When we think about personalization, we often think about products or services tailored specifically to our interests and needs.
But personalization can also play a huge role in virtual events to make online conferences, meetings, and seminars feel more meaningful and valuable for each individual participant.
As attendees, we’ve all had the experience of feeling drowned out and detached during large virtual events. It’s so easy to zone out when speakers barrage you with generic content that doesn’t align with what you actually care about.
But get this – event hosts have the power to flip that dull and impersonal experience on its head!
By customizing agendas, content, and messaging for attendees based on their unique preferences and engagement data, hosts can make every single participant feel seen and catered to.
It’s because of these personalized touches that:
- Approximately 78% of U.S. Internet users report that personally relevant content increases their purchasing intent
- About 90% of consumers prefer to choose, recommend, or pay more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience
- Marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences
So in a virtual world where standing out is everything, personalization gives your brand the edge to create memorable event experiences that attendees can’t help but rave about!
Trends in Event Personalization
Lately we’ve seen so much innovation when it comes to hyper-personalizing how virtual events engage with audiences. A few standouts worth highlighting:
Hyper-Targeted Content Curation
Savvy brands aren’t just creating general content anymore. Instead, they’re spending time upfront to study the heck out of their attendees to uncover exactly what topics and themes each subgroup cares about most.
Then, they design special event tracks catered specifically to each cluster’s interests and goals. It’s almost like everyone gets a unique summit tailored just for them under the same brand umbrella!
For example, consider the Adobe Summit 2023 in Las Vegas. This event eschewed the one-size-fits-all approach by offering a diverse range of 11 tracks, including analytics for customer journeys, B2B marketing, and omnichannel engagement.
This variety ensured that every attendee could find sessions laser-focused on their specific interests and professional goals, effectively creating a personalized summit experience within a broader event
Granular Segmentation and Outreach
Along those lines, smart brands aren’t just treating all attendees like one big blob anymore. Creative segmentation is the new game in town.
Brands are getting strategic about dividing audiences into smaller, more well-defined clusters. Then, custom outreach happens for every cluster leading up to the event, based entirely on the group’s unique characteristics.
Take the Social Media Strategies Summit of 2023, for instance. This event distinguished itself by offering specialized content for various segments of their audience, including industry leaders from diverse fields such as Savage X Fenty, Nickelodeon, and Walmart.
By segmenting attendees and delivering targeted pre-event communication, the summit provided a highly personalized and relevant experience, resonating more effectively than generic approaches
Personalized Swag and Thank Yous
Here’s an amazing example of events generating long-lasting buzz through personalization. Recently, marketing platform Eloqua sent tailored swag boxes to attendees as a meaningful thank you for participating.
But here’s the cool part – the gifts weren’t just random corporate junk with their logo. Each box aligned perfectly with that person’s unique interests and hobbies outside work!
So one attendee might receive super cozy cooking gadgets and utensils with a handwritten note. Another into fitness would unbox new workout gear and shakes.
The Role of Technology in Personalizing Events
As you can see, creative personalization techniques are totally reimagining virtual events. But making them work smoothly involves more than just imagination – it requires having the right event technology foundations in place.
The best platforms provide data, analytics, and automation so organizers can execute personalization at scale rather than getting bogged down in manual busywork. The capabilities vary widely across tools though, so doing your homework is crucial. A detailed virtual event platform comparison will uncover which ones offer the customization power you need.
That said, even the most advanced tools are just enablers. The human strategy and judgment behind using those tools is what really brings personalization to life.
Sure, the software can help segment users and visualize attendee data. But turning those insights into customized experiences that actually excite and engage niche groups comes down to organizers tapping their creativity and knowledge of what makes each cluster tick.
Certain next-gen platforms weave personalization directly into their DNA too. It’s not just about slapping a one-size-fits-some layer on top. Instead, they allow creating living, breathing custom spaces, pages, journeys, and interactions tailored to each group.
Now that’s real personalization muscle! It empowers organizers to keep pushing the boundaries and continuously find new ways to help every subgroup feel catered to year after year.
Strategies for Implementing Personalization
Want to dip your toes into event personalization, but not sure how to get started? No worries! Here are some easy first steps for getting the ball rolling:
Start Small, Then Scale Up
No need to panic about revamping your 60,000 person global conference overnight. Personalization is a journey – start small and targeted. Maybe focus first on creating a tailored merch box for VIP guests, or designing custom tracks for key customer segments at a regional event. Balance creativity with pragmatism.
Map Out The Key Subgroups
Next, get clear on the 4 or 5 major attendee groups within your audience using attributes like regions, roles, goals. What makes each tick? Where do their priorities differ? Once it clicks, you can design customized experiences for each group that align beautifully to what matters most to them.
Automate Repeatable Tasks
Smart workflows can be an event organizer’s BFF. Let your event platform handle the repetitive heavy-lifting like automatically recommending sessions to individuals based on the interests they provided during registration. Automated emails can also remind people of upcoming relevant sessions.
Blend In The Human Touch
That said, automation alone feels impersonal. So look for creative ways to sprinkle in the human element, like personalized video welcomes from event hosts or concierge support for executives to craft custom agendas. Small touches go a long way in making VIPs feel special!**
Keep Fine Tuning With Feedback
Don’t get locked into rigid pre-planned experiences. To personalize in real-time, rapidly gather attendee feedback during events and use live polls to uncover changing needs. Then, tweak the experience on the fly to make sure you’re continuing to hit the mark with dynamic groups.
If we keep applying strategies like these, pretty soon one-size-fits-all events will feel downright archaic. Bring on the customized event revolution!
Personalizing virtual events is more feasible than ever thanks to advancing event tech. But making experiences feel tailor-made for audiences comes down to organizers using tools as enablers while leading with human creativity, strategic grouping, and a passion for engagement.
Do that well, and you hold the keys to blowing up generic templated events!
Challenges and Considerations for Personalization
While personalizing events can skyrocket engagement, some unique obstacles can arise:
Ethical Data Collection
Using attendee details to fuel personalization raises important questions around privacy and transparent data policies. Events should be crystal clear regarding what data gets gathered, how it gets protected and secured, and cases where it may be shared or sold. Respecting individuals must be the foundation.
Major Resource Drain
Designing tailored event components for different clusters undoubtedly demands heavy lifting. Substantial upfront effort and ongoing tweaking is required. The work multiplies as audiences scale. Resource tradeoffs to match anticipated value delivery must get evaluated closely.
Even advanced event platforms rely on imperfect algorithms that can make inaccurate guesses about someone’s interests that feel creepy rather than helpful. So while technology can enable scale, having humans continually oversight recommendations ensures respect and appropriateness.
Excluding General Interests
Vigilance is necessary so that hyper-personalized tracks don’t completely override content relevant to the broader audience. Balance is crucial. For example, an incredible keynote chat around leadership may interest nearly everyone despite having different specialized tracks later. General sessions should integrate with personalized ones.
Carefully addressing ethical factors while allowing personalization and generalization to coexist is imperative as events continue maturing.
In closing, here are the core themes to remember about the future of virtual event personalization:
It’s More Possible Than Ever – Evolving event technology combined with creative strategies makes understanding audiences and catering experiences to them at scale highly achievable.
Segmentation and Engagement Fundamentals Are Key – Thoughtful grouping of audiences and tailored outreach to make each person feel uniquely valued will never lose importance, even as tactics keep advancing.
Imagination Is The Only Constraint – With the right foundations, event organizers’ creativity is the sole barrier to unlocking next-level personalized events that foster deeper bonds between brands and attendees.
The future remains tremendously bright for virtual events that eschew one-size-fits-none approaches!