Marketers believe live events will become increasingly important to their organizations and are planning to invest more in them in the future. This finding from a Bizzabo survey of marketers is great news for organizations that are looking to break through the noise of digital channels, but it also raises questions. What are the best ways to use event marketing budgets to engage with audiences? How can organizations ensure that their events are the talk of the town—or at least the talk of customers, prospects, and industry partners?
The good news is that many organizations are pursuing innovative event marketing tactics that can be an inspiration for your next campaign. Let’s take a look at five ideas that are creating event brands that stands out from the rest.
Try Immersive Technology
Both augmented reality and virtual reality are increasingly viable options for keeping event attendees engaged. Back at Computex 2016, one of the world’s largest tech trade shows, Intel used VNTANA’s telepresence hologram technology to visualize Gregory Bryant, general manager of connected home and commercial clients, on stage as a hologram to address the crowd in real time. Since then, VNTANA has teamed up with Lexus, Pepsi, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Dell, NBC Universal, and a host of other Fortune 500 companies to help create surprising and unusual live experiences.
Takeaway: Consider using hologram technologies not only to engage attendees, but to provide a one-of-kind opportunity for event sponsors and partners.
Decentralize Your Event
Airbnb hosts an annual festival called Airbnb Open, for both its hosts and the guests that use the platform. In 2016, the organizers decided to decentralize the event by hosting it in multiple locations throughout Los Angeles. To mimic its business model of location sharing, they made the city an integral part of the event experience. Sessions occurred in various Conversation Spaces—small roundtable-style events that occurred in local restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and bars. The event deviated from the usual claustrophobic feeling of a huge exhibition hall providing attendees with a unique opportunity to explore Los Angeles while participating in the event’s sessions.
Takeaway: While the conference center isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, alternative venues can help event marketers create an event experience that stands out from the competition.
Organize an Investor’s Pitch Competition
WeWork, the New York–based company that rents shared office spaces around the world, has grown markedly in the past few years. To celebrate its success, and that of its community, the company now holds regional Creator Awards events—pitch competitions for local business ventures, performing artists, and non-profits. In the next few month, Creator Award events will be held in Sao Paulo, Nashville, London, Berlin, and Seoul. While the nonprofits and performing artists receive cash prizes, the business ventures have a chance of receiving funding from WeWork.
Takeaway: Event marketers can use pitch competitions to increase the exposure of an event and to distinguish an organization as an industry thought leader.
Establish a Trend
At Apple’s annual mega event, the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, attendees are treated to a wide array of new technologies and sessions to help them improve their use of the Apple ecosystem. However, the most anticipated and hype-generating part of the event is the keynote speech and product launch for the coming year, presented by Apple’s CEO. Since the first WWDC, users from around the world have continued to look forward to this particular presentation.
Takeaway: Even if product launches are not your organization’s focus, a flagship presentation or speaker can deliver a huge win.
Create a Standout Venue Design
When it comes to the event theme, sometimes marketers need not look further than their own backyard. Take for example, GE’s choice to create an immersive experience for its Healthymagination campaign events. The company partnered with agencyEA to design an immersive recreation of hospitals and clinics in impoverished regions. At each site, GE demonstrated how its healthcare technology could play an instrumental role in aiding people across the world.
Takeaway: The mission or values of an organization can provide a vivid backdrop for attendees.