To surprise and delight attendees is the backbone of event marketing. That means delivering the personalized experiences your guests expect. Attendees want you to be able to tell them which sessions they’ll be most interested in, which booths they’d like to visit, and which keynotes they can’t miss.
As tech consolidation ramps up, technology will soon enable event marketers to deliver experiences on an even more individualized level. Better data will allow planners to seat attendees with similar interests together or to identify guests as soon as they walk through the door. With the right data, marketers can tailor the flow of events, deliver more relevant content, and encourage more collaboration, partnerships, and deal-making.
Here are a few digital and technological trends changing the event marketing landscape:
Better event experiences. Innovative technologies like wearables, geofencing, apps, and real-time notifications, are bridging the gap between attendees’ digital footprints and in-person actions. These technologies help marketers personalize the user experiences, but also gather valuable information about attendees at key moments. For instance, we’ll be able to tell attendees that a session they might be interested in is 90 percent full an hour before it begins, as well as be able to tailor the session’s content to make it more attractive to that attendee the next time around.
More integration and increased analytics. As event technology becomes more integrated with business and marketing systems, marketers will be able to push and pull data easily between platforms. Not only is this more efficient, marketers will be able to gather very granular interest data, which, collected over a customer’s lifetime, will help to pinpoint what engages them most. Further, in the interest of data security, the more end-to-end your event technology is, the less you need to worry about compliance and security with multiple vendors.
Analytics can also help you contextualize the interest data. Soon, most platforms will allow marketers to measure performance both from event to event and over time, helping to make more informed decisions about where they should be focusing their efforts. This can help to tweak an email or social campaign to be more targeted pre- and post-event, or to identify a problem and course-correct well before, or even during, an event.
Personalization will flourish. Some might say that more automation and reliance on hard data marginalizes the personal side of marketing, but it actually does the opposite. Hyper-personalized intelligence enables us to tap into the creative and empathetic side as well to provide attendees with memorable experiences. If we consider the data needed to surprise someone with their favorite cocktail the moment they arrive we can craft smart registration and data collection processes that enable us to create experiences that drive deep engagement. The technology allows for this to be done at scale, for example, better leverage programmatic experience design, and even programmatic spending.
Technology will come off the screen. Event marketing technology will no longer be just about the registration page or a mobile app. You’ll be able to create seamless experiences onsite by coupling innovations like digital signage and advanced check-in systems with your attendees’ preferences, and making sure they're receiving very individualized treatment. Very soon, you’ll be able to instantly identify the needs of your attendees and immediately assess how your business can work them
Ben Hindman is co-founder and CEO of Splash, an end-to-end event marketing technology.