Event marketing has always been an effective method for attracting and retaining customers. According to Jobs In Marketing, at least 31% of marketers consider events the most effective marketing channel for their businesses, and 52% of business leaders named event marketing the biggest ROI driver. However, a lot has changed recently, making it more important than ever that marketers are quick to catch up.
The past 18 months have made quite an impact on the present and future of events, resulting in new methods and preferences for improving guest experiences, one of the most important aspects being technology.
It's no secret that event experiences can make or break an event, and technology plays a vital role in its success. The key is getting more familiar with technology's role to ensure that you're providing the most out of your experiences for all attendees.
Here's everything we know about event technology and machine learning to get you started.
EVENT TECHNOLOGY IS EVOLVING
There was a time when event technology only required a small portion of your budgeting for events. However, a lot has changed since the pandemic made an unexpected appearance and rocked every industry and its event plans.
In fact, MeetingsNet reports that there were 13,252 annual association meetings in 2019, which dropped to 3,484 in 2020 (841 in-person, 2,500 virtual, 143 hybrids). The report also notes a 50% increase in virtual attendees in the past year, with experts predicting that the trend for virtual and hybrids will continue to grow in the coming years.
The most notable evolutions in event technology are in areas like engagement, data, and virtual gatherings.
Arguably the most obvious to evolve in the last year or more is the increased need for hybrid and virtual events. When events went virtual, you needed a technology/platform to host your event, organize your agenda, and connect participants.
Engagement is essential to creating a successful experience for guests but can become challenging during virtual events due to reactions like digital fatigue — discomfort after prolonged exposure to a digital screen. To avoid digital fatigue, technologies have had to evolve and adapt (and still have to) in order to keep people engaged and their experiences positive.
Technology (and digital events as a whole) give wider access to data that businesses didn't previously have the opportunity to tap into — both important data about your audience and important data about how they engage with the event. This has become a substantial component for event success because it allows you to optimize current and future event experiences with informed decision-making and strategic adjustments.
TECHNOLOGY'S PART IN ENGAGEMENT
Recent research shows that at least half (49%) of marketers believe that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to making an event successful. In today's market, this means utilizing modern event technology to create memorable and meaningful experiences for attendees. The important role technology plays in engagement is most commonly observed through content delivery platforms and experiences.
Content Delivery Platform
Your event technology platform must be able to deliver content in a meaningful way that keeps attendees participating in the event. You can do this by improving Q&A so that entertainers/speakers can accommodate live suggestions and answer questions, delivering curated content digitally that is easy to follow, and more. The key is to deliver your content in a way that increases the value of attending your event. Since most (74%) Americans now prioritize valuable experiences, there's no better area to make improvements.
In addition to the content delivered, the tech must create memorable experiences for the attendee, leaving a lasting impression in their mind of your brand. What's more, at least 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people, starting positive conversations about your brand and events among not only your guests but friends and family that may now be interested in future attendance.
WHERE DOES MACHINE LEARNING COME INTO PLAY?
One thing that most platforms/technologies are still lacking is matchmaking capability. During in-person events, there was a matchmaker who could help you connect with the right people and set the stage for crucial networking opportunities.
However, that has been lacking in the digital space.
While the answer has not yet been fully identified, machine learning may be the solution. For instance, machine learning and artificial intelligence can help segment audience members based on the information they provide during registration, key aspects of their LinkedIn profiles, and key industry involvement.
This insight can allow you to bring about valuable conversations and connections on a virtual platform that people often have access to more easily in traditional in-person events. People are naturally social beings, so good discussions with like-minded people can add a lot of value. The relationships that are made at events are what make the best impressions and experiences for guests.
This is especially true when you use machine learning to facilitate meetings by organizing schedules and directing attendees towards certain individuals during networking portions of digital events. Take, for instance, a significant networking opportunity between a decision-maker prospect who has a specific need and a solution provider who has a product/service solution. If you can bring these two together, you'll have two sides of the spectrum raving about the outcome of attending your event.
It's a win-win-win!
ADAPTING TO THE CHANGES IN EVENT MARKETING
Whether you're trying to catch up with the unexpected changes brought on by the pandemic or simply looking forward to adapting to new innovative ways to reach and resonate with your audience at events, it's more clear than ever that technology plays an important role.
Event experience and engagement are everything in the marketing channel, and there are some tried and true ways to use technology to your advantage to boost those and more. Contact our team at Impact Point Group for all the latest updates in event technology, as well as machine learning and event design.