‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a maxim I sometimes hear applied to experiential marketing, both in events and exhibitions. And there seems to be a logic to it, particularly when budgets are flowing less freely, while economic pressures are rising.

Fix it anyway

But there’s also a flaw in this argument, because ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ assumes that you couldn’t be doing any better than you are. It runs the risk of gradually falling behind your competitors, as they innovate to deliver more delightful and more effective experiences to your own target audiences. It ignores the fact that while the approach may have worked in the past, attendees don’t sit still. They are bombarded with all kinds of media and experiences from brands ensuring that their expectations are always evolving and changing. And so eventually what wasn’t ‘broke’, suddenly needs fixing.

So, if something seems to be working today, how do you evolve it to ensure it really delivers the impact you need? We believe there are three key elements that combine to drive effective design and evolution of events and exhibitions:

Dig insights out of your data

Solid research and insights focus on your attendees themselves.

Through researching, interrogating the data and listening to what attendees have to say, you’ll not only gain benchmarks for improvement, but also reveal the issues that need targeting to change their behaviours and deliver more impact.

Use science to understand your audience

You can then use Behavioural Science to explore why people act the way they do, based on a deep understanding of the factors that motivate all of us and of which we are often unaware. Our proprietary ‘7 Drivers’ approach uses Behavioural Science to understand individual actions and ensure we consider the whole person as they approach and engage with our experiences; from their deepest sense of self to the mental shortcuts we all employ to move easily through our world. This allows us to uncover levers to address pain points and challenges attendees are facing that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Make the difference with good UX

UX best practice makes sure your attendees enjoy your experiences with the least amount of friction and gets your messages across in the most impactful way possible. And UX isn’t just about digital. It’s about bringing a UX sensibility to the way spaces and events are designed by removing physical barriers to engagement, signposting effectively and creating inviting interventions.  Finally, you can cycle back to Research and Insights once more, to double check whether the experience has delivered an impact for attendees that furthers your objectives.

Putting it all together

So, while ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ might feel like a compelling proposition, delivering impact for a constantly changing audience means continual evolution. And creating those more impactful attendee experiences we want requires a flexible combination of data-led insights, digital and live UX, and behavioural science.

That’s why we created the Attendee Experience Design (AXD) Unit, which brings all three disciplines under one roof at WRG. It’s designed to help our clients ensure they can keep exceeding the expectations of a constantly-changing audience.

Arrange a conversation with Katie or another member of the AXD unit here.

This article is part of a series from WRG’s AXD unit. Read the rest of the series below.

Katie Streten, Head of WRG Creative Strategy

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