Lindoso

Journalist with a passion for digital marketing, technology and events.

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