10 New Event Concepts That Will Throw You Out (or on Top) of the Market

March 16, 2009   |   AUTHOR: Julius Solaris   |   POSTED IN: Barcamps and OpenSource

By now you should know we don’t like traditional form of events. By traditional we mean: High Control – High Environmental Impact – Low Technology – Low Innovation. News is we are not the only one in love with new, innovative concepts. We set the trend, now the market is loving whatever we have been pushing in the past.

change
Photo by Jill Greenseth via Flickr

Bad news is that if you don’t understand new trends, you are going to be out of the market soon. Bad news is also that if you partially understand what follows, trying to adapt it to whatever old, traditional scheme of executing events, you are going to be out even faster.

There is good news though. If you understand the new spark of revolutionary, user generated, highly technological trends and implement them correctly you are going to be ahead of the game. Far ahead.

Let’s get down to business then and remember to handle with care:

1. Virtual Tradeshows

We are not the biggest fans of trade shows. We are sure there are a lot of Circus fans out there, but would you do business in a Circus. Feel free to do so. The culture of shouting to other people to capture their attention with loudness and noise, it’s indeed a thing that belongs to the 1960’s.

Virtual Tradeshows rationalize the concept substantially. Having arenas where companies measure is still indeed a juicy concept, and having them controlled under a virtual environment is the way to go.

We have witnessed great, one to one, intimate environments that stimulate great trade and business. Way to go.

2. Flash Mobs

The power of word of mouth is scaring and fascinating at the time. The idea of harnessing word of mouth has been around forever, but it is more a way to sell pretentious books rather than a proved business technique. The idea to virally leverage on events like these is more real now thanks to tools such as Facebook or twitter. Make sure you handle with extreme care.


3. Meetups

Although we are fans of Meetup.com we are not referring just to events on that particular platform. There is a trend in establishing monthly or fortnightly user generated events which leverage on existing online communities.

Meetup.com is the most prominent example, but you will find that in Facebook or twitter and among a great number of Nings. Opportunities are either in starting a meetup which follows or anticipates your main event or in driving and attracting sponsorships to existing ones.

4. Pecha Kucha

We have been talking about this creative approach for a while now and here in London it appears to be the trend of the month. Good to know we have readers that make stuff happen.

The format has been around for ages but we exposed it lately to our readership, sparking a new series of implementations. As we have already noted distortions and pretentious mixes of the above with traditional conferences, make sure you understand the format very well and that your target is actually responsive. Otherwise it will look like the last choo choo of a derailing train.

5. Unconference

There is a dark side in some event planners. There is a huge dark side in some of them. When numbers of attendance are going down, some planners would sell their relatives to make money. The abuses of the unconference concept are similar to those spam emails trying to sell magical pills.

We started writing about user generated conferences such as Barcamps two years ago. We participated in the community sharing best practices. People loved it and attendance was great. The traditional model of conferences was then transferred to these incredibly powerful concepts. Disaster.

We witnessed example of trade shows with an unconference within it. This is like mixing fish with cheese, or like Seth Godin would say, serving a Meatball Sundae. We sincerely hope planners will understand before perpetrating the killing of one of the most revolutionary concepts of events.

6. Concerts

Yeah you read correct. If you don’t understand the power of live music now, you are missing out on one of the biggest opportunities for the event industry of the last 15 years. Whatever is going on with the music industry, one thing is for sure, live gigs are becoming the most valuable way to consume music.

No CD, no cassettes anymore. If you experienced the Michael Jackson concert effect lately which was initially scheduled for 10 nights and only one week after increased to 50, you can do the math for your business.

7. Live tweeting

Live tweeting refers to the practice of tweeting information live from an event you are attending. That is becoming an event in itself. With people participating from around. Events are now tagged using hashtags such as #sxsw or #ted and people use tags whenever they witness something worth tweeting from the event.

The echo online is impressive. We had the chance to participate to a number of events in this format and we developed strong and long lasting relationships. How to leverage that? Tons of ways.

8. Burning Man

What is Burning Man? Very tough to explain apparently, but hey twitter is tough to explain as well. We love the concept and its implementation. This is extremely powerful and definitely worth following for developments and applications in other formats as well.

9. Virtual Speed Dating and Networking

The concepts are very powerful offline. So whether you work with dating or networking events, you may want to transfer that online as well. The benefits are outstanding also in terms of managing a digital service which can bring in additional streams of revenue.

10. Social networking nights for professionals

They are originated from Professional Social Networking websites such as Linkedin or Xing. They are becoming extremely powerful networking events and they are carried as Meetups, although not necessarily nested into a topic. In London we have great examples such as EYP which gathers extremely talented professionals networking in one room. It is key if you choose to run these events, to be relevant to the age of your chosen target group or to one specific industry.

  • http://eventastic.eu Thorben

    Fair points.
    However I think that some of these events are quite difficult to manage. Flash mobs in the way we know them are 5 or 6 years past now and it takes basically lots of feeling in order to get these right. Especially if you want to get them right and try to have some roi there. So take the T-Online advert which is all around the place for some time now: how hard is it to get this right? How do you take something, which is meant to be a private fun matter (which at the beginning clearly tried to keep the media uninformed) and turn it around into something commercially viable, still trying to keep some of the authenticity.
    And I think you are right in terms of user-generated events, but don't you think it is quite tricky to balance between the web2.0 we-are-a-part-of-it and the where's-my-money-bit?

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com tojulius

    Hey Thorben,

    you are spot on. Flashmobs are tough to control and the way they develop is very subversive. Said that, I can really see them working for experiential marketing gigs which require a component of fuzziness to work properly. Again handle with care. I am currently carrying on a project over twitter on this base. I'll share what I am learning.

    As for unconferences and user generated events, I think the best opportunities are for those willing to support these initiatives through sponsorships as well as for those event planners that facilitate rather than control. Giving up control is not an easy practice, specially when there is a budget involved, but we need to experience more these new concepts to understand how to translate them in a win-win scenario.

    Thanks for the comment
    Julius

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  • http://www.aekozma.wordpress.com Amanda Kozma

    Great post. It's so hard to stay up-to-date with all the new social media strategies in event planning. I have been following your blog for a couple months now, and it's very informative and inspirational for a new blogger researching all the current trends in the event planning industry. Thanks for the comment on my blog, I appreciate all the feedback I can get!

  • http://2009.thenextweb.com/ Patrick de Laive

    Great post Julius.

    I'm the organizer of The Next Web Conference and I can say we do a lot of this stuff you mention here (and I believe in the right way).

    To give you soe examples on what we use:
    - We use a social event network, so all attendees can see who else is coming and make appointments. Thi snot only leads to a better event (in terms of more business for the attendee) but also leads to more buzz up front (we used confnetwork, but there are other companies doing the same thing -eventvue-).

    During the conference our hashtag ( #tnw) was constantly for two days a trending topic on Twitter

    There was a real unconference day :)

    Next to keynotes, startup pitches we had Pecha Kucha presentations by our attendees.

    Parties! Parties are very important. We try to give our attendees a 360 degrees experience, so every night there were parties in the city (3 nights in a row).

  • http://2009.thenextweb.com/ Patrick de Laive

    Great post Julius.

    I'm the organizer of The Next Web Conference and I can say we do a lot of this stuff you mention here (and I believe in the right way).

    To give you soe examples on what we use:
    - We use a social event network, so all attendees can see who else is coming and make appointments. Thi snot only leads to a better event (in terms of more business for the attendee) but also leads to more buzz up front (we used confnetwork, but there are other companies doing the same thing -eventvue-).

    During the conference our hashtag ( #tnw) was constantly for two days a trending topic on Twitter

    There was a real unconference day :)

    Next to keynotes, startup pitches we had Pecha Kucha presentations by our attendees.

    Parties! Parties are very important. We try to give our attendees a 360 degrees experience, so every night there were parties in the city (3 nights in a row).

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