Event Marketers Identify Best Practices for Year-round Attendee Engagement

September 9, 2016

By Elizabeth Johnson

With the rise of digital entertainment options and the fall of attention spans, now just eight seconds on average, engaging attendees beyond a trade show or event has never been more important, or challenging.  Year-round attendee engagement has become critical for building a strong event brand and maintaining attendee retention rates. 

On Event Manager Blog, Kerry Creaswood explained how engagement adds power to events. She wrote, “Event marketing is no longer about creating sales pitch opportunities. It’s about getting customers to form a connection with a brand and building relationships. Customers who see a good deal, might make a purchase. Customers who feel emotionally connected to a brand will make a purchase, but they will also recommend those products and services to others. They will also continue to be loyal to that brand into the future. This is something that has played out for years in content marketing, and now it is coming to fruition in the event marketing niche.”

Trade show and event marketers have identified three overarching best practices to keep that positive connection going in between events and keep their brands top of mind until it’s time to register for the next event. Within each practice, the tactics are flexible and can be customized to fit the interests of the event’s audience.

1.       Offer something of value.

“Post-event engagement is about creating something of value that your prospect can't or won't want to turn down. What I've found works is actually setting up "executive round tables" for prospects to meet with current customers to have an "idea exchange". The thing most high-level people want is to know other high-level people. If you can facilitate that conversation, you're showing value and connecting them with people who are already your brand ambassadors,” said Virginia Case, CMO at Strategic Tactical Marketing.

2.       Spread out the opportunities for engagement.

“We do several things throughout the summer to keep our presence in front of attendees and prospects. They include promoting DDW On Demand which attendees receive online access with registration, but is also a product sold to non-attendees; producing a post-show issue of our newspaper, DDW Daily News; sharing photos from our photo station throughout the summer using #tbt campaigns on social media; and sharing attendee stat infographics on Instagram,” explained Alison Moser, director of marketing, Digestive Disease Week.

3.       Tease the upcoming event.

“One thing we do is a ‘sneak peek’ video. We interview the course director of our postgraduate course the previous year, as the course is being planned, and use the video in social media and email as one of the first tactics in our marketing plan. The sneak peek has been very successful in terms of email and video performance,” shared Martha Sauchuk, director of marketing at the American Association for Study of Liver Diseases.

So ,while our attention spans may now be shorter than a goldfish’s, by applying these best practices to their marketing year round, event marketers can ensure their trade show stay on top of attendees’ minds and create brand ambassadors. 

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact