We find ourselves not only at the beginning of a new year but a brand new decade, so predictions as to what might shake up the events and experiential marketing space over the coming months and years are being made here, there and everywhere.
So not wanting to be left out, here are our 10 experiential and event marketing trends to watch out for in the new decade.
1. Increased Personalisation
As not every attendee will be at the same point in their journey, personalisation ensures that every delegate gets precisely what they need from an event. Increased personalisation will lead to more successful outcomes as each attendee will derive genuine value, with their needs met throughout.
There are a variety of ways in which events can be personalised, including providing data-driven activity suggestions. Events can sometimes feel overwhelming, particularly if there are many things happening at once. Developing an app that can make informed recommendations for each attendee can guide them around an event, ensuring that they are aware of the elements that are most relevant to their needs.
Resources and content can also be personalised. Generic materials can offer value, however, personalised content is an effective way to enhance attendee opinions of an event. Personalisation in this instance can be as simple as integrating names within email communications, but audiences can also be segmented and appropriate content sent out accordingly.
2. Tailored Pathways
Offering breakout sessions is an effective way to deliver an engaging and immersive experience for all attendees. By enabling delegates to retain a level of autonomy over their schedules, they remain free to shape their experience around their personal objectives in attending.
Attendees will often find tailoring their own pathways through events far more satisfying than simply being assigned a strict agenda, particularly as this level of freedom allows them to either narrow their focus or engage with a broader range of activities and informative sessions.
3. Unique Venues
Traditional venues, such as conference centres and hotels, can still be successful, however, exploring other options can enable everyone involved to explore new creative avenues and to deliver unforgettable one-of-a-kind experiences that cannot be found elsewhere.
From museums and studio spaces to farms and other outdoor venues, the key in selecting an alternative venue is to ensure that it fits seamlessly with the brand, the event and desired event outcomes. There are also a variety of challenges that may require consideration with unique venues, and proper thought should be given to factors such as staging, power supplies and Wi-Fi capabilities.
Although this approach might take some additional planning, it can open the doors to the creation of highly customised events that will deliver valuable results for a variety of brands and businesses across a range of industries.
4. Real-Time Feedback and Expectation Management
Providing attendees with the ability to give their real-time feedback can help brands and event organisers to deliver the best possible experience. From the temperature of the venue to the lighting and the cleanliness of the amenities on offer, keeping on top of these issues can improve the overall opinion attendees will express about an event. Additionally, actively resolving problems as and when they arise will reduce their overall impact and underline that the opinions of attendees are valued and respected.
Data is extremely valuable and it can be used in myriad ways, including monitoring attendee numbers and enhancing decision making processes. During particularly busy events, for example, data can be used to deliver real-time push notifications directing attendees to lesser trafficked areas which will enhance their experience and improve their engagement with the experiences on offer.
5. Wearable Tech
Wearable technology can transform events in a variety of highly valuable ways, particularly when it comes to delivering seamless user experiences. The approach organisers choose to take here should always be tailored to the type of event being held and the brand it is promoting, but one example is to assign each attendee with a wearable bracelet that allows them to enter the event, make reservations, and pay for products.
Wearable technology can also be used to facilitate networking and follow-up contact. Exchanging contact information can be awkward, but if this process can be simplified to a quick tap of a badge, attendees will be more likely to leave equipped with information that will deliver long-term value.
6. A Focus on Sustainability
As environmental concerns become a key part of everyday business discourse, sustainability can no longer be left as an afterthought when hosting an event. Brands, marketers and event planners are responsible for the impact events have on the planet and identifying ways to reduce single-use plastics, offer plant-based catering, and utilise recycled materials will help to create a far more sustainable events industry.
Other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of an event include offering digital tickets, donating leftover food to charities, running localised events and exploring the possibilities of online-only events.
7. Sensory Experiences
Instagrammable moments have undoubtedly helped many brands to increase their online reach, however, brand leaders are switching their attention to the establishment and nurturing of valuable on-going relationships with their audience.
Delivering experiences that engage all the senses can provide the level of emotional resonance that events need to be truly memorable. Increasing numbers of consumers are eager to immerse themselves in the worlds of their favourite brands and event organisers will be investing more time into devising experiences that will satiate these demands.
Exclusivity will come through the delivery of experiences that money simply can’t buy. Integrating sights, sounds, textures and tastes that are authentic to the brand will set events apart from those that may well be highly instagrammable but fail to go above and beyond to truly stand out.
8. Experiential Retail Environments
Many retail stores have struggled in recent years and in-store efforts can be considerably enhanced by offering imaginative experiential experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. Although retail environments were once inventory-focused, mind-sets are shifting towards the creation of spaces that are infused with engaging interactivity.
9. Enhanced Storytelling with Spatial Audio Design
You might have noticed that we haven’t touched upon VR or AR technology here. Whilst these experiences are certain to continue throughout 2020, it is spatial audio design that is looking likely to make a significant impact on the industry over the next twelve months.
Audio can affect experiences in a variety of ways. In addition to enhancing attendees’ ability to retain and recall memories, audio can really help to situate guests within the experience and encourage them to remain fully present throughout. At a time when authenticity is critical, the role of spatial audio design in the storytelling process should not be overlooked.
10. Considering the Customer Journey
The best experiential marketing events communicate a memorable story that attendees can emotionally engage with. Carefully considering how attendees will move around a space is imperative to the successful communication of an immersive narrative and the emergence of spatial analytics software will become more widely used to monitor key metrics including dwell time and foot traffic that will impact ROI.
The data gathered during this process can ultimately be used to make immediate adjustments that will enhance attendee experiences and ensure that they leave with the best possible impression of both the event and the brand.