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Interactions with prospects and customers before, during, and after an event don’t just offer a chance for engagement, but also a unique opportunity to further customize your follow-up, communications, and their next event experience, which in turn helps accelerate impact, velocity, and conversion.

The problem? More often than not, event data is either being forgotten, spread out amongst several tools, or being inputted manually and inaccurately. Event data is powerful, but you only unlock the full power of event data when it’s seamlessly connected to the rest of your business systems.

And we at Splash aren’t the only ones who know it. Today’s most successful event marketers—we call them Event Optimizers—integrate event data across multiple customer and prospect touchpoints, including sales and marketing because, for them, events aren’t just a point in time—they are a catalyst to accelerating the buying journey, customer lifecycle, and long-term relationships.

Are you ready to connect your event data? Here’s how it’ll unlock the full potential of your event program:

Empower your team(s) with real-time data

When everyone across your organization has access to event data in real-time, collaboration and communication improve internally and externally.

Connecting your event data to your other systems allows you to leverage crucial information about your events immediately. This is critical for anyone managing the on-site experience (e.g., notifying a sales member of a VIP who just checked in), but it’s also useful for sales and support teams who often benefit the most from instant access to customer and prospect information (e.g., when a prospect RSVPs, changes are reflected immediately in a CRM or marketing automation platform).

With this data, your teams can not only make better decisions but faster ones, too. Sales can use real-time data to inform timely and relevant outreach, customer teams can use it to build better relationships, and marketing can use it for personalized post-event follow up.

Measure your impact

Understanding event performance requires more than just top-of-funnel metrics. If you need to know how your event program impacts larger marketing and sales goals, your organization must think about event data in a much broader context.

That means pushing relevant event data into your marketing dashboards, making it possible to draw insights like how many new opportunities an event generated or the dollar amount of open sales pipeline in the room. That’s when the magic happens—when you can consider customer and prospect engagement across every channel, events included.

And it’s not just about measurement—as your insights deepen, your team will be able to connect the dots to quantify an event’s ROI and build a powerful business case for any future event initiative (hello more budget and headcount!).

Throw even better events

Events are often evaluated with superficial and subjective criteria—like how busy it was, or whether an executive was able to connect with a coveted prospect. These anecdotes are nice, but they won’t move the needle.

The beauty of an integrated data system isn’t just in defining wins, but also in identifying opportunities for improvement. Once an organization can calculate an event’s ROI, marketers should not only scale those that prove successful, they should also course-correct events that produce less-than-stellar results.

Remember: without analysis, data is just a pile of information. But when you know what to do with it, data becomes your most powerful marketing weapon.

Rest easy knowing your data is accurate

For many event marketers, data syncing means manually importing valuable information into their preferred CRM, which leaves a lot of room for errors. Especially if you don’t use event technology to capture this data easily, you and your team could be relying on manually adding data from paper registration lists, badges, or stray business cards.

This method may work initially, but as an organization grows, the process can become a logistical nightmare. When you integrate your event data, it reduces the risk of human error thwarting your efforts, since it’s being automated.

Eliminate manual processes

This is most apparent for teams who still waste hours on manual data management, grappling with a combination of Google docs, business cards, and Excel spreadsheets after every event to ensure their data is up to snuff. In reality, the time they spend plugging this data into their CRMs could be better spent working on initiatives that automation can’t solve. When you remove manual data management from the equation, your team can invest their time on what really matters: leveraging insights to improve the guest experience.

Ensure compliance and security

As security and privacy concerns continue to grow and more regulations (e.g., GDPR) are put into place, your organization’s ability to provide transparency around the customer and prospect experience is more important than ever. And getting in front of your event data management now will equip your team to handle many of the upcoming data restrictions headed our way.

From this standpoint, the ultimate benefit of an integrated system is being able to call one place your data source of truth. This makes it easier to not only control your data but also provide accurate and up-to-date information on the data you’re collecting—and as consumers become savvier about the way their information is used, they’ll expect brands to leverage it in meaningful ways to customize their experience.

Scale your event program

Manual workflows and data black holes don’t scale.

To grow an event program at scale, you must be able to automate processes and workflows, predictably report on performance, and turn event data into actionable insights that prove ROI and empower your team to invest in what works.

In the end, automating and integrating event processes with your other core business platforms allows your event program, business, and team to grow.

The post Is Your Marketing Data Missing Your Most Powerful Data Set? appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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From interactive philanthropic experiences to augmented reality, experiential marketing is on the rise, with more brands looking to create memorable experiences for consumers in order to drive sales.

According to a 2018 Mosaic and Event Marketer EventTrack study, 84% of brands use events and experiences to promote their products and services to consumers. But simply following a trend, doesn’t guarantee success if your brand doesn’t have purpose. 

So what does it mean to be a purpose-driven brand? It means defining who you are—your mission and values—and then creating business and operational models that deliver on those goals. It’s about making a lasting and positive change in the world. And when that message resonates with consumers, there’s a lasting impact.
According to new Accenture research, two-thirds of consumers prefer to purchase from companies that stand for a purpose and reflect their own values and beliefs.

Create Purpose-Driven Campaigns

One of the quickest ways to learn what consumers think about your brand and the message it’s sending is to meet them where they’re already voicing their opinion: on social media. Strengthen your brand-consumer relationship by practicing social listening and responding to comments—both positive and negative—in a timely manner. This allows you to tap into consumer sentiment, get feedback on products and marketing campaigns, and even recruit brand ambassadors.

After learning what consumers want, you can use that knowledge to create an experiential marketing campaign that aligns with your brand’s purpose and determines where changes need to be made in your current marketing efforts.

Here are four signs your experiential marketing efforts are lacking purpose:

1. They don’t align with your brand values or could be perceived as offensive

For an experiential marketing campaign to be successful, it has to authentically tell your brand story in a way that’s relevant to consumers. Consumers are savvy and can detect inauthenticity and bravado a mile away.

Brands also need to ensure they are not sending the wrong message. One marketing push that caused offense was an Amazon promotion for its show “The Man in the High Castle.” The show looks at what life might have been like had Germany won World War II. The promotion included a New York subway car decked out with Nazi eagles, an image that looked similar to the Japanese rising sun, and more. Riders complained, and the ads were pulled.
Reach out to your public relations or communications team to share ideas and come up with a strategy to handle negative attention from the media should things go awry.

2. They’re not attracting the right consumer

Every campaign should start with an intimate understanding of consumers—who they are, what motivates and excites them, and why they buy. This helps brands identify their best source of business and target other consumers who think and act similarly. When brands create experiences that don’t resonate with consumers, they’re not utilizing their marketing dollars effectively.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be afraid to think outside the box. Ford Europe took a unique approach when it made the unprecedented decision to launch a vehicle at a gaming event. While Ford Europe’s executive director of communications and public affairs admitted that gaming tends to attract younger consumers who aren’t in the market to buy a car, he said that he views it as a way to make a lasting impression on future customers.

3. They’re boring

Consumer trends continue to accelerate at breakneck speed. If people have “been there, done that,” your event or experience isn’t going to gain the buzz you’re looking for. Brands need to constantly think of new ways to bring their brand story to life in innovative, groundbreaking ways.
One successful campaign that piqued the interest of passers-by was from Lean Cuisine. Women at New York’s Grand Central Station were encouraged to weigh in on custom-built scales. But the “scales” were actually boards that weighed women’s accomplishments rather than their pounds. They included things like “finishing med school” or “caring for others.” The overall campaign encouraging healthy lifestyles instead of only focusing on weight garnered more than 200 million social media impressions.

4. You haven’t gained consumer insights

Experiential marketing offers a chance for brands to gain deep insights into their consumers and provide real-time data tracking on sales, awareness, sentiment, and customer relationships. This data informs marketers’ future experiential retail ideas and campaigns by allowing them to pinpoint what drives sales and eliminate less successful elements from their marketing strategies.
In an EventTrack study, consumers were asked to describe an experience or event they attended that had a lasting impression on them. Based on those responses, here are a few tips for brands that are looking to create an insightful and meaningful experiential marketing campaign: Make the experience welcoming, immerse consumers in interactive games or competitions, provide samples, create a sense of discovery, offer an emotional tie, and make sure it’s entertaining.
When it comes down to it, advertisements and social media strategy simply aren’t enough in today’s evolving world of marketing. Take your brand to the next level by creating an experience that resonates with consumers and reflects their values. That is what creates brand loyalty for a lifetime.

The post 4 Signs Your Experiential Marketing Lacks Purpose appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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Video ads are one of the most potent tools in a marketing arsenal. So why do so many event marketers ignore it?

According to a 2018 Animoto report on social video trends, 93% of business score new customers from video marketing on social media. Eventbrite research shows that 94% of event creators who use video say it’s effective. While both reports highlight the power of video marketing, they also note that less than half of event marketers actually use this effective tool.

That’s a lot of business to leave sitting on the table.

Video clearly is engaging ticket buyers, but many event marketers are too intimidated to use the medium. After all, video is one of the most daunting types of content to produce. Your skills as an event organizer may not include filming and editing a promotional video—but it’s worthwhile to learn these few basics.

Create event videos that drive buzz

In an increasingly video-driven advertising space, focus your efforts on three essential videos—two before the event and one after:

  • A ticket launch video that builds buzz, encourages registrations, and establishes your event as the place to be this year.
  • A reminder video that answers attendees’ most frequently asked questions leading up to the event.
  • A memorable recap video that offers nostalgia for attendees and serves as a strong marketing asset for your next event.

If you only have the bandwidth to create one video, prioritize based on your brand’s goals. If you want to drive ticket sales, create a launch video. If you want to improve your attendance rate and engage attendees, create an FAQ video. If your goal is creating clips you can use to promote your next event, create a recap video.

When you release these videos certainly matters, but you must also create something that effectively engages your audience. The following three strategies will help you make videos that are informative and compelling:

1. Make the CTA your MVP

Your CTA (call to action) is key because it shows viewers how to take the next step (buying tickets, for example). But how can a CTA call viewers to action if they don’t actually see it?

Although placing your CTA at the end of a video feels natural, many viewers won’t stick around for the entire video. To ensure audiences see your CTA, place it in the middle of your video.

Beyond perfecting the timing of your CTA, you also need to give viewers clear instructions in terms of what they should do. Instead of saying “Buy tickets,” use clear and specific language: “Swipe up to RSVP” or “Click the link in our Facebook event.” People aren’t going to take the next step if they don’t know how, so make your CTA as clear as possible.

2. Use size to strategize your Facebook spend

It’s counterintuitive, but smaller events mean you should put more funding toward Facebook video ads. At 2.27 billion users, according to NBC News, Facebook holds plenty of reach and is ripe for event marketing. Facebook also has more robust ad targeting, support for video, and searchability for events than any other social platform.

Prioritize Facebook in your budget, keeping your event’s size as the key decision maker when allocating funds. Gather any location, demographic, or other important information about your audience, and then tailor your Facebook campaign to that base. Once you’ve homed in on your target, deduce your exact spend and plan the rollout and execution of each piece. By figuring everything out beforehand, your campaign’s resources will stretch further and your ROI will be more concrete.

3. Promote across online channels

Facebook is incredibly powerful, but a powerful video strategy requires more layers. Not everyone in your audience will be active on Facebook—and even if they are, a multichannel approach keeps them thinking about your event as they’re browsing online.

Use video across these digital platforms:

  • Your website: It’s easy to embed promotional videos on your homepage. The Animoto report I mentioned earlier suggests that 86% of businesses engage their audiences through this platform.
  • YouTube: As the second-largest search engine, upload your videos here to build your audience without much additional effort.
  • Email marketing: Animoto reports including the word “video” in an email subject line increases its open rate by 19%. This method offers low-hanging fruit for increased viewership, helps with viewer engagement, and simplifies connecting with attendees post-purchase and post-event.

There’s no better way for your audience to feel the buzz surrounding your event than video. Event organizers might lag behind other industries when it comes to video marketing, but that doesn’t mean it needs to remain the case. Use these marketing tips to take the mystery out of video—and drive sales.

The post Event Marketers Are Ignoring the Power of Video—Here’s How to Catch Up appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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Events are often one of the biggest marketing expenses. If this is the case, why do so few of us measure the real impact of these initiatives?

According to Event MB, 85% of event planners use event registration software, 61% use event marketing tools, and 54% use survey tools. While this is promising, these tech stacks can often lead to uncertain attribution models that fail to calculate the true ROI of events.

In this article, I’ll share an ROI attribution model that will help you accurately measure the results from your events. It all begins with assigning the right metrics to your goals.

Attaching Metrics to Event Goals

Before looking at the metrics and tools needed to measure success, you must have a clear vision on the outcome you want to achieve from your events.

Setting marketing goals is nothing new. But it’s worth mentioning here, as event goals can vary depending on the shape and format of your event. For example, a workshop that accepts only a dozen or so people will have vastly different outcomes to a 2,000-attendee conference.

The best goals are specific, but that doesn’t mean you should only choose one. Yes, you need a primary goal, but secondary outcomes usually come as an added bonus (whether you intend them to happen or not).

Why not implement them into your plan from the very beginning for the best results possible? This way, you can split your goals into two buckets:

  • Objective results: The measurable impact your event had on the business.
  • Subjective results: Outcomes such as brand recognition, engagement, and customer relationships. Harder to measure, but still contribute to your ROI.

Here, I’ll outline the most common event marketing goals and the metrics attached to them.

Generating Brand Awareness

Starting at the top of the funnel, events can be an effective method of driving brand awareness with your audience and industry as a whole. Awareness goals include:

  1. Event registrations
  2. Presence on social media
  3. Media coverage
  4. Direct website traffic

Event registrations are, of course, the lifeblood of your event marketing, and should be a leading KPI for how well you’re performing. With these goals in mind, it’s time to apply some metrics. These include:

  • Number of registrations
  • Reach on social media
  • Social media engagement
  • Mentions in online media
  • Attributed website visits
Measuring Engagement During Your Event

How are you going to measure the level of engagement at your event? While this outcome can often seem “fluffy,” there are several ways to do it. These goals include:

  1. Session attendance
  2. Session engagement
  3. Event app engagement
  4. Social media engagement

Engagement metrics provide a litmus to measure how attendees are enjoying your event. Metrics for measuring these goals include:

  • Live poll responses
  • Questions asked during sessions
  • Event app downloads and sessions
  • Mentions of company and event hashtag on social media

These goals are important for any event manager. They help you figure out what works well, what doesn’t and what needs fixing in real time. These metrics allow you to address unhappy attendees and improve your event in the future.

Acquiring Customers & Educating Your Audience

Goals that fit under the umbrella of “education” bridge the gap between awareness and ROI-driven goals (such as sales and lead generation).

Attendees are often looking for events where they can sharpen their skills and learn about new technologies. These technologies can include your own product.

Education- and acquisition-driven goals include:

  1. New customer acquisition
  2. Customer satisfaction
  3. Customer retention
  4. Partner engagement
  5. Partner satisfaction

Metrics for these goals will seem obvious, and include the following:

  • Direct purchases
  • Software trials and demos
  • Samples given out
  • In-event surveys
  • Post-event NPS survey

As you can see, these metrics are designed to measure several stages of the sales cycle before and during an event. Even the post-event NPS survey is designed to gauge how much value attendees got from your event.

3 Tools & Methods to Measure Event Marketing Success

With these goals and metrics defined, you can now effectively measure the overall ROI of your event marketing.

ROI is considered the holy grail of all marketing metrics. But how do you measure it effectively? It all starts by capturing the right data at all stages of the event marketing funnel.

Here, we’ll dive into three different tools that you can use to measure the performance of your events in real-time (and after the fact).

1. Get Attendee Insights with Event Surveys

Generating insights from attendees is best collected during the event itself. For example, if you want to ask what your attendees thought of a speaker, you can get them to fill out a survey right after they’ve attended. This way, you’ll collect accurate data to inform future session choices.

Uncover insights such as how much they enjoyed the session and how long they spent there. You can also ask them which topics they wish you covered. This can help direct your future event strategy, not to mention your content marketing efforts.

Marketers who take the time to respond to these surveys are usually engaged and invested. They’re more likely to convert into leads. These people should be qualified and scored accordingly.

You can capture this data from a survey tool or your own mobile app. If attendees use your app to express interest or register for sessions, you can time the delivery of your survey to strike while it’s fresh in their mind.

Measure Buzz with Social Listening

Your attendees will be engaging in conversations across several channels during your event. For example, Twitter is a favorite for those who enjoy live-tweeting during events.

Use social listening to measure engagement around your event before, during and after it happens. Use it to measure:

  • Mentions of your hashtag
  • Mentions of your company name
  • Mentions of your event name
  • Mentions of the venue and any related topics

Keep track of the number of posts/tweets, as well as any images and videos to fuel your user-generated content (UGC) efforts post-event. Social listening can also measure engagement during sessions. Do this by looking out for speaker quotes and overall sentiment (e.g. if they’re going on too long, how excited they are etc.)

There are many tools that can help you set up dashboards for social listening. Define which keywords, hashtags, and branded terms to monitor and you’ll get a real-time report as they happen.

Utilize Proprietary Data with an Event App

Proprietary event apps have become a mainstay of the event marketer’s toolkit. It helps boost retention, engagement, and generally build buzz around an event.

They can also provide insights on your attendees. By building your own event app, you’ll begin to build a treasure-trove of proprietary data around your events.

For example, you can see how many attendees actually turned up vs. those that dropped off. This provides you with a churn rate from sign-up to attendance. You can also use it to measure the most popular sessions or keynotes. This provides insights into which topics and speakers interest your audience the most.

This data also provides proof to exhibitors and sponsors. Provide data into how many attendees interacted with their brand. Use this insight to increase sponsor retention for future events.

There will be times where you’ll want to avoid using event technology to provide a positive experience for attendees. You must balance a streamlined experience and the use of technology for technology’s sake.

How to Practically Measure Event ROI

By collecting data and measuring the metrics outlined in this article, you’ve set yourself up to measure the level of success from your events (based on your goals).

However, there’s one final step: applying these insights to an ROI model. To wrap-up this guide, I’ll share an effective model to help you measure both objective and subjective goals (as described earlier in this article).

Step 1: First, Calculate Your Costs

To measure ROI, you first need a complete 360 view of your event expenditure. This is often referred to as the “total cost to execute,” or TOCE for short. These are usually split into two different categories:

  1. Upfront costs: Usually approved by stakeholders as part of the budget, and are therefore easier to measure. These costs include catering, venue, printing etc.
  2. Hidden costs: Involve elements such as people- and time-related costs, i.e. the total time and resources needed to execute the event itself.

To calculate hidden costs, multiply the wages (or contractor fees) of your event staff by the average number of hours needed to execute the event. This includes before, during and after the event itself.

Step 2: Measure Objective Results

So, your event is all wrapped up. Now it’s time to figure out what fruits have come to bear, starting with the results that matter most: your true-north goals.

As defined earlier, your true-north metrics will typically be one of the following:

  • Revenue generated
  • Customer acquisition
  • Lead generation
  • Appointments set
  • Business development opportunities
  • Recruitment (as a primary goal)

Again, it all depends on why you ran your event in the first place. You may also measure long-term impact, such as customer retention and renewed deals as a result of your face-to-face efforts.

With these figures at hand, you can calculate the ROI based on your total costs (both upfront and hidden) along with revenue, projected deal flow, and retention.

Step 3: Measure Subjective Results

Measuring these outcomes is slightly trickier, but still well worth taking stock. Subjective results include the following:

  • Brand awareness (social reach, attendees etc.)
  • Networking
  • Recruitment (as a secondary goal)
  • Enriched customer relationships

You can measure these outcomes based on “soft” metrics. These include numbers such as visits to your booth, attendees to a keynote and brand-related mentions across social and web. These numbers work both for exhibitors and event organizers alike.

Leading Event Marketing Strategy with ROI

ROI is too often left as an afterthought for brands. Sure, benefits such as brand awareness can lead to long-term results. But your eye should still be on your overall return. 

How are you currently measuring the results from your events? Does ROI matter most to your organization, or do you run events for other benefits?

The post How to Measure Event Marketing Performance and ROI appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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No matter the season, there is always some sort of festival going on. From January beer festivals to December holiday markets, there is always an event to attend thanks to our experience-focused lifestyles. What does this mean for your brand? It means an opportunity for promotion during public events and festivals. At any given music festival, you’ll see crowds of people waiting at the entrance, huddling around the beer tents, and jamming to their favorite bands.

One thing you might not expect to see is large groups of festivalgoers congregated around brand activations. Located throughout the festival grounds, these activations are places where brands try to integrate themselves into the event itself. This method of advertising comes in the form of experience. You will see brands giving out free samples and souvenirs as they host celebrity guests, hold contests, and offer sweepstakes.

Brand sponsorships for music festivals, tours, and venues totaled $1.22 billion in 2012. With the attendance of festivals on the rise, marketers should tap into this market as experiences are a powerful way to create an association between a brand and its audience. According to Nielsen’s research with its Music 360 report, 76% of festivalgoers and 51% of all consumers say they feel more favorable toward brands that sponsor a tour or concert. What’s more, approximately 74% of music streamers lean toward brands that engage them through music giveaways, sweepstakes, and sponsorships. Red Bull mastered this method by starting a dedicated music blog on its website that covers concerts and festivals sponsored by the brand.

VH1 spent the weekend on-site at Lollapalooza, where the brand hosted live music and a GIF photobooth where festival attendees could create an animated graphic. The GIFs could then be emailed and shared, giving participants a complimentary souvenir to share with friends.

Old School Is Not Cool

Product-focused advertisement is no longer a tactic that the festival audience desires. For example, Ben Richardson, co-founder of emergent technology festival Future Assembly, stated while brainstorming with the other co-founders: “No one is allowed to pitch their product when they’re talking at Future Assembly; they have 25 minutes to inspire the audience with an insight that is unique to their field and that’s it. It’s not a sales expo. No one is allowed to sell their products at the event, it’s all about networking.”

To make sure your user-generated content is full of positive feedback and messaging for your brand, look for festivals that align with your ideal customer profile. Just as products are curated online or in-store to promote conversion, the overall festival experience must be curated for optimum enjoyment. “We live by two core philosophies when it comes to Future Assembly,” says Richardson, “First, everything is completely curated for quality—we have stringent checklists—and, second, everyone has to be able to communicate the value their product or company brings to society in a way that a 12-year-old would be able to understand.”

Curating connection is also part of what will set successful festivals apart from their competition. Much of the frustration of festival attendees is the lack of opportunity to really connect and engage with key speakers or acts post-festival.

Experience Marketing for Brands

“What is the best possible experience we can give people?”, the critical question in any marketer’s mind. Nowhere is it more crucial than at festivals.

Jean-François Ponthieux, the creator of So Frenchy, So Chic says “I’m constantly searching for new information to make sure I don’t fall behind. What was true yesterday may be obsolete today, so people must stay on top of trends, of shifts in technology, and of what their audience most wants. Challenge your strategies and tactics and test everything!”

This year, the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City had sponsors such as Bacardi Rum, Tito’s Vodka, Coca-Cola, and Subway. High ticket prices like those found at this annual event don’t discourage Millenials. Despite their reputation as advertising-averse and difficult to reach, Millenials are still the target consumer of many brands. A cottage industry of millennial-focused brand experts and consultants has formed to better engage this particular age group & their buying power.

Talking the Talk Leads to Engagement Marketing

Throughout the three-day festival attendees were using advertising jargon—engaging with brands—sampling products, filling out surveys, signing up for mailing lists, and taking branded photos and uploading them to social media.

All of that is a testament to the skill of Founders Entertainment, the festival promotion company behind Governors Ball, and more broadly the genius of experiential marketing or engagement marketing. Rather than a one-way, passive relationship between brand and consumer, engagement marketing tries to create a two-way relationship getting the consumer and the brand to interact in the real world. So-called brand activations, like those on-site at Governors Ball, are the predominant way to make that happen.

The Founders Entertainment team, led by Alex Joffe, the director of brand and media partnerships, have grown festival sponsorships and activations to a program that generates millions of dollars per year. For example, the number of music festival attendees in the U.S. reaches 32 million each year, 14.7 million of whom are millennials. On average, people will travel 903 miles to go to a U.S. festival.

Music Festival Appeal for Brands

Music festivals are appealing to brands for a few reasons:

  • There are thousands of people in the same vicinity for two or three days, mostly within the beloved 18-34-year-old age range.
  • There is a pretty significant chance that the attendees have some disposable income. (Hence their ability to attend the festival in the first place.)
  • What better way for a brand to present itself as cool and relevant than by partaking in trends like music festivals? Connectivity is imperative at any festival. Patrons want to share their experiences instantly and join conversations online about what’s working and what’s not in real-time. Social media also acts as a way of increasing audience participation with companies utilizing digital incentives to entice patrons to brand activation areas.
What are Some Ways to Promote Your Brand at a Festival?

Create an experience integrated with the festival. Music festivals are more than a destination for live music; they are a place for festivalgoers to make memories. By integrating your brand into the experience, you can incorporate your brand into festivalgoers’ minds. Millennials, in particular, are likely to support brands that stay up to date and participate in popular trends such as music festivals. Positioning your brand in new and engaging ways will create new customers through experiences who remember your brand.

Talk to the event organizers. Don’t just buy a spot for your booth. Engaging with promoters and fellow event professionals is an opportunity to network and learn from others.

Get involved on social media before and during the event. Use hashtags and mention organizers or participants. Create a buzz on social media by showing what happens behind the scenes in prep and during the event.

Integrate your brand design with the theme of the festival. But don’t change your colors or logo; the audience needs to remember you after the event.

Offer special deals available only to the attendees.

Create personalized bags with your logo for the giveaway. Anyone can use a bag to store their purchases and free stuff, while your brand will advertise itself. Think of other useful giveaways to engage customers while giving them what they need. Things like t-shirts, hats, branded bottles of water, a charging station, or hotspot will draw consumers to you.

Provide useful information to attendees about the festival. For example, line-up information or festival map.

Think of a creative way to collect leads on the spot. Make sure to follow up with your leads after the event.

Be bold. The audience is already there, you just need to captivate them.

Lean into #FOMO

Understanding the fear of missing out psychology is key to successful music festival marketing:

  • Create shareable photo moments. Incorporate your brand into photos that people will want to share. Interactive photobooths with props, animated backgrounds, and the opportunity to share directly to their mobile device are all critical elements to consider.
  • Come as fans, not authorities. Festival-goers don’t want to be marketed to, and brands need to be present at festivals as fans. If they present as authority figures, it will be an instant turn-off.
  • Ensure the experience is transactional. Millennials want to feel they are getting something out of their interaction with a brand, so activations must create organic opportunities that add value to the festival experience and which festival-goers will want to share on social media.
  • Use instant feedback. Through direct one-on-one interactions at the events, marketers get invaluable real-time feedback on the products in a way that isn’t possible through traditional marketing. You can also make changes to improve the experience in real-time.
  • Encourage ongoing relationships. By allowing attendees to opt-in for data collection and ongoing contact, brands can create ongoing relationships beyond one event.

As you plan for 2019, think about what festivals might align with your brand. Consider creating an experiential brand activation to engage new potential customers. Thinking outside the box to engage with your customers and create opportunities to find new ones is vital for consumer-focused brands. And with so many festivals gaining in popularity, the opportunity is right in front of you.

Are there any amazing brand activations that you’ve seen at a festival? Tell me about it in the comments.

The post Why Marketers Should Consider Brand Activations at Festivals in 2019 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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Over the last decade, marketers’ opinions of events have gone up and down. To some, events can be a monumental waste of money. But to many others, there’s an increasing sense of value in running expos and conferences. They bring your best customers together and attract a wider audience from your target market.

It’s what happens at the event that matters. In fact, according to Event Manager Blog, 91% of event organizers and marketers believe that increasing engagement is an important priority during events.

In this blog, I’ll outline five strategies to boost event engagement. Each technique uses technology and event marketing trends to keep attendees engaged, boost social proof, and improve the content around your event.

1. Engage With Influencers

Influencer marketing is a hot topic across many marketing channels. Your event marketing strategy is no exception. By engaging with thought leaders across content marketing and social channels, ticket sales can receive an unprecedented increase.

The approach you choose will depend on your objectives:

  1. Content & awareness: Collaborating with influencers to create content before and after your event. This approach adds an element of social proof and helps tap into a wider audience.
  2. Advocacy: This long-term goal means working exclusively with influencers to create content, letting them tell their story about your brand.

Start by listing out the target influencers you wish to collaborate with on content. There are different kinds of influencers that range in difficulty to reach.

For example, micro-influencers usually have a follower size of 1,000 to 100,000 but have a highly engaged audience. Then there are those who can be considered “celebrities,” with follower numbers in the millions. These are sought-after by brands who wish to boost brand awareness. Paid influencer platforms, such as NeoReach and HYPR, can help you identify and connect with relevant influencers. They use algorithms that pool data from all social networks, which makes finding the right influencers easy. Manual outreach is also effective, as you’re building a relationship directly with your target influencers. Do this by engaging with them on social media first. Contribute to the content they create, and help them share it.

You can also take advantage of the media buzz and borrow social proof with publications. WebEngage does this on the front page of their website:

Get your influencers involved in the entire event organization and promotion process. Thanks to the open nature of social media, this is now easier than ever before.

2. Gamification & Contests

People love to test their luck. Contests are a creative way of leveraging this desire, offering relevant prizes to get attendees to interact and contribute to your event. Giving away free Apple products used to be exciting and engaging. But this form of incentive has suffered the same fate as banner blindness. People are simply no longer excited by fancy gadgets.

The best prizes, therefore, are relevant to your event topic or value proposition. Work with exhibitors and speakers, encouraging them to contribute prizes. These could include:

  • Free access to software for three to six months
  • Consultation with experts on a specific topic (such as a “30-minute call to analyze your content marketing strategy”)
  • Tickets for next year’s event

The question then comes down to using this to inspire engagement. One of the best ways to do this is to ask for submissions in the form of tweets or Instagram posts. There are many benefits to this. First, you create a ton of buzz around the event on third-party channels, which builds upon your credibility. Social proof is imperative for securing attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors for future events. Furthermore, you now have a host of user-generated content (UGC) to use in future marketing collateral. Again, this helps build social proof for your brand while adding visual and multimedia formats to your content.

T-Mobile ran a contest like this on social media, offering to pay the cancellation fees of their current provider. Entrants were encouraged to write a breakup letter to their provider for the chance to win:

Image source

The result? Over 80,000 “letters” were submitted. A huge amount of buzz was generated on social media while attracting new customers at the same time.

Look for creative ways to encourage the creation of UGC while adding value to your attendees. Social media and media buzz are two event promotion channels that will benefit as a result.

3. Use Live Polls

Asking for a show of hands or doing a manual headcount can turn people off. It’s also an ineffective way to get a dynamic depth of opinions.

This is where live polling comes in. It lets your audience engage with keynotes and speeches as they happen. It turns a one-way stream of content into a conversation, which is key for engagement on a wide scale and makes your presentations more memorable.

Ask thought-provoking questions to get your attendees opinions on a topic. For example, speakers can poll attendees, providing the rest of the audience with insights into the challenges of their peers.

While this adds a social aspect to your event, the real value is in the feedback. Using the answers from this poll, speakers can direct their content accordingly. The feedback can be used to direct sessions towards topics the audience finds most interesting.

Polls can even provide insight and value for marketers after the event is over. The feedback it generates is a great source of content, giving you insights on blog topics and ideas for long-form content, such as ebooks. Of course, you can then use this to inform the content of future events.

Simon Puleo used live polling when training HP’s sales teams on presenting new products to clients. This involves attending large sales conferences all over the world with up to 800 attendees each. To keep sales professionals engaged, he encouraged individuals to come on stage and give their best pitch. Other attendees voted which they thought was most effective, adding a competitive element to the event.

When trying this yourself, run a poll at the beginning of your sessions. This approach will get the audience comfortable with the way voting works and the system itself. Keep it fun, so it’s easy to participate. From here, use it to generate feedback, direct the flow of the session and collect metrics for optimization of future events.

4. Create a Mobile App

The entire event engagement process, from your website to registration, can feel disjointed. Even the collateral that your attendees pick up on the day can be a little clunky. What if you could house your entire event marketing funnel under one roof? With mobile apps, you can.

What you include in our app depends on the nature of the event. Here are some typical features that most event apps include:

  1. Rich media: A steady stream of relevant content, often in the form of an activity stream
  2. Push notifications: Keeping attendees updated with relevant information
  3. Social media: Integrate with your social campaigns (perfect when accompanied by the UGC technique explained earlier)
  4. Interactive maps: Allows attendees to create a schedule that suits them

One of the most powerful features your app provides is analytics. Optimize your future events by providing the right insights.

South by Southwest (SXSW) created SXSW GO, an app that helped festival attendees navigate the huge annual event in Austin. Their objective was to improve the overall experience and eliminate friction when registering and networking during the event.

Image source

Using iBeacons, introduced in 2014, attendees can see users that were around them to facilitate a richer networking experience. This technology allows attendees to reach out and arrange meetups during the event, providing flexible and targeted networking opportunities.

This level of integration also generated a huge amount of data. Attendee behavior, popular sessions, and content engagement are all insights that can optimize future events.

5. Virtual Event Bags

How much money do you and your sponsors spend on event swag each year? More importantly, do you know the ROI and where all those tote bags, booklets, pens, and badges end up?

There’s a lot of potential for waste. Not only that, this physical collateral is very hard to measure, which is why marketers and event organizers are moving over to “virtual event bags.”

These online goody bags help deliver measurable results while removing the clunky process of managing digital assets. With the right platform, it can be a collaborative process that gives your sponsors complete control over what they include.

Consumer Expo used virtual event bags to showcase sponsors, drive downloads to their event app and offer discounts:

The layout is simple but effective. Everything is laid out in an easy-to-use format. Friction is minimal, and attendees aren’t overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” filling up their desks the next day. Furthermore, organizers can see which offers work better than others. This will let them prove their worth to sponsors when selling future events, while also optimizing copy and creative for higher conversions.

The possibilities for improving your event engagement are endless—and exciting! What methods are you currently employing to engage with your event attendees? Join the conversation in the comments section below.

The post 5 Ways to Increase Event Engagement appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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Did you know that 24% of global marketing budgets were spent on events in 2017? That’s almost a quarter of your budget going to events such as:

While events can be powerful for driving engagement and adoption of your brand, it can often be tricky to get consensus and clarity on how to measure the ROI of an event.

In this blog, I’ve put together 3 strategies for how to get the most out of your events as you plan your marketing strategy in 2018.

1. Get Your Stakeholders Buy-In

Before investing the time and resources required to pull off an event, regardless of the size, it’s important to set the right expectations with all major internal stakeholders (sales, customer success, marketing, etc.) so that everyone is in alignment with your vision.

This includes reviewing and answering the following questions:

  • Goals:
    • What are we trying to do with this event?
    • What messaging or themes should we consider?
    • How will this event benefit the company 3-6 months from now?
    • How much budget and internal resources are required to execute on this event?
    • Who needs to be involved in the planning/promotion process?
    • What agenda would appeal most to our audience?
    • What kind of speakers/presenters do we need? Should we consider customers?
    • Will this be a customer event? Prospect only? Or mix?
  • Promotion:
    • How much lead time will we need to “get the word out” about our event?
    • Who or what organization can we tap into to drive registration?
    • Are we giving away passes or charging guests to attend?
  • Measuring ROI:
    • What does success look like?
    • What are the key metrics we need to consider and track?
      (E.g., customers vs. prospects | pipeline vs. won deals | commercial vs. enterprise | registration vs. attendance)

Getting clear with your internal team on the above questions will help you identify potential gaps in your event strategy and where to course correct. Also, by having your goals well defined and agreed upon it makes it easier to keep teams accountable especially during the next phase: promoting your event.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Promotion Strategy

At this stage of the game, you’re 50% there. You’ve shared the vision and have your internal teams buy-in for moving forward with your event strategy, you’ve created the agenda, identified speakers, and have all the sales and marketing assets ready to go.  All you need now are butts in seats. Your promotion strategy can in many ways make or break your event, so it’s critical to think beyond just email when it comes to driving registration and attendance.

In the Engagement Economy, buyers and sellers WANT to be engaged in unique and personalized ways. And for that reason, we did our own experiment during our last Marketing Nation Summit conference in April. At the time, we had a lofty goal of driving 500 CMOs to the conference with less than 3 months of lead time. Because of everyone’s cross-functional effort in promoting this initiative coupled with compelling content that would appeal to executives, we were able to drive nearly 1,000 CMOs to our conference.

How’d we do it? By putting together a jam-packed agenda coupled with an integrated cross-channel marketing strategy that focused on the below areas, we were able to get the word out in a short period of time.

  • Customer channels (advocates, customer communities)
  • Influencer channels (executive networks, social media influencers, etc.)
  • Partners & agencies (technology partners, resellers, etc.)
  • Demand gen (email, web, social, paid, etc.)

When thinking about your promotion strategy, consider the above channels to help you drive attendance.

3. Get Clear on Metrics & Reporting

So after your event is over, what’s next? Recap and reporting. But how do you tie back the fantastic feedback and anecdotal stories from customers to hard numbers and metrics? What do you even look for when classifying an event as “successful?” This is why having well-defined goals, agreed upon by your internal stakeholders ahead of time, makes all the difference.

Consider the following areas when assessing the success of your next event:

  • How much did we spend? (budget vs. actual spend)
  • How many sales meetings were booked vs. confirmed & attended ?
  • How many new customer stories or assets were captured? (events can be significant opportunities to obtain case studies and video testimonials from clients)
  • How much awareness and demand did we drive for the event? (registration vs. attendance | pipeline vs. lost/won deals | customers vs. prospects | commercial vs. enterprise | social media amplification)
  • What did attendees have to say? (surveys, anecdotal stories, etc.)
  • What did internal stakeholders, especially executives have to say about the event?

So to summarize, to fully maximize the ROI of your next event in the Engagement Economy, today’s marketer must align internally on the vision and goals, craft a compelling omni-channel promotion strategy, and measure success through agreed upon data-driven metrics.

What strategies have you used to maximize your event’s ROI? What metrics measure success for your company? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

The post 3 Strategies to Maximize the ROI of Your Next Event appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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Hosting events is like growing a small business. You start with a shoestring staff and limited tools, but as your event gets bigger, so do your needs. More team members come aboard to handle the load, more technology and tools enter the fray, and what was once a straightforward task becomes a never-ending cycle of interlocking problems and solutions.

To make matters worse, events face market competition just like any other business. Attendees buy only so many tickets every year and events that fail to innovate may quickly find themselves underattended and out of the limelight. But how do you innovate if, like so many event teams, you’re bogged down by daily operations? Many in the industry have found that using technology to automate more tasks can increase their efficiency and can keep them focused on the long game as they grow their events.

In this blog, I’ll cover three ways that automation can help move the needle and grow your events to their fullest potential. 

Why Automation Matters

Before automation tools were commonly used, teams had to manage everything themselves. Social media ads, marketing campaigns, and content management all required multiple team members to track, log, and execute. A few disconnected solutions eventually hit the market but the burden still fell mostly on event teams to pick up any slack.

Today’s tools offer event coordinators the firepower they’ve always wanted. Event professionals can now take advantage of APIs—application program interfaces—without learning to code or hiring their own engineering staffs. APIs can customize the way each piece of technology communicates with the others, streamlining processes and making automation what it was always supposed to be: automatic.

APIs operate by connecting two unrelated applications without requiring developer intervention. Take workflow tool Zapier: Event professionals can create “zaps” for their specific needs and synchronize movement between applications (e.g., automatically adding new contacts from your CRM to your engagement platform—and saving your team countless hours of manual labor). This eliminates a time-consuming administrative task, freeing event staff to focus on creative ways to keep attendance up and maintain steady growth.

Automate to Make Your Event Great

Like a small business, every event has opportunities to become more efficient.

Here are three automation-based areas to experiment with:

1. Web Scheduling

The bigger an event becomes, the more budget web development demands. Attendees want to see personalized content, but when it comes to automation, personalized doesn’t have to mean customized. Automate event publishing so that staff members can schedule events ahead of time. By handling the administrative work behind the scenes, automation software frees staff to work on the most pressing tasks first. This maximizes efficiency and ensures that nothing goes live until it is vetted and approved. Check out a tool such as Sched, which enables event coordinators to control session availability while allowing attendees to create their own schedules.

 2. Social Media Marketing

Every event needs great marketing in order to remain relevant in attendees’ minds. However, the more time marketers spend organizing email lists and scheduling posts, the less time they have to create engaging, attention-grabbing content that brings eyes to an event.

Automate noncreative aspects of event promotion to let marketing staff spend their time on more valuable pursuits. Use your engagement platform to help free up your creatives’ minds by scheduling nurture campaigns and advertisements in advance.

3. Customer Service

Attendees and customers are the driving force behind the success of most events. If they’re not happy, the event won’t last long. As mentioned, customers respond better to personalized communications, but manual personalization takes an unreasonable amount of time to achieve.

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on unnecessary labor hours, automate data exports and outreach programs. Take advantage of the latest app technology so attendees can customize their experiences. There are programs to replace printed programs and create a closed social network, to streamline scheduling and communications, and to empower attendees to share their schedules and locate one another on-site.

Small businesses and events both operate in a world where the person who spends the least time in the administrative weeds tends to come out on top. Don’t let manual processes overwhelm staff and hinder your event from reaching its full potential. Instead, follow these tips to automate processes, eliminate redundant work, and position the event for success.

How have you used your engagement platform to further automate event tasks? What tools from this article might you use to free up some more time for your team? Tell me about your plans in the comments.

The post 3 Ways Automation Can Accelerate Event Growth appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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Have you ever spent months designing and building your booth to showcase your incredible products and wow the trade show crowds? Perhaps you’ve devoted days to perfecting every word and graphic for your presentation at a conference. Then, despite nailing your booth or presentation, you’ve been disappointed in the results. The event did not produce the return on investment (ROI) you had anticipated. Leads trickled in and then wasted away.

It’s an all too common problem.

That’s because marketing leaders tend to pour all their energy into the most visible parts of an event: the sizzle. While doing so, they forget to do the hard work of creating a robust process for recruiting and engaging attendees and following up on leads afterward.

In this blog, I’ll give you 13 marketing tactics to boost your event ROI before, during, and after your events.

Attract Your Ideal Prospects Before the Event

For event success, you need the right people to attend. Here’s how to ensure they do.

1. Invite People!

It should go without saying that you need to invite people to an event. However, many organizers just expect visitors to arrive at their booth when the doors open or to choose their conference session from the many options during the same time slot. Send an email or direct mail invitation, allowing attendees to plan.

2. Go Beyond Email Invitations

While you should send an email—it’s inexpensive and can’t hurt—there is a risk of letting it do all the heavy lifting. In the lead-up to an event, there’s a lot of email competition and it’s all too easy for recipients to hit the delete button.

To stand out from the crowd, you should also do something personal. Use your inside sales people or a B2B telemarketing service to follow up on the phone. It’s a good way to get the attention of decision-makers. Even if you don’t reach them directly, they’ll likely listen to a voicemail message.

If you do reach a live person, you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about their interests and discuss with them how they can benefit from the event.

3. Do It Again

There’s power in numbers. While one call can make an impact, two are even better. Remember, your prospects are as busy as you are, so remind them about your seminar or to visit your booth a couple of days before the event.

4. Add Some Marketing Magic

Reach out to people indirectly as well. You can include information about the event on your website and promote it via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

5. Fill Calendars

Your salespeople and top executives’ time is valuable. You don’t want them to waste their time talking to each other in the booth or checking out the swag table of a competing company. Ensure they’ll be productive by scheduling appointments with decision-makers when you’re on the phone.

Pre-Event Planning for Post-Event Follow-Up   

According to InsideSales.com, 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. Because of this, you can’t wait to determine your lead follow-up strategy until you return from the event.

6. Prepare for Data Collection

Once you get to the event, it’s too late to decide what information you need to collect about your leads. Contact details alone will not help you get ahead of your competitors.

Whatever data you decide you need, create forms that make it easy for your reps to collect it. By noting the problems people are trying to solve, you can strengthen your ability to respond rapidly with relevant information. After all, notes on the back of business cards tend to be disorganized and all too easy to lose.

7. Know Who’s First

Decide how you will prioritize your leads. How will you score them to determine which ones are hot, warm, or not worth your time? You want to get back to the hot leads first so you don’t lose the opportunity.

8. Plot Your Follow-Up Tactics

There are multiple ways you can follow up after an event: direct mail, social media, phone calls, and online conferences. Decide which tactics you will use before your event.

Perhaps it’s a combination of tactics that will work best for your company. It may vary based on the personal preferences of your leads. One person might respond best to a LinkedIn message. Another may prefer a phone call. It’s important to go to your prospect’s preferred channel.

Also, you may need to create content for follow-up fodder, such as ebooks, webinars, direct mail pieces, and demonstrations which will create additional touchpoints for your prospects but more work for you on the front end.

9. Make It Easy

Because you need to implement your follow-up tactics as rapidly as possible, you have to work intelligently.

That means creating a series of email templates before the event to make it easy for reps to reach out to leads. They can personalize them as necessary based on the information collected at the show. For example, you might have an email that says, “From our conversations at the show, I understand you’re struggling with (fill in the blank). You’ll be happy to learn our (fill in the blank) product can help you to….”

You’ll also want to create a series of talking points for salespeople to use in their follow-up telephone and online conversations.

At the Event

You’ve put in all of your pre-work to make your event succeed, but how can you best handle the event itself?

10. Designate Someone to Run Interference

You’re at the event to promote your business. But guess what? There are plenty of salespeople there who’d love to sell to your company too. Designate someone to intercept reps who come to your booth, ensuring that you can focus on what you’re there for.

Reap the Rewards after the Event

You’re back from the event, tired from long-days and hectic travel. Sadly, it’s not the time to relax and move onto the next project. Now it’s time to lock in the payback.

11. Shape Up Your Data

You’ll be more efficient if you scrub your data. Eliminate duplicates, append information to leads already in your database, and identify where critical data is missing, such as phone numbers or industry information. A third-party tool can help fill in the data gaps.

12. Implement your Follow Up Tactics

You planned, so follow-up should be easy. Put those plans into action immediately to gain the advantage of being first out of the gate.

13. Be Patient and Persistent

It’s human nature to want the sales to materialize quickly. You may be lucky with some of your prospects. However, most will not be ready to buy today. So don’t consider your follow-up to be a once and done thing. Plan and execute a nurturing campaign—a series of persuasive emails or a periodic newsletter that keeps your company in the forefront of their minds.

By following these tips, you’ll do much more than create an awe-inspiring booth or presentation. You’ll also get results from your efforts. More qualified individuals will spend time with your salespeople and executives at the event, you’ll come away with more comprehensive information about them, and be able to follow up successfully, converting leads into sales more efficiently. And isn’t that why you plan events in the first place?

What do you do to ensure your events succeed? What might you implement after reading this article? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

The post 13 Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Event ROI appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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There’s something about Millennials and the distinctive way they approach the world that gets us talking and theorizing. We can’t seem to put our finger on them, most likely because they are still writing a long future. But there’s no debating this fact: marketers can’t ignore the power of Millennials and how they’re reshaping business. Why? According to Pew Research, Millennials officially compose the largest U.S. age demographic at 75.4 million (sorry, Boomers, you’re second), with a projected spending power of $200 billion annually and $10 trillion in their lifetimes.

These stats certainly grab our attention, especially as Millennials grow into the decision makers and gatekeepers over the next two decades. To stay relevant to this unique group, particularly one so incredibly tech-savvy and explorative, yet fickle about brand loyalty, brands must employ varied marketing approaches.

Enter the hybrid event, an evolving brand experience solution that may be the perfect fit for this demanding demographic. Hybrid events cater to this demographic’s needs by offering both on-site and virtual components for attendees and participants. By identifying and understanding key Millennial characteristics, we can see how hybrid events satisfy their sweet tooth for content consumption and social involvement.

Millennials Thrive in Both Physical and Digital Worlds

Millennials have the distinction of being the only demographic that has never experienced life without the internet. A morning spent chasing a hashtag across Twitter is as natural as an afternoon chasing waves at the beach. With the continued rise in digital tech (or more like digital ecosystems), as technology from augmented reality to Snapchat become the norm, both the virtual and physical worlds blend in real time to captivate Millennials—and this is a shift that can seem alien to other age demographics.

Hybrid events seamlessly integrate live and virtual experiences, often through means such as live streaming, second screen technology (which turn presentations into an interactive two-way conversation via attendees’ own devices with on-screen content, live polling, and audience feedback), or post-event webinars. Thus, hybrid events and Millennials are a match made in marketing heaven, because both symbiotically coexist in the online and physical worlds.

Delivering these types of experiences can seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think. Major brands already employ hybrid features in their events, such as Apple’s WWDC or Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Event, which include live streaming and content capture. What’s more, audiences in the digital revolution often seek quick solutions and welcome instant startups. Consequently, online event providers are now available to seamlessly and economically host and manage hybrid events, even for small to midsize organizations.

Millennials Want Unique Experiences

Beyond being notoriously skeptical of brands and traditional marketing ploys, Millennials prefer experiences over material goods. To them, the “next best thing” is not the latest smartphone but a night out with friends at a concert they can share on social media. Originality trumps stuff any day of the week.

Hybrid events offer the novelty and adventure that Millennials crave. Connecting in real time with a speaker at an event via second screen technology or consuming content after the event through a fun online course has the potential to deliver an experience that’s informative and personal. Speaking of post-event participation, the ability of hybrid events to capture the occasion for posterity and integrate it with social media also makes the experience even more desirable to a group that lives for exclusive, sharable moments.

Millennials Have Short Attention Spans

With so much flashy content and competition in a crowded marketplace (squirrel!), we’re all experiencing attention span shrinkage. But Millennials’ short attention span is as legendary as their ability to multitask. Of course, they love good content, especially when it’s “bite-sized,” but they have no problem leaving, and then hopefully coming back to, the content before it’s fully consumed.

That’s where hybrid events become so useful. They not only allow audiences to jump back and forth, and in and out, from mobile devices—like second screen technology or social media sharing—they also have the ability to record and broadcast events of different lengths and from varied platforms. In other words, event marketers don’t have to fully hook the attention of Millennials but must be ready and waiting when Millennials decide to view the intended content.

Many events provide an educational aspect; hybrid events offer marketers the ability to deliver on-demand education via video or audio recordings, which is perfect for individualized Millennial sensibilities.

Millennials Are Frugal

A key advantage of hybrid events (and virtual events, which are fully online) is that they are cost-effective and inclusive of audiences that may be unable to attend due to budget realities. A show organizer can plan an event with a thousand on-site attendees, while countless more may view it virtually or post-event through on-demand video—a convenient option that Millennials love.

Because of their knowledge of and experience during the great recession, Millennials are known to be the most frugal of all age demographics. They don’t mind buying secondhand items or skimping on tickets to experience an event on Facebook Live or later through a more economical paywall.

Millennials Are Everyone

No matter how we get there or what shortcuts we take, all demographics in the digital age want amazing experiences that offer value and choice. A well-produced event, hybrid or traditional, will draw the right audience. In fact, often virtual experiences will transform into face-to-face ones and vice-versa because that’s the essence of hybrid events: flexibility.

The truth is, all forms of brand experiences, digital or otherwise, provide opportunities for marketers and brands to engage their audience across all age groups. Companies are embracing this truth. In fact, our research shows that more than one in three CMOs expect to set aside 21% to 50% of their budgets for events in the next five years. The benefit of the hybrid event, though, is that it hooks a unique group like Millennials while also offering viable solutions to engage all audiences in a variety of ways. Connecting brands and demographics will always get us talking. And sharing!

The post Double Duty: Why Hybrid Events Hook Millennials appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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