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Event Marketing Predictions for Brands in 2016

A crowd of people walking to an event

At Smart Digital we look to cover all ends of the event marketing spectrum, from video creation, content storyboarding and influencer engagement through to social media and email communications. Unlike some event marketing cycles, this lasts much longer than just the event itself and the best campaigns never stop – working seamlessly all year round to entice and attract an event audience. Our aim is to form a new experience for attendees -one that is more engaging, insightful and relevant for those taking the time out of their day to attend an event.

Here are seven of the event marketing trends we expect to see brands embracing throughout the year ahead:

  1. Relationship event marketing

Events may be temporary but using them as a platform to create a longer lasting connection between brand and audience is a key goal for 2016. Event marketing is at its best when focused on building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement that lasts far beyond the show ends. Relationships that are built on the tradeshow floor create brand loyalists who will then go on to provide social referral and word of mouth recommendations across online and offline channels. One way in which brands will adopt relationship event marketing in the year ahead is to provide content and experiences which do more than just entertain. By using the event arena to provide useful information, interesting content, insights and data to take away, audiences will leave with something of clear value. Shows leading in this approach are using sophisticated live content platforms to broadcast news, insights, product launches and more throughout the show concourse and on their websites. Not only does this give brands a valuable platform on which to release their most important updates but it also builds the relationship with the visitor, as it engages them with key information that’s truly relevant to their industry.

  1. Video over text

The shift in focus from editorial to visual media over the past year alone has been huge. In 2016, it’s fair to say that visual content will take the lead as brands strive to entertain, inform and inspire through the medium of video. With Cisco predicting that video will account for 69% of all internet traffic by 2017, it’s an area that brands can’t afford to shy away from. Within the event arena, we have seen brands employing our Event TV platform in order to find a cost-effective way of producing content such as key executive interviews, show highlights and real-time broadcasting that can be used live during the event. Furthermore, this creates a rich portfolio of video content which can be repurposed across the web, blogs, social media and visual platforms post-event, gaining more traction with audiences throughout the world. Within this, event organisers play a key role in ensuring that brands are able to utilise the opportunity to capture video during an event to full affect. The ones that continue or start to embrace this in 2016 will be the ones who find themselves steps ahead in terms of both trackable ROI and event interest.

  1. Location-based event marketing

Wearables and mobile technologies are becoming two of the most useful forms of technology within event marketing to help brands connect with their audiences. Using iBeacon and other near-field services in order to provide discounts, offers or just signposting to attendees as they wander a show is set to become much more mainstream in 2016. Wearables, currently in their infancy, will also see a rise in adoption this year with many already invested in the benefit of push notification and messaging systems which will work between an attendee and their iWatch or similar, during events of the future. The key for any location-based event marketing is of course, relevancy. It won’t be long before messaging apps and push notifications become as brand-driven and lost in noise as social media and email before them. In order to cut through, brands must be clever, interesting and selective about the updates they choose to send, particularly when in a time-sensitive event environment.

  1. Innovation

The words ‘innovation’ and ‘experiential’ have became overused and underappreciated in the events industry, but their relevance has stuck. Brands are doing more than ever to innovate the event experience and engage with the attendees who pass through their doors. This includes everything from innovation of the registration experience, where mobile scanning replaces paper tickets and long registration queues, through to data-sensors and tracking technology which allows brands to capture offline information that mirrors the level of detail previously seen in online communications. In our field, innovation is clearly led by the number and sophistication of event communication tools such as video, which allow a brand to connect with its audience in real-time. In 2015 we worked with hundreds of brands throughout shows such as the Dubai Motorshow, ADIPEC and ICE Totally Gaming who fully understood the powerful of innovative event communication. Using video, the brands at these shows drove engagement not only at event itself, but for months to come across YouTube, Instagram, web and email. We can’t wait to see how this level of innovation will continue to evolve throughout 2016.

  1. Connected events

Events, which were once standalone occasions, are now much more integrated across the entire marketing spectrum. Event planners are using digital channels such as online, email, social media and webinars to drive sign ups and generate interest in their events all year round. Attendees are able to collate useful information that mimics the event experience and gain access to a knowledge hub that they can visit at any point throughout the year. In 2016, we see this growing in importance with event organisers aiming to continue the legacy of their events all year round. Through the sharing of video content, social media communications and rich, deep-dive branded content, the event experience will become one that’s connected to its attendees in an all-year-round cycle.

  1. Enhanced content marketing

Content marketing has become big business not just in events but also in the marketing arena as a whole. With event marketing, the key to a successful content strategy is to capture the content created at the event so that it can be shared all year round. Both brands and event planners have a limit on the amount of time and budget they can invest in developing content. Key content produced at an event, such as video and image collateral, can be repurposed and used in other forms to continue the legacy and give more return on initial investment. This means taking videos with key leaders from a company during the event, and turning them into Podcasts, written blogposts or email communications, used to recap with existing event attendees and attract new ones. The repurposing and building of this type of enhanced content marketing will create meaningful connections all year round – with little or no additional cost needed.

  1. Shared experiences

Social media and online channels have created a culture where thoughts, ideas and moments can all be shared at the click of the button. Within events, we expect this to extend even further in 2016, with brands making the most of the event experience to attract a wider, international audience. One of the ways we’ve seen shared experiences take hold is through brands that embrace live content sharing across social channels such as Snapchat and Periscope. As well as sharing moments and broadcasting events as they happen across these channels, many brands are making use of YouTube and other content sharing platforms to bring in a wider audience for months after the event ends.


If you need help implementing any of the latest event marketing trends in your strategy for 2016 get in touch – we’d love to help

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