Now Trending: How to Stay Current in the Ever-Changing World of Events
Business-to-business (B2B) event marketing offers prospects a chance to interact with a company and get a first-hand account of its products, services, brand and expertise. To be effective, events must make a lasting impact. As a result, events are trending towards a more inclusive, collaborative and blended experience for exhibitors and attendees alike. As BizBash founder, David Adler, puts it: “All experiences are morphing together into the festivalization of events.” Concerts are merging with conferences, industry tradeshows are adding consumer elements, and keynote speakers are passing their mics to the audience for increased attendee participation.
Whether you’re exhibiting at an upcoming tradeshow or planning your next big conference, these five trends will help give you a competitive edge in today’s evolving event landscape.
It’s All About the Theme
Gone are the days when you could show up to a conference and pop up a table with a branded tablecloth. Today, brands are taking a deeper dive into campaign themes and must strategically bring their theme to life through booth design and activation in order to stay competitive in a sea of booths.
At AI Summit last year, ParallelM aimed to effectively communicate their value as “The MLOps Company.” The Company worked with Zer0 to 5ive to launch MLOps.org – a resource for data science, operations & engineering, and business teams to understand and implement machine learning operationalization – and wanted to make an impact at the event. Zer0 to 5ive developed a branded booth backdrop, counter, and pull up banner, as well as an MLOps sticker to help bring the brand and message to life.
With clever designs and supporting materials, there are endless ways to support your message and brand through booth design and engagement.
Less Is More
Conferences and tradeshows can be aesthetically overwhelming for attendees. There’s so much to see in so little time, that the last thing people want to see is convoluted messaging on booth displays.
If it takes attendees more than 5 seconds to read and understand your message, you’ve lost them. Keep it short, impactful and to the point. One great way to do this is by including an eye-catching industry statistic that speaks to your product or service. Another is a graphic that conveys how your product’s benefits. Additional information can be provided in banner stands, brochures and handouts.
In order to get the most out of your messaging, be sure to remember the following:
- Keep messaging and imagery at eye level. Anything lower than 20 inches off the ground will go unnoticed
- People take in tradeshow graphics like they do a newspaper – left to right and top to bottom – so arrange your messaging accordingly
- Use your brand colors wisely and consistently to avoid visual overload and maintain your theme
Dynamic Data Collection
Every business knows that collecting information is key when exhibiting at an event. A captivating digital experience can seamlessly generate leads and collect user information, while garnering the full attention of your potential client through entertainment. With gamification abilities and VR experiences, brands can now demonstrate their products and services in an engaging, hands-on way that is sure to pique the interest of attendees and drive traffic to their booth.
At DIA, Zer0 to 5ive’s client, Greenphire, paired their eye-popping graphics with an interactive superhero quiz and a selfie booth. Not only did their creative activation draw people into their booth, but it also served as a way to collect emails and generate leads among a captive audience.
No matter the digital integration, be sure it is well executed and fits with your overarching theme.
Engage Your Audience (Either Live or Virtually)
Tradeshow trends are leaning toward increased participation by attendees. We will likely see a gradual decline in the speaker-centric event model, and future conferences and tradeshows will focus on increased interaction between speakers and attendees.
Similar to Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) threads, where there is a direct exchange between the speaker and audience, conferences will seek attendee participation and engagement beyond the typical five minutes of Q&A at the end of the session.
This trend isn’t exclusive to speakers either. It can – and should – be implemented in booth activations as well. Have the company’s CEO do a live AMA via social media or conduct an interactive survey to get feedback and insights from attendees, and get creative!
Experience. Watch. Repeat.
Live streaming offers a number of benefits for conference planners, exhibitors, and attendees alike and will, without question, become even more prevalent at conferences in the coming years. A few benefits include:
- Opportunity to generate a larger audience by removing geographical and physical restrictions
- Seamless integration into social media campaigns through the use of Facebook LIVE, Instagram LIVE and event hashtags, allowing organizers and exhibitors to create shareable content, while enabling virtual attendees to contribute to the conversation
- On-demand sharing post-event enables continued visibility and can be used to follow up with attendees, showcase the event to potential sponsors, or promote the next year’s event
Although it’s tough to replace attending an event in-person, there are certainly benefits to live streaming capabilities.
One thing we can count on in the event industry is that there will always be new trends emerging. Stay current on the latest trends and keep these five in your back pocket for your next big event. We’re already excited to see what the rest of 2019 brings!
By Deirdre Purdy, Senior Strategist
The ground was covered in snow, but our Zer0 to 5ive winter retreat warmed up our Philadelphia offices for a few days in December (quite literally in the conference room!)
Bringing the team together in this way was great — building and reinforcing the culture of Zer0 to 5ive, from the principals to the interns. Activities such as fun, educational presentations from team members or the 2013 review/2014 preview may be the official parts of the agenda, but the simple act of noshing on bagels and donuts with lots of coffee in the morning with different coworkers was just as valuable.
We’ll be posting some of our great presentations on this blog in the months ahead, including:
- Crossing the Chasm (a perennial favorite) and its vital approach to marketing technology companies
- Social media tactics to help companies connect with their customers and create conversions
- Google Hummingbird’s impact on SEO techniques
- Optimizing meetings for greater productivity and less boredom
- Web development techniques that boost the quality of your website
These sessions drove great dialogue with our interdisciplinary team of PR pros, designers, developers and project managers. Every retreat generates new ideas that we carry forward into our day-to-day activities and add to our toolbox.
All in all, the retreat was a great capper for 2013 and a great preview of 2014 for the entire Zer0 to 5ive organization!
Happy Holidays to All!
I recently attended a networking luncheon event at the Publicity Club of New York, the oldest ongoing organization for public relations professionals in the country. The topic? Technology, Startups & Entrepreneurs. I was interested to learn how the reporters on the panel like to be approached by folks like us (be polite and friendly!) and was able to gain some valuable tips that will aid in future pitching.
The event was hosted by Peter Himler and featured an exciting panel of tech journalists from publications including Business Insider, Mashable, VentureBeat, and GigaOM. The packed room buzzed with industry banter and shortly after arriving, Alyson Shontell, Samantha Murphy, Devindra Hardawar, Manoush Zomorodi, and Ki Mae Heussner took their seats at the front of the room and were introduced by Peter.
November 5th marked the annual WordCamp Philly – a much-anticipated conference for designers and developers in the Philly area that use WordPress. WordCamp Philly is intended to be the premiere WordPress-related technical conference in Philadelphia, offering various seminars and sessions designed to grow and enhance your WordPress skills.
I signed up for WordCamp Philly, excited to attend and listen to the presentation given by Doug Stewart: Adding a Social ‘Stache: BuddyPress, bbPress And Beyond.
Doug Stewart is co-founder of the Philadelphia WordPress Meetup Group and an established BuddyPress developer – an expert, in my opinion.
Doug did a great job of explaining multiple benefits of adding these social applications, BuddyPress and bbPress, to your WordPress-enabled website.
Below are some notes from the presentation:
Why go social with WordPress and your website?
- Increase capability and potential for user engagement
- Encourage contribution for users
- Make it easier for users to engage with content
- Give “freshness” to a site
- Increase a sense of ownership
- Add a sense of community
Why use BuddyPress versus bbPress?
For smaller, simpler applications – use bbPress. bbPress is only a forum solution, meaning that it will only add forum capability to your site. Alternatively, BuddyPress offers a lot more features, including messaging and friend connections, but it is more complex.
Who uses bbPress: WordPress.org forums, WordPress.com forums, Dropbox Support Forums
Who uses BuddyPress: CUNY Academic Commons, Solo Practice University, hMAG, GigaOm Pro
Doug made a very valid point that you should not implement tools on your website that will not be used. If your community is small, it doesn’t make sense to implement friends, private messages, etc. Start with a forum and, as your community builds, implement new features that your community will love and utilize regularly.
bbPress – http://bbpress.org/
BuddyPress – http://buddypress.org/
Zer0 to 5ive Senior Developer
I just finished a whirlwind of 3 “tech” conferences in 4 weeks: EDUCAUSE (higher ed tech), Aspire 2011 (LivePerson’s global summit on customer engagement) and Defrag 2011 (internet innovation around information transformation). Three different conferences, three different vertical markets, three different locations and three different “feels”. But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that all three talked about the same four things and those things weren’t so techy:
It was astounding to me that culture – what many might think of as the least techy thing of all – was so important in so many of the presentations. Why is that? I’m not sure I know, but what I think is that the past few years – fueled by technology – have created a major shift in how we work, learn and engage – and that culturally, we are trying to keep up. Education, application development, customer service – they are all feeling the same impact.
As importantly, in many cases, we weren’t talking about tech at all, but rather content. Content that drove learning, content that created leadership, content that engaged buyers. “The pipes don’t matter!” “The LMS as we know it is dead!” “It’s online and offline – content when and where you want it.”
The best part of all of these conferences for me was that at some level they were all about marketing. Defining what’s important, where the engagement needs to happen, how the engagement needs to happen and how the brand and culture need to be consistent and honest. All of this against a backdrop of incredible speakers who challenged us to be honest, to challenge status quo, to look beyond the obvious. Oh, and that it’s okay to be a Geek.
I can’t give these conferences their full due – literally too much content (!), so check them out yourself with their Twitter hashtags: #EDU11, #defragcon, #Aspire2011.
Zer0 to 5ive Founder and Co-CEO