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#25: Mastering Customer Conferences

I’m currently in full rest mode following an exhausting but equally energizing week of customer interactions.

This past week I was in Austin, Texas where I not only ate copious amounts of BBQ brisket and overused the phrase “howdy”, but also spent time with more than 500 Kajabi customers at our in-person customer conference.

The conference was a monumental task, planned almost entirely by our marketing department. Which got me thinking - is the opportunity cost worth it?

I think the answer is yes, if you use the time intentionally.

Fresh off the conference, here are my thoughts on 5 ways to maximize the impact for both your company and product marketing team.

#1: Gather marketing content for future campaigns

Meeting your customers in person allows you to capture both candid and formal marketing content. Ahead of the conference, think about the content calendar for the rest of the year. What content can you film or shoot in advance during the conference? This could include customer interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives and even team member content.

You don’t need to rely solely on your own team to capture this content either. Consider paying a handful of customers to capture content for you while they’re on the ground enjoying the conference from their perspective.

Having trouble getting photos for customer testimonials? Provide a free headshot booth for your customers and get double the value - customers receive a headshot they can use themselves plus you have a professional photo you can use in the future for case studies.

#2: Share the future direction of the product

How often do customers ask if you can share a public version of your product roadmap? I’m guessing it’s a lot. And more often than not, product teams aren’t comfortable sharing this. But, a customer conference is the perfect opportunity to provide a sneak peek into what’s to come. Not only will this help to set a VIP atmosphere for your attendees, but it will allow you to start building demand ahead of launch.

Want to collect feedback on possible solutions? Create a magic wand wall 🪄 At the Kajabi conference, we had a large wall where we asked customers “if you had a magic wand, what products and features would you add?” Customers were able to write their dream products on a sticky note and share them with our team.

#3: Unlock exclusive access

Do you have a product that’s close to launch? Consider holding it’s release until the conference and launch it live on stage! (Bonus points if the audience gets first access.)

There’s no greater feeling than seeing a customer’s excitement in person. This past week, we were able to announce the launch of a product that our customers have been begging for, and the crowd literally jumped to their feet in celebration. We also handed out 10 golden tickets to randomly selected audience members who would receive that product free for a year.

#4: Activate and recruit customers

Conferences aren’t just for listening to keynote speakers - they’re a chance to showcase your product as well. The same way you carefully curate your speaker lineup, give the same attention and detail to crafting a delightful and interactive product activation space as well.

Have each PM and PMM team create a unique space that allows customers to interact with their part of the product. You’ll get insight into how customers are engaging with the product, and also identify areas of friction. This is also a great way to test value propositions/messaging and recruit beta customers for upcoming product launches.

#5: Celebrate your customers

Customers want to feel like they matter (and are more than just a number), and a conference is an opportunity to do just that. What does success look like for your customers? Is there a way you can celebrate this with them in person?

We hosted an awards ceremony to close out the conference and it was such a lovely opportunity to reflect on why we exist as a business. We created several different award categories and created real trophies. Winners were called up on stage to accept their award and take a photo.

What’s the best customer conference you’ve attended? I’d love to hear ideas my team can implement for our next one!