10 Trends in Corporate Events

Offering the hottest trends to clients sets you apart from other event planners.

Are you ready for the latest trends in corporate event planning? Here are a few ways you can incorporate them into your event events and event planning company.

One of the best ways to make a name for yourself in the event industry is to self-educate and always be on trend. You don’t want to waste your time following fads that never amount to much but staying up-to-date on what clients are interested in, or better yet, offering them trendy options before they’ve even heard of them will keep you at the top of their event planner list.

Some of these trends are already here and some are just starting to hit. Take a look at what it could mean for your event business:

10 Trends in Corporate Events

Crowd-Streaming

If you follow EventMB, you’ll recognize this trend from the 10 Event Trends for 2016 and mid-way through this year we’re seeing it play out in a big way with Facebook Live. Facebook Live is not only receiving a lot of notoriety because it’s the latest launch from the largest social network in the world, but it’s also becoming incredibly important for visibility, which we’ll get to in a second.

Facebook Live allows you to broadcast live on Facebook with just your smartphone. You can broadcast for up to 90 minutes. After your broadcast ends, Facebook makes the video available in your stream and you can adjust viewing permissions.

Facebook also gives live video preference in streams over other content so if you’ve noticed your Facebook reach slipping this is a great way to counterbalance that. Remember you can use it but so can your attendees. Think of creative ways to encourage broadcasts and you’ll increase your word-of-mouth marketing.

Use Facebook Live for opening ceremonies, keynotes, attendee interviews, a red carpet entry, or any other on-the-spot video. As fun and entertaining as Facebook Live is, it should never be used for anything that would devastate you or your business if you lost it. Remember, you don’t own Facebook and they are able to discontinue services or content can be lost with very little recourse.

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Virtual Activities

Two words – Pokémon Go. Sometimes you go to bed never having heard of something and the next day, even your 90-year-old grandmother is talking about it. Pokémon Go is all the rage topping app download lists, causing servers to crash, and still people are crazy excited about virtual check-ins and their progress.

Go-type apps have seen some popularity in the past in the forms of Four Square and geo-caching but Pokémon Go may now be ushering in a new type of check-in game that can be used with events. They’re incredibly popular, get people talking, and use game motivation to inspire actions.

Personalized Offerings

While personalization is hardly a new trend, as data gets more and more sophisticated and easily attainable, we’ll see event planners use it as a way to predict interests and shape offerings. We reported on this idea two years ago, but since then the data correlations that can be drawn using existing software have increased.

Data scientist will become an additional responsibility for event planners. Those who use data will look like wizards and those who chose not to pay attention to trends and patterns in the data will be left wondering why their post-event ratings are so low.

Personalized Marketing

Data will be used to customize offerings and sessions, analyze ideal locations, and sell more tickets. It’s already helping savvy event planners cut costs in advertising by finding their target audience through actions and activities people are posting about. Personalization continues to play a large role in targeted landing pages. These will also increase in number and event planners will coordinate with marketers to construct individualized landing pages based on action history.

The Facebook Pixel is also helping planners retarget visitors to their website for a more customized approach to marketing. The ability to recognize a warm lead, one that has shown interest before through a visit or a click, will increase attendance and help event planners conduct virtual one-on-one type marketing to visitors. Past actions will continue to influence the marketing message visitors see, for greater conversion rates.

Personalized Registration

Today’s event software is sophisticated enough to present registration options based on the type of attendee registering. This trend in customization of the registration process will continue. Look for ways to fine-tune the offer based on attendee type, including additional discounts, activities, and content based on type and activity history. In the future, these factors could also be used to unlock mystery items much the same way games and sites use Easter eggs for added interest.

Softer Side of Corporate Events

Emotional intelligence continues to gain speed in the corporate environment and that will hold true of events as well. Topics like mindfulness, soft skills, and consensus management will continue to be hot topics in sessions. Use these topics to increase your offerings in other areas like creating sensory lounges where introverts and others can enjoy some down time without retreating to their hotel rooms.

Placing Attendees in the Drivers’ Seat

Another way to use personalization is to allow attendees greater access to customizing their event experience and collaterals through personalized agendas (that they can shape on their own), event substitutions, technology prompts based on their answers (if they select this, then they have the option for this), automated networking suggestions based on past activity and interests, and auto-scheduling suggestions to help them make the most of their event experience. Some of this is available through current event technology. Keep watch over ways in which event software will be changing to take some of the burden off of you and your staff and allow for attendees to do more self-service.

Smarter Emails

Email marketing is a strong tool for increasing attendance and event planners are using it to create a much more personalized marketing campaign based on past activity and data. Blanket emails, one-size-fits-all, will put you at a disadvantage in today’s personalized environment. Drip campaigns based on activity are slowly becoming the norm and emails will continue to be shaped by potential attendee activity on a more regular basis using triggers. Did the potential attendee just visit the event site or pose a question on social media? If you don’t know yet, you will have access to this information shortly.

More Active Marketing Year Round

Companies like Canva are reaching out to bloggers who mention design software or Canva specifically and asking to include their company and the URL link back to their site. “Listening” is becoming more and more important on social because sites like Facebook are limiting companies’ reach in streams. Building word-of-mouth will soon be the only organic way to reach attendees. This means following them on social media, reaching out to industry influencers, listening for mentions, interacting with past attendees, creating an online community for recurring events, and other ways to engage throughout the year. These actions draw more sponsors and attendees.

Continued Growth of Informal Thought Labs

The democratization of keynote and session leaders continues. Less formal speaker presentations are a hot trend as there’s growing interest in equality among thought leader and attendee. Innovative learning tracks are showcasing audience experience, each session becoming a unique learning opportunity based on the person starting the learning discussion and the interaction of the audience. These informal session shares hold attention longer, are more memorable, and allow the audience to address issues they are most concerned with, thus the growing popularity with “Ask Me Anything” sessions.

In Conclusion

Personalization through data is a growing trend for the event planner and an invaluable part of the marketers’ tool kit. Attendees are beginning to expect this as they see companies, like Amazon, continue to personalize their marketing and sales approach to each consumer. Attendees will come to expect a frictionless approach to registration and an almost “fortune teller-like” knowledge of what they need and want. These capabilities behind using data for personalization are very exciting. Are you ready?

About The Author
Christina Green
Christina R. Green is a digital storyteller and writer for associations and businesses, including journals such as the Midwestern Society of Association Executive's magazine and industry blogs. She's a voracious reader but has been known to stop reading if there are too many exclamation points used.
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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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