As an organizer’s attendee acquisition toolkit expands to include more digital and social strategies, we hear questions all the time: Who should be in charge of planning and executing attendee acquisition strategies? What should we keep in-house versus outsourcing? And how can we staff our team to keep up with shifting attendee acquisition trends and best practices? Enter the changing role of attendee acquisition manager.
Responsibilities like campaign planning, implementation and measurement have been a part of attendee acquisition for years. What’s new is that organizers have started hiring digital and social marketing specialists to add their expertise to this dynamic role.
Here’s a quick primer on how we see the role of attendee acquisition manager today.
What Does an Attendee Acquisition Manager Do?
An attendee acquisition manager is tasked with growing show attendance.
That means they:
- Understand target buyers’ needs and preferences
- Develop outreach campaigns to target attendees and drive buyer participation at events
- Research and identify new attendee target segments
- Cultivate relationships with key customers and industry groups
- Work closely with the show’s sales team
- Manage attendee acquisition campaign budgets
- Track and report campaign results and attendance projections
- Stay current with emerging attendee acquisition trends and best practices – especially as it relates to digital and social strategies
Who Makes a Great Attendee Acquisition Manager?
The best attendee acquisition managers we know have:
- Broad business perspective. Frequently reporting to VPs and Managing Directors, attendee acquisition managers need to understand overall goals and be able to articulate and explain plans to others within the organization.
- Strategic vision. A great attendee acquisition manager has the ability to strategically weave together multiple touchpoints into an integrated campaign that aligns with goals.
- Writing and editing know-how. While content creation can be outsourced or handled by a staff member, the attendee acquisition manager needs to provide feedback and edits to ensure content resonates with prospective target attendees.
- Collaboration skills. An attendee acquisition manager will need to develop relationships with different people across the organization to identify new potential attendee segments and ideas for reaching them.
- Familiarity with event tech. From retargeting and social referral marketing to chatbots and other digital solutions, knowledge of and the ability to work with emerging event technologies is a requirement. Attendee acquisition managers are also often the lead decision-makers in adopting and implementing event tech solutions so they need to be able to vet and work with third-party event technology vendors.
- Project management savvy. There are a lot of moving pieces involved in developing and managing attendee acquisition programs. While they don’t have to handle every single detail, a strong attendee acquisition manager divides duties up and makes sure they’re completed on schedule and on budget.
- Analytical skills. They’ll need to interpret campaign data and make decisions on how to improve or adapt based on the information.
- Financial acumen. Managing – and staying within – budgets typically falls on an attendee acquisition manager.
With growing shows remaining a top challenge, look for more organizers to expand the typical attendee acquisition role to include additional social and digital skills.
If you’re interested in learning more about how social referral marketing can be used as part of your attendee acquisition strategy, email Tamar@Gleanin.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Gleanin.