The New Year is just around the corner and the industry is buzzing with event marketing trends that will soon dominate the scene. Here’s what to watch out for:
Crowd-Sourcing will hit big in 2013. Social media, apps and even broadcast media are already saturated with crowd-sourcing, which has proven to be a huge hit. Event marketing will be no exception as new crowd-sourced ideas are expected to emerge at events. Marketers can also use crowd-sourcing to launch their event on the web and gain real-time feedback.
Crowd-sourcing will also work great if woven into the next expected trend – and that’s gaming. You can create contests that are based on crowd-sourced ideas that, when paired with a streaming event, migrate from local to global awareness.
In 2013, you’ll likely also see a higher number of virtual events. And no, I don’t mean a webinar or a “let’s all sync at the same time” à la Earth Day. I mean a real interactive virtual event that ties together tech, social media, content, delivery and engagement – despite time zones and language barriers.
Next up is social influence. Event marketers can launch live Twitter events and harness the engagement there to weigh in on who’s an influencer or active participant (perhaps worth meeting and networking with). The idea is that you can’t possibly meet everyone at an event; this way you can, and filter our who’s who ahead of time. Aside from sifting the influencers, marketers need immediate engagement with their product or brand; this move does just that. Use it to create buzz and generate sales, all while networking intelligently.
Social influence plus social media gets us to the next point, and that’s active engagement. The stiff dividing line between marketer and attendee is getting blurred. Here it’s all about fun and creating off-site events where attendees can gather more informally.
People had a budding interest in pop-up event marketing this year. Next year, expect to see more pop-ups. Veterans here will raise the bar by offering more creative events (think performances).
Then there’s content portals – because while your rep can’t be everywhere and talking to every interested attendee, your content portal can. IBM has a head start on this since they’re already using cloud-based management systems to connect with participants. The goal here is to create a personalized yet remote experience that strives to connect with attendees.
When it comes to content, we can all heave a sigh of relief that PowerPoint is now extinct. There have been some advances in 2012 (see SlideShare), but in 2013 expect leading software like Adobe to pack a few punches. You can use its new features to offer an in-booth presentation or to improve your next seminar or break out session.
When weaving a content theme, remember that nothing sells like a story. The lesson’s already hit home with most marketers, but event marketers have yet to incorporate this. Most companies already have that story. It’s now up to event marketers to carry that over to the event in order to leave an “emotional footprint” at the show.
And while connecting with attendees is great, the end goal is about the sale. So who says you can’t sell at an event? New technology will push to do just that using social media to convert attendees.