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Customer Journey Mapping 101: What, Why, and How for Event Marketers

Event marketing has changed a lot over the years. Back in the day, it was all about driving attendance. Now, it’s more about understanding attendees and optimizing their entire experience – from awareness to post-event follow up. That’s where mapping the customer journey can help. It gives you insights into what your attendees really want and need.

Event Marketing Has Evolved

Can you remember when event marketing was just about securing a venue, sending invites, and getting butts in seats? 

Those days are long gone. Events are now competing for attention across channels both online and offline. 

People have more options than ever for how to spend their time. With virtual and hybrid events, their expectations are also through the roof when it comes to seamless experiences across multiple platforms.

On top of that, new technologies like AI and the metaverse are opening up possibilities for more personalized, memorable event engagement. Just having an A-list speaker or flashy production is not enough anymore to guarantee success.

This is why taking an outside-in approach by mapping the customer journey is so important. Really understanding what makes your attendees tick – their motivations, frustrations, and goals – can have a huge impact on everything from your event format to ticket pricing.

Why Customer Journey Mapping Matters

Customer journey mapping looks at every touchpoint along the attendee lifecycle, from initial discovery to post-event follow up. It puts you in their shoes so you can view your event from their perspective. This helps uncover pain points in the experience you may have never realized before.

Let’s say you run a developer conference and notice through surveys that your food options aren’t resonating with attendees. 

By mapping out their journey, you learn that many of them have dietary preferences like vegan or gluten-free that aren’t being met. You’re then able to tweak the menu to be more inclusive.

These insights also allow you to refine messaging in a way that speaks to what attendees really care about. If networking and recruitment opportunities are key motivators, for example, you can highlight those angles to get more developer tickets sold.

Major companies are already using journey mapping to improve their events. Tesla looked at owner charging pain points and is adding destination chargers at popular road trip pitstops. Netflix noticed changing attitudes toward ads and launched an ad-supported tier.

Bringing It All Together with a Solid Marketing Strategy

While customer journey mapping provides the intel, you still need a rock-solid marketing strategy for an event to act on those insights. This includes things like:

  • Researching your attendees and what makes them tick
  • Figuring out the right mix of channels and touchpoints
  • Crafting messaging tailored to each stage
  • Planning follow-up nurturing after the event

Having a streamlined marketing plan is key to rolling out customer insights in an impactful way across all your event promotion activities – both online and offline. Let’s say surveys show early bird pricing really drives ticket sales. You can highlight that offer prominently across all marketing assets and platforms.

Tools like campaign management platforms, CRM, and email services are also invaluable. Their data and analytics capabilities feed back into the mapping process for continuous optimization.

How To Create A Customer Journey Map

Now that we’ve talked through why journey mapping is so valuable, let’s look at how to actually put one together:

Step 1: Define your goals and KPIs upfront so you know exactly what questions you need to answer. Boosting virality and increasing sponsorships require focusing on different things. Outlining measurable objectives keeps things focused.

Step 2: Map out the major stages of the attendee lifecycle – awareness, consideration, purchase, event experience, loyalty. While it’s not always a linear progression, the funnel provides a good framework.

Step 3: Identify touchpoints within each stage where attendees engage with your brand – website, email, social, app, signage, etc. Look at both digital and physical. New formats like the metaverse also unlock more opportunities here.

Step 4: Gather data at each touchpoint through surveys, interviews, analytics, etc. Look at pain points and areas for delight.

Step 5: Analyze insights across stages to spot leaks in the funnel as well as ways to enhance experiences. Use this to inform your next event marketing strategy.

Step 6: Continue gathering data during and post-event to quantify outcomes. Customer journey mapping is an ongoing process of optimization based on learnings.

Platforms like Mixpanel, UserTesting, and Appellee can provide useful tech for gathering and making sense of data across the mapping process.

Tracking Your Event Marketing Success

While the journey map provides strategic direction, you need concrete metrics to measure progress:

Awareness KPIs: Website visits, social reach, email open rates

Consideration KPIs: Newsletter sign-ups, content downloads, survey responses

Purchase KPIs: Tickets sold, upsells, referral code use

Experience KPIs: App stats, NPS or CSAT scores, social engagement

Loyalty KPIs: Retention, recurring attendees, advocacy

Monitoring relevant KPIs at each journey stage gives visibility into what’s working. The insights can feed back into future iterations of your marketing strategy.

Tools like Salesforce and Adobe Analytics make it possible to capture and evaluate tons of event data in real-time. Their dashboards and reports help spot trends and opportunities.

Key Takeaways

  • Journey mapping gives event marketers crucial insights into optimizing experiences.
  • A solid marketing strategy is key to executing on those insights effectively.
  • Analytics and reporting enable continuous optimization based on data and learnings.

As virtual, hybrid and metaverse events take off, event marketing has changed for good. Adopting a customer-first mindset through journey mapping can help your brand thrive in this new landscape. By tuning into your attendees’ needs, you’re primed for success now and in the future.

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