3. Incorporate NFCs and Wearables
Sometimes, the best way to engage with attendees is by literally tracking them (with their permission, of course). Technologies like Near-Field Communication (NFC) devices allow for attendees to swipe a wristband or badge and “check-in” to booths and talks. But NFC technology doesn’t stop there—event marketers have used wearables of this type for everything from survey taking to lead generation, photo sharing and even digital content promotion. Some great real-life examples of NFC use at events can be found here.
The takeaway: By engaging with customers in real-time, you will be able to meet (and serve) them exactly where they are and be front of mind while they are browsing your event.
4. Try Creative Trials and Offerings
While product samplings can be successful, there are other ways you can showcase your product and brand. In fact, paired with another offering, you can make the event experience even better for attendees and promote your brand at the same time. This is where sponsorships and partnerships come in. Take the NBA and Mountain Dew, for example. During All-Star 2016, the NBA’s annual weekend that culminates in the NBA All-Star Game, Mountain Dew teamed up with Google’s Tilt Brush virtual reality painting app to host an interactive sport-art-technology experience for attendees. At the event, emerging artists created basketball-related 3D artwork using Google Tilt Brush while fans got a sneak peek at the as-yet-unreleased virtual reality technology, as well as sample Mountain Dew products and chat with sponsored athletes.
Each of these activities would have been interesting on its own; taken together, Mountain Dew created a truly unique, branded experience that incorporated futuristic technology, the weekend’s sports theme, and sampling their own products that left people hungry for more.
The takeaway: Trials and offerings at events don’t need to be just promotional to your brand. Imbue them with thematic purpose and make sure they enhance your event and your attendees will thank you.
5. Engage Influencers and Utilize Their Spheres of Influencers
How do you measure engagement at an event? While this is a robust topic, one tried and true metric is buzz, or the amount of people talking about the speakers, theme and event itself. Don’t think this needs to happen in a vacuum—identify the key influencers in attendance and enlist them to start the chatter via their social media and other platforms (e.g. blogs, etc.). Consider offering social media prompts: what was your favorite session? Best quote of the day? Offer them space to write a blog post pre- or post-event to get their thoughts. And be sure to engage with them at the event itself, whether that’s by highlighting their attendance or tapping them for talks or freebies. They’ll be happy for the recognition and you’ll be happy with the buzz.
The takeaway: Get key people talking at your event and the rest will follow.
Krystal Putman-Garcia is the vice president of marketing at Localist.