September 25, 2014

The Event Evolution

Photo credit: Bizbash, Samsung Launch Party

Photo credit: Bizbash, Samsung Launch Party

Event-evangelist and CEO of SocialTables, Dan Berger, recently made some serious predictions regarding the future of event-planning to include:

  • the replacement of audiences with brand ambassadors or fans,
  • the rise of crowd-funded content and its use in the social space
  • the evolution of event design to include experiential elements

With event marketing moving toward automation and virtual audiences on the rise, event planners are preparing for a tectonic shift in the industry Here’s a taste of trends to come and the tools you need to evolve in the event space:

1.  Go Digital or Go Home. Save the dates, invites, guest lists, photos, itineraries, agendas, even swag is going paperless. Ask yourself: when’s the last time you kept something tangible from an event? Answer: probably never. If you can’t click it, don’t expect guests to keep it.

Try: Paperless Post for event collateral needs, EventBrite (ticketed/non-ticketed events) for managing registration, SocialTables for seating, and a virtual photo booth to email or tweet guests their event photos.

2. 365 Event Marketing. The current structure of event marketing is sporadic, short-term, and short-lived. However, the growth of social networks allows event organizers to keep the conversation going all year round, giving them time to build an army of brand ambassadors, eventl attendees and inevitable content creators.

Try: That new social media thing. No seriously, get social as soon as possible. Tell your audiences about your event through E-blasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + etc. Be sure and show new users step-by-step details on how to join and use these platforms. Create contests and giveaways to encourage participation and engage with users. Make it easy for attendees to connect and interact with each other at your event through a dedicated hashtag or shared photo stream. Lastly, showcase your event through sharable photos, videos, tweets and messaging. Schedule the release of content after the event to ensure further engagement in the social space.

3. Attend vs. Experience. The success or failure of an event is now measured by the level of engagement and the onsite experience. Event planners take note, guests expect to be entertained both onsite and online. “The objective is to create an experience that is so engaging and relevant that brand loyalists talk about it, take a picture of it and essentially assume some of the brandwork of creating a consistent presence,” says Patrick Hanlon of Forbes.

Try: Gamification, Mobile Event Apps, or Multi-Sensory Stunts , where attendees can feel, touch, or taste the product in an interesting setting rather than reading or watching it.

Today, it’s not enough to throw an expensive cocktail party, audiences are looking for more. They expect tangible engagement and an entertainment factor. It’s up to event producers to evolve and inevitably deliver.