Taylor Swift – who makes around $100 million a year through her concerts – shows up for new boyfriend, NFL player, Travis Kelce’s games. Cute, no? It’s not just sweet – it’s a financial windfall for him too. Here are the stats:

Fanatics reported a 400% increase in Kelce’s jersey sales which put him in the top 5 players in the NFL. Kelce’s podcast with his brother Jason (another NFL player), called New Heights, ranked first on Apple’s charts.
Kelce added 383,000 new followers on his Instagram account
Stubhub reported a threefold increase in Chiefs ticket searches

What a gift of awareness! He of course has to enhance his product to hang on to his new fans, and hedge against a brand erosion if he breaks up with TayTay.

Why Events Matter

Chatter on the groups (Whatsapp, not Snapchat) is that B2B events are declining. That digital and the metaverse will make in person events obsolete. Really? Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is playing 146 dates in 5 continents! Her Singapore shows are sold out for all 6 days – a total of 300,000 tickets. She made a movie out of the tour – and that’s showing in 8500 theatres too!

Cricket matches sell 40,000 tickets upwards.

One of the most fun nights I have had recently was singing and dancing along to a Beatles tribute concert by my friend’s band, De Trippers.


Because these events deliver a dopamine hit to the audience. There is a positive energy that comes from being part of a group of like-minded people and doing something together. It breaks down your inhibitions and you are willing to engage with complete strangers.

Customers and fans like companies that deliver happiness.

Or let’s take Durga Puja. The energy comes from being part of a community activity on a gigantic scale. Rich or poor, you hobnob and eat and celebrate with others. It is essentially a city-wide event. Commerce is a side effect of the connection.

Find me the love!

Back in 1998 Infosys’ customer forum was a small-scale affair in a Minneapolis Hilton. I’m really proud to have been part of the team that changed that – in 2000 it moved to the Waldorf Astoria New York. We had fantastic keynotes and the conference was designed to be a way to “hang out” with customers. Why did we do this? In services you’re always selling a promise. And it’s hard to trust people you’ve never met and don’t know well. “Knowing” someone is still a very imprecise science despite the glories of AI. I’ll propose a reverse BANT model for this for B2B customers:

B – Budget. Does the service provider contact have the budget to accommodate your changes or complaints?
A – Authority. Is your service contact authorised to help you?
N – Need. Is there a benefit – emotional or commercial – for the service contact to help you?
T – Time. What’s the immediacy of a response from this contact? Can you reach them soon enough?

You really want to have a relationship with the right BANT person – client or service provider!

There’s a ton of weird stuff out there on LinkedIn these days – just understand that those sharing their kids’ graduation photos or details of their ailments are trying to find a connect with you. If I told you in person that I was just out of surgery, I can expect some interest and even concern from you. It just comes off really badly when I try to do the same thing online. If you see your employees engaging in this kind of needy behaviour on LinkedIn, it’s probably because you don’t have appropriate offline forums for them to build relationships with prospects and clients.

Today there were two posts on entrepreneur whatsapp groups I’m a part of. In one the person offered a free poker set in return for someone willing to have coffee with him and be an unofficial mentor to his new product.  Immediately snapped up. In the other, a person wanted to know if he could email everybody in the group. A flurry of please don’ts followed. Imagine if instead this person had briefly described their offering and said if you’re interested I’ll buy you coffee…

What’s the science I can use for my events?

I’ve been doing events before I knew about neuroscience. But the principles are the same – think of the customer journey and see how you can deliver dopamine. Now, now, nothing illegal.

Dopamine comes from learning, entertainment and connecting with others. In an events context this looks like having sessions that tickle attendees’ curiosity, makes them laugh and makes it easy for them to have a positive connect with others.

One of the big mistakes I see conference planners make is to do all of this – but only for the speakers! Think of the average panel discussion – the panelists are engaged, the moderator makes them laugh, and they all get to bond before, during and after the conference. The audience, not so much. Another big planning mistake is to do this – but only for the sponsor or host – ignoring the audience experience. These mistakes happen mostly likely because there is a desperate need to close deals at the event. A proper event does deliver business but in a more circuitous way. But it does do it – the sharp folks at World Economic Forum or SAP or Salesforce wouldn’t survive otherwise.

What should I do if I get a conference invitation?

Ask them about these 3 dopamine sources. Ask them how they will fulfil these needs of yours. We all get what we deserve


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