At The Meeting Pool, we’re always looking to the future to help our readers, friends, and clients continue to see ever greater success! We’re just a month away and we’re looking ahead to see what’s going to be big in 2017. Thanks to predictions from thought leaders in the technology and marketing space, we can get an idea of where audiences are looking and what they’re looking for. One thing we know for sure is that content creation and distribution are going to be vital for just about any marketing operation – no matter what industry you’re in. Let’s take a look at how event marketers can leverage the latest trends heading into the new year.
Video & Livestreaming – We’ve covered some of the history of live streaming in an earlier post and explained how event planners can start live streaming their events. We have watched this year as Periscope, Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram have all battled it out to try and become the leading source for video content. Not only has live streaming changed how video is delivered but it has also changed what kind of video content users are creating. 2016 has seen a huge shift from more planned video presentations to live, niche moments filmed on camera phones. According to Forbes, “Users will crave more vicarious experiences [in 2017].” Video content can help event marketers provide those experiences.
If you’re not already producing video testimonials, wrap-ups, and session live-streams for your events, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon because the trend is still climbing. And if you’re concerned about video quality, you can still create a more polished experience by using specialized phone attachments such as mics, lenses, and apps (for example, check out this setup from Social Chefs).
There are two major things that are helping to push the popularity of this type of content: impermanence and increased potential for additional use. While most live streaming platforms give videos a brief life-span, this can be beneficial – creating a sense of FOMO that marketers can leverage for segments of their audience that don’t want to miss the live event experience. However, for those who wish to extend the lifespan of these videos, the platforms also offer users the option to download their videos. Event planners can then use a variety of video editing apps to cut apart their video content so that it can be shared again and again in a number of different formats (gifs, Snapchat or Instagram stories, etc.) in order to continue to leverage that content over time.
We expect to see these platforms develop and offer greater functionality as they continue to compete to be the preferred video and live streaming platforms amongst general users.
Automation – A lot of events fail to give much, if any, focus to a number of digital marketing activities simply because of a lack of time. However, events are beginning to adopt marketing and social media automation platforms in order to save time and get their content in front of the right people at the right times. While email marketing automation Pardot, Act-On, and Hatchbuck are already commonly used by event planning teams, social media scheduling tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and MeetEdgar are also making it possible for users to schedule out upcoming posts for multiple profiles across major social media platforms. This is a huge benefit for event marketing teams wanting to make a coordinated effort to promote upcoming events and meetings.
For teams that want to see even greater integration between the content that they produce on their websites and the systems through which that content is shared, there are also platforms available to help users produce, manage, and distribute content across the web. These tools include CoSchedule and DivvyHQ which help manage teams of writers and include integrations with WordPress and social media scheduling tools like Buffer.
Chatbots & AI – The world has grown accustomed to interacting with virtual assistants run by artificial intelligence such as Siri, Alexa, and now, Google Home. So why not leverage that comfort by incorporating tools that utilize artificial intelligence to help event attendees accomplish a variety of tasks? Enter the Chatbot. Chatbots are programs that users interact with by “chatting,” thus their popular inclusion in pre-existing messaging apps such as Kik, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Slack. These bots can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks including ordering meals, calling an uber, find answers to FAQs, and much more.
And now, thanks to Salt Lake City-based event technology company, Sciens.io, chatbots can now be used at events – in place of apps. According to Michelle Bruno of EventTechBrief.com, “Chat bots, like Concierge EventBot developed by Sciens.io, let event participants have conversations with event organizers (via their artificial intelligence powered surrogates) using the event website, Facebook Messenger, or the text-messaging feature of their smartphones. So rather than download, learn, and search for information on a mobile event app, users can simply start typing. For short events like a half-day conference or a small meeting, mobile apps are overkill, but bots could be perfect.”
Imagine being able to seamlessly communicate with your audience before an event even begins and without having to convince your attendees to download yet another app to their devices. Chatbots are simple, light-weight and can provide a stronger sense of communication for the attendee.
Personalization – Thanks to our increasingly hyper-customized world, marketing without any kind of personalization is beginning to seem “spammy.” With the amount of data that event organizers collect through marketing, registration, and events themselves – there’s no excuse for a lack of personalization in your event marketing. Utilizing the data you collect to create targeted audience segments is incredibly important, especially as technology changes. Your younger attendees are early adopters and will, therefore, expect to see messaging that not only relates to them but also reaches them on their preferred platforms (Snapchat, text alerts, etc.). Your older attendees will also expect to receive different messages delivered through more traditional mediums like Facebook or Email. By developing and maintaining detailed personas for the attendees at your event, your marketing team can get a clear idea of who they’re speaking to and engaging with.
Social Influencers & Ambassadors – Social influencers and ambassadors are nothing new in the world of marketing, however, as audiences grow increasingly bored with paid advertising, their popularity is increasing.
In addition to personalization, marketers can leverage analytics data to identify social influencers and ambassadors to help promote their event. Social influencers have risen in popularity amongst marketers over the past few years because they help lend credibility and social proof to the messages they’re sharing. Here are a few good examples of social influencer campaigns from Social Media Examiner.
Additionally, event ambassadors can help to amplify your marketing efforts by extending your reach and creating word-of-mouth excitement. Consider finding ambassadors who are interesting and engaging and match your event’s persona. Event Manager Blog has an excellent guide to help you Build an Army of Conference Ambassadors.
If you’re active on social then you’re probably well aware that there are a lot of big shifts happening in how content is produced and what information audiences will appreciate or even trust. This means that event marketing teams will likely be facing a handful of new and unexpected challenges in the coming year. However, so long as your team is hyper-aware and ready to adapt, you’ll be able to see success.
Featured Image credit: Rocky John Tayaban ©2013 under a Creative Commons License
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