In an ideal world, an event marketer could meet with attendees before the event to grill them about who they are, what they're interested in, and what they're hoping to take away.

Though it may not be feasible to personally meet every attendee, event marketers can use data to plan more personalized events that appeal to attendees, boosting attendee satisfaction and retention, customer relationships, and return on event investment.

Here's how you can do it.

Start with promotion

Don't wait until your attendees arrive to start targeting. Event promotion is your first point of contact with your guest, and thus it's where you should begin your quest for personalization.

The first step is to use attendee data to segment your guest list and fine-tune promotion efforts.

Initially, segmentation will probably mean separating people who have attended your past events from new attendees, as the two groups have different needs and expectations leading up to the event. For example, a loyal attendee who has come to your conference 10 years running probably wants a warm welcome but likely doesn't need an explanation of the event process, whereas a first-timer needs more guidance.

From there, you may want to get even more granular. You could, for instance, offer a high-priority sales lead from a bootstrapped startup a lower registration fee than one from a Fortune 500 company, or you might flag customers who were difficult to please in the past and reach out to them directly to offer one-on-one assistance.

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image of Matthew Wainwright

Matthew Wainwright is the director of marketing at He comes from HubSpot, where he was a principal on the channel marketing team. He has also worked at agency Catalyst Online.

LinkedIn: Matthew Wainwright