On Data and the Diversification of Events
I was asked recently about my thoughts on the newest event concepts and brands that have caught my eye lately. It’s a tricky question to answer.
The tough economic climate for events over the past years has led to considerable consolidation in the industry. Under those constraints, there is little appetite (or cash reserves) for experimentation, especially after the forced pivot for many to digital or hybrid models. The familiar, and the traditional event models, may feel like a stable foundation to build things back up again.
Meanwhile, many continue to discuss what the “future of events” might look like. Fewer are actually building it.
For an industry that has continually sparkled with innovation, aiming to delight, connect and enchant, I’m eager to return to a situation where the emergence of new events and new event brands happened with regularity.
But there are two key trends that I’m really excited by– a growing focus on data and the diversification (or deconstruction) of events into year-round community models, where events become a meaningful part of the everyday.
These two shifts will ultimately serve to increase transparency and accountability for events everywhere, delivering a better experience to visitors and consumers. They also encourage event organizers to consider participant outcomes– and meaning – as a more critical part of the equation when event planning. It is those outcomes that should always be at the heart of an event concept. But over time, in some cases, they have been lost. Overall, these two turns might be more disruptive than the corona pandemic on the event industry!
We’re still in the early stages. But there’s a lot to be inspired by. Stay tuned!
Here’s what I’ve been catching up on lately:
A growing focus on event analytics and data
- EIC and Vsef Join Forces to Further Develop Digital Event Data Standards [Trade Show News] The Events Industry Council and Vsef, founded by Explori as the global standardized data format have joined a new partnership to further harmonize event analytics and data standards for the industry. Event data can be messy to piece through, requiring a professional eye to turn numbers into actionable insights. This new initiative aims to address that, as well as to provide greater clarity over ownership of attendee and participant data, and to harmonize insights across different events.
- Shepard Partners With Bear Analytics to Empower Event Organizers With Actionable Insights [Trade Show News] One of North America’s largest event service providers has joined forces with a leading data analytics provider to power up their attendee and event insights. One of the lasting features of the pandemic is the increasing value of real-time event data and post-event analytics on outcomes.
- Leveraging Real-Time Audience Data From Virtual Events [Forbes Councils] One of the big benefits of online events is the opportunity to collect some great analytics on your event. But an often overlooked part of this is the chance to use real-time data to adjust or engage your event while it’s taking place. (Here’s a recent Linkedin post on just this topic!)
Event service providers adapt to a changing industry
- Emerald Unveils Xcelerator Division to Drive Growth Via Innovative New Brand Experiences [Trade Show News] I’ve been following how event providers have diversified their business models during the pandemic. This move, by event and media company Emerald, really captures the direction and opportunity there is for event companies to enhance their existing networks and brand identity with 365 community models, enhanced with digital and in-person events.
- Christiane Wiemann von east end und die lernende Organisation und Editorial aus BlachReport 11.22: Schneller scheitern? [BlachReport] Event and creative experience agencies took a big hit during the pandemic. Dependent on suppliers and facing a talent crisis, agencies have to be nimble and dynamic to compete in today’s market. Christine Wiemann from Hamburg’s east end agency writes in this editorial how agencies can distinguish themselves from the rest– as being a fountain of knowledge and continually learning, as well as actively shaping young talent. Another key lesson? Measure your results. What gets measured, gets acted upon.
- Doing Hybrid Events Right Is Hard: Top CES Official [Skift Meetings] One of the world’s most watched and talked about events – CES – had quite a few bumps in the road when it came to going digital during the pandemic. Now as events transition to a more hybrid future, the electronics show has a few lessons for all on how to make the most when combining digital with the physical.
- MICE-Planung 2022: Das haben die Auftraggeber vor [Event Partner] Recent feedback from the German convention bureaus on events in 2022 has found how expectations have shifted since reopening this spring. Not surprisingly, face-to-face events are as popular as ever, but it’s common for clients to request a short cancellation period in case something goes wrong. And despite the industry’s focus and shift towards climate neutral and low-impact activities, for clients, sustainability is not a “must”, with half of those surveyed stating that climate neutrality or steps towards climate neutrality were of no importance when planning events.
The Event Industry
- IMEX Reinforces Prospects of Event Industry Recovery [Skift Meetings] IMEX Frankfurt returned last week with a successful event and renewed outlook for the event industry. Top topics covered during the event included sustainability and immersive experiences, including a “gamification challenge” to highlight top carbon-saving initiatives.
- Aufholbedarf: Boom in Gastronomie und Eventbranche [ORF] A perfect storm is brewing for the event industry, with the boom in rescheduled events hitting prime wedding season. It’s created a challenge for the industry in finding qualified staff, leading some events to be postponed due to availability.
- Forum Veranstaltungswirtschaft kritisiert WHO [Event Partner] The event season is in full swing, with large events taking place all across Europe. It’s a cause of concern for the WHO, with the WHO’s Regional Director for Europe urging caution due to rising cases of monkeypox. The comments were swiftly criticized by Germany’s event industry forum as unnecessary “scaremongering” saying that the risk of monkeypox was in no way comparable to the threat of coronavirus.
- Veranstaltungsbranche setzt Dialog mit der Bundesregierung fort [Event Manager] Germany’s event industry has met with federal representatives to discuss the condition and future outlook of the industry. Top concerns involved the ending of EU subsidies in June 2022, with the industry encouraging further support of their recovery– arguing that the industry continues to suffer.
How to Do it
- Advice and Inspiration for Trade Show Booths [BizBash] How to bring your Trade Show booth into 2022? Don’t get caught up in the trends. Know your audience and what outcomes they’re looking for when visiting your space. Here’s a ton of great tips and advice for how to shake up your booth and create an experience that your visitors won’t easily forget.
- 10 Event Ideas Spotted on Instagram [BizBash] Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration online (have you checked out the PIRATEx Pinterest page, by chance?) and BizBash always has some great picks. Here are some of their most recent finds to inspire.
- The New Opportunities That Virtual Events Are Bringing to Businesses [Forbes] Brands embraced virtual events during the pandemic, and are not slowing down as many more interactions take place in person. Companies that use events as a complement to their business– and not the core product – have continued to engage and grow their outreach with virtual meetings and experiences– far more than before the pandemic.
- MarTech Interview with JR Sherman, CEO at RainFocus [MarTech] With more and more events and noise online, how can you ensure yours stands out? Here’s a good interview on how to make the most of an “event marketing platform” and why they might be a handy addition to your outreach strategy.
- 4 Ways to Keep Speakers On Topic [Skift Meetings] Rogue speakers can be a serious distraction to a carefully curated conference program. Organizers can take steps to prevent this by doing an appropriate speaker vetting – here’s how to do just that.
That’s all for this edition of The Lookout! The jury’s still out on the metaverse according to my poll (above). There’s still time to weigh in, let me know your take!
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 #63
PIRATEx Managing Director