Wednesday, January 16, 2013

3 Change Agents for Events in 2013

The event world changes quickly. Trends come and go, and sometimes the new sticks around for a while. Here are 3 things that I think will continue to impact the events world in 2013.

Digital Amplification – this will continue to grow. Digital isn’t going away. In fact every year Digital is going to get bigger and grander within the event world. You have to remember that technology is a means and not an end. You have to be clear as to what your end goal of the event is before you try to fit technology into it.
Once you know your end goal, start making a plan around how you would like to amplify the message. Is it video, webisodes, social media conversations, eBlasts etc. Once you you’re your plan, stick to it. It’s very easy to muddle your message at the last minute because you decided to change course. Naturally, if something in the plan isn’t working, change it!
During the event consider using platforms that will help the audience amplify their message of their experience. Twitter  and Instagram walls, video sharing capabilities etc. Make it easy for everyone to share via any of their preferred social media platforms.
Don’t forget that NFC (near field communication) is going to get hot too! Using bracelets, phones and smart devices to help integrate your audience into your event experience is going to be key. The events world has already started to integrate elements of NFC , but expect to see a lot more of this. Especially with bounce backs to your audience’s Facebook, Twitter and profiled accounts.

Connected Target Audience – Your target audience is connected. No matter who they are…they have smart phones, social media accounts and they use them frequently. The great part of that is that you can count on your event to be amplified via your audience. The bad part is…your event can be amplified by audience’s channels. You have to know that no matter how successful or terrible your event is, your connected audience will pass the info on. It’s how you manage it that counts. Make sure you are prepared for all of the channels your audience will use. Create channels for them so that you can help control where, what and when they post.

Transactions From Events - Brand events are getting stronger. I think brand managers and brand experience creators can expect to see more transactions that come from events. The idea of showrooming (going to see something in-store in person, but purchasing on line) has continued to come to the event world. People are happy to attend events, happy to experience fun and exciting things courtesy of a brand. I think the trend will start to open up and make it “OK” to sell items or allow purchase at events and see a lot more post event transactions.

I also think that paying for experiences will be a bigger trend this year. The idea of scarcity, that you are paying for an experience that no one else (or at least very few people) can partake in will start to take off a little more. I think it will be OK to charge for certain events (as long as it fits within the bigger scheme of your marketing plan), and I think you will see that your attendance will not suffer because of it.