By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager, IAEE
Over the last two years, our world has changed in significant, unprecedented ways, as have our event marketing strategies. IAEE recently presented a webinar, Event Marketing, Then and Now: 10 Ways COVID-19 Has Changed the Future of Attendee Acquisition, co-hosted by Jacqueline Wells, Senior Vice President, mdg, A Freeman Company and Samantha Moore, CMP, CEM, Senior Director, Meetings & Education for the American Bakers Association (ABA). This webinar presents the 10 biggest changes to event marketing during this time and challenges audience members to question everything they thought they knew about marketing events in the process.
Wells specializes in event and association marketing that brings together content marketers and online event experts, digital and interactive media specialists, marketing strategists and data analysts with a robust creative team to provide complete marketing solutions that help clients achieve their objectives. She has managed campaigns for several of Trade Show Executive’s Gold 100 trade shows, including SuperZoo, the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) and World of Concrete, and is now leading the agency’s online event marketing division.
Moore oversees more than 20 events per year, ranging from 10 to 22,000 attendees. She leads the planning and execution of ABA’s annual event, Convention, along with the Professionals Groups Conferences, and other meetings and webinars held throughout the year. Moore also directs the strategy and execution of ABA’s education programs and events, including the Bakers Manufacturing Academy (BMA) and the Front-Line Leadership Training.
Event Marketing, Then and Now: 10 Ways COVID-19 Has Changed the Future of Attendee Acquisition centers around the changing landscape of event marketing in the post-COVID business environment. As Wells notes in the beginning of the webinar, “While I know this statement feels intuitive… too many event organizers are attempting to go back to 2019… by picking up the same playbooks that were being used, pre-pandemic. By organizing trade show floors around the same general floorplan layouts. By structuring educational content in largely the same way. And by using all of the same marketing tactics, messages and channels that we used in 2019.”
She then launches into a detailed overview to help audience members move confidently in the future of event marketing by offering 10 strategic considerations when differentiating between “Then” and “Now.”
“Today’s fully immersive experiential design gained momentum in the decade preceding the pandemic,” says IAEE Vice President of Exhibitions and Events Scott Craighead, CEM. “The pandemic pushed the exhibitions and events industry to delve into the technological possibilities even further. Now that in-person events are returning, the expectation to capitalize on the best of both worlds creates an exciting opportunity for those willing to take it into the future.”
Key points focus on the importance of creating highly personalized, highly engaging outreach in place of “gunshot” approaches that were more prevalent before the pandemic and its subsequent surge in technological solutions-based marketing. This is where data collection and processing become crucial components in the marketing activities of the event.
Moore explains how the ABA applies this concept to IBIE. “We actually embarked on a data overhaul this show cycle to allow us to better align content with our target audiences,” she says. “We restructured the database to include past purchase data like tailgate tickets and education. That way we can approach them this year with ‘because you liked X session, we’re recommending Y and Z.’ In the past, we’ve simply segmented and personalized emails by market or job function.”
Creating and nurturing ongoing personal connections involves engaging multiple senses and deliberation processes. The tactics of appealing to logic versus emotion, verbal communication versus communicating through imagery, directing information at the audience versus through audience members – these are all marketing approaches that can be strategically applied depending on the desired effect and delivery channel.
“Attendees are seeking to reconnect and heal from the void created in the events industry by the pandemic,” comments IAEE Vice President of Marketing & Communications Nicole Bowman, MBA. “The emphasis on experiential value offerings is stronger than ever, and it is something that event marketers must fully understand and apply if they want to maximize their efforts and bolster the success of their events.”
Dive into all 10 solutions presented in Event Marketing, Then and Now: 10 Ways COVID-19 Has Changed the Future of Attendee Acquisition by watching the on-demand recording of the webinar here. Register for upcoming webinars and view other on-demand recordings here. IAEE webinars are free for IAEE members and cost $49 USD for non-members, find more information here.