There is no doubt that we have seen major changes in the event industry in recent years.
Macro changes such as advances in technology that drives social media and evolving consumer expectations and appetites, as well as industry specific changes such as tighter marketing budgets, industry regulation and the follow on of adjusted marketing spend allocation. In addition, the ever present and constantly shifting influences of fashion, culture, art and design have made an impact.
All of these factors influence the way we create, plan and structure events; and so, the key issues that event marketers must keep top of mind in 2017 are…
“You Should Know Me”
You don’t need the world’s largest super computer, capable of crunching reams of big data, in order to capture and effectively use meaningful insights about your audience. If you have already interacted with the audience, if you know their likes, preferences, and desires, then show them.
You should harness your knowledge of the audience and tailor their event experience accordingly. Personalised communications, unique event experiences, even gestures as simple as having their favourite refreshment awaiting them on arrival. These actions communicate to your audience that you understand and value them.
And always avoid asking for data they have already provided to you. In 2017, audiences expect that you will retain and utilise what they tell you.
And if you are creating an event for an entirely new audience, the principal remains the same. Use the opportunity to learn as much as possible about your new contact, and use this data wisely.
“Tell Me A Story”
What is an event if not an opportunity to tell a story face to face? Events give brands a unique opportunity to speak directly to their customers, more so than any other marketing channel. Humans love stories. Research shows that people are more likely to absorb and retain information that is communicated via storytelling. It has a much deeper impact.
The best events have a strong narrative threaded through them that takes the audience on a journey. Whether it’s part of a broader story, or unique just to that event, you must ensure that all facets of your
event contribute to the story you are telling. If an event element does not actively contribute to your story, ditch it!
“The End of An Event is Not The End of An Event”
The sophisticated event technology available to us today means that you communicate with your audience before, during and after they leave your event. This means you can extend the storytelling experience for your audience and provide an overall richer experience. It also allows you to build excitement and anticipation for the event component.
A word of caution when using digital technology to communicate with your audience during your event: the magic of an event is in the face to face, live interaction. Be careful not to override this opportunity for a live conversation with digital messaging.
Events and live experiences are one of the richest communication channels available to today’s marketers. Being aware of the key factors that influence events and audiences will allow you to optimise your event opportunity.
Author: Antony Spanbrook, Managing Director, ZEAL Experiential
Antony Spanbrook is the Founder and Managing Director of ZEAL Experiential, an event agency with offices in Sydney and Hong Kong. ZEAL is Antony’s newest endeavour after founding and leading Luminous, a pan-Asian event agency, up until it was acquired by the Publicis Group. Antony is passionate about creating inspiring and compelling events that increase brand value, relevance, and recognition.