With so many potential options clogging the field, it’s important to find which of the newest trends will work best for your organization and the clientele you seek to serve. At its core, event marketing is all about building trust between an organization and the consumers of their goods and services, both current clients and potential prospects.
Simple sales pitches are no longer the most effective way to bring people on board with your organization; not if you’re serious about growth, anyway. You need to make a statement about who you are and what your brand and organization are all about. This comes with two crucial imperatives: show your prospects how you can solve their problems and delight them with the knowledge that you possess an intimate understanding of them as human beings. This last one is by far the hardest to execute in an authentic and believable manner, yet has become the most important by far as millennials begin to ascend the organization ladder into the positions of key decision makers. With this, comes an increased emphasis on personal values that you ignore at your peril.
Developing an understanding of the trends that seek to capitalize on this is of paramount importance. Below are five of some of the most influential broad trends that are influencing the craft of event marketing.
1. The sonic landscape
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in some god-forsake wilderness, you might have noticed that new forms of auditory media such as podcasts have become incredibly popular over the past few years.
Podcasting offers an intimacy and connection between hosts and audience members that has been lacking in traditional broadcast radio. Coupled with the medium’s powerful ability to cater to niche interests and delve into the specific wants and needs of business professionals, making it an indispensable platform for exploring the cutting edge of any industry.
Social media platforms such as Instagram still wield incredible influence over event-goers, yet there is a growing demand for opportunities of thought-leadership and for conference goers to share their voices and experiences on the trends and issues that are defining their industries. Incorporating podcasts or other forms of audio-based content in your programming as a way to feature the voices of your conference goers or demonstrate a solution with an expert, either external or one who is a part of your organization, can go a tremendous way towards creating a memorable event they won’t soon forget. Even if you don’t incorporate their voices, consider creating a space where your audience can be taken on a sonic journey through some of the most pressing topics of their business.
Beyond the example of podcasting, offering a compelling auditory experience has become a generally important element of event marketing. Even something as obvious as background music can have a huge impact on the tone of your event. Make sure to be thoughtful when selecting this.
2. New realities
One of the most interesting and futuristic new trends of event marketing has been the advent of virtual reality and augmented reality systems as ways to enhance experiences to the point of science-fiction.
While AR and VR have been present in the event space over the past few years, it has only been recently that this technology has been refined to the point where they have become widely available as well as providing truly breathtaking experiences. The industry is estimated to grow by over 25% over the next two years.
As far as tangible applications go, AR has been leading the pack in event marketing. Time and again, it has proven a fruitful medium for conveying an enhanced event experience by giving your participants new ways to engage with your brand story. Using simple, ubiquitous platforms such as smartphone apps, you can easily find ways to give your consumers more control than ever over how they engage with information at these events. Putting the power into the hands of the people, so to speak, can go a long way in creating an actual, substantive relationship between your brand and your current and prospective consumers.
3. Be mindful of your carbon footprint
It’s no secret that millennials care a great deal about corporate social responsibility. Not only should you insure that your event is conducted in the most sustainable way possible, but current trends suggest that these values should be at the forefront of your actual programming. Things like digital ticketing systems or even hosting entirely online events are just a few ways this can take center stage for your planning.
This has implications in other mainstay event traditions as well. Everyone loves to pick up cool swag at the events to help commemorate the occasion and going the extra mile to make sure that you’ve had the requisite t-shirts and bags ethically sourced and produced in an environmentally friendly manner can demonstrate to the attendees of your event that you align with their values and are working towards bettering the world in whatever way you can.
The main event
Keeping up to date with trends in whatever field you find yourself in is a crucial element of ensuring your business continues to grow even in the most difficult of circumstances. This holds double true for event marketing, which has been on the cutting edge of prospect and client relationships for the past decade. Arm yourself with the knowledge of what makes the current business world tick and capture the hearts and minds of your clients.
Piper Thomson works with G2 as a Content Marketing Associate. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, they graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in Sociology. Their interests include podcasts, rock climbing, and understanding how people form systems of knowledge in the digital age.