8 Trends for Event Marketing in 2016 and Beyond

Future of Event Marketing | Event FarmAs we covered in our last blog post, there have been a number of significant changes in the event marketing industry over the past several years, many of them stemming from new event apps and technologies to help streamline the event marketing process from start to finish. However, as is the case with the advent and implementation of any new core component of a process, there are bound to be ups and downs which may influence the sticking power of these new technologies, as well as how event professionals use them in their work currently as well as in the future.

In our new online series, The Future of Event Marketing, we sat down with 12 industry experts and asked them pressing questions to help determine what the future holds for our industry. Throughout the series, we explored some of the hottest topics related to event marketing, including the most important event technologies, how offline events will continue to influence a greater marketing strategy, the role of data in events, and much more.

To give you a sneak peek into what you’ll learn by watching the interviews in the series, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top 8 trends for event marketing in 2016 and beyond. Read on to learn more, and if you haven’t yet, you can click here to register for the Future of Event Marketing series.

1. Event pros are starting to replace the word “event” with “experience.”
As we interviewed many of our industry experts, we noticed that the word “experience” was used more often than the industry staple, “event.” This made a lot of sense to us as new event marketing platforms and other technological innovations, like social media and other digital communities, create a much more comprehensive experience surrounding an event. Rather than engaging attendees primarily at the event itself, these new technologies provide several additional opportunities to interact before, during and after an event.

2. The emotional connection between a brand and consumer is more important than ever.
The relationship between a consumer and a brand is no longer as transactional as it once was. By providing consumers with engaging experiences in which they can actively participate and interact with the brand in some capacity, it increases the attendees’ likelihood to become more emotionally invested in that brand and the product or service it provides. This helps to increase important attributes of that relationship like brand awareness and loyalty.

3. Event marketers can be more effective by understanding psychology.
Time to brush the dust off of your trapper keeper (just kidding, we know it’s 2015) and head back to Psych 101! Stemming from our last point, it’s important for event marketers to understand how people think and how things affect them emotionally. This way, they can be more impactful in the time they have with them as a “captive” audience and figure out how to increase that precious peak time. If you’re looking for a great resource to help you get started outside of the classroom, we recommend checking out this blog post from our friends at HubSpot.

4. Many event marketers understand the importance of proving event ROI, but aren’t quite sure how to get there.
We mentioned in our last blog post that 67% of CMOs believe that event ROI will be the primary measure of their events’ effectiveness in 2015, so it shouldn’t surprise you that this belief has trickled down throughout the rest of a marketing team as well. However, many marketers are still unclear how they should begin proving their event ROI, including the key metrics to track as well as the different technology solutions available to do so. If you fall into this category, we recommend checking out our blog post about proving event ROI.

5. Integrated technology solutions are important to better understand things like event ROI.
One thing that the event marketers who had a good grasp on ROI and how to measure it frequently stressed was how important it is to tie systems like CRMs and marketing automation platforms together for a better overall understanding of event ROI and effectiveness. Not only do these tools make it substantially easier for you to track meaningful metrics and data, but by integrating them with one another, you eliminate tedious processes like manual data entry and ensure that your most valuable information is available on the platform you need, when you need it.

6. Mobile event apps are on the rise, and are here to stay.
Most of the event marketers that we intereviewed stressed the importance of mobile event apps and talked about the things they were doing with them at their events. Using these apps has the potential to really enhance the guest experience, from something as simple as streamlining the guest check-in process to more complex aspects like driving deeper engagements through in-event interactions. Additionally, they help to provide more contextual information before, during and after an experience, keeping all invitee and attendee data in one place that can then be used to draw valuable insights.

7. The onboarding and integration process for event technology is still quite long.
There is a seemingly constant influx of new technology in the event industry (and every industry for that matter). While many of these technologies will, in the long-term, help event professionals become more efficient at their jobs, the initial onboarding and integration process is still very timely. It’s also one that requires a lot of handholding, testing and learning due to the risk profile of investing in a new technology. With this in mind, you’ll have to take proper steps, including figuring out exactly what it is you’re looking to achieve with the technology and setting a time limit to properly evaluate it, to ensure that your attempted event technology implementation doesn’t fall flat or waste valuable time.

8. Brands have shifted from spending money on “stuff” to spending it on experiences.
Brands have clearly been increasing their focus on event marketing as part of their larger marketing strategy as the larger consumer trend towards valuing experiences over “stuff” continues to increase and permeate our culture. Research has disproven a previously logical assumption that people made when spending their money: that because a physical objects will last longer, they will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation. As a result, brands are starting to put more money towards experiences rather than swag or other tchochkes that will clutter an attendee’s desk or closet. You can read more about this phenomenon here.

While this takeaway list is comprehensive, it by no means encompasses all of the important trends and themes we discussed in our interviews. There’s a lot more food for thought in the videos themselves! To learn more about what the future of event marketing holds, make sure to register for the series by clicking here.

Event pros, what are your favorite takeaways from our Future of Event Marketing series? What was the most interesting thing you learned when watching the interviews? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @eventfarm.