5 Strategies for Event Planners to Meet Growing Attendee Expectations
In the past two years, there’s been a significant shift in the way consumers approach life. They’re more invested in physical and mental health, more focused on the planet’s future and more aware of how they manage their time due to working from home, among other things. As a result, consumers are reprioritizing what they buy, where they go and what they do.
This reprioritization has affected how consumers view brands. Why? At the core of it all is community. Enforced separation and digital isolation made people realize how important it is to stay connected to each other and their communities. Brands that fail to provide meaning and purpose while bringing people together don’t align with the current consumer sentiment.
People are eager to get back out there and engage with brands and other consumers. But the same old tactics aren’t going to draw people in—or keep them engaged. That’s why event planners must focus on product value and drive excitement now more than ever. According to a 2020 Bizzabo report, more than 80% of marketing professionals regarded attendee engagement as a key metric for determining event success.
5 Strategies to Keep Event Attendees Engaged
The importance of great production value can’t be understated. Everyone wants that “wow!” moment when they walk into an event. Here are five strategies event planners can use to create engaging experiences for attendees.
1. Aim to surprise and delight.
This might not be a new tactic, but bringing elements of joy and whimsy to an event is one of the greatest ways to engage attendees. Creating an environment where consumers feel something and want to share that feeling on social media can amplify the brand’s footprint.
For instance, when “The Lego Movie” was nominated for an Academy Award for best song in 2015, performers distributed Lego Oscar statuettes to the celebrity audience. According to Amobee Brand Intelligence, Lego’s stunt resulted in about 47,000 social mentions, accounting for 44% of real-time discussions and totaling approximately $7.5 million in free advertising.
2. Use technology to bring new dimensions to real-life experiences.
Event planners can use lighting, projection mapping and other tech elements to bring brands to life. Virtual and augmented reality are two effective tech tools that can elevate an experience.
For example, virtual reality gives brands endless chances to increase engagement. Consider Asos’ virtual catwalk or Italian wine brand Barone Fini’s “Flight of Fini,” a virtual reality experience at select hot-air balloon festivals in the U.S., where attendees can virtually “ride” a hot-air balloon over the brand’s Italian vineyard. Indeed, the possibilities are only limited by human imagination.
3. Address a ‘human’ problem.
What problem does the brand solve? What is the consumer experience with the brand? Event planners should take a moment to put themselves in consumers’ shoes and develop experiences grounded in empathy. This can help people feel seen and understood, evoking an emotional response in attendees.
4. Prioritize interactivity.
No one wants to just stand and look around at an event. Planners can foster engagement by using sensory elements to create fully immersive experiences. Physical involvement imprints in memory, so allow consumers to be hands-on and create opportunities to participate at whatever level they feel comfortable.
For example, our team at Inspira Marketing Group helped National Geographic create a multisensory, 3D experience where attendees could “visit” a coral reef and interact with sea creatures via chatbot technology.
5. Keep the momentum going.
How do events come to life digitally on a brand’s website and in follow-up email communication? What is the social strategy that will continue to keep consumers engaged? Planners should create an integrated experience that lives beyond the event itself.
The 2019 Met Gala Vogue video booth is a prime example. Guests filmed videos throughout the night that coincided with the event’s “camp” theme, each with a unique look and feel. The clips were edited and posted on Vogue’s and participants’ Instagram pages during and after the event.
Boosting engagement is the key to ensuring event success. By using these five strategies, event planners can exceed expectations and impress modern-day consumers.