During a time when budgets are limited and competition is endless, you need to use your face-to-face time at conventions and meetings as efficiently as possible. As product managers consistently look ahead to predict the next top trends in their respective industries, event managers and exhibitors should use similarly innovative marketing tactics to engage attendees and create brand awareness. Take a quick glance at these top ten marketing trends in the industry to ensure your event participation is fruitful and successful.
- Mobile is quickly becoming the center of the industry. From smartphones to tablets and wearable gadgets, mobile devices are steadily evolving to be a primary factor of the convention world. As the focus shifts to small screens, exhibitors will need to leverage the power of mobile to develop a more responsive, personalized relationship with attendees. Promoting giveaways, current presentations, and expert one-on-one sessions through the event’s app are just some of the ways exhibitors and event organizers can engage their audience via mobile.
- Transparency is key to event/exhibitor-attendee relationships. Clients are always seeking greater engagement from industry meetings. As a result, attendees will become increasingly more demanding in terms of their expectations regarding speakers, vendors and logistics. Genuine organizations that “walk the talk” by creating real value for attendees will be rewarded, while those who offer flash over substance will quickly fall from favor.
- Content is forever king. The need for quality content will not slow down—ever. Content, especially visual content, will continue to reign in the exhibit hall, evolving into a variety of promotional forms that disrupt current conventional marketing ideas. You should strive to predict attendees’ needs and provide them with valuable content to take away.
- User-generated content will soon be the newest trend. As organizations continue to co-create their exhibit’s online presence with attendees, user-generated content will surpass branded content. This will include everything from social media posts and online reviews to blogs. To encourage such audience participation, you should plan to create fun, interactive ways to attract attendees. Create a hashtag, run a competition, or use popular giveaways to turn engaged attendees into your organization’s strongest online representatives.
- Social media will be the next Internet. As social media’s impact continues to grow, it will become an even more vital element in attendee engagement. In fact, a majority of exhibitors are likely to transition all online advertising efforts to social media in the near future. Marketing efforts will involve promoting events via Facebook, tweeting about speaker sessions, posting photos of prizes and games on Instagram, and post-event follow up to encourage sharing of session-based white papers.
- Brands will own audiences. As they begin to cultivate an association’s community and engage in direct conversations with attendees, events will start owning audiences by creating advocates and loyalists. As attendees respond to convention communications, their opinions will dictate marketing efforts. In a nutshell, if the attendees and the exhibitors are satisfied and happy, they will gladly wear the marketer’s hat and do what is required to bring their favorite events into the limelight.
- Millennial-focused brands will lose relevance. Organizations must understand that Millennials are not a niche group. Instead, they are a specific generation of attendees that will eventually give way to the next. As a result, events and exhibitors should start thinking longer term now by creating broader marketing efforts that welcome all generations and engage the entire community instead of focusing solely on Millennials.
- The best events will focus on value in addition to service. Great service will never go out of style, but in order for future associations to thrive, simple attendee satisfaction will not be enough. Greater efficiency and more innovation will be required to create lasting value for visitors. Whether it’s the quality of the speakers, the location, the exhibitors, or the attractions, attendees want to know they are part of the best event available for their time and money.
- Advertising distribution will become more refined. There is a great difference between intrusive and personalized, data-driven advertising. The former is ‘one size fits all’ and relies on randomly capturing the customer’s attention, while the latter is customized to build a direct, value-oriented relationship with the customer—guess which method will be the most rewarding? Personalizing your communications will quickly set you apart from your competitors and go a long way toward building a profitable relationship with potential attendees.
- More accurate analytical tools will emerge. The majority of associations currently measure the success of their online presence by capturing easily available metrics such as shares, likes, or tweets. Gauging the results of future advertising will depend on more accurate analytical tools that are currently in development and will soon move from hypothetical to practical use.
While these ten scenarios do not cover all of the newest trends in the industry, they do give you an idea where the future of event marketing is headed. Put these methods into practice and you’ll soon find success in engaging attendees, maximizing your online presence, and creating customer loyalty both at and after the event.
Source: This article was based on Daniel Newman’s Forbes’ article 10 Top Trends Driving the Future of Marketing.