How to Master Event Design in 2022
Event Design Has Never Been More Important. How Are You Prioritizing It?
Engage Audiences. Create Relationships. Build Loyalty.
What started as forced adjustments just to stay afloat have developed into permanent changes in the event industry. Event teams worldwide have continually adapted over the past year and a half to elevate the industry to never-before-seen heights in terms of event registration and participation.
Event design is now more important than ever when it comes to creating engaged audiences who will build trust with your brand. From the technology used to engaged strategies implemented, every piece of event design is crucial to consider, both for in-person and digital events. Impact Point Group has created this comprehensive guide to event design to help you master your strategy entering 2022. Choose your section in the table of contents below, get the downloadable guide, or reach out to our team to ask any additional questions.
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Table of contents
- The 5 Stages of Event Design
- Choosing an Event Technology Platform
- Integrated Event Design Solutions
- What Is Experience Design?
- The Key to Event Inclusivity
- Experience Design and Digital Shared Experiences
- How to Drive Traffic to Virtual Events in 2022
The 5 Stages of Event Design
Event design is as much a science as it is an art. While every event is unique, and thus deserves a customized approach, the steps you take to designing that event are the same. Proper planning and alignment on your event design early in the process improves success and allows you to prepare for the unexpected. Here are the five stages of event design that every team should follow:
- Align — Before anything else, everyone on the team must be aligned on the core event objectives. This alignment paves the way for KPI benchmarks, engagement tactics, and other factors that ultimately help you achieve overall objectives.
- Design — With clear-cut goals in place, it’s time to discover how you will accomplish those goals and design a plan to get you there. From agenda design and speaker strategy to event size and length, this is the part of the process where your event starts coming together.
- Measure — Opinions are valuable but data is priceless. If you don’t have access to real-time data and feedback during the event, how are you supposed to ensure participants are getting the most out of their experience? Take advantage of your digital capabilities to measure the most valuable metrics during and after your event.
- Activate/Engage — Using the data collected, you can engage with your audience in a more active and meaningful manner. Are they struggling to follow a busy agenda? Make it easy for them by curating a journey based on their preferences. Ultimately, your goal is to create meaningful, engaging interactions with your audience.
- Evolve — Event design doesn’t stop after the conclusion of an event; if anything, that’s where it starts. Use all the accumulated data and feedback to evolve in the event space and become thought leaders in your industry.
For a deeper dive into each of these steps, read our full blog on the five stages of event design.
Choosing an Event Technology Platform
Digital events aren’t going anywhere. Despite our best efforts and desires to return to full in-person events, their digital counterpart offers too many benefits to ignore. Because of this, your event platform is a crucial aspect to get right early in the event design process.
That said, technology is difficult to get right. From minor glitches to major outages, technology blips can wreak havoc on your event. That’s why it’s crucial to spend enough time considering all your options when it comes to technology, and potentially even customize your own platform. Here are just some of the reasons why your technology makes such a big difference in your overall event design:
- The ability to seamlessly connect multiple audiences in different locations
- Offer a better user experience that makes the audience’s experience more memorable
- Website and social media integrations allow digital attendees to stay more connected
- Secure access with end-to-end encryption
- Schedule management to direct attendees from one activity to the next
Read our full article to learn five specific features to look for in your event platform.
Integrated Event Design Solutions
Because digital events are here to stay, the industry has adopted terminology around hybrid events that encompass two different audiences — those who are able to attend in person and those who prefer the digital offering.
However, we don’t think that’s a true representation of the future of event design. That’s where integrated events come into play. Hybrid events inherently separate audience members into two segments — in-person vs. digital. Integrated events focus on providing a homogenous experience for all attendees, whether they are at the event or watching from home.
Consider these three integrated solutions when designing your next event:
- Select the Right Presenter — In addition to engaging in-person audiences, your speakers must understand the nuances of running a captivating digital keynote. This person must be able to provide value to both audience types and create opportunities for in-person interaction and digital interaction.
- Select the Right Platform — As we mentioned above, the right platform is worth its weight in gold, especially when it comes to an integrated event. If your virtual attendees feel disconnected from what’s happening at the event, they are going to simply shut it off and move on. However, if you provide them value through a connected experience, they are more likely to stay engaged with the event and your brand.
- Focus on the Follow-Up — One of the most important aspects of an integrated event is what happens after the event concludes. How are you still providing value to your audience members days, weeks, and even months down the road? Offering content journeys that audience members can complete on their own time proves you value them after the event.
What Is Experience Design?
A common theme of this guide thus far has been engagement — what are you doing to create engaging interactions that keep your audience members satisfied, entertained, and valued throughout the event?
Enter experience design. This aspect of event design is arguably the most important as it ensures that the entirety of your event is focused on creating experiences that will engage audience members, both with your brand and with each other.
Experience design is the ability to design an event and its activities with a focus on the attendees’ feelings, needs, and challenges. By focusing on persona-specific experiences, you can ensure that they feel valued throughout every point of an event.
As opposed to going through the motions at an event, participants will actively engage with what you’re offering because it was created specifically for them! Here are some engaging experiences to include in your event; however, it’s crucial to make sure these activities are customized to your individual audience:
- Celebrity appearances
- Technology interactions
- Networking opportunities
The Key to Event Inclusivity
One of the keys to experience design and event design as a whole is inclusivity. What steps are you taking to ensure that all of your target market can actually attend your event, whether it be in-person, digital, or integrated?
When you focus on experience design, event inclusivity is an inherent secondary benefit. The two go hand-in-hand — part of prioritizing your attendees’ needs comes down to their ability to actually attend and participate in the event. Here are five components of inclusivity that can be solved with a focused event design:
- Cost — While high ticket prices may very well increase the appeal and draw to your event, it can do the exact opposite for some attendees who can’t afford it. This is where VIP packages and two-tiered pricing come into play to attract multiple audiences.
- Timing — Integrated events can take into account multiple segments’ needs. Some are able to clear the space to attend in-person events while others are not, but you still want both of those groups to attend in some capacity. Focusing on timing (including holidays and other industry events) is a crucial aspect of inclusivity.
- Branding & Communications — When it comes to branding, you want to create a memorable experience for your customers to latch onto. As part of your branding and pre-event communications, it’s imperative to focus on DEI.
- Speakers — DEI is also crucial to focus on when assessing speakers to feature during your event. Ensure your keynote speakers and other entertainers come from diverse backgrounds, offer differing viewpoints, and engage people across your audience.
- Accessibility — Whether it be digital accessibility in terms of platform navigation or physical accessibility, you want your event to be accessible to all intended audiences. Specifically for digital events, consider including experiences in multiple time zones and utilizing subtitles to make your event friendly for everyone.
For more on inclusive events and their role in event design, read the full blog here.
Experience Design and Digital Shared Experiences
The pandemic has taught us many things, one of which being the importance of togetherness. After months of quarantine and isolation, the desire for shared experiences is evident. People don’t just want to be around people; they want to do something with those people.
However, as many events continue to operate on a mostly digital basis, creating those shared experiences is far from easy. While shared experiences were easy to implement and organize during in-person events, the same cannot be said for digital.
While it is certainly more difficult to create these experiences during digital events, prioritizing attendees’ experiences is the first place to start. When you care about how someone is feeling during an event, you will do everything necessary to make sure they enjoy the experience. Here are three of the most popular ways to create shared experiences in the world of digital events:
- Gamification — People are competitive by nature, and offering unique competitions throughout an event can be a great way to keep people involved. From quizzes following an industry update to total session attendance, there are ways to keep people engaged with you and with each other.
- Workshops — How many times have you attended an event just to sit through a supposed thought-leadership session for two hours without really learning anything? Digital workshops can solve this by encouraging participants to put that new knowledge to the test alongside other like-minded people.
- Entertainment — Of the many benefits of digital events, one of the biggest is the increase in celebrity engagement. Entertainers are more willing and able to participate in virtual events that do not require them to fit in-person appearances into their already busy schedules.
To learn more about designing events around shared experiences, read our full blog post.
How to Drive Traffic to Virtual Events in 2022
At the end of the day, if nobody attends your event, all of your hard work will be for naught. Regardless of the engaging activities, perfectly optimized platform, and passionate speakers you have set up, you need attendees. Period.
After more than 20 months of virtual events (not to mention virtual workdays), though, people are suffering from digital fatigue and brands are struggling to beat those feelings. However, there are certain tactics to implement that can help you drive leads:
- Generate Demand — If you want to attract audience members, you have to give them something to be excited about. Demand generation can be accomplished in many ways, but some of the most important methods are conducting webinars, hosting thought leadership sessions, including engaging activities, and offering digital keynotes.
- Tease Content — Now that people understand what to expect in terms of activities, you can strategically tease content to generate excitement from audience members. Give them just enough to entice them to want more, including sneak-peak downloads of content and video clips from notable speakers.
- Targeted Engaged Audiences — Your event is not for everyone. The sooner you narrow your ideal buyer down, the better you’ll be able to target them in pre-event marketing efforts. Also, targeting your existing customers is a great way to expand your client base, as they are more likely to recommend the event to another interested party.
- Identify Your Value Prop — Give people a reason to attend your event. These potential customers are already extremely busy with their own business and you must make it worth their while to take days out of their schedule. From compelling thought-leadership sessions to sponsorship giveaways and one-time training opportunities, show them they are valued and give them something of value just for attending.
For a more in-depth look at lead generation and how you can continue to thrive with virtual events in 2022, read the full blog here.
Master Your Event Design in 2022
There’s no time to wait until things “return to normal” for your next event. Now is the time to dive into the integrated event format, utilizing pieces of digital and in-person in unison. Partnering with professionals in the event design space can take this load off your shoulders.
Reach out to our team at Impact Point Group today, or download our latest edition of the Digital Event Forecast to learn about the most pressing advancements in the industry.