As we ease ourselves back in to normal working life after the Christmas and New Year festivities, let’s take a few minutes to explore some of the biggest trends likely to affect the events industry in 2016.
Experts have predicted changes to all aspects of event management – from how we refer to the industry, to how we harness big data to generate results. Read on to find out why video is the new text and how in 2016 owned audiences will trump social media in the promotional stakes.
- ‘Events’ get a rebrand – now it’s all about ‘Experiences’
Face to face communication still plays a massive part in our digital world. Across the industry, commentators are now turning their focus towards maximising the value of their events by creating long-term connections with their customers or delegates. With the rise of new digital technologies, events can no longer be considered as a ‘one-off’ occurrence. Event professionals can now create a brand journey that runs through the full life cycle of the event – from initial registration or ticket purchase, to maintaining an online community after its conclusion.
“As we interviewed many of our industry experts, we noticed that the word ‘experience’ was used more often than the industry staple, ‘event,’” say bloggers Event Farm.
‘This made a lot of sense to us as new event marketing platforms and other technological innovations, like social media and other digital communities, create a much more comprehensive experience surrounding an event. Rather than engaging attendees primarily at the event itself, these new technologies provide several additional opportunities to interact before, during and after an event.’’
Story via Event Farm
- Marketing evolves from social media to owned audiences
With Facebook usage declining and a slowdown in Twitter user growth, it’s more important than ever for event marketers to look beyond free to use social media channels.
2016 will see a shift from using social media to promote events, towards building ‘owned’ audiences – communicating directly with consumers who want to engage with your brand and building a lasting relationship with them. Email lists, content marketing and relationship building through giving rewards such as special offers will all play a part in engaging these customers.
Head of Content at ticketing platform Eventbrite, Mark Walker, says event planners should adopt a “smart promotion strategy” in 2016. He recommends implementing a three step process to kick off an ‘owned audience’ strategy:
“Firstly, you need to find ways to attract attendees to your brand – whether that’s SEO, content marketing, social media or using a discovery platform like Eventbrite – the key is to find ways to drive traffic back to your event.
Secondly, you need to convert that traffic to build up an email list.
Step three is to then use data insights and communication with your list to develop the relationship with your event attendees.”
Story via Eventbrite
- Visuals trump text
A picture is worth a thousand words, according to the old adage, so video, with its ability to blend sound and moving image, must therefore be worth a million.
Video is the mainstay of many of digital channels – as well as YouTube, there’s BuzzFeed, Vevo, Instagram and Facebook to name but a few. If you take both digital and traditional media into account, TV still remains popular, it’s only the way we watch – via mobile, tablet and on-demand – that has changed dramatically.
Cisco’s Visual Networking Index for 2014-2019 states that: “Globally, consumer internet video traffic will be 80 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, up from 64 per cent in 2014. The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand [VoD], Internet, and P2P) will be in the range of 80 to 90 per cent of global consumer traffic by 2019.’’
There’s real scope for organisers to utilise video to give customers or delegates a taster of what they can expect at your next event. Past footage of previous events can be edited to give conference delegates an idea of what they can expect to take away, or a narrative approach could be used to build excitement around a consumer event. Video can also be used to help build a community – seminars or demonstrations can be uploaded so delegates can revisit the website as a refresher or catch up on talks they may not have been able to attend.
Co-founder and COO of meetings platform Eventopedia, Alan Newton, says: “As our Creative Director Pete Davis says, ‘Visual might be the New Text.’The biggest trend and opportunity we see in the sector is around the creation and use of video as a creative form of communication. Video for business communication has been steadily growing and has been brought to attention by Forbes – among others – whose 2010 Insights report “Video in the C-Suite” found that executives like video a lot.
- Big data brings big insight to event marketing
Big data has been big news for the last year. But data is worthless without intelligence.
What event planners really need to know is how to use the data obtained to deliver information to achieve specific event goals. It may be an overall increase in ticket sales or increasing take-up from a particular sector. According to Eventbrite, advances in real time intelligence will also give organisers the power to think and act fast on information they receive, whether they want to increase sales or manage on-site entry. Better systems integration will result in marketing automation and CRM systems being tied together, giving planners the benefit of increased understanding of metrics and the elimination of tedious manual data entry.
As Jan Sysmans, Head of International Marketing at DoubleDutch says: “Events are the last place in the marketing budget where a lot of decisions on spending and program ROI are made using anecdotal evidence. In the same way that digitizing advertising, email and web marketing transformed how marketeers measure results and make decisions, digitizing the event floor will give eventprofs access to rich data analytics they can use to fundamentally change how they organize events and make them outstanding and truly unique.”
Story via Eventbrite