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Secrets for finding the right mix of conference sessions


I’ve worked in marketing for some time. Let’s not mention specific numbers; we’ll just say I’m in the pre-millennial demographic that rhymes with Generation Hex and I’ve been around the marketing block a few times. Occasionally, I find myself at a marketing conference devoid of sessions with advanced content for more experienced attendees. The sessions were all too “marketing 101”
That said, I also know (from personal experience on conferences like Unite) that it’s challenging to create a varied session catalog, which includes event content that will appeal to varied knowledge levels and diverse learning styles.

Your event content is what attracts your attendees: 66% of attendees register only AFTER seeing your content and, when pulled together, your session catalog is what creates the “story” of your event. So getting the right mix is imperative.

Hubb CEO Allie Magyar shared four tactics with me for selecting relevant event content.  

Start with content strategy and personas

If you are trying to figure out the right mixture of content for your event, the logical place to start is by examining the overall goals and objectives for your event to build your content strategy. If you can hone in on your attendee personas, you’ll be able to identify what topics will be relevant. Do you have an attendee persona that is highly technical and another persona that’s not technical at all? Dive into your data to identify your content mix.

This is a super simplified example, but if you have 500 advanced technical people registered and 250 non-technical people registered, then you’re going to need twice as many 400 level sessions and half as many 101-type sessions. Make sense?

Know your audience’s learning styles

Remember that you’ll have a mix of visual learners, auditory learners or kinesthetic learners. If you are planning to offer the same session a few times, you don’t have to offer it in the same style each time. Mix it up: one lab, one breakout session, etc. Or, if your speaker is only doing one session, ask them to include presentation components that appeal to different learning styles, for example educational visuals and an interactive activity or project.

Share your attendee personas with speakers

Your presenters also want their content to be relevant. So, for the most part, speakers are going to appreciate insight into your attendee persona, who they are, their job description, backgrounds and pain points, etc., so they can tailor messaging to your audience.

Give attendees tools to self-select the right sessions

Try adding the intended audience to your session information. We loved this example from an Inbound 2018 session, Predictive Analytics for Inbound Marketers.

The audience section said: “Digital marketers with a background in measurement will benefit most. If you know how to use Google Analytics and a spreadsheet, you'll get something out of this session. If you know the basics of statistics, you'll really get something out of this session. If you know what S-ARIMA is and how to compute it, this session is too basic for you.”

With this information, attendees have the power to decide if the session will be relevant to their experience and interests, and everyone (even the Gen Hexers) wins!

If you're looking for more on conference planning, check out our detailed guide on how to plan a successful conference



Want other tips to maximize attendee experience at your events? Download Hubb's Ultimate Guide to Creating Attendee Engagement at Your Event. 

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