A few short decades ago, the concept of engagement was rarely associated with corporate events. Fast-forward to 2020, and attendee engagement has become a term bandied about with much fervour – for good reason.
Gone are the days when events were a one dimensional affair, with any interaction between guests and event content solely regaled to the five minute Q&A session at the end of what was more often than not, a tedious speech that, if attendees were lucky, incorporate the use of an overhead projector. In other words, corporate events entailed very little opportunity for authentic guest engagement.
We may have come a long way from the bare bones of engagement, but the ways and means with which event planners will be able to facilitate attendee engagement are still in their infancy.
If your event is to be successful (regardless of the metrics you use to measure this), you need to prioritise the engagement of guests above all else. But getting this right can be easier said than done. Today, we’re continuously bombarded with content from every angle, on every device, which means that our attention spans have become our most scarce (and as a result), most precious commodity. Capturing the hearts and minds of attendees relies on personalised content that’s specifically tailored to the individual. Events need to go beyond the standard of personalisation that guests have come to expect if they’re to abandon the devices in the palms of their hands, turn down another engagement or show up in the first place.
As we look to the future, the event space will increasingly rely on technology to authentically and successfully engage guests. And as sophisticated engagement solutions become more readily available, they’ll also become more affordable and easier to implement.
Read on to learn what event engagement will look like in the near future:
Facilitated by new technologies, events will entail end-to-end personalisation throughout
From registration to post-event surveys and content, myriad touchpoints will be tailored to the individual as opposed to the whole. Inbound marketing behemoth Hubspot is already providing a glimpse into what these personalised touch points might look like. Attendees at their annual INBOUND conference were able to curate their own agenda, choosing from hundreds of diverse breakaway sessions, keynote speeches and networking opportunities to craft a “path” that provided an experience that catered to their individual interests and preferences – the event equivalent of reading a choose your own adventure, if you will. Hubspot’s offering of personalised agendas is only the beginning. We’ll see the incorporation of NFC (near field communication) and importantly, guest data, to tailor all aspects of an event to the unique needs and expectations of guests. From mobile app push notifications suggesting sessions and connections of interest to event content delivered via preferred format, all event collateral will put individual preferences front and centre.
One-size-fits-all content will become multi-dimensional and personalised
While one guest may prefer to consume content in the form of a podcast, another will opt for a slide share, while another, video. Providing guests with event collateral in their preferred format will become easier than ever, as will establishing these preferences in the first place. As advances in automation come to the fore, event organisers will be able to profile guests using only a handful of early guest touchpoints (for example,initial website visits, online registration, and attendance at previous events), simplifying and speeding up the personalisation process – not to mention, less expensive – a win-win, if there ever was one.
Social media moments will be fostered via a variety of innovative solutions
Social media is here to stay. While our platforms of preference may change, our inclination to share aspects of our lives will remain, humans are social creatures after all. As such, events will increasingly be created around various touchpoints that facilitate and encourage social media sharing. What exactly these might look like is anyone’s guess. We’ve already seen the rise in popularity of ‘social vending machines’ – where users exchange social media mentions – instead of cash – for goods, as well as Snapchat games, and art installations made out of hashtags generated by attendees. As it stands, the inclusion of innovative social media-focused technologies like the former are almost exclusively relegated to big budget events held by massive brands, but as innovative solutions become more commonplace, and therefore affordable, social media-driven events and installations will become commonplace at events big and small.
Networking will become more visceral thanks to virtual and augmented reality
Once solely of interest to gamers virtual and augmented reality are now employed across industries to provide immersive experiences that meet a variety of needs. We recently wrote about how corporate events of the future will become untethered to a physical space thanks to virtual reality solutions, enabling corporate events to attract and engage attendees regardless of their physical location. In addition to providing far-away attendees with the option of attending an event that’s just as immersive as the in-person experience, augmented and virtual reality solutions will be employed to engage guests in countless unique and memorable ways. From networking with peers located across the globe to test-driving new products and exploring virtual landscapes, the use of VR and AR will grow in popularity as powerful solutions to fostering attendees’ engagement.
The future of event engagement is a bright one. Make sure you’re equipped with the right technology to authentically engage your guests and catapult your events to new heights. Get in touch, here. We’d love to chat!