“Do we really need the internet?” It’s hard to believe that, just over 10 years ago, event marketers and program managers asked this question for trade shows, customer events and more. That’s because, unless they were planning tech demos or presentations, there were few other reasons to pay the fee. Enter the mass adoption of the smartphone, and the question is no more.
Technology has been on a skyward trajectory, with new tech developed and rolled out every year. The bar as it relates to consumer engagement and face-to-face marketing continues to be raised. And, technology has become an obstacle for a majority of companies, per Eventbrite’s 2018 Event Industry Trends report.
Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents say adopting event tech in 2017 was a challenge. Yet, they will embrace the trial technology brings because of the rewards that follow. In fact, another 2018 event marketing report, by Bizzabo, says 86% of event marketers believe technology “can have a major positive impact on the success of their events.” Through its use, they can increase customer engagement at every phase of the campaign. They are building more and better relationships that drive additional sales.
Event tech is generally structured to go unnoticed or to help companies stand out. Yet, either capacity has potential to increase customer engagement.
Some applications work behind-the-scenes to help event marketers, program directors and event staff. They can be used to automate processes or collect event and attendee data. Other platforms bring the “wow factor.” They serve as the centerpiece of an event to attract attendees and add to their experience.
It’s safe to say brands that employ both types with success are better poised to perform. The Bizzabo report confirms organizations exceeding goals are “likely leveraging event technology to better market, measure and grow their events.” Of their respondents, 80% are “overperforming.” And, it’s these brands that plan to up their event tech budget by $4,500 more than those that are only meeting goals or “underperforming.”
With frontrunners gaining momentum, the competition grows steeper. Having the right event tech this year is a strategy other brands can use to increase customer engagement and maximize ROI.
The right event technology will offer tremendous benefit before, during, and after events. We’ve seen it happen with event management software, gamification, RFID technology and more. For 2018, think bigger. And, take a good, hard look at the following as viable solutions to becoming an overperformer, too.
There’s nothing that will diminish excitement for an event quicker for consumers than trying to get tickets and failing. Ticket bots are grabbing hundreds per event. And, their operators are raising prices in subsequent sales. This can have detrimental effects on future business. That is until the advent of blockchain ticketing.
Using the same technology as Bitcoin, blockchain ticketing allows event organizers to set rules for ticket purchases and help ensure fair sales. Citizen Ticket touts itself as the first company to deliver the capabilities in May 2017. Yet, others such as Crypto.tickets and UPGRADED exist, too. And, they’re ready to share how digital ticketing helps event marketers and program managers know who’s actually in attendance. Most importantly, they can keep in touch with the right people.
No, virtual reality isn’t new. But brands can use it creatively during their events to everyone’s advantage, especially related to customer engagement. In fact, using its innovative active virtual reality motion platform, the Omni, Virtuix logged 1,320 engagement minutes between CES and the Game Developers Conference. These are two events where tech must stand out to get coveted attendee attention. This makes partnerships with developers a great idea to drive interest for both companies’ products and services.
Virtual reality is also enhancing another event and experiential marketing trend – live streaming. In 2018, look for overperformers to engage companies like NextVR to raise the bar in this area.
CES 2018 was abuzz with robots of all kinds. From “dogs” to “humans,” robots demonstrated their abilities to clean our homes and turn off the lights. Yet, for event marketers and program managers, one exhibit stood out for the most impressive droids. And, it featured those that go by the names TiKi and Maava and developed by French company Event Bots.
The latter was designed to bring the “wow” to activations. Maava’s capabilities include welcoming visitors, giving presentations and providing entertainment. TiKi, on the other hand, assists consumers with finding and buying products and services. But, let’s face it; her abilities to do these things with an interactive touch screen also come with a “wow” factor. And, that makes either bot a comprehensive solution to increase customer engagement.
This type of artificial intelligent bot isn’t as sensational as the humanoid. But, it does deliver efficiency. At registration or even on-site, chatbots give custom answers to critical attendee questions. In fact, BizBash reports “Betty,” its chatbot, to have handled 1,630 questions before, during and after a one-day conference and expo. Imagine the time saved in planning and in execution, allowing people to curate more meaningful interactions with attendees.
Another great benefit of a chatbot is the ability to give it your brand’s look and feel and have it adopt current messages. This gives you another means to showcase your brand’s values and meet its goals, while streamlining processes for everyone.
Consumers demand more personalized experiences as we move forward into 2018 and beyond. Facial recognition is helping brands know what consumers like by capturing their emotions. One example is Expedia’s “Discover Your Aloha” campaign, in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Together, they created a video showing Hawaiian vacation activities. Participants gave permission to monitor their reactions with facial recognition while viewing it. The company then pitched a vacation package based on the results.
Other benefits are its abilities to speed the check-in process, while also enhancing event security. Combined, these demonstrate the technology’s comprehensive application.
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