Introducing Clark Kentington, one of the profiles you might see after taking the Rottman Creative Engagement Assessment. Clarks come to us with at least some foundation to build on. They might be a startup with a clear mission but no strategy. Maybe they’re an established organization who needs a fresh approach. Perhaps they have a great event that nobody attends or emails nobody reads. For lots of reasons, the Clarks aren’t achieving their full potential, but they’re ready to make changes to get there. If you fit this category, it’s an exciting place to be! From here you can flex your marketing muscles, boost engagement, and rescue yourself from another ho hum year. We’ll show you how.
Where to Begin
We talk a lot about Clarity, Energy, and Spark—and for good reason. If you don’t have a clear mission, a savvy engagement strategy, and an exceptional event experience your organization will not thrive. In fact, it might not even survive. But how exactly do you develop these key items?
How to define a clear mission
When your organization was formed, the founders had a clear purpose. Over time that mission might have gotten crowded out by “stuff” like webinars, speakers, certifications, and networking events. Today you know WHAT your organization does, but do you know WHY? Do you know the ONE thing of value you offer to your members?
To find out, you need to strip away all the stuff—the continuing ed credits, the keynotes, the seminars. These are all things that members consume without actually engaging in the mission of your organization. This is not sustainable. Take a look at these example missions for inspiration:
- teach people how to be leaders
- ensure no child goes hungry
- achieve breakthroughs in cancer research
- challenge the status quo
- enhance childhood development
To truly engage, you also need to know your members. Who are they? Why do they join? Why do some attend every year while others come once and never return? Formal and informal investigation can shed some light on this for you:
- What are members talking about on social media? in focus groups?
- What did they say on your last post-event survey?
- Who are they? (ex: age, gender, demographics, job title, years of experience, etc.)
- What do they care about?
- Which archetype do they fit into?
- Simon Sinek tells us “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Steve Jobs said, “Marketing is about values.” Walk through these steps to clearly identify your mission (just the ONE), and you’ll find your “why.” Engagement begins with a clear purpose. Without clarity, the rest of your efforts will fail.
How to create an engagement strategy that actually works
After clarity comes energy. Your strategy is your energy source, the engine that drives engagement (and thus, attendance, acquisition, and retention). It’s fueled by your clear purpose but, in addition to the “why” we discuss above, your strategy must also take into account your buying cycle. It’s not enough to have great messages and campaigns that articulate your mission. These items must be aligned with the buying cycle to foster engagement.
The first stage of the buying cycle is raising awareness. If you’re a Clark Kentington, chances are you’ve got this stage covered. You have a database of members and interested prospects. But this list itself isn’t worth much. For real value, you need to move to the next stage of the buying cycle: engaging the interested. Imagine what your organization can achieve if you rally all the troops around your mission. With the right strategy, the possibilities are endless.
One or two campaigns and a handful of social media posts is not an engagement strategy. Interested parties need to hear from you multiple times—at the right times—before they’re compelled to take action. (Notice they’re not being “convinced’ or “motivated.” Your job is to ENGAGE them to want to take action.) We will help you identify objectives, craft a strategy, and determine timing based on your annual conference and other industry events.
Along with proper timing, it’s essential to tailor your communications to audience needs. A new member requires more information about your event than a repeat attendee, for example. A C-level executive needs different offers than an entry-level employee. You can achieve an added layer of precision in your communications by segmenting your audience and tweaking your messages accordingly.
How to spark action with killer brand experience
Your event is your mission brought to life. Here, too, the goal isn’t attendance numbers or a certain dollar amount; it’s connecting passionate individuals so they can change more lives. Read more about how to craft powerful sensory event experiences here. The big idea is to create an environment that encourages high-quality connections and engagement by incorporating all five senses. Do this, and the numbers will take care of themselves.
Take the Engagement Assessment
Ready to step out of the phone booth and soar to new heights? Find out where you rate on the Engagement Scale. Once you know where you are in terms of engaging members, we can help you craft a plan to increase event attendance and member engagement AND achieve long-term sustainability for your organization.
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