Top 10 List of Customer Event Ideas

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Here are a few ideas of things to consider to make the participant-program exchange richer, more memorable, and of increased value.

  1. Name Tags
    As described elsewhere, name tags no longer need be limited to “Hi, my name is”; with active data capturing pre-conference, key information and “Ask Me About” can be added to copy on the name tag, providing “ice breakers” for conversation (“Hey, I see you’re a Cubs fan …”).
  2. Personalization
    Again, it’s easy these days to be able to add links to a database when preparing information, and attendees will feel less of “just a face in the crowd” if the welcome letter, orientation materials, and schedules they get at check-in are personalized to them.
  3. Executive Involvement
    Too often the C-Level staff of your organization is sequestered in access-limited isolation, only contacting the big players and star presenters. Setting up times where they are available to the attendees (within limits, of course) gives a sense of inclusion and openness.
  4. Speed Networking
    If carefully planned, even very large groups can have structured networking events, when attendees are placed in situations where meeting many new faces is encouraged. This can be set up as a “game” or like speed dating.
  5. Conference Apps
    Aside from basic schedule, highlights, updates, and alerts, smartphone apps can be added that allow attendee-to-attendee contact and appointments. Encouraging their use gives a chance to significantly deepen the immersion experience of the meeting.
  6. Video
    Having “leave your message” kiosks, interview stations, or wandering “correspondents” capturing conference goers in various settings (aside from candid “B reel” material) puts a personal stamp on events, especially if these are edited into video programming in subsequent sessions.
  7. Event Themes
    Conferences usually carry out themes, and having the key take-away messages involved in meals, breaks, parties, and outings help to reinforce those points, and make the events more memorable.
  8. Collaborative Brainstorming
    Using specialized groupware packages such as, group sessions can capture a wealth of material – ideas on systems, products, procedures, etc. – from free-flowing and guided discussion. Every conference audience represents years of experience, and this is a way to directly involve, and access, that communal knowledge. This information can then be turned into content for future marketing and promotional efforts.
  9. Clever Give-Aways
    The world of meeting “swag” runs the gamut from imprinted pens to deluxe gift bags full of high-ticket items, and properly handled, these can enhance what your attendees will recall of the conference. Imprinted flash drives presented to participants at check-in could include major presentations, copies of video presentations, and other materials that they can make use of immediately upon return to their offices. Also, with so many electronic devices in our briefcases who wouldn’t want a portable charger.
  10. Special Guests
    The conference programming obviously needs to stay on track for the purpose of the event, but inclusion of “surprise” appearances (either as industry leaders, celebrities with some link to the business, or entertainment that reinforces the theme), provides an opportunity of both a “wow factor” and another point of message reinforcement.
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