User conferences help connect people with the brands they love and reenergize their commitment to the work they do. These conferences are an investment both for the attendees and for the companies that produce them. It’s important to build these conferences in a way that users get what they need out of the experience.
Cramer president Rich Sturchio has a simple way to make sure that happens: "The Three R's of User Conference Attendee Needs."
Attendees at a user conference have already chosen your brand - but they need to come away from the event confident that the choice they’ve made is the right one for themselves and their organization. Create an atmosphere where they feel that your businesses have shared values and goals. Emphasize what makes you a great fit for each other. Share your successes, but in terms that communicate how your accomplishments benefit your customers.
Your attendees don’t come to be alone. They want to be part of something. It’s our job to make sure they are. At the end of a conference, attendees should feel reconnected to their friends, their work, and the brand. It’s the conference’s job to help support this sense of community. Build in time for socializing - it’s one of the things people look forward to the most. But remember that not everyone is an extrovert. Be sure to include some smaller, structured events that help people network and mingle in a more comfortable environment.
It’s essential that users leave a conference having seen something noteworthy, something that gets them motivated to start on new projects and ideas. Take a look at your agenda. What’s new and surprising? What’s interactive? What’s sharable? You want your attendees to have information and experiences that make them feel smarter, more confident, and inspired.
There are many ways to structure events in order to meet these goals. The most important thing is to always keep your audience in mind when planning your event format, activities, and content.
How can you help them get what they need out of the event? Answering that question can seem overwhelming, but "The Three R's" are a solid place to start!