Planning Corporate Events: Do You Know Your Event Attendee “Personas”?

Every experienced marketer knows that building customer personas or buyer profiles is a must if you want to center your campaigns around your “best-customer” attitudes, motivations, marketing channels and behaviors. By understanding different customer personas, you can create messages that resonate better with your prospects and create a more relevant context around the buying experience.

Planning successful corporate events is no different when it comes to the need to understand attendee personas. Every event contains a mix of attendees from customers to partners, employees to VIPs. But an investor is not an investor, right? Each one comes to your event with a different set of objectives, assumptions, relationships and interests. In fact, what we typically see at many of our corporate events is that attendees tend to cluster around several personas that have commonalities.  Thinking through these various personas is critical to understanding which design, strategy and content delivery method is of greater interest to them, and these personas should inform how you set up the flow and elements of your event, since it is important that you offer up opportunities that are relevant to each of them.


Here are 5 corporate event personas we see emerging at many of our corporate meetings and conferences:

The “Always-On” Networker and Connector

The Always-On Networker and Connector attendee persona is someone who values professional relationships and is career-oriented. They are often ambitious and seek out specific target individuals to connect with at their events. Technology and social media savvy, they are wireless junkies frequently sharing insights on the spot and commenting on session content. They will be the first to critique your event app and your AV if they don’t meet their standards.

Elements to Leverage: Pre-test your event app with them. Make it easy to share content at the event and give them your hashtag strategy in advance. Make it easy to connect to other attendees and speakers via your app by content area before, during and after the conference. Snapshot social streams around hashtag topics to keep comments top of mind after your event concludes.

The Brand Showman with Star Power

The Brand Showman with Star Power attendees are all about using your event as a platform to launch their personal (and often their company’s) brand. They are less concerned with the content of the program than with how they showcase their own expertise and value to the audience. They often seek out speakers directly and may become brand ambassadors and advocates for a company. They love attending product launches, marketing events, and sales conferences. And they love speaking at events.

Elements to Leverage: Provide opportunities to connect with key speakers during the event. Spotlight brand stars throughout your conference in “surprise” reveals. Spotlight attendee comments and social media shares visibly at the event and via your event app. Make sure they get noticed somehow via your event app.

The Low-Key Learner

Low-Key Learners are all about the event’s program and substantive learning, knowledge and tips that will help them further their own career. They are detailed oriented and pay a lot of attention to the event topics and speakers as well as to who else is attending the event. They are often pounding away on their laptops during sessions and may feel awkward in networking free-flow breakouts.

Elements to Leverage: Do your research around content opportunities that differentiate your program from other industry events. Use unique ways to showcase speakers and leave them with program take-aways. Create unconventional spaces for deep-dive demos and other niche content opportunities. Provide brand-on ice-breaker opportunities to meet other attendees.

The Creative Inspiration Seeker

The Creative Inspiration Seeker attendees are all about experiential learning, emotional fulfillment and meaningful connections. They are the folks concerned about whether your conference is sustainable, what the cool local haunts are in your conference location, and finding common “passion points” with other attendees. They want to know about a company’s mission not just about its products and 2020 expansion plans.

Elements to Leverage: Use inspiring quotes, mission statements, factoids about a brand’s history or management team in visual graphics. Find opportunities for “passion-point” collaboration as well as local options for cultural exploration in your venue’s location. Add motivational speakers into the event program.

The Good ‘Ol Boy Partier

The Good ‘Ol Boy Partier attendees are highly social and interactive and love meeting new people and making new connections. They are high energy and active on social media. They love enthusiastically spreading brand love with an audience in tow.

Elements to Leverage: Highlight social and entertainment elements of your program. Offer up your hashtag strategy. Make it easy to share live streams and use photograph-worthy graphics. Provide kiosk opportunities for branded selfies.

What other personas have you noticed at corporate events you’ve attended? Share with us on LinkedIn?