5 Trending Event Strategies For 2019
New Year, New You, New Event Strategy! Now that you’ve mastered last year's hottest event trends of increased increased engagement and connecting the dots, etc. it’s time to think about shaking it up in 2019.
At LAI Live, we always strive to be at the forefront of cutting-edge event strategies that fill seats and drive results. So, we’re counting down this year’s hottest event trends starting at the top!
5 Trending Event Strategies For 2019
- Trend 1: Event / Work Life Balance
- Trend 2: Create Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
- Trend 3: Be An Inspiration
- Trend 4: Embrace Uniqueness
- Trend 5: Be A Dare Devil
In our busy world, we are being pulled in a million directions and it’s difficult to be both an attendee and a professional that needs to keep things running while away from the office. Organizations are recognizing the need to provide attendees with an Event/Work Life Balance.
Where Did Everyone Go?
Do you struggle getting an attendee back once they’ve gone to their room or coffee shop to work? Create a space with work stations or soundproof booths where attendees can take a call and check email without having to leave the main event space.
Not Enough Time In the Day!
Programming overload can be challenging for an attendee. Structure sessions and breaks keeping in mind the time it takes for a professional to be able to attend to business without being disruptive to the event—for example, leaving early because a session ran long or entering late because there wasn’t enough time to get from point A to point B and make a call.
Reflect & Recharge
You’ve built a solid program with educational, inspirational, thought-provoking content. Now the attendee needs time to digest it. Provide a space—lounges, outside areas where they can enjoy the weather, a "Recap & Application" session—for attendees to have a conversation with a colleague about what they have learned and how they can implement it into their practices. Get them talking and thinking while you still have them, otherwise it may be gone once the plane takes off!
Event attendance had dwindled with the slower economy. Now that it’s on the rise, we’re seeing more organizations take the FOMO approach for marketing to attendees. They want their show to stand out above all others, so if a person can only attend one show a year, it must be theirs!
Achieving FOMO can happen before, during, and after an event so it’s not too late to make yours the "Must Attend" event of the year! Create a buzz starting with registration—offer incentives like a VIP Reception or a special Meet and Greet with a keynote speaker for early bird registrants. Design a series of social media teases like "Top 5 Things To See" or ‘Most Talked About Sessions’ to build excitement beyond a keynote speaker announcement.
First Time FOMO
First time attendees are some of the most eager people you’ll encounter at an event but are often lost on where to start. Create an Insider’s Guide or First-Timer Survival Guide available for download upon registration, helping them to plan out their event well in advance of arriving. Host a first-timers reception for those new to the conference and create an exclusive networking environment. When the newbies pick up their badges at registration, include a pin or ribbon declaring their status, then watch them take the show by storm.
During the event give "Wish You Were Here" teasers through Facebook Live, Instagram stories, Podcasts, or others to showcase what potential attendees are missing. Share content from General Session (GS), Exhibit Floor, or share one-on-one interviews with thought leaders.
Far More FOMO
Post Event, be sure to share a highlights reel and recap photos that capture the energy of the event and attendees. Through more follow-ups like "Little Known Facts About…" or "What We Learned This Year", keep the interaction going with attendees or wannabes and get them excited for next year’s show!
Inspiration is not a new idea, but the need for it will be greater than ever in 2019. With so many organizations working to attract their next generation of leaders, groups are looking for new ways to motivate, inspire and even mentor that group. But it goes beyond one single demographic. Most attendees are also looking for an “AHA” moment that will create memorable experiences at 2019 events.
Finding The Moment
Inspiration is being built into general sessions as a broad, wide-reaching topic that can apply to anyone in any phase of their career. Teamwork, powerful leadership, risk-taking, changing a negative environment, or stories of success through unusual career paths are all topics that can have your audience feeling good about themselves and walking out of the room with an idea of how they can positively affect their career or workplace.
Making A Mark
Through engagement stations like message trees, wishing lanterns, or graffiti walls, ask your attendees what life moment has affected their career in a positive way or have them leave a piece of advice for other attendees. Areas like these can create an open dialogue and natural networking space for attendees to share and connect.
Leaving An Impression
The event has wrapped, but the communication shouldn’t. Inspiration can come from knowing you were a piece of something bigger. Follow-up with attendees and let them know ‘Because of you, we achieved ____’ or ‘Together we made a difference in _____ and invite you to join us again next year to best that goal by at least 50%’.
What a Character!
Start by tapping into what makes your audience stand out—be it Culture, Operations, Brand, or something else altogether. Then, design the program to cater to common topics as it relates to the day-to-day of employees. Using both will help your program feel especially relevant to the character of your brand and the characters in the room. Think about it this way: If attendees spend time on their feet or behind the wheel, conversations about organization or office leadership will be less useful than addressing fatigue, safety, or health & wellness. If they're a crowd that won't get down on the dance floor, hire a comedian to entertain them post dinner rather than a band.
Next, figure out how your specific audience likes to hear information. For example, data-minded audiences will take in content in differently than creative audiences. Either way, we encourage you to get away from tiny-fonted charts and share real-life scenarios with vibrant imagery. Then, for the data crowd, hit on top-tier statistics within those scenarios. For the creative crowd, use a storytelling approach and perhaps high-quality video created for your event to share the information.
Bring It To Life
Now, it's time to consider: How does your supply chain differ from other industries? Once you've thought that through, include hands-on training and demos specific to your group. Better yet, recreate a "Day in the Life" set-up to help two groups understand how the other operates, resulting in a new outlook on their professional relationship.
Point of View
Along those same lines, seek out leaders across the industry or organization who can provide different perspectives to your audience. By providing a space to hold authentic two-way conversations on the issues that matter most to them, the audience will respect the individuality, and perhaps representation of themselves, within the leadership. What matters most is acknowledgement and having their voices heard.
Sometimes we can overthink an idea and ultimately talk ourselves out of it. Who would have thought Pet-A-Puppy areas would be popular at executive events? But someone took a risk and once word spread, puppies started popping up everywhere (with some even being adopted!).
The Road Trip
Map out a few areas of your event or meeting that you think could benefit from an element of surprise, a refresher, or the addition of something new. This could be attendee marketing, the main entryway or foyer, or the need to fill a spot in the education session schedule.
Once you’ve drawn out your map, start with a list of goals for each of those areas: More fun, more though-provoking, more engagement, etc. Compile a list of ideas for each of your In-Need-of-Adventure areas, but start at the top with the craziest ideas you can think of.
Climb The Mountain
Now for the moment of truth. Trust your gut and pick a few ideas, or maybe THE idea, that speaks to you the most. What can make that idea feasible? Can you shrink the scale to fit a budget? Change part of the concept to make it logistically possible? Engage with a sponsor that has the means to help make it happen? Find an already-planned presenter that would be game for incorporating your idea?
Time To Jump!
You’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into conceptualizing your new idea, so now you just need to do it. Whether testing the waters with a small marketing idea or diving head-first into a new session concept for your event, list to the audience and use the results - good or bad - to alter or expand pieces and try it again.
Take a risk—who knows what the outcome will be!
READY TO UP YOUR EVENT GAME IN 2019?
If you are starting to plan and prepare for an upcoming show and want to rethink the traditional approach for your next event, get in touch.
Whether you are interested in finding a hands-on event production partner with the experience and expertise to help you execute a tribute show from start to finish, or you have the basics covered and want to work with a cutting-edge event production partner who can help you to integrate the latest trends and techniques into your program to enhance and elevate the whole experiencey—LAI Live can help, so please reach out to us.
Are you ready to work with an event production company to enhance your next tribute show, awards show, or live event? Contact our team today!