Forward Thinking

3 Things Meeting Planners Can Learn From Groupon

Emotional calls to action can help spike conference registration — especially for fence-sitters and potential first-timers.

According to True Impact Marketing (TIM), a Canadian neuromarketing research and strategy firm, consumer purchase behavior has evolved from “Think-Feel-Act” to “Feel-Act-Think.” The aim of neuromarketing — a term coined in 2002 — is to understand customer behavior and be able to predict purchasing decisions. In essence, it’s a scientific way of thinking about response marketing (made famous by the infomercial industry), which can be extremely effective when used with high integrity.

Groupon offers one of the best examples of a company that is going all in on neuromarketing. Here is how some of their tactics might apply to your attendance-acquisition strategy.

1. Social Proof

Ninety-five percent of 1,189 customers recommend; 35 people bought; 19 positive reviews — Groupon tells you how many customers gave a specific deal a thumbs-up and how many already purchased it. They make purchaser comments and tips public, reducing the risks associated with purchasing decisions.

For conferences, you can highlight your “best seller” or “most popular” package or preconference workshop. Consider leveraging the power of social proof by replacing the “Register” button with a “Join 652 Meeting Professionals — Register Today” button. You can encourage registered attendees to forward an email to a friend, provide a testimonial, or share that they are attending on their social-media channels. Better yet, you can publish the list of who’s attending to demonstrate social proof.

2. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

This is the emotional trigger that Groupon has mastered. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association defines FOMO as a sort of social anxiety that occurs when one is concerned with missing a social interaction, experience of value, talk-worthy event, or monetary gain — a definition that has face-to-face events written all over it.

Groupon’s deals are available for only a limited time and quantity. They even include an annoying clock and declining number available. Creating the impression of scarcity is a very powerful persuasion technique.

Conference organizers can leverage FOMO by offering early-bird discounts and other time-based special offers, and communicating the amount of savings.  

Scarcity can be leveraged by limiting and communicating the number of seats or tickets available for an exclusive experience. It can also be used as an additional benefit to the first 25 who purchase, and effective for converting registrants to higher-priced experiences.

3. Keep it Simple

If you offer too many registration options or packages and send prospective registrants to that landing page, neuromarketing tactics will lose their effectiveness. Consider setting up specific landing pages or processes that make it easy to say yes. If registrants need to think too hard before they buy, the decision will be rational, not emotional.

Dave Lutz, CMP

Dave Lutz, CMP, is managing director of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting.