What’s your favorite thing about being an event prof? Maybe that it never gets boring and that it demands a lot of different skills for a lot of different tasks? Do you love the feeling of seeing your hard work paying off? Does learning something new everyday fuel your motivation? Well, you gotta be one hell of an event prof! And you better be, cause if you don’t keep up with new innovations and trends in the event industry, you’ll have fallen behind light years by tomorrow.
Taking it serious with event architecture and organization? Then be ready for your new favorite word. That is: ENGAGEMENT. It is all about the engagement - whether it comes to content, sessions, marketing, technology or organization, engagement is in the spotlight.
What does that mean for you? How can you boost engagement during each stage of your event lifecycle? And how can you live up to the newest trends in the event industry? That’s exactly what I’ll tell you in this post.
10 Event Trends that Put You at the Forefront of the Industry
Big hotel halls stuffed with people peering at the guy in the front talking for hours. Sounds as exciting and enjoyable as reading the manual that came along with your new smart TV? You have to offer excitement. Now, you see people interacting, networking, learning helpful strategies and simply having a great time.
The moment they start engaging with your event and its participants is long before your event starts. In the case of big events, the communication actually never stops.
How do they manage it?
- First of all, you need a digital marketing strategy that includes your event web page and Social Media. Please click the links and learn how these channels can help you drive engagement.
- Video is another great way to spice things up and spur engagement. Here’s how you can use video to enhance your event experience.
- Schedule interactive and rather informal sessions or roundtables. Give your attendees the chance to actively participate in the session and contribute to the learning process. They will take a lot more away from it.
Enable your attendees to design their personalized event experience. Event technology increasingly focuses on enabling every single participant to design his or her own event experience.
Attendees are able to put together their own agendas. Features like automated networking suggestions and schedule suggestions based on data they generate are appearing on the industry’s horizon.
Mobile Event Apps
Mobile event apps are another trend that is evolving at the speed of sound. Some event profs have tried too hard. We can actually see a trend that goes back to focusing on simpler apps with easy and effective usage.
The main goal has to be to allow everyone involved in the event make the most out of it. A well designed mobile app makes it possible. Attendees have all the information they need at one spot, they get updates, they can schedule sessions and meetings and often also interact with other participants.
Event organizers are the most loyal lovers of mobile apps, since they make their lives a lot easier. They can handle processes like registration, ticketing and check-in smoother than ever before.
Take your decisions throughout the entire event process based on data and you’ll enter event Eden.
The amount of data generated by your target audience is worth a mint. Do yourself a favor and use it. It will enable you to give your attendees exactly what they need. You’ll be on top of their preferences, interests, challenges and needs.
Want to reduce your spendings and boost your ROI? Target your marketing efforts and show your potential attendees how they can benefit by attending your event.
Remarketing is also worth mentioning in this context. Remarketing enables you to get in touch with potential attendees that have already visited one or more of your pages or channels. Since studies prove that most people have to land on a page a couple of times before they are ready to convert, it is a great method to increase your conversion, your attendees and your ROI.
Are you still using mass emails? Ouch! Please stop it now. Instead start creating smart email campaigns based on user’s interaction with your content. Let me illustrate it this way:
Your potential attendee Simone visits your teaser video but doesn’t keep going to your event registration page? Why not send her a reminder with a link to it. You could include a discount as an incentive or a testimonial video of speakers and attendees in order to convince her. Try it and watch you CTR go through the roof.
Put a system in place that backs up your email automation and provides all the stats and data you need to make it more effective with each email.
Fusion of Digital and Analog:
Set up an area that supports event’s main purpose in general: networking. Yeah, you’ve probably done that. How about adding some zest to it? Put up a wall where you display your event’s social monitoring in real time.
Have people from all over the world be part of your event and show off their engagement on a big mosaic screen. People who are hanging out in your social networking area can interact with the people on the screen.
Be ready for an engagement explosion.
In another post I told you that your event page should be in line with your company website. Remember ? Think of your event as an extension of your company sites. Put your brand’s stamp on the entire event.
People should be able to see, touch, hear, smell and maybe even taste your branding. Work with colors, decoration, video, branded food like desserts for instance.
Your branded event is perfect for boosting your brand awareness.
People care about social causes. They care about the environment. They care about sustainability. And they care about brands that care.
Above all if a great part of your audience are millennials, you need to go green. That spans from organic, local, healthy and maybe even homemade food, to the materials used for the decoration and the staging of the venue.
With mobile having gone omnipresent, avoid using printed material at all. Your mobile app and your event pages will do the job even better.
Unique and Unusual Venues:
As already mentioned: Hotel halls have fallen off the map. Event profs try to offer more and more special experiences. They have to find new ways to stand out from the crowd all the time.
Of course, the digital world offers endless opportunities to do so. But this is also why everybody uses them. So being innovative with digital might not be enough to provide a jaw dropping event experience.
The venue can do the trick. Event organizers are trying out the craziest things in order to create unforgettable experiences. How about ships, rooftops or airports? Or taking your attendees on a venue tour? Or theme-based venues?
Let your imagination run wild.
Mix together the right amount of the expected with the unexpected. Your audience expects great content, admirable speakers, a hip venue, trending tech support, delicious food, helpful contacts and fruitful conversations. If your event gives them all that, you did a good job.
But if you want to go the extra mile, do an outstanding job and create an event they will always remember, make sure you plan for a moment of surprise. How? Think of mediums as video, 3d projection mapping, special surprise guests, or - if it fits with your event’s purpose - you could tackle the vintage wave. Set up a corner with antique typewriters for instance. Have creatives give little notes away or let your attendees type messages themselves. You could even make a game or a contest out of it.
Whatever you go for, make sure it woos your visitors.
Change and development might be the only constant in the event industry. Above all when it comes to event tech, people come up with new, helpful, innovative solutions all the time.
Not only technology, but also communication and marketing are disciplines evolving at the speed of sound. What all of them have in common is their user centred focus. They want to help the users to make the most out of it.
Personalization is on the rise and we’ll probably be surprised by what’s still to come and how it will impact the industry and our lives in general.
Sarah Fichtinger – Digital Marketing strategist