Traditional marketing is not as effective today as it used to be. People – understandably – prefer messaging and content that directly speaks to their needs and goals over being bombarded with brand advertising. 71 percent of internet users feel that ads are more intrusive than they were just a few years ago.
Content marketing, on the other hand, and increasingly, marketing experiences – live events and experiential content – are driving brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sales in big ways. Eventmarketer’s latest research, EventTrack 2018, which surveyed consumers across industries, revealed that 85 percent of consumers are likely to make a purchase after an event and 91 percent feel more positive about a brand.
Live events – with their product demonstrations, live speakers, hand on experiences, face-to-face interactions – they have the ability to offer a deeper level of worth to consumers than other content because they combine value with experience. Instead of just reading an educational blog post, at an event, customers get to listen to the expert live, ask questions, and engage with other like-minded individuals. Instead of watching a how-to video to see how a product works, they can try it themselves and receive the guidance they need to help them get more out of the products they are using.
Including in-person events in your content marketing strategy gives your more motivated buyers and loyal brand advocates a chance to take a step further into your brand, immersing into a real-world environment rather than just a digital one.
But, unlike an article or an infographic, a live event can eat up more of your marketing budget. According to Forrester, the average CMO allocates 24 percent of the annual marketing budget for live events.
So, you want to make sure events are good.
In order to get the most impact out of your event marketing then, why not give your participants more of what they actually want?
7 Ways to Improve Brand Events, According to Attendees
When Eventmarketer conducted their EventTrack survey, they also asked what event participants want to see more of at brand events. Want to boost the quality of your attendees’ experience? Try addressing these things:
Create a More Welcoming Experience
This is one detail that you don’t want to overlook. People should feel welcome and appreciated at your event. This is both the first and last impression you want to cast.
- Before the event, use personalized communication through email, mailings, phone calls, or social media channels dedicated to event registrants
- During the event, have dedicated staff for welcoming people when they arrive and to talk to attendees during the event
- Post-event, use follow-up communications for thank you’s, personalized content offers, feedback requests, and opt-in offers for early registration for your next event
Understand Your Event Audience
With the use of event apps, the customer data in your marketing automation software and event management software, and fresh insights from attendees, you can learn a lot about who your attendees are with each event. Try creating special event attendee personas, in addition to the buyer personas you already have. You may have only one or two segments of your buyers who attend. Then, you can focus the tone and content of your event for attendees rather than all your buyers.
Live events are a great channel for using gamification to engage customers. The type of interactive games or competitions you use will have to be specific to your industry, brand, and audience but some form of interaction can help attendees get into the experience. This is where having an event app can be really useful, especially for conferences and other larger events. You can tie your gamification into the app. For smaller events, such as trade booths and product demos, you can create fun contests for participants where they can win a prize for answering questions or completing a task.
Increase the Education Standards
Events and experiential marketing can entertain, inspire, engage, and inform. But, if someone is going to spend the time to come to a live event, to register and commit themselves, and for almost 40 percent of events, to pay an admission fee, they need to gain something from coming.
According to EventTrack, people do want to learn at events. If you already have an educational element or focus, take a look at what level of information you are presenting – are you adding knowledge to your attendees or telling them what they already know? If your event is more about demonstrating your product or creating a fun experience, figure out a way to add an educational element as well for those attendees who do want to learn more.
Show and Tell
Consumers who have attended events say they want to see more of how a product works. For both products and services, you can demonstrate how something works and what impact it can have on those who use it. Demoing software, cooking demonstrations, case studies and results data – when people show up to your event, find a way to show them why your brand is worth showing up for. This is how you really let your audience step into your brand’s world.
Give Away More Event Giveaways
People don’t like to just take away knowledge. They also like something physical. If you have a physical product, samples are a good idea. For B2B brands and service-based companies, you’ll have to get creative with your event swag.
Make It Entertaining
Make it fun. No matter how informative your event may be, or how professional your audience, this is event marketing, not another meeting at the office. You should integrate some level of fun and enjoyment – engaging, witty speakers, the opportunity to interact in even competitions and games as mentioned earlier, and adding a little awe with VR, projection mapping, and other next-gen technology.
Take your events a step above, and you’ll leave attendees walking away feeling like they just went on a journey. Make everything from the moment they register to the afterglow something they can’t wait to experience again.
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