How To Use Personas For Event Marketing

Advanced marketers use personas to better understand their audience. As an event planner, your marketing can benefit from creating personas too. In their simplest form, personas are fictional characters that represent the different types of people you want to attend your event. Defining these personas from the outset allows you to greatly improve your marketing relevancy through personalization, and in turn boost attendance at your event. It sounds complicated but it isn’t. The best personas are those represent the commonalities amongst a distinct portion of your audience. So how do you define them? How to Define Your Personas Start by writing down all the characteristics about your ideal attendees. Maybe they have a particular position within their company (CFO), or maybe they are a certain age, or perhaps they are likely to give money to causes. Whatever their characteristics are, write as many of them as you can in a list. For instance, if we were planning an event for a national organization of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), our list might look something like:
  • Interested in financial management
  • Interested in leadership
  • Likes to golf
  • Has children
  • Married
  • 40+
  • Works out in spare time
  • Reads New York Times and Wall Street Journal
  • Reads online
  • Has a smartphone (most likely an iPhone)
  • Networth $1M to $10M
  • Owns a home
  • Travels often
  • Meticulous with numbers
  • Worked at one company forever
  • Experience at many companies
  • Thrifty with money
  • Long term investor
  • Works in Technology
  • Works in Manufacturing
  • Etc.
Your list should be comprehensive collection of the characteristics of your ideal attendees - don’t worry if some conflict, you’ll deal with that next as we group them together. At this stage, just make sure you have everything that would likely apply to someone that would attend your event. Separate Them Into Groups Next, look at your list. Are there characteristics that naturally overlap? For instance, are the older more looking for more time with their family, while the younger are more career focused? Start grouping them into buckets based on which characteristics overlap. Keep in mind, not all demographic groups are the same, for instance with our CFO event above, we might have we have two distinct personas: Modern/Technology CFO
  • Has (and uses) a smartphone
  • Reads online
  • Works out in spare time
  • Married, no children
  • Is 42
  • Experience from several firms
  • Makes strategic long term investments
Traditional CFO
  • Reads New York Times and Wall Street Journal
  • Married with children
  • Owns a home
  • Plays Golf
  • Is 55
  • Career at one manufacturing firm
  • Thrifty spending
  • Mostly uses email at work
You may find you have more than two buckets. Generally having one persona represent 10% of your audience is as segmented as you’ll want to get. Many marketers will name each of their personas, and refer to them by name as they seek to define their message to each group. Think, “Would Tracy, our Traditional CFO, respond to this advertisement?” Tailor the Message Now that you are armed with both demographic information and psychographic information, you can begin creating messages that emotionally connect with each persona and drive them to action (like buying a ticket to your event or giving to your cause.) You’ll create these connections by customizing your marketing message for each persona. Studies show this type of customization and segmenting can impact marketing results. Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14 percent and behavior-targeted ads are twice as effective as non-targeted ads, according to research gathered by HubSpot. In a case study by Skytap, it was found that targeted personas lift sales leads by 124 percent. In practice for our CFO event, we’d sort our mailing list by people that opened our past emails on a mobile device and send out one email with the headline, “The Fastest, Most Technologically Advanced Way to Improve Your Leadership Skills.” Then we’d create a list of those using desktop clients and lead with the headline, “Learn Modern Techniques in Financial Management and Don’t Miss A Round of Golf.” The end result is a more targeted marketing message to a more distinct audience, increasing engagement. By linking details about your personas to the channels you use and the messages you send, your event marketing ROI will be substantially greater. According to a DemandGen Report, nurtured leads on average produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. So the next time you are planning an event, don’t forget to create your marketing personas, and craft your messages so each and every one is relevant to your target persona. Planning an event in New York City? Contact one of our Event Coordinators today by filling out the form below.