In many ways, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic marked a profound and dramatic change to the events industry. However, despite the unprecedented disruption of the past two years, many of these changes will have permanent implications for the sector. In many cases, these changes will be for the better. In this article, we’ll explore some of the biggest trends to help event marketers plan for an uncertain future.
1. Artificial Intelligence Will Power Marketing Efforts
Artificial intelligence has become a driving force of digital transformation in every industry, and events are no exception. Marketing teams are already using artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive informed decision-making and personalize their marketing efforts at scale. In the case of events management, AI and ML will help facilitate better networking opportunities, improve communication, and give businesses a better understanding of their target audiences.
Events like webinars or virtual meetings have, until now, relied primarily on live or prerecorded videos. As a passive activity, however, watching videos does little to foster real relationships. This will continue to change in the coming years, as video content becomes more engaging and interactive, with private video calls, one-to-one meeting scheduling, and virtual networking all included.
3. Embracing Omnichannel Marketing Will Become Essential
Events have always been a powerful way to build real relationships between businesses and their customers, especially in B2B industries. However, events are also part of a much broader marketing strategy that incorporates other mediums, such as social media, email marketing, display advertising, and mobile content. Given the hybrid future of events, embracing an omnichannel approach will become a practical necessity.
4. Personalized Experiences Will Become More Important
The key to any successful digital marketing strategy is breaking through all the noise. After all, the competition is fierce, and it is everywhere. Because of this, companies must get personal if they are to remain relevant and foster meaningful relationships with their customers. Events have long been a way to achieve those goals, but new challenges arise in the era of hybrid events, where it is important to offer an equally personalized experience to virtual attendees.
5. Marketers Will Become More Reliant On Real-Time Data
More than ever, data is behind everything we do when it comes to making informed decisions. Like any other digital activity, virtual and hybrid events generate data that can be translated into actionable insights thanks to advanced analytics. When every action is traceable, it will be easier to learn from past failures and successes to continuously improve your events. Real-time data, like live polls and speaker ratings, will take informed decision-making even further.
6. Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Offer Deeper Immersion
In the coming years, virtual events and the experiences of remote attendees will no longer be defined by video content alone. Emerging technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality and the metaverse, are set to radically transform the events sector by bringing a new level of interactivity to virtual events. As an alternative to physically attending an event, attendees will be able to participate via full-fledged virtual worlds.
7. Hybrid Events Will Become the New Standard
While the pandemic made clear the immediate need for virtual events, it also ushered in a new standard for the event format – the hybrid event. In a hybrid event, attendees can join virtually or in-person. This will allow event marketers to preserve the unique characteristics of physical events, while also allowing them to expand their reach to attendees who are either unable or unwilling to participate in person.
8. Attendee Safety Will Become a Top Priority
Even as the world returns to normal, the pandemic urgently highlighted and reinvigorated the need to pay close attention to health and safety. While the events industry has seen significant optimism with the return of in-person events, hygiene and safety will continue to be a top priority. Because of this, we can expect things like contactless registrations and payments to be the norm for in-person events.
9. Events Will Pivot Seamlessly Between Physical, Hybrid, and Virtual
As the world adapts to the new digital reality, the events industry will need to pivot seamlessly between in-person and virtual formats. These formats are not interchangeable, and both have their pros and cons. The challenge lies in establishing a hybrid event format that offers equal value to both remote and in-person attendees and allows them to collaborate regardless of how they are attending. This is why an integrated event management platform will prove vital.
10. Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Will Play a Greater Role
Organizations that embrace diversity, equality, and inclusion perform significantly better than those that do not. This applies to the events industry too, just as it does any other. Organizers and other decision-makers must listen to the needs of their teams and their customers to tailor their events to deliver their core message in an accessible and equitable way. Events should accommodate various communication styles to support a diverse range of attendees.
11. Cybersecurity Must Become a Number-One Priority
Event planners have become heavily reliant on digital technology, and that reliance will only continue to grow in the coming years. However, this also introduces some unique risks, since event planners bear a responsibility to protect private information about their attendees. This is why a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is a must for event managers – one that enforces end-to-end encryption of all data and is fully compliant with global privacy regulations.
12. Live Meetings and Events Will Make a Dramatic Comeback
Perhaps our most important prediction of all for 2022 is that in-person events will make a major comeback. However, they will surely continue to leverage virtual and hybrid event technology to maximize their reach and reduce risk in the face of growing uncertainty. In the end, in-person events, which have been sorely missed by
Brecht Fourneau joined Aventri in 2015 through the acquisition of TapCrowd, a mobile event tech startup he co-founded in 2009. He is currently responsible for defining and rolling out Aventri's EMEA and APAC Marketing strategy, constantly looking...https://www.aventri.com/blog/event-marketing-trends-and-predictions