Keeping up with event marketing trends is difficult—but we've been lucky enough to work with some of the best in the industry to keep our content fresh and informative. We realize, however, that event marketers are busy, so we've compiled 10 of the best ideas from our content to share with you in the most efficient way possible.
Are we missing something? Let us know!
1. Make revenue generation and pipeline acceleration the goal of your event.
According to a Regalix report, 80% of those who use events as a marketing channel set lead generation as their goal. Metrics like lead generation, however, do not prove the success of an event—they simply indicate that an event may lead to successful business results.
By setting lead generation as a goal, however, event marketers might undermine their own efforts from the start. If your goal is lead generation, for example, you might try to get as many people into the room as possible, even though they might not realistically be interested in or have a need for your product. If your goal is revenue generation, however, you’ll be more likely to focus on getting as many of the right people in the room—which will ultimately lead to more successful results.
2. Align digital and experiential marketing trends.
Many of the most important digital marketing trends have direct or indirect ties to experiential marketing. Content marketing, big data, mobile marketing, and social media—all of these make up a lot of what experiential is naturally good at. Content marketing, for example, is all about providing value to your audience, whereas social media helps marketers engage with consumers in their everyday lives.
Event and experiential marketing does both of these things, but because of the nature of in-person versus online interaction, the touchpoints run deeper. CMOs are already prioritizing their digital marketing channels and tactics, so they’re aligning themselves nicely with what experiential is good at—and they should capitalize on that.
3. Revolutionize your events and data with RFID/NFC.
NFC and RFID allows event marketers to get creative with their experiential activations, and does so at a relatively low cost. Whether you’re hosting a B2B or B2C event, a large-scale conference or a VIP dinner, you can incorporate RFID or NFC into your events. In fact, the possibilities for NFC are set to drastically expand in the near future. Apple recently announced that iOS 11, the next version of the company’s operation system for mobile devices, is going to include NFC support. Android devices already have NFC support—and while the details of Apple’s NFC support are still not clear, their announcement means that soon virtually everyone will have an NFC-enabled device in their pocket.
4. Get your event speakers involved in the event’s promotion.
It benefits your speakers to promote the event at which they’re speaking, and it also helps you fuel your content engine and keep your event top-of-mind during the time leading up to the event. As identified experts in an industry or on a subject, your speakers will likely have a large social following, and you should leverage that as much as you can. Whether you’re asking them to write a guest blog post or participate in a Twitter AMA, your speakers have the knowledge, expertise, and reach to help you successfully market your event and organization. To learn more about how to incorporate social media into your event marketing strategy, check out our eBook, The Event Marketer’s Guide to Social Media Domination.
5. Don’t ask everyone to speak.
While planning your event, you’ll likely come up with a “wish list” of speakers—and you’ll likely be more excited about some than others. When it comes time to reach out to those on your wish list, don’t ask them all at once. Instead, created a tiered wish list for your speakers. Put the people you want most in tier one, those who you’d ask after your must-haves in tier two, and your backups in their three. Then, set a deadline for a response. If your invitation is declined, or you don’t hear from the person within a specific time frame, you can move on to asking someone from the next tier and keep your event-planning process moving along.
6. Announce your next event during your current one.
If you know you’re going to host another event, announce it during the one you’re currently hosting. If possible, plan ahead to secure the venue for your next event so you can make your announcement substantive by including dates and a location. If you’re not that far along in the planning process for your next event, you can still announce the month you plan on hosting it—even without an exact date or location, you can pre-sale tickets as long as you have a loose refund policy. What’s most important is that you get people on-board that moment, when they’re still excited and what you’ve offered is fresh in their minds.
7. Live-Stream special event moments.
Live streaming is a great way to open your event up to a larger audience. Using platforms like Facebook and Instagram Live, you can engage with those who couldn’t make it to your event while simultaneously adding another dimension to your attendees’ in-event experience. You should be strategic about what you choose to live stream, however. You don’t want those who didn’t attend your event to feel as if they can get enough out of your event by simply watching the live stream. However, you can (and should) show event highlights. Stream something that creates an even deeper experience for your attendees—like a behind-the-scenes, one-on-one interview with your keynote speaker—and something that gives those who didn’t attend a taste for your event so they want to attend the next one.
8. Create productive spaces.
Don’t make your attendees work to be productive. Think about how you can build-out your venue to provide attendees with the resources they need to stay focused and engaged, and give your speakers a space in which they can easily engage and keep the attention of their audience. It doesn’t have to be fancy—even just incorporating desks and charging stations will go a long way toward creating a more productive space and a venue of happier attendees.
9. Let human behavior dictate the use of technology.
Video directory: Offline Summit 2016
We sometimes think of technology as something that can get in the way of authentic human behavior and interactions—because sometimes it can. Make sure you’re using technology to enhance the authenticity of your attendees’ experiences and interactions, not obscure them. Focus on this simple tip: if you wouldn’t want to use the technology you’re planning for your event, then find a different technology.
10. If you don’t have a tangible product, use events to help create one.
Online video series: The Future of Event Marketing—Industry Trends for 2017 and Beyond
“Offline experiences create that tangible product that we don’t always have,” Natasha Mullah, Mashable’s VP of Experiential Marketing, told Event Farm CMO Alexandra Gibson. “We have a great community of folks that read, tweet, post and share. Having that real-life experience, that offline experience, gets you that tangible connectivity, which is really helpful for us as a brand.” If you’re a completely digital brand or media company, you might wonder how you would host an event without a tangible product. Mullah reminded us, however, that your events can be your tangible product.