Are You Using Up Your Event Customers?
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
The scarcest resource you have is a customer.
You can’t manufacture them. You can’t outsource them. You can’t duplicate them. You can’t make them from a recipe.
Your conference and event attendees are the scarcest resource you have.
Money Or Customers? Which Do You Need?
Which do you need more to have a successful event? Money or customers?
Well, you probably said money.
One of the basic flaws with the metric return on investment (ROI) is an assumption that money is in short supply. ROI presupposes that there’s not enough capital to get a job done.
For a healthy company, money is not in short supply. Just watch any edition of Shark Tank and you’ll see that if you can prove you have customers, you can get the capital to meet those customers’ needs.
As a conference organizer, the scarcest resource you have is customers, your attendees. The challenge is that often conference organizers mistreat their potential customers. Just like our limited natural resources, you have a limited amount of customers. Abuse them and you can use them up!
Putting A Strain On Your Limited Resources
Just how do organizations use up their event customers?
Imagine that Company X decides to distribute a print mailer for an event. It mails the marketing piece to every potential attendee it has in its database.
Enough people open the mailer and register for the event that the company makes adequate revenue to justify the expense of the mailer. The company’s leadership presumes that the campaign was successful. Therefore it’s worth doing again, and again, and again. They schedule five more mailers.
Then a potential customer receives the second mailer and decides the event is not relevant. She tosses the mailer in the trash. By the time the potential customer receives the third mailer, the person never opens anything from Company X again. The fourth mailer includes the perfect message for her about the event but the customer will never know that the event is exactly what she needs because she never opens any other mailers.
Company X used her up.
Yes, the company made some money on the mail campaign. And the campaign may even have good ROI. Unfortunately, it also cost real customers in the process. And customers are a limited resource.
This happens all the time with electronic marketing. Company X diverts it resources, time and labor to extensive marketing campaigns. It bombards its potential customers with ongoing event email marketing pieces. So much so that it uses its customers up. Potential attendees just delete emails or even unsubscribe.
Abusing And Using Up Customers
In both the direct and electronic mail pieces, potential attendees were degraded by unnecessary and untargeted marketing pressures. The company has decreased its likelihood for sustainability of its annual event by diminishing its potential attendees.
Now which is harder to come by? The money that was used up to distribute marketing campaigns? Or the customers that were used up to send out the campaign?
In the end, the only revenue any company will ever have comes from the customers it has today and the ones it will have tomorrow.
What are some ways to limit abusing an events’ valuable resource, the potential attendee, yet continue to market to them? How do you measure value of campaigns that also place value on customer relationships? Talk about it in our discussion forums!
Jeff Hurt has more than 20 years of experience as a consultant, education coordinator, and development manager for events and nonprofit organizations. This post is reprinted with permission from Velvet Chainsaw’s Midcourse Corrections blog.