It’s a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon. While out on a walk you notice a small gathering of people with signs, handing out candy and promoting an event at a local coffee shop. A few blocks down the road, you notice another gathering of people. This larger group is wearing some sort of new wrist technology. You walk closer and see a giant projector and what could be…virtual reality? Based on the two, which event would you attend? The fact is that when it comes to garnering consumer interest, it is the newest experiential marketing trends that always attract curious visitors.
Technology is giving marketers fun and exciting ways to draw customers to their marketing events. People want to feel as if they are a part of something new – even better, that they get to be the first to try a new fad or trend. By incorporating new technologies, ideas and experiential marketing best practices into your events, you will increase attendance and attendee satisfaction. Although the opportunities are endless, below we highlight the top 5 experiential marketing trends you need to know.
1. Complex Events
While it was once normative to distribute treats and business cards at a marketing event, now consumers expect more. Today’s advanced technology has changed the game. Rather than a one-dimensional event, companies are now providing immersive brand experiences. Event marketers need to incorporate several elements that grab and keep consumers’ attention.
It is important to establish how you want customers to relate to your company. What feelings do you want them to associate with your brand? Below are 6 crucial components to include when planning your next event.
- Create a pre-event campaign. Promoting your event in advance will generate excitement, improve attendance rates and amplify brand awareness. A pre-event campaign sets the expectation that the event is well planned and establishes FOMO (the fear of missing out). Guests will be eager to attend.
- Have people register. People will perceive your event to be exclusive. Additionally, this will help you better plan.
- Add a personal touch. Whether it is a direct email or a relatable story, guests want to feel like they are being spoken to directly.
- Create a main event. This event will attract the guests and will get them in the door. It can range from a guest speaker, performer, prize drawing or contest.
- Cohesiveness. You want your branding to be present throughout the entire event. Colors, fonts, clothing, culture, energy and attitude should reflect your brand.
- Request a post-event action. This will drive customer engagement after your event and encourage brand retention.
2. Wearable Technology
Wearable technology is one of many growing and evolving experiential marketing trends. More and more people are embracing the ‘second screen’ and receiving information even faster. Smart companies are imagining new ways to take advantage of this trend.
- Smart Wristbands
- Popular event apps allow real-time alerts that are sent directly to a wristband. Depending on the wristband, you can receive an alert via vibration, light or direct message. These wristbands can assist with attendee engagement, games and more.
- Smart Jackets
- This new technology assists people in finding a location through a jacket. After entering a location in Google Maps, the jacket will tap the wearer on the shoulder to provide direction. It indicates when to turn left or right until the user reaches his or her final destination. Although this technology is new, this can be helpful for a large event with different areas, or in the case of a unique activation element. More information can be found at Wearable Experiments.
3. Live Streaming
With Snapchat, Facebook LIVE and apps like Periscope growing exponentially in popularity, other social media platforms are catching up. Event attendees want to stay connected throughout an event, and you want to reach consumers beyond the event footprint. Live streaming is an event marketing trend that broadcasts your event to a wider audience, increasing brand engagement at minimal cost.
Additionally, streams can be broadcast on popular social platforms, even after the event has ended. It provides prospective attendees with an idea as to what to expect from a future event, and encourages them to join the next one in person.
4. Social Media Engagement
Incorporating social media campaigns into marketing events is one of the most important experiential marketing trends around. Social media connects individuals to a brand before, during and after an event. It’s important for companies to incorporate social media into marketing events in several ways. Consider creating an event hashtag (and tracking the resulting data) to encourage engagement and gather event feedback. Provide attendees with a way to create content (and promote your brand for you) through a photo booth or other activity. Understanding your audience, how they communicate and how they want to be communicated with, is critical.
- Find the right platform. Knowing where your audience lives online is imperative. Do your attendees prefer Facebook or Pinterest? LinkedIn or Twitter? Where your audience is will help you craft the right content and messaging.
- Engage your audience. Posing questions is a great way to engage your audience while getting insight to their preferences.
- Be consistent. Make sure your activities and messagine are consistent with your brand and are furthering your event goals.
- Include contests. Social media contests are great before, during and after the event. From creating buzz to engaging with attendees at the event, contests boost participation.
- Make photos your go-to. Great photos generate excitement before an event, and create FOMO for your next one. Encourage attendees to take photos at your event and share them with their own networks.
- Try a social wall. Social walls allow event attendees to see their and other attendees posts while at the events. Social walls promote a sense of community while allowing attendees to show off their own photos!
5. Specialized Brand Ambassadors
When guests walk into an event, they want to see how a brand will change their lives for the better. Brand ambassadors are continuing to get higher priority due to driving more effective customer engagement and increased sales. Finding a specialized brand ambassador with a certain skill set or a unique asset, such as a large online presence, can drive exponential results for your event.
- Identify the goals of your program. From lead generation to brand awareness, hiring the right brand ambassador with direct work experience related to your goal will make all the difference.
- Create brand messaging and event requirements. Identify what you want your ambassadors to do. Examples include engaging event attendees, conducting product demonstrations or posting on social media.
- Recruit. Do you need social media influencers? Tech experts? Salespeople? Someone with a medical certification? Make sure you are going to the correct places to find the best people to fit your brand. If you don’t have the bandwidth to find these people yourself, use an event staffing agency that has the database to find exactly who you need.
- Offer incentives. Consider creating an incentive structure to communicate your expectations and encourage brand ambassadors to reach event goals.
When creating an event, you need to stay at the forefront so your brand gets noticed. These experiential marketing trends can help you increase attendee engagement and accomplish exactly what your event was meant to achive.
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