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 – 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