Did you know the events industry is a $565 billion industry? That number is only going to keep growing--providing marketers reinvent the way they run, manage, and measure these events and conferences so as to maximize ROI and better engage attendees.
Technology moves quickly (except when it doesn’t), and both consumer and enterprise taste can be quite fickle. While technology predictions are often hard to make, we’ve done our best with five for the events industry in 2016:
1. Event marketing is going to experience its AdWords moment: Events take place in the physical world, but technology exists for event organizers to create events the same way they would a website. A wealth of data could be slipping through the cracks, from which advertising, marketing automation, CRM, email marketing, and SEO can all benefit. It’s time for the next big thing.
2. Event engagement will become a thing: An event is a massive, multilayered piece of content with many aspects to it that pull people into the building, such as sessions, speakers, exhibitors, and even attendees. How can we take advantage of this piece of content and use it to further engagement at events? If you follow B2B marketing at all, you may have recently noticed a trend: Content marketing is the be all-end all marketing strategy being usurped by engagement marketing, the reason being it is simply not enough to just spit out content. Content needs to be paired with an engagement strategy to ensure it resonates with the right people. How effective brands are at driving and calculating deep engagement at events through a mix of content, thought leadership, exhibitor experiences, and attendee connections will ultimately determine whether their attendees value the event.
3. A thousand flowers will bloom: I’ve been saying it for years, even when a lot of smart people thought I was crazy: Events are a wonderful opportunity to showcase new software. At events, you find hundreds to thousands of highly engaged, non-anonymous users wandering around looking to network with a smartphone in hand; it’s a software developer’s dream, and its a perfect proving ground for SoLoMo apps. Hundreds of new startups will enter the fray, which will be a positive development for organizers, exhibitors, and attendees. New features will be tested, new revenue streams will be unlocked, good ideas will stick and become features, and some will even become companies. The physical world of events will continue to be enhanced by software, and these are good things for organizers as both attendees and exhibitors will migrate their way to more ROI.
4. Messaging is going to become a core reason that attendees download event apps: In the early days it was about the agenda, then it was about the activity feed amplifying conversations and complementing content. Now, a quick look around the tech landscape will show us that messaging will be the next big thing; the fastest-growing apps in the world--Slack, Hipchat, Snapchat, WeChat, KakaoTalk, Line, Facebook Messsenger, and WhatsApp--are all messaging apps. Events are about to be disrupted by messaging, and indeed, messaging can help our world; no other feature has the ability to extend the shelf life of an event like messaging does.
5. People Discovery and Tinder for Events: It’s a no brainer that events and conferences offer great opportunities for networking. A People Discovery feature or Tinder for Events to make meeting new people–whether for professional or personal networking at events--won’t be too far off in the horizon.