Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue

Event marketing is the big trend everyone is talking about. In fact, 41% of marketers call them the most effective marketing channel and 77% of marketers are using experiential marketing as a key piece of a brand’s ad strategy. 

While it’s easy to create an event for marketing purposes, creating the right event can be a bit more tricky. We’ve already discussed how to choose the right event type and which KPIs to track. Next, we’ll tackle finding the right venue based on your marketing goals and event type.

The venue you choose sets the stage for your marketing event. Sure, you could just create a standard booth at whatever relevant trade show is closest to your HQ, but is that going to give you the most impact for your efforts? We believe finding the right venue is vital to running a smooth event marketing campaign. Here’s how.

Choosing the Right Event Venue to Align with Your Marketing Goals

Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Learn from Past Events and Customer Demographics

The first and most important step is to look at the data you’ve gathered from past events. Review what went well and what went poorly. Hopefully, you’ve gathered feedback from your attendees to help guide you. Consider how space was used at these events and if it could have been configured more effectively. Did you have enough room to accomplish your goals? Was there space for networking? Was the space quiet enough for easy conversation? Did you have room for one-on-one meeting spaces? 

Next look at data from customer demographics and social media. Does your brand have a large following on the east coast? The west coast? Middle of the country? Maybe you’re gaining traction in a specific city or region. Or perhaps there’s a market you’ve recently broken into where you’d like to spread the word a bit more. When choosing where to host your event, be strategic. Traveling to a different city on the other side of the country might be worth the cost and effort if it’s done strategically. But picking the wrong host city could mean an event that fizzles before it even begins. 

Plan Your Space 

Event Marketing Tips: How to Find the Right Venue: Plan Your Space: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Once you’ve reviewed all the data available to you, it’s time to set out a space plan. Be sure to consider the various ways space will be used and the needs of your event. The information and feedback from past events should help. 

But more than simply laying out an event space, you’ll need to consider the design of the space. Its feel, smell, lighting, textures, and comfort are all relevant. You want your guests to feel welcomed and to associate positive experiences with your brand. A booth close to the aroma of food stalls might be too distracting and split visitors’ attention. Poor lighting might make it hard to see your materials. Uncomfortable seating (or none at all) might mean customers spend less time at your event than you had hoped for. 

Finally, you want everything to be on-brand. A fashion brand activation event should look very different from a tech event. Luxury brands should have a different feel than their less extravagant cousins. Color, texture, decor, and other aspects of design should all work together to tell the story of your brand.

Consider Convenience

The last thing you want is for your event to be difficult to find or otherwise inaccessible. Is there ample parking available nearby? Can attendees get there by public transit or rideshare easily? Are there rooms available for guests coming from out of town? Will guests feel comfortable in the neighborhood? Consider the environment around your event as much as inside it. 

Inside, you’ll want to make your event easy to navigate and simple to understand. Clear signage, maps, and event staff who are ready and able to help are all helpful to guests. Schedules should be easy to read and follow. There should never be a time when attendees don’t understand where to go or what they should be doing. 

Finally, don’t force attendees to waste time standing in lines. Instead, manage waitlists with technology. A waitlist app like NextMe can keep track of appointments and queues efficiently while allowing guests to make better use of their time. Not only that, the technology allows you to present marketing information to interested parties without the need for them to download anything. And it will collect data and create custom reports for your use in planning your next event, so you can improve on your efforts year over year. 


Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type - NextME Waitlist App

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type

If you work in the marketing world today, you’re probably familiar with event marketing. This technique promotes products or other ideas through live events. It can be as simple as a table in the vendors’ area of a trade show. Or it can be complex and creative, like the many viral events we’ve seen of late. 

With so many concepts and ideas floating around, how do you know which is best for your next project? It’s vital to marry the concept of your marketing event with the message you want to convey. A green message that creates loads of trash with excess brochures and flyers is unlikely to resonate with its target audience. But give the public the chance to test drive a high-performance car on a closed track and you’ve got marketing gold. Read on for some ideas to help you get started with your next event marketing project.

Choosing the Right Type of Event to Align with Your Marketing Goals

It’s no secret that the closer you tie your event to your message, the clearer that message will be. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you choose the right type of event for your goals. Conferences and Seminars are wonderful in some industries, but in others, they’re not going to reach your target market. A virtual event might be best for a tech startup, while a brand activation is a better fit for a new cosmetics or clothing line. We’ll walk you through the types of events so you can plan something that will wow your audience and convey your message at the same time. 

Brand Activations

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type: Brand Activations: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of trendhunter.com

Brand activations are a fun and dynamic option for companies fresh on the scene. These are typically B2C (business to consumer) events, designed to introduce a new brand to the public at large. They can also be used to bring an existing brand into a new market, to launch a new product for a well-known brand, or to launch an overhaul of an older brand. A few brand activations you may have seen include:

The most important thing to remember with a brand activation is that creativity is key. The more over-the-top your activation is, the more likely people are to talk about it and to remember it. That equates to word of mouth marketing and even viral sharing on social media. 

Conferences 

Conferences are nothing new. They bring together large groups of people for presentations and workshops and often plenty of networking. We’ve seen conferences with all sorts of themes. And they can be B2B (business to business) or B2C endeavors, depending on the theme. Examples include:

When planning a conference, be sure to carefully plan for downtime and space for networking. Many conferences have failed to do this, leading to clogged hallways or missed opportunities. If you want to keep your crowds happy, give them the freedom to spend their time as they see fit.

Expos and Trade Shows 

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type: Expos and Tradeshows: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Team One Exhibits

Expos and trade shows are similar to conferences in that they gather together large groups of people around a single theme. These can also be B2B or B2C. But where conferences are all about learning and sharing ideas, trade shows are more about exploring new products and services. Examples include:

As with conferences, planning is key here. But the most important thing to be concerned with is the movement of people through the trade show. You want visitors to be able to see as many booths and displays as they like, without getting lost or having to spend a lot of time waiting around. 

Gala Events and Awards Ceremonies

You’ve likely seen some of these events on television. The entertainment industry is famous for awards shows like the Oscars or the Grammys. But most often, these sorts of events are used to raise funds or awareness for nonprofit groups. 

At Galas and Awards Ceremonies, the key is special treatment. You want to make your guests feel honored, whether they’re receiving an award or not. This may mean delicious food and drinks, an opulent setting, or black-tie formal attire. No matter how you choose to hold the event, it should be memorable and something worth talking about. 

Networking Events

Event Marketing Tips: Choosing the Right Event Type: Networking Events: NextME Digital Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of FinTech Connect

Networking events are generally social opportunities for people to make connections and interact with others whose business interests are similar. These can be large or small but are rarely consumer-focused. Instead, they tend to focus on professionals from similar or complementary industries.

At a networking event, you want to give attendees plenty of time to talk amongst themselves in an informal setting. But icebreakers are a great way to get the ball rolling. Key to a successful event here is the ability to bring together the right people. You want a broad enough group that they won’t likely already know each other, but not so broad that they have trouble finding common business interests.

Product Launches

Similar to brand activations, product launches are B2C events used to introduce a product to consumers. They can be as simple as handing out samples or creating a pop-up shop in an exciting location. Or they can be unique and creative, the kind of event that gets plastered all over Instagram and other social networks. 

The key to a good product launch is getting your product to stick in the minds of your target consumers. To do this, you’ll want to build up anticipation before the launch, often with teasers or hints about what’s to come. Then be sure to deliver on your promises, making sure to associate your brand or product with a positive experience.  

Seminars

Seminars tend to be smaller events than their larger cousins, conferences. But like conferences, they’re typically focused on education and an exchange of ideas. Because they tend to be smaller and more intimate, seminars are an excellent way of building a community around an idea or theme. 

When running a seminar it’s important to not be overly sales-related. Remember that the focus should be education. Instead of spending the seminar singing the praises of your product or service, educate attendees about the problem your product solves. Or discuss the importance of the type of service your company offers. Attendees should walk away with broader information than your product’s features and uses. Give them something they will find valuable in their lives or businesses, whether they become a client or not.

Virtual Events

Virtual events are attended remotely, rather than held in a physical space. They can include everything from virtual conferences broadcast across the web to social media influencer campaigns. As virtual and augmented reality platforms grow and become more mainstream, expect to see these incorporated into virtual marketing events more often.

It can be tempting to default to virtual events because they typically require fewer resources. But don’t discount the importance of face-to-face interaction that is missing in these events. Often combining virtual events with live ones can give you the best of both worlds. This allows you to reach people who would never consider traveling to your live event, while still making meaningful connections with those who do.

The most important thing to consider if you’re hosting a virtual event is technology. You want to ensure that your event runs as smoothly as possible, without bandwidth issues or other technical problems. But in order to create a memorable event, you should also ensure you’re using the most up to date technology you can. A new and novel concept can draw crowds that you might not otherwise reach.

No matter what type of event you choose, you’ll want to attract a crowd to spread your message as far as possible. If you manage this, it’s vital to keep your crowds happy to make sure the experience is positive. One important aspect is making sure you don’t force visitors to stand in endless lines. Instead, check out NextME’s waitlist app. It’s the easy-to-use solution that event marketers are falling in love with!


Impossible Burger Pop Up by marketing-interactive.com - NextME Waitlist App - Experiential and Interactive Marketing Trends 2020

7 Trends in Experiential Marketing for 2020

 

Dinner in the Sky by unusualdinner.com

Dinner in the Sky by unusualdinner.com

Top Experiential and Interactive Marketing Trends for 2020

Marketing trends are always evolving and the world of experiential marketing is no exception. If you want to create relevant interactive marketing events for your customers, you’ll need to stay two steps ahead of the game. Here are a few of our predictions for the industry in 2020.

Tech-Driven Experiential Marketing

The first and biggest trend we’re seeing for the coming year is technology playing a major role. As the experiential marketing space continues to grow, more and more companies are taking advantage of tech advances to really engage the market. 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are big pieces of this puzzle. The ability to digitally create whole worlds, or manipulate the real world, is just too much fun to pass up. Not only that, this sort of technology creates an immersive experience unlike any other available today. 

But in addition to attendee-facing technology, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes tech making marketers’ lives easier and marketing experiences run more smoothly. NextME is an excellent example. The simple concept of the app is to manage waitlists and appointments. This amazingly intuitive app has become a huge help to experiential marketing teams across the country. With one simple interface, you can keep track of your waitlist, manage appointments, notify attendees when it’s their turn, present them with marketing messages or other online content, collect data, and so much more!

Sensory-Driven Booth Design 

“Instagrammable moments” in marketing are on the way out. That’s because they only engage the eyes, and skip over all of the other senses. The next trend we’re seeing pop up is full sensory design. By engaging all five senses, your event marketing will become infinitely more memorable. But how do you accomplish this? 

Sight and sound are easy. We’ve been doing those from day one. But taste? For a food or beverage company, it’s a no-brainer, but for the rest of us, that’s likely not a sense we’ve thought about in connection with our brands. Consider catering your event if it’s upscale, or just offer some tasty snacks and beverages for your visitors on the go. Be sure to have options for specific diets like allergen free, low carb, and vegan. To really do this right you want top-end food that everyone will be able to try and adore.

Smell is partially about what people do smell, but also about what they don’t. A booth too close to overflowing trash cans or the restroom could leave an unpleasant experience in visitors’ minds. And too much strong scent is overwhelming, even if you’d enjoy the fragrance if it were dialed down a bit. 

The last one is touch, and it’s easier to incorporate than you might think. Pay attention to the textures in your booth. Are you going for sleek and smooth or fluffy and cozy? Offer guests soft chairs to sit on, use rich fabrics to cover tables or choose tables with a texture of their own. Natural wood, stone, or even tile table tops can each give a different sensory experience. 

Experiential Art Installations

Mysterious Oreo Storefront - Photo Courtesy of Marketing-Interactive.com

Photo Courtesy of Marketing-Interactive.com

Experiential marketing, at its heart, should be creative. Increasingly, brands are taking this to a whole new level and elevating their marketing with art installations. From the mysterious Oreo storefront last February to the 3D Burgers from Impossible Foods last summer,  this is an attention-grabbing technique that could work for any industry. 

A well-designed art installation should be bigger than life. It should grab the attention of anyone who walks past. And it should be highly memorable with a tie-in to your brand. Successful installations will instantly go viral as people begin to talk about that cool thing they saw on the street or at a convention. 

“Stayable” Experiences

It used to be that grabbing the attention for a moment or two was all we were after. After all, people are busy, right? While that’s certainly still true, many brands are now aiming for a longer experience that will last several hours or even overnight. 

This sort of event is completely sensible for the travel and hospitality industry. After all, “stayable” is what they do. But what about other sorts of brands? Your local zoo has probably been doing this for years. They often host overnight events at their locations, allowing families to experience wildlife after dark. You might also remember the Bates Hotel at SXSW a few years ago. This overnight stay helped to promote a television show. Get creative and design an experience that immerses visitors, not just for a few minutes, but for a full day or overnight stay.

Green Initiatives and Advocacy

Climate change, pollution, single-use plastics, and other green initiatives are making their way into the interactive marketing world. The first way this is happening is when environmental campaigns create their own events. A great example is the trash cleaning robot you control like a video game that’s aiming to clean up Chicago’s waterways. But the movement has gone way beyond this simple concept. 

Now, we’re increasingly seeing a call for sustainable marketing materials and recycled or reusable experience materials. And many brands who aren’t directly involved in advocacy are promoting green messages alongside their marketing. One such experience is the Pokemon GO Earth Day Cleanup promotion. In April of 2018, the AR video zgame partnered with the likes of Mission Blue and Heirs to Our Oceans to encourage players to pick up trash. More than 6,000 kgs of trash later, they had engaged over 4,200 attendees and created a positive association between their brand and an environmental cause.

Pop-ups

We’ve been seeing Pop-ups for years now, but the concept continues to grow and get more creative. Originally, we’d see pop-ups for retail brands and restaurants. A brand that’s new to town would rent a short-term space to introduce itself to the locals. Or a new restaurant concept would pop up to test its menu before opening a permanent place. But today’s pop-ups are so much more. 

Fast Food Aid Pop-Up- Tokyo, Japan

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen.com

To announce his 6th album last summer, Ed Sheeran opened 32 pop-up shops for precisely 6 hours. In Tokyo, a restaurant specializing in healthy foods opened a pop-up lab and gave away vitamins to people who ate fast food. “Dinner in the Sky” hoists guests off the ground to enjoy a world-class dining experience. And extreme sports clothing brand 37.5 opened the
World’s Most Remote Pop-Up Shop” on the side of a sheer cliff in Colorado. The lesson here is to get creative and think about ways a pop-up can be more than just another short-lived retail shop or restaurant.

Viral Challenges and Social Media Contests

Finally, we predict the era of viral challenges and social media contests will continue through 2020. You remember the Ice Bucket Challenge, right? It raised funds to combat ALS. Since then, the concept has been used by all sorts of brands and causes. The Vans challenge had people tossing their sneakers in the air. Lil Nas X had us all dancing to promote his Old Town Road single. What will your brand challenge us to do?

Want to go a different viral route? Lots of brands spread awareness with social media contests. Invite fans to caption an image. Have them share your brand with friends. Let them vote on a new product concept to win. Or go all out with a social media scavenger hunt. The sky is the limit here, and for the cost of a few nice prizes you’ll have people all over sharing your brand with their friends and followers.


How the 'Experience Movement' Fuels the Growth of Interactive Events

How Americans' Crave for Experience Drives the Interactive Event Movement

Recently, Eventbrite published a study entitled “The Experience Movement” in which they explore the ways the millennial generation’s desire for experiences is shaping our culture. They found that 3 of 4 Millennials would rather spend money on experiences rather than things. But even beyond this oft-talked-about generation, 80% of Americans of all ages believe that live, in-person interaction is essential for positive change.

With data like this, it’s no surprise that interactive events are gaining more and more traction in our culture at large. From conventions and concerts to pop-up events of all sizes, we’re seeing huge growth in the events industry. But what exactly is driving this push toward live events? 

Millennials Value Experiences Over Things

Research shows that Americans, and in particular, 75% of Millennials, now prefer experiences over things. This means that instead of buying a designer bag, they’d rather spring for concert tickets. Instead of updating their wardrobe, they’d rather visit a new corner of the world. And instead of buying books or reading articles, they might choose to attend a talk or meetup to learn about new ideas.

Live Events Promote Positive Change

80% of Americans believe it’s essential for people to come together in-person to promote positive change — regardless of age, gender, income, or geography — and 1 in 5 Americans attended an event supporting a particular cause within the last year. This has changed the way we experience political, cultural, and environmental causes. 

Additionally, respondents to the study said that there are two main ingredients necessary to promote positive change in our country. First, we need to connect with one another face to face (rather than just online). Second, we need to allow these connections to expand our perspectives and broaden our understanding. This type of interpersonal connection is far more easily achieved through events than other traditional means of promoting a message.

Live Events Drive Human Connection 

A craving for human connection in this digital world is an increasing concern. And 4 out of 5 Millenials say that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world. With social media and the internet taking over larger and larger parts of our lives, sometimes it’s vital to get out in the world and experience things with a group of other people, no matter how large or small.

Live Events Are More Impactful 

While many events could just as easily be converted to digital experiences online, would that have the same effect? 75% of Millennials believe that participating in a live event is more impactful than taking action online. And 74% of Millenials believe that live events are more successful at expanding perspectives than merely reading about the same information online. If you want your message to reach this generation, it seems that digital experiences are no longer enough.

So What Does This Mean for Brands?

It’s no longer enough to create fun commercials for television and radio or internet ads that will grab people’s attention. Even social media and influencer campaigns may not be impactful enough for Millennials. 

This generation and many other Americans both crave and prioritize live, interactive events, as is clearly shown through this study. If brands want to create a memorable, impactful, perspective-changing experience for people, then they need to focus on building these types of live, interactive experiences for people. You need the sort of event experience that will get participants thinking about and talking about your brand for weeks to come. Something that feels less like marketing and more like pure fun or meaningful connection.

Tips on Creating a Memorable Interactive Event or Experience 

So how can your brand create this sort of event for guests? How can you connect with a generation that craves interaction, human connection, and meaningful experiences? 

First, create events that are fun and engaging, that show your brand’s strengths in a way that is both interactive and memorable. BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience or SYFY’s Karaoke Bus at ComicCon are excellent examples.

Next, drive personal engagement and connection by setting appointments for visitors to have one-on-one interactions with event staff. GE Appliances and Nutanix have used this type of event to demo their most successful products and create personal connections with their consumers. 

No matter what type of event you create, be sure to prepare for a crowd. Nothing will kill the buzz of a fun interactive event like forcing people to stand in line for hours, waiting to take part. Instead, use a waitlist app like NextME to engage with guests as they wait, while giving them the freedom to do other things until their turn comes up. 

Check out our guide to engaging interactive event ideas for more information and tips. And be sure to give us a call to learn how our waitlist app can help keep your event running smoothly!