“With the overwhelming number of conferences, panels and happy hours taking place in a given event cycle, the personalization factor is a marketing must. Understanding attendees’ personal interests is critical to standing out and marketing to all of these individuals.” - Adweek
Events are no longer a social gathering. They are now a powerful and effective marketing tool, a platform for people from all over the world to meet and network for purposes ranging from business to cause.
With the transformation of events, the manner in which events are planned and engaged including the overall event experience has also changed. People have had it all, they have seen it all, from the extravagant decor, amazing speakers to fun ice-breaking sessions.
Attendees now are looking for a unique event experience that caters to them, specifically. Event planners now find ways to tailor the event experience in a way that is unique and engaging for their attendees.
Why put so much thought into it, you ask? The true success of an event depends on the extent to which event organizers were able to achieve their event goals and achieve their KPIs.
These goals can only be achieved when you receive your desired turn out and truly en gage your event attendees in your event. According to Contently, 56% of marketers claim personalized content drives higher engagement.
That is why it is essential for planners to make sure that their attendees have a memorable event experience in order to convert them into your loyal attendees and achieve event success.
The answer to, “how can this be achieved?” lies in two words; event technology. We are fortunate enough to be living in the age of such technological advancements where a lot of event planning and execution aspects have been simplified and optimized for us.
With technology at your disposal, here are a few ideas through which you can personalize your event, making it more attendee-centric:
1. Maximizing Attendee Convenience Through Event Apps
Mobile apps for events are definitely gaining quite the popularity within the industry due to its benefits. Event apps are a great way to personalize the event experience and cater to each attendee individually. Each attendee can download their event app and have an individual profile on the mobile event app.
Organizers can send out personalized notifications. Some event apps also integrate features such as virtual assistants in the form of custom or social media integrated chatbots that help attendees navigate through the event, create their custom itinerary, suggest people that they can network with and more.
Attendees can explore other attendee profiles, set up meetings, network with fellow colleagues and more, the entire experience is catered to their industry and requirements. Thus it’s their own event app.
2. Beacons to create an interactive venue
Beacons are an event tech tool that is gaining rapid popularity. Beacons connect directly with an attendee’s device through Bluetooth. Organizers can use beacons to tailor the event experience for the attendees.
Here’s an instance as to how the tech can be used to personalize the event experience: Exhibitors can install beacons at their stall that connects with the attendees’ device. As soon as the attendees come within the radius of the booth where the beacon is located, organizers can display custom messages such as “Hey XYZ, Nice to have you here!”
Planners can also come up with personalizing the event experience through custom, wearable beacons. Thus, the tech can be utilized in multiple ways to create individual attendee experiences.
3. Engage and facilitate attendees with wearable tech
Wearable tech is all the rage these days. From basic hand bands that can be scanned upon entrance to wearable gloves at the Winter Olympics 2018 that was used for payment, it’s a fascinating tool to tailor the event experience for attendees.
Taking the example from the GES 2017 event, attendees were given a wearable tech device that tracked the number of steps they took within the event venue. Attendees can track how much they have explored the overall event space and the sections that they’ve been to so far through the wearable device the data for which was reflected in their event app.
There are a lot of fun and affordable wearable tech devices in the market for event planners that you can check out to personalize your event experience.
4. Personalized and useful event swag
Custom event swag personalized for your attendees. A simple pen with the attendee name is not enough. Event swag, along with being useful should also be personalized. Try thinking of creative event swags that engage attendees individually and make them feel like a part of the event.
You can also utilize wearable tech to be given out as event swag, taking the example of the GES event that I’d just mentioned in my last point. Attendees were able to keep their GES wristbands post the event. And in my personal experience, the band has previous year’s attendees still talking about the event.
Providing custom swag that works with individual attendee data can help planners maximize individual attendee ROI and enhance the overall experience for them.
5. Personalization through virtual and augmented reality
Alternate reality is a great way to engage the audience and create immersive, personalized event experiences. With virtual and augmented reality, event professionals can create personalized experiences for attendees when used in unique and creative ways.
If budget allows, planners can set up VR/AR gaming corners for attendees. Planners can also facilitate VR/AR devices or wearable tools that let attendees connect with the event and explore the event experience in their own way. You need to think out of the box and utilize this tool to its full potential.
Alternate reality is a concept that has been leveraged the most in terms of experiential marketing at events as well as it is the best way to entirely immerse the attendee with your event, the experience and the brand you’re looking to sell.
6. Leverage Social media to enhance the event experience
Social media is a great way to get your attendees involved with your event on a personal level. Social media has been one of the most preferred platforms for attendees to share their opinions, feedback and their experiences. This is something you can really cash upon.
There are multiple ways in which you can create personalized experiences through social media. Start off with something simple, like a social media contest or integrating social media integration on your event app encouraging attendees to get talking about their own experiences.
Set up a social media wall on your event premises that can project what attendees are talking about your event on these social media platforms. Dedicated social media person for the event that responds to attendees individually is another great way of personalizing it and making every attendee feel like a part of the event.
In the end, what is personalization all about? It is making sure that every attendee experiences your event individually yet is equally involved in your event as well.
You must get creative with all the resources you can afford including event technology tools in order to make sure that attendees take away something significant and memorable for your event if you truly wish to nail this marketing strategy.
After all, personalization is the future of experiential and event marketing.