By: Erica Sunarjo
Whether you operate as a small-scale startup and visit conferences and seminars personally or are looking for ways to innovate within your own event management process, implementing new and interesting trends into the pipeline can prove highly beneficial.
According to Finances Online, an average Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) allocates 24% of the company’s yearly budget to live events, including organizing them internally and visiting those hosted by other companies. Likewise, 91% of clients have experienced more positive feelings about certain brands after attending their live events, while 41% of marketers consider event management a critical channel for achieving positive business outcomes.
Event Manager Blog published a study recently which stated that 39% of event professionals agree that meaningful attendee engagement is a crucial part of proper event management, while 56% of global brands plan more than 16 events per year and aim to increase their output in 2020. With that said, leaning on up-to-date trends and attendee expectations in your event management is of utmost importance for the sake of boosting your industry authority and market presence as a whole. Let’s take a look at several innovative trends in event management worth pursuing and implementing in future conferences, seminars and networking events hosted by your company.
Authenticity & Personalization
Organizing an event which will attract attendees of certain profiles and backgrounds is all about branding it as such. If you are organizing an event centered on HR training, HR company networking and HR lectures with professional coaches, that event should look and feel authentic. Do not market your event as just another conference and hope that people in the industry warm up to it without a fault.
Instead, your HR event should be branded with a unique identity, logo, promo materials, social media announcements, and other goodies. Likewise, you can invite past collaborators, visitors, and speakers to offer short testimonials or quotes for you to use in a creative marketing campaign, further solidifying your authenticity. This will create a much stronger sense of personalization around your conference rather than it being just another event which just so happens to cater to HR professionals.
Open innovation can be organized into a more inclusive granting mechanism. In the past, nonprofits and other organizations would fund social enterprises by asking for a written proposal—but combining mentorship and crowdsourcing creates new opportunities and community solutions. Find out how it worked for Pact and the US Department of State in the AfrIdea case study.
Innovative Added Value
“Added value” has become an important point of consideration in modern event management. While a conference centered on IT is bound to feature technology, adding small incentives for your attendees can go a long way. Promo packages involving notebooks and pens are always a good choice – however, you can go a step further and incorporate the event’s name, branding, location and date into the mix.
Things such as digital promo goodies, free software licenses, on-site coaching and other items will ensure that your event is accepted in a positive light. You can also create one-of-a-kind bracelets, badges, pins, and other items with the event’s brand and date on them, making them a unique identifier for people who attended the event. While these items won’t set you back financially, they will assuredly create a more positive atmosphere during your event, facilitating word of mouth about your company once the event is finished.
Casual Networking Spaces
One of the most important aspects of event management is to allow for organic networking to take place at the venue. Whether it’s a B2B conference dedicated to networking specifically or a student seminar aimed at education and coaching, networking can be facilitated in a multitude of ways. Most specifically, creating casual networking spaces throughout your venue will allow attendees to flock to places such as the bar, the cafeteria or the lounge with this purpose in mind.
Simply marking different spots at the venue with “networking space” will do the job, while addressing the fact in a live panel and inviting people to use the opportunity to meet someone new will help seal the deal. It’s important that networking spaces are casual, laid-back and (preferably) without chairs and tables – instead, you can fill them with lazy bags or similar ice-breaking items. Don’t miss the opportunity to facilitate networking in your event management and your attendees will walk out with much richer experiences as a result.
Dedicated Chatbot Integration
Depending on the scale of your event and the range of different demographics and backgrounds you may have in your attendance, you might have to extend your innovation into the digital space. Chatbots are machine-learning AI capable of serving as support agents, FAQ desks, and other critical functions needed for an event to run smoothly.
In order to integrate chatbots into your event management, you can prompt incoming attendees to download a specialized app, visit your website or use a QR code in and around the venue to get in touch with the chatbot. Once they do so, they should be greeted with a personalized chatbot equipped with various answers, helpful tips and links in regards to the event venue map, schedule, and other information. This will effectively eliminate downtime, ensure that every attendee is at the right place at every moment, as well as allow you to collect relevant interaction data for later event management and post-event analysis.
Applicative Workshop Development
Workshops, team-building, and other group activities are bound to take place during your event in some form. However, current trends dictate that event management should be done with future applications in mind. Any item, idea, project outline or prototype event attendees create during the conference or seminar should be marketed to potential companies for further refinement.
Any ideas which are accepted as viable for further research and production should include the original workshop team’s input and credit them as the creators of said items. This approach to workshops and creative development during events hosted by your company will add large amounts of credibility to your brand as a whole. Most importantly, you will allow young individuals with big ideas to present their ways of thinking to the public, with your brand and event as a proxy.
Over to You
While introducing business innovation and pioneering new trends in your event management might seem like a risky step at first, it will pay off in spades down the line. This is especially true if you host events in niches such as medicine, business or IT where attendees have most likely seen and experienced all there is to see.
Offer something new and exciting to your clients and event attendees by embracing innovative trends before your competitors do the same. In turn, you will be seen as a breath of fresh air in the event management industry, solidifying your position on the market for the foreseeable future.
About the author
Erica Sunarjo is a graduate of Business Administration and a Writer and Editor at The Word Point, where you can translate anything. She has dedicated her professional career to bridging the gap between business-centric topics in the form of digital content publishing, hoping to bring complex topics to a wide audience. In her spare time, Erica enjoys horseback riding and reading classic literature.