The event space has always been a marketplace that accepts change. Trend is a huge part of the event industry and in experiential marketing there has been a huge push toward rethinking traditional process. In large, this is due to the the rising of experiential marketing growing along the tech industry. Event organizers have had to adopt a much more “beta” style of thinking. A philosophy that embraces change and in doing so, we see that a lot of other industries are also rethinking traditional ways of doing things. We’ve taken a look at how experiential marketing event trends impact the event industry and specifically in rethinking tradition in the event space.
Fireside Chats and BOFs
Small group chats with industry experts or collaboration with small groups of people that have common interests, known as fireside chats of birds of a feather (BOF) have always been built into the event industry. In recent times they have been focused on getting someone industry famous or using apps and technology to engage attendees. These are moving toward the trend of analog. Whiteboard style with a way to record the information that comes out of the collaborative discussion. The focus is moving toward the organic content created from industry attendees in the same room and the product of having great minds together. Take a look at why and how to organize fireside chats and BOFs.
Apps for Events
There was a huge push for larger events to spend on creating an event app per large event. This is costly and often glitchy as we all know, apps need a lot of time for testing to run smoothly. Event organizers are moving toward suggesting attendees use free shareware such as google products and meetups to connect with other attendees and stay connected. Integration wasn’t as seamless in passing year. Integration is more possible on any platform and most data is shared. Previously data has been proprietary which lead the push toward private apps being created, to collect data on attendees and find out how to tailor events to that attendee base. Take a look at these all-in-on meeting apps that are free for event organizers.
SWAG at Events
There was a time when free branded backpacks and water bottles were a sign of status, then they became Shit-We-All-Get. Attendees don’t need to be marketed to, it feels inauthentic. A way to prove your authenticity as an event organizer is to move into more charitable aspects with SWAG budgets. Give a gift to someone in need on behalf of attendees. Invite attendees to participate in a school supply drive, the event organizer will pick a local school to donate the proceeds to and giveback to the city that the event was held in. Feed the homeless by donating extra food and meals from the event through one of the many food to shelter applications. In San Francisco there are many programs, one of the more seamless app based options is foodrunners app.
Evening Event Headliner
In the event space, an evening event special guest has reserved a huge budget. Many attendees prefer a smaller one-to-one setting than being lumped into a nightclub to see a high priced comedian or musical act. This could easily be broken down into smaller ancillary events with different themes throughout the conference agenda. Event organizers could poll attendees that pay full price to get input and make a collective decision. Many event organizers use survey monkey for polling, my current favorite is from live poll from Slido in collaboration with eventbrite.
The word tradition has never stuck well to the event industry. Tradition in this case was meant to be reinvented. This time it seems there is a common thread that links back to the event content, why attendees are interested and making sure that the content produces great personal results for attendees. They don’t have to be at your event, they choose to, include them and often you will be surprised at the end result.