Experience Over Outcomes: Are Your Attendees Getting What They Came for?
70,000 sold out tickets and the large crowd of attendees pictured patiently waiting to enter Hamburg’s OMR-Festival last week sent a message that didn’t take a “marketing rockstar” to figure out: Event goers are craving the physical experience.
From an outsider’s perspective, OMR delivered. The event’s organizers produced an event heavy on content, experience and connection, bringing together huge brands, A-list celebrities, unique catering and even a surprise rap music concert to delight attendees.
Attendees that have been at home for the past two years during the pandemic are looking for events that are offering incredible experiences. But there’s another segment of your attendees that are prioritizing the outcomes–over the experience. It’s likely those participant expectations have changed quite considerably since you were last meeting in person. They may be joining to get anything for the leads, prospective sales, or something entirely different. The question is knowing how to strike the right balance for your audience– and your brand.
Many organizers have tended to take a “more is more” approach, maximizing the experience, as it is often most visible. But this can be costly and wasteful if it doesn’t align with your attendee’s priorities. Take the time to understand what your participant’s expectations really are. Knowing just how your stakeholders weigh experience and outcomes–will better help organizers maximize both.
Here’s what I’ve been catching up on this week:
The event industry’s changing landscape:
- MICE-Planung 2022: Das haben die Auftraggeber vor [Event Partner] Do people even want to take place in on-site events anymore? This is one of the big topics brought up in this piece, with an enthusiastic “yes”. Asking German Convention Bureaus about the months ahead, physical events are back, and client expectations are high. Also on the agenda? Sustainability – its standard and no longer an option.
- Hyve reports faster than anticipated recovery of in-person events, despite macro challenges [Exhibition World] One only needs to look around to see just how fast the return to physical events has been. Global event organizer Hyve’s experience is notable for the fast bounce back of the event industry. The company is finding a very swift recovery– with some in-person events already surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
- Fern Launches Exhibitor Success Program [Trade Show News] On the topic of experiences over outcomes– this new offering from Fern attempts to quantify the event experience for exhibitors – one sector that has long had less than enthusiastic satisfaction for many types of events. Just one example of how the industry is turning to be more actionable for its participants.
- Business Travel Rebounds as Execs Choose (Real) Face Time Over Zoom [Bloomberg] The rapid return to business travel has surprised many industry insiders. Despite the past years teleconferencing and the growth of digital technologies, the enthusiastic return to travel has set the events industry on a clear road to recovery.
Digital event technologies
- Hybride Kundenansprache statt Messe, auch nach Corona [Meedia] What an incredible case study here of the Grohe-X brand experience. The company initially created a digital design and experience concept to fill the gap during the pandemic, when their ISH trade fair appearance moved to a digital format. Since then, they’ve completely redesigned their live communications strategy to incorporate many innovative formats of online and virtual events– a real role model for the industry.
- Should all brands rush to enter the metaverse? [PR Week] The metaverse has continued to be a huge topic of conversation and it is difficult for many companies to know how to proceed. In this well argued piece, the metaverse will likely be where many events will be taking place– but just not yet for everyone.
- Why event technology is critical to marketing success [Martech] If you’re trying to reach new leads in 2022, utilizing online events and creating bespoke “remote-first” experiences will be key for any savvy brand’s marketing strategy. Here’s how to combine it with your in-person events.
How to do it:
- TechDay – A 5-Step Guide To Hosting Successful Virtual Networking Events [Tech Day] Virtual networking is something that every hybrid event wants to optimize, but few seem to get it right. Here’s an indepth look at some of the reasons why your online networking events aren’t hitting the right mark and a few ways to maximize your attendee experience.
- Tips for Booking Event Speakers in 2022 [BizBash] A new benchmark report for speakers sheds light on some of the trends in the industry. What’s in– diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as content that showcases expertise.
- Events in Corona-Zeiten – sorgfältig planen, sicher durchführen! [Xing] Xing events has put together a comprehensive guide for “events in Corona times” – with a full checklist of everything you need to know to navigate offline event planning here and now. For many of those that have been exclusively online over the past two years, the return to physical events brings with it some unique challenges that didn’t exist before.
Don’t miss it:
- Let’s meet! Virtually, in-person, or somewhere in between? [CIO] What truly is the future of the virtual meeting? It’s something that’s been continually shifting over the past few years. Striking the right mix is likely somewhere in between physical and completely digital. Here are some top tips to navigate this new landscape.
- Sustainability Update: How Event Profs are Combatting Climate Change [Event Marketer] Sustainability has been a big topic over the last year of the event industry, but how to make a plan that really sticks? Here are a ton of examples of how different events and brands have incorporated sustainable solutions into their live communication strategies.
- How to gain a sustainable advantage from new work models [World Economic Forum] The World Economic Forum has been taking place in Davos this week and from the event organizer’s perspective, things have not been too notable when it comes to the event production itself. But some of the content will have considerable interest to event organizers– such as this perspective about how work has been changing. Expect greater risk aversion, especially with the move towards more flexible working. As work becomes more flexible– B2B events will need to follow suit, with greater accessibility than ever before.
In the meantime, let’s stay connected if we’re not already on Linkedin or follow the PIRATEx team on Twitter. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to online, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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The Lookout Newsletter #62
PIRATEx Managing Director