# 1 Tip for Improving Your Next Event? Actively Engage Your Customers

Jun 12, 2013 Jackie D'Andrea

 

Customer conferences and user events are typically the highlight of the year for companies. They’re an opportunity to connect with customers, launch new products, wow prospects, and remind the press of why your company needs to be on its radar.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a client’s biggest customer event of the year and see firsthand why it has become one of the top events in the industry – and why attendees come back year after year. Their secret – it’s all about the customers.

Here are four best practices companies can employ to help make their next event a success for customers, employees, partners, and press:

  1. Connect with attendees outside the classroom. Keeping numbers down (and I realize that means something different to every company) can help create a more intimate atmosphere and foster connections between attendees and event organizers outside scheduled sessions. In ideal situations, attendees will have increased access to the executive team and partners and more opportunities to interact and learn from each other. Limiting the number of attendees allows the executive team to deepen their involvement in the event and actually talk with customers. Don’t forget to leverage social channels as well. (Check out this post on how we recently did this for a client.)
  2. Involve conference attendees. Give attendees – especially customers – the opportunity to share their story. Invite them to participate in a session, a customer testimonial video, a media interview or a focus group. Ask customers their opinions about new products and services. They are on the frontlines and can articulate the value they receive from your product better than anyone. Take advantage of that. And, let them know that their opinions are valuable.
  3. Invite the media – and make time to speak with them. Let reporters see why your customers love you. Give them a glimpse into the inner workings of the company. Ask their opinions about what they are seeing in the industry. The media can be a powerful ally. Take the opportunity to nurture press relationships and make all interactions count.
  4. Make time for fun. While customers do attend user conferences to learn and network, they also come to have a good time. Customer conferences are an opportunity to make a lasting impression. Thank customers for their business and remind them of why they chose to buy from you in the first place. Fireworks or a golf outing aren’t always necessary, but they leave people with a vivid memory of the event and eager to come back.
Topics: Public Relations, PR
Jackie D'Andrea

Jackie’s passion for storytelling and eye for detail help her stay ahead of her clients’ needs across several industries, from higher education to security and tech. She’s responsible for knowing what’s hot in her clients’ industries, where the next opportunity lies, and what clients need before they ask. She thrives on the relationships she builds and is always looking for new ways to tell her clients’ stories. Jackie has a bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College.

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