Events are one of the most effective marketing tools, and brand activations account for 20% of overall marketing budgets. To get the most out of your budget and to achieve desired outcomes, your marketing events need to engage your attendees from start to finish. With so much to compete with, this may seem like an increasingly daunting task. However, these three proven ways to reach attendees are sure to be the keys to the success of your next event.
Going to an event with hundreds – or even thousands – of people, attendees appreciate any attempt to make them feel like more than just another number. Personalized experiences make attendees feel special – and they will remember you for it.
Events are all about connecting people. Finding innovative ways to authentically and organically encourage human connection in a fun and easy way will set your brand up for success.
Create branded environments that first fulfill an attendee need and then promote your brand. Providing a solution to an attendee’s problem will automatically make them feel more connected to your company.
The common factor in each of these tactics is that attendees need to feel connected with your company and each other in order to remember their experiences. When attendees connect with each other, we as event marketers gain deeper insights and can develop new and improved event experiences.
These elements work best when used in conjunction with each other. This includes providing a space that enables attendees to connect with each other while sharing your brand messaging or individualized activities that enable your attendees to interact with your company’s solutions. There were plenty of examples of these intermixed elements at NEOCON, a leading industry design conference. Below, some of GES’ design experts share their insights into the best uses.
Human Connection - KI and Pallas Textiles’ #designmoves Instagram Wall
Alex Kirchgasler, Jr. Designer, observed a great example of a branded environment that facilitated attendee interactions while in the designed space. “The Instagram color wall was a great example because it took an application that many people use regularly and fused it with a fun activity. The people who posted also helped the company market themselves by using hashtags and online trends. These not only bring more and more attention to the company from posts, but also lets them survey the audience.”
“It all starts with the human connection,” he continues. “Of all the experiences, the ones that truly resonate are the ones where I made the human connection. But you can’t rely on that alone… many of these showrooms included a variety of different interactive crowdsource experiences and infused social media into the strategy.”
Branded Environment - #lovewhatyoudo by Jasper Group Brand
In this example, the company used a branded environment while also personalizing it and including the attendees in the conversation. Trish Fuchsen, Graphic Designer, said, “Elements like a green screen where you can get your photo taken at the show, with a branded background are things users want to share on social media and gets a company’s image out there. Offering up a unique hashtag to engage excitement and gather content to one place. I also think it is helpful to use social media for data mining information on the company’s target audience, and it really makes the environment based on what they like or want/expect to see ahead of time. The more unique and the more user engagement, the better!”
“The more unique and the more user engagement, the better!” – Trish Fuchsen, Graphic Designer
Ross Burgher, Sr. Graphic Designer, reminded us of the importance of knowing your attendees and creating an experience all their own. “It’s extremely important to be attracted to a product or environment at first glance. I really believe it’s the persuasive power of surface looks or, as they say, ‘eye-candy.’ You need to be attracted to something first, then it goes from there. It’s all about the law of attraction, but data will allow these experiences to be much more personalized.”
Personalized Experiences - Soundproof Pods by Framery and Acoustic Phone Booths by Snowsound
Events and conferences are busy and loud, so providing quiet spaces for attendees to meet while using your product or service can be incredibly powerful. Vikki Chan, Jr. Designer, said, “I enjoyed seeing the use of acoustic products to create soundproof gathering areas and improve the overall quality of an attendee’s experience. Products such as meeting room pods and absorptive materials, such as felt, were used to create additional places to meet attendee’s needs – like having a quiet place for a phone call or one-on-one conversation.”
Eddie Chin, Sr. Designer, believes we will see more companies provide these meeting areas. “I think a desire for personalized community spaces that allow for collaborative activities is a hot trend. I would attribute the Design Thinking trend as the catalyst for more and more collaborative spaces. Now furniture companies are using empathy to develop products that support the need.”
Remember that attendees want to be inspired and have fun. Allow them to play, explore freely and experience new ideas. Also, remember that creating a memorable attendee experience has the potential to live beyond your event itself. The impact of social media is everywhere and designing sharable moments into every experience is now an essential notion to capturing a much larger audience.
Want to learn how to incorporate these elements – and more – into a killer live event? Read this next.