Why is personalisation the hottest trend in the industry right now?
Personalisation is hot in all areas of life – from the adverts on your Facebook timeline to your Netflix account suggesting what you might like to watch next, the personalisation algorithms are always hard at work! While there’s a fine line between personalisation and privacy, this growing trend in events is simply a continuation of what we have all come to expect in other areas of modern life.
You may have stayed at a smart hotel. They have Internet of Things (IoT) enabled rooms, which means an internet connection is embedded in everyday objects, sending and receiving data all of the time. This enables unlimited personalisation opportunities! The TV can prioritise your favourite channels and the coffee machine can be set to your favourite brew!
Just like hotels, personalising events makes them more rewarding for everyone. We get more out of an event that is relevant to us and fulfils our needs and expectations; particularly during the busy lives we all lead.
Technology: how far can it take us?
We all use first names to personalise email invitations and perhaps even print names on to the literature we send out, but there are so many more opportunities out there thanks to emerging technologies.
Let’s take facial recognition as an example. Facial recognition can be used to automatically recognise a delegate as they arrive at an event. This enables staff to greet them by their first name and means they don’t have to provide any information or scan any badges to enter the event. For any ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ fans out there, it’s like an automated version of Miranda’s assistants having to memorise photos of her contacts before the event, so they can whisper their names in her ear as they approach!
But technology can take it further still. We can use facial recognition to monitor how our audience is reacting to a presentation. Are they smiling and relaxed, or are they looking bored and disinterested? This seems a lot more big brother, but it shows what’s possible. Perhaps the old fashioned feedback card would do just the same thing without being as intrusive, however research has shown that millennials don’t find this sort of technology as ‘creepy’ as older generations do!
How can we use technology to personalise events?
Technology helps us to gather data to get to know our attendees better. However, do remember that too much personalisation can invade privacy. Always make sure your attendees know what data you’re collecting and why.
Smart badges for tailored content: These use RFID antennas in the badges to expose attendees to personalised messages on screens or signage as the move about the venue. If you have tailored an itinerary to their interests, this might signpost their next session, or simply flag up something you know they’ll find interesting, making your event much more relevant to them.
AI for networking: Despite our technology focused world, one-to-one networking is still essential for good business. However, tech can still play it’s part. It can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help identify who your delegates will be most interested in speaking to. It does this by interpreting data from platforms such as social media profiles and matching people with similar or complementary contacts.
Personalised printing for gifting: We’re all familiar with branded gifts, but technology can let us personalise branded gifts for the individual. Affordable on-demand printing makes it possible. The VIP area at the Barclaycard BST Festival had quizzes which were linked to a personality profile. The answers attendees gave made up a unique android style body – or creature – which was printed on to a mug or water bottle for them to take home.
What about ROI?
As much fun as all this sounds, it’s important to think about your ROI. None of it is cheap to do, so question what you and your attendees will gain from it. Furthermore, when does personalisation become tailored marketing? In other words, when does it stop being nice for the client and more bombarding them with stuff they don’t necessarily want? Balance is key.