Rethink the attendee journey to optimize your experiential marketing
The events industry has seen a remarkable evolution of what attendees expect from events, highlighting the need for synergy between enterprise strategy and audience expectations. How does this magic take place? It all comes down to ensuring a strategic approach to the attendee journey—which starts before an event begins and continues even after it ends.
In a recent episode of Speaking of Events—a new podcast series from Ovation CEO Kerri Garbis that brings together innovators, strategic rockstars and visionary creatives to talk about events and industry trends—Augeo Director, Experiential Marketing Kevin Cobb provides insights on Augeo's strategy to transform the attendee journey.
Here are three key takeaways you need to know:
1. Engage attendees with an audience-first approach
Are human attention spans declining, or are certain staples of modern life hindering our ability to concentrate? Either way, "You no longer have permission to be boring," says Kevin—and he's right.
When planning your next hybrid, in-person or virtual event experience, you should lead with an audience-first approach designed to engage and inspire organizational momentum. It is crucial that marketing, production, technology and operations converge to support this type of strategy.
The past few years have reinforced the importance of taking this approach across every event format, including hybrid events which are poised to become an industry mainstay. Hybrid events increase your audience reach and maximize accessibility and inclusion—so it is imperative that an audience-first approach includes enhancing engagement and participation for all attendees.
"If you take a strategic approach to events [and ensure] your audience comes first—that translates [across hybrid, in-person and virtual event experiences]."
When orchestrated successfully, hybrid events resonate as much with your virtual attendees as they do your in-person audience. If your speaker only engages the people in front of them, your virtual attendees will miss the momentum, enthusiasm or core information the speaker is conveying to in-person participants. Every type of audience should enjoy a tailored experience.
At Augeo, we harness the power of storytelling through a humanized experience to engage attendees throughout their journey—one of the many ways we approach the storyboarding of our events for our clients. "If you take a strategic approach to events [and ensure] your audience comes first—that translates [across hybrid, in-person and virtual event experiences]," says Kevin.
2. Extend organizational momentum & garner influencers
What is the number one aspect of experiential marketing that we believe every enterprise should know? "[An event] is not just a moment in time. The audience wants more. Your need to deliver on expectations extends before, during and after."
If you view an event as an isolated experience, you miss out on the ideal opportunity to extend your organizational momentum. After all, when your event concludes and your attendees have experienced your message in its entirety—that is the moment your audience is most energized.
We think of your event as an opportunity to ignite your brand's strategy for an entire year and beyond, spanning into the engagement lifecycle of the attendee. We recommend planning continuous attendee engagement following your event to foster meaningful connections with your audience, inspire community building and identify key influencers.
"[An event] is not just a moment in time. The audience wants more. Your need to deliver on expectations extends before, during and after."
Resonating throughout the industry, there are several digital trends facilitating the transformation of the attendee experience. One of the most impactful ways to accelerate and sustain the engagement of your attendees before, during and after your next event experience is through a digital engagement platform.
A digital platform is the ultimate way to extend engagement throughout the entire year—an ideal environment to build your community and promote lasting brand affinity. The right platform will even yield valuable insights through integrated dashboard analytics and insights, providing the tools you need to connect and inspire your audience 365 days of the year.
Embrace a digital and year-round engagement experience for your audience:
- Utilize digital technologies and touchpoints to provide interactivity throughout every step of the attendee journey—so your audience can be part of the conversation
- Give your attendees a voice by including audience polls throughout your event—a great way to interact with both in-person and virtual attendees
- Extend your momentum, accelerate engagement and promote lasting brand affinity using a digital engagement platform to connect and inspire your audience throughout the year
3. Implement the right attendee strategy
We view experiential marketing as a launchpad—an opportunity to gather your audience, excite and equip them with your message and then send them out into the world. With the right attendee strategy, your event is the spark that ignites enthusiasm, inspires your community and creates opportunities to garner influencers throughout the year.
For more insights on how to transform the attendee experience and extend your organizational momentum before, during and after your next hybrid, in-person or virtual event, check out the full episode of Speaking of Events and connect with us today.
Thank you to Kerri Garbis for inviting Augeo to participate in the Speaking of Events podcast.