— January 10, 2019
At this point in the year, everyone has a prediction for what will happen in 2019. Whether it’s virtual reality, architectural trends, or the economy, 2019 cannot be planned out to a “t.” That being said, event marketing will change in 2019. Just like everything else, 2019 will be a year of innovation for event marketing, featuring some of the tech and experiential trends that are already present in retail design. In 2019, customers won’t want the typical sit down and listen seminar- they’re seeking an experience where they’ll learn, create memories, and live the lessons you’re trying to teach.
2019 promises to be full of innovative events that stretch the limits of what we now consider acceptable for corporate events. Brand recognition may take on more importance, and lead generation will be on the top of everyone’s minds. Here’s how and why event marketing will change in 2019.
All hail the event series- at least in 2019. Single events are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Towards the end of 2018, the event series has become the new way to create brand recognition and lead generation versus the ROI of a one-time only event. Event marketing for a series can also be a great way to quickly boost your brand recognition. Choose a series that emphasizes your company culture. Do you like to give back to your community? Host challenges for developing engineers? Hackathons for aspiring cybersecurity developers?
Whatever the theme you choose for your event, make it one that counts. Your theme needs to be on point with your brand, engaging for your audience, and useful for your community. Is your event series going to be exclusive or open to the public? Casual or black tie only? Remember, it’s a series, not a single event. You need to be able to maintain the level of expectation that you set in the beginning.
After a divisive year in 2018, event marketing in 2019 is going to be about community. In a way, events have always been about community. Whether it’s your work community, neighborhood, or business connections, events have always been a great way to bring people together. Looking ahead to 2019, that will become even more important- especially with the predicted economic downturn, people will want opportunities to come together, generate new connections, and lean on each other for support.
Community events can take on many forms. Whether you’re disseminating information that will help those in your community who need it most or giving back to a local charity, community events will be a way your business can give back to the people and businesses that matter, while still benefiting from all the ROI that comes from an event.
So what is a community event?
Community events vary by- you guessed it- community. Here at New North, we’re hosting an event series that we believe will help the community around us to grow their business. The series is free to the public and on topics that will help most anyone with issues that they could be having with their business. Having issues with copyright? We have a roundtable for that. How about problems with lead generation? Attend our seminar- or webinar. We believe that community events are uplifting, helpful, engaging for your community and easily accessible to those who need it.
A black tie gala may not be a community event (unless you live in the Hollywood hills). But a food drive/networking event would be a great way to bring your community together for a good cause.
I don’t know about you, but around here 2018 was a busy year. New clients, old clients, new employees, celebrating anniversaries, and expanding into a new office. 2018 was a big year for New North- just as it was for many other people. Adding a virtual attendance option to your event allows buys people to attend who would otherwise have not been able to make it. Oftentimes low attendance at an event could be because it was an inopportune time for your audience. Holding your event right at the end of a workday? The comforts of home may have been a little too tempting for most worker bees.
Virtual attendance means people can stream in right from their living room- sweatpants optional.
However, the definition of virtual attendance is changing with evolving technologies. Better webinar software means allowing attendees to “raise their hand” to ask questions remotely, answer polling questions, and have full engagement with the speakers, even if they aren’t there in person.
Beyond just better webinar software, 2019 could also bring different evolutions in remote attendance technology. As virtual reality headsets enter into our homes via video games, we aren’t too far from them becoming involved with corporate events. Businesses like NextVR already claim to bring users into live entertainment and sporting events. It won’t be long before immersive virtual reality technology trickles down into remote attendance at corporate seminars.
We’ve seen it in retail, entertainment, and marketing. It has started to trickle into corporate events in 2018 with a rise in interaction with the audience – raffles, prizes, and booklets – but experiential corporate events are only going to get bigger in 2019. Gone are the days of sitting patiently in rows listening to someone speak. Audiences want to engage directly. They want to learn hands on. They want to attend workshops and group discussions more than they want to be in a lecture hall reminiscent of freshmen year of college.
Corporate retreats now feature ropes courses, rock climbing, VR headsets, and in-person team building exercises. Sure, team building retreats have been around for ages, but the experiences they’ve cultivated internally are now going to trickle into external-facing events.