You know how to market your next event to get butts in seats, fans in stands and stir local buzz. You’re solid on your plans to announce your event via fancy graphics and online ticketing systems. You’ve brainstormed clever content, social posts and created one #epichashtag. But live event competition is growing and it is becoming more difficult to separate your event from the others across town.
Event tech trends are all the hype and infusing a digital experience into live events just may be the deciding factor for your attendees on whether or not they pick your event over the competitor. Your audience, the digital generation, is clearly drawn to societal sharing and digital integration, even if it’s for an annual pet supply convention. So as marketing manager, you’re now also expected to wear the hat of digital event production coordinator.
So how do you evolve the conversation aside from telling them to attend, engage and “buy, buy, buy” via website, social and email? Well tech-savvy event coordinator, you need to infuse an on-the-ground digital experience within your event that will be available onsite for fans, and we’ve got the latest trends broken down for you to start scoping out!
There’s nothing worse than piling tens, hundreds or thousands of folks into a small space who are trying to access their phone, texts, mobile apps and social media at the same time. Jammed cellular service is inevitable, but you can provide Wi-fi accessibility. Wi-fi accessible lounges and towers are a sure way to keep your attendees happy, connected and talking about your event online.
Device Charging Stations
Enough said. Resulting from the same digital-crammed environment mentioned above, mobile device batteries drain when your cell service is searching for a signal. Most events are hours long and more than likely the fans are using devices throughout the event. Setting up charging stations around vendors or common areas will bring a smile to any event attendee.
Gone are the days where attendees print out maps, schedules and additional info on your event. Programs are nice onsite souvenirs, but mobile apps are all the buzz. There are plenty of app developer companies who can propose an app to scale appropriately to the size and budget of your event. Bells and whistles are not always required, just the concise delivery of information for your guests to receive top-line info they want and need. All accessed at their fingertips!
Imagine you’re at a music festival walking up to get an ice cold beer, they hand you it and you walk away sipping and smiling. No wallet, no receipts, no signing, no cash needed. This new resource is on the cusp of changing the entire purchasing ecosystem, but for now it’s perfect for enclosed events. This savvy technology may be on the higher end of costs, but it’s most definitely all the buzz. Your attendees not only can pre-load credit card information, but can receive photos in particular areas they enjoyed your event at. Ah! Freedom from the fannypack.
It may not be the sexiest of all digital event trends, but purchases via Square or other card readers are a resource saver! Not only is the transaction more convenient, but in return you can ask additional information of your customers and collect information, such as email addresses. Data geeks rejoice!
Via a fancy, but small device called an iBeacon, attendees with Bluetooth turned on will receive messages when they are within the certain virtual parameters of the event. Walk up near a merchandise booth and you may just receive a 20% off digital coupon. Near a stage of the headlining performing artist? The iBeacon can send out automated message for a fan with the artist’s latest iTunes release. Trim down on your grassroots team and paper resources!
If you’re regularly on social media, you may have seen friends posting themselves with groups of people at weddings with costumes, props, etc. and sharing them to social media. The trend has caught on to all size events, with branded backdrops and hashtags. It’s perfect entertainment for your guests, and an amazing awareness tool that your attendees share online to their friends. Fancy mustache anyone?
Displaying contesting on digital screens and Mobile text campaigns are not only a win for the lucky attendee who is chosen, but a win for your brand. In return, you can send all your contest entrants a thank you via mobile with a coupon code to purchase tickets to next year’s event at a discount.
Does your event include a performance, panel discussion or demonstration? For fans who are unable to attend, but still willing to pay some dough from afar, a live stream can access this engagement. Sometimes all it takes is a smartphone and wireless!
Before you pass over some of these thinking, “My budget can’t handle this,” remember your event partners may be willing to sponsor on-site digital activation. It’s a win-win situation. You receive the funds and resources and the sponsor receives prime real estate, foot traffic and awareness about the digital experience. Planning in advance is key for your next event to be tech-savvy. These trends are high in demand, but the experience they provide can convert a casual attendee into a loyal customer and a new event evangelist that will carry on your event’s brand into the next years. Tech on!
About Bonnie Willard, Senior Account Manager- Girlilla Marketing
Bonnie Willard was bitten by the marketing bug while in college at the University of Tennessee to study Public Relations. Her experience at the university’s athletic department parlayed into the digital space and in 2011 Bonnie joined Girlilla Marketing, a strategic digital marketing agency specializing in integrated online strategies, social community building, e-commerce management and database development for consumer brands and entertainment clients. Detail oriented and organized, Bonnie loves tackling digital problems for her clients and coordinating solutions that produce serious results.