With the constant development of technological advancements, enhancements and changes, it is easy to understand why technology in the event industry is ever changing the way events are managed, created, planned and marketed. Although a rather daunting prospect for some, new technological capabilities can be utilised in a number of different ways, using a number of different types of technologies, whether this be the up and coming rise of virtual reality, the new ‘big dog’ in the market found in live streaming, the development of applications, or whether it is simply the new techniques used to market an event using a wide range of social media platforms. In any case, technology in the event industry is consistently seeing a rise, the questions that pose are ‘what influence does technology have now on the events industry, and how may this effect events in future?
When looking at the effects of technology in the run up to an event, it can be argued that developments in social media and the platforms they now provide act as a key driver in influencing the way that events are now being marketed to their target audiences. While the bottom line for social media marketing lies in its capabilities to drive sales to a wide target audience, social media’s key value lies not only in its marketing capabilities, but also in its ability to now act as a global networking and communications platform. According to Hubspot, 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form, whether this is to promote, communicate or articulate their brand and product/ service offering to their target consumer base (Hubspot.com).
For events, this has now meant that companies are able to target a greater target audience, without having to rely as much on expensive advertising campaigns, ‘word of mouth’ and physical marketing materials. As well as this, social media allows one to track the traction of social media campaigns on its consumer base, something which can be a limiting factor with other forms of marketing.
What does this therefore mean for events? For events, marketers can expect the opportunity to engage, interest and attract a much larger scope of consumers, on a potentially global scale, without having to invest as much into the other realms of marketing. For SME’s more specifically, this has meant the barriers to entry into the market are greatly reduced, and they are able to compete on a much more successful scale then, perhaps, before the development of such technology.
Looking at how this development can be used as a point of difference, to enhance an event or even to make an event run more efficiently (every event planner’s ideology!) it is important to understand what it is that the client is ultimately trying to achieve from their event, and whether or not technology is being utilised to enhance this. With there being thousands of daily updates across the world on the ‘best’ technology to use, leading event tech provider ‘Juraj Holub’ states that there are four key questions for evaluating the best use of event tech (Eventbrite.co.uk):
Despite this however, one has to ensure that the influence of technology isn’t influencing those all so easy and unnecessary ‘oh let’s use it because everyone else is’ decisions. Take the rise of Virtual Reality as a good example of this. Although VR is a huge craze in creating an immersive, interactive and experiential experience for the user, is the technology actually where it needs to be to achieve the ultimate success of this development? Or is it simply a technology that event professionals are deploying as a way to ‘keep up with the trend’ and the hype that successful marketing campaigns have created? With other forms of technology such as ‘Augmented Reality’ still being a unique and current way of creating a 3D setting, perhaps the influence of technology has meant that event planners are now choosing unnecessary, costly new developments as a way of keeping up with a ‘trend’ as oppose to actually creating a cost-effective, experiential experience.
On the other hand, new technology trends don’t necessarily mean that new technology is not worth exploring. The new buzz around ‘Live Streaming’, and the ease and inexpensive way of using this is a great example of this. With 88% of agency respondents stating that they “might” or ‘definitely will’ invest in live stream video advertising (businessinsider.com), it comes as no surprise why this new platform is a great interactive way of person to person sharing, as well as business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) communication.
When coming to post-event event marketing, enhanced mobile technology also comes to play an immense role. With more and more social media platforms providing the way into the likes of hundreds of thousands of audiences, there surely is no better, easy and more convenient way of sharing the success of an event to those you want to share it to, particularly when looking at the more up-coming platforms such as ‘Pintrest’, which provides a brilliant route to driving more traffic to your website, as well as it being claimed as the ‘fastest growing social network around’ (business2community.com). As an example, this therefore shows how technological developments in mobile technology has played a crucial role in the events industry to date, particularly in maximising reach and making the conversations happen with more industry professionals.
So what does the future have in store for technology and events? If only one could time travel! What is certain for event planners, however, is that although there may be hundreds of new and emerging technologies, all claiming to bring something unique, innovative and effective to an event experience, finding the right technology for what is wanting to be achieved is a crucial way to filter out what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for your event. Although it is evident that technology may be influencing the way event planners now create, plan, market and even manage their events, the key message is for technology to not influence the essence of the event, and what it is ultimately set out to achieve.
Written by: Joanna Osborne (Marketing & Sales Executive)
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