How to Gather Pre-Event Intel
and increase your chance for success.

Guessing-games have no place in event planning anymore. That’s because it’s easier than ever to get information about your audience’s wants and expectations—even before registration or arrival. How do you tap into that fountain of information? Here are three simple ways.

Just ask!

And many event planners do just that. A recent Eventsforce blog reveals that 62 percent* of event planners tailor their events simply by uncovering audience preferences.

Start by conducting a survey, initiated via email or social media, which will provide answers that you can turn into insight. For example, ask your audience members about topics they’d like covered, social events that appeal to them, location preferences and more. Then deliver based on what you learned.

The Eventsforce blog also suggests that your registration form can provide valuable information. For example, if you’re responsible for a food expo, determine your attendees’ roles. A restaurant owner is going to seek different information than a produce grower. Knowing their unique needs and wants will help you personalize offers and information at check-in—which allows you to engage your attendees immediately.

*7 Easy Ways of Using Your Registration Process to Personalize Events

Follow and interact with your attendees before the event begins.

This is what social media was made for! Invite your audience to submit questions, offer suggestions and provide their opinions on topics, speakers and more. Either collect answers to open ended questions, such as, “What is the one main takeaway you’re hoping for?” or create polls.

In either case, your audience’s feedback identifies trending topics and is also useful to your presenters. Periodically report your findings online and say how you’re applying the learning so your audience knows you’re listening.

Have some fun too. Ask people to comment about what they’re looking forward to at your event and post photos from past experiences. Interacting with your audience not only builds excitement but it also provides you with promotional content.

What if your audience isn’t into social media? Put old-fashioned word-of-mouth to work. Hold listening sessions to give people an opportunity to shape the agenda and allow them to vote on which session to feature on the biggest stage, for example. When you involve your target audience members before the event, you’re more likely to deliver content that matters and create advocates for your event before it even begins.

Related: Five Ways to Drive Meeting Attendance

Invite creative input.

And for even more fun, make it a contest. Ask your audience members to submit photos, designs for a logo, slogans—anything that helps tell your story. Then promise some kind of a cameo, such as a recognition in an ad or campaign. Requesting attendees’ participation gives your event more attention and provides insight into your audience’s mindset. That’s valuable as you form your messaging platform.

Happy planning. Here’s to many successful events!

To learn about planning a meeting at Monona Terrace, contact Laura MacIsaac , Director of Sales, at or 608-261-4016.