Want to know what the best event marketers are focusing on at this moment? Then you’re in luck. Flow, M&IW’s creative services, event marketing, and engagement solutions division, is laser-focused on today’s hottest trends. We know what’s working (and what’s not) across hundreds of world-class events at this very moment. As we head into 2022, Flow creatives reflect on a few of our favorite event marketing trends that we predict will be front and center in the upcoming year.
In 2022, keep your event marketing and engagement strategy relevant and impactful with:
- Event branding that sets your program apart
- An event mobile app that builds a community
- A personalized social media approach
- Strategic video production that isn’t an afterthought
TOP EVENT CREATIVE TREND: BRANDING GETS A BOOST
Today’s event landscape is strong on all fronts—digital, hybrid, and in-person. And for many, our routines have become a seamless integration of work and home. Competition to grab our audience’s attention is fierce. We’re not only competing with myriad events and digital inundation in general, but we’re also up against today’s breaking news, the next Amazon order, TikTok phenoms, loads of laundry, Roombas, stand-up desk malfunctions, doggie daycare cams—you name the distraction.
Cutting through multiple dimensions of noise takes a standout event and an identity to prove it. Your event branding— name, theme, visual identity, and tone—need to pique interests, inspire imaginations, and build anticipation. Oh, and do it all instantly.
“Event branding is living its best life right now,” says Flow Creative Director Kate Bek. “In the past two years, we’ve watched the personality and humanity of event creative skyrocket. We are encouraged to deliver impactful event identities that reflect the brand’s purpose, mission, and vision and—at one glance—define the personality of the program.”
An event identity can embody the overarching core values of your brand. Sixty-four percent of consumers agree that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. 1 “Audiences don’t just want to know ‘the why’ behind your event, they want to feel the why,” says Kate. “We need to show them they want to be part of the experience without telling them.”
Highly intentional event creative applies to virtual, hybrid, and in-person experiences alike. Every experience needs to feel different than the last, and the event brand or identity (name, theme, voice, and visuals) are the nexus of it all. Those are the energy lines we pull across the entire journey.
TOP EVENT TECH TREND: MOBILE IS HAVING A MOMENT
Mobile event apps and digital platforms are unsung heroes of engagement. Yes, there’s an app for that, and while they’ve played a part in events for quite some time, we think they’re about to have a major moment for a few reasons:
Our teams are constantly looking at ways to make every aspect of the marketing approach more sustainable. Digitize where you can to save time, resources, and the planet. A digital platform helps repurpose content, more efficiently navigate program changes, and reduce printed materials.
Ease & Personalization
We all need it more than ever. Modern event apps are sleek, branded, and include everything your participants need in the palm of their hands. Work with your event engagement team to explore your customization questions. What are the capabilities of event apps these days? How could this help to deepen the connections for my program? How can we make this valuable and not cumbersome to our participants? How can we gather data and information that makes planning and execution easier now and in the future?
Think beyond the on-site experience. Mobile and digital have the capability to enhance the entire lifespan of a program. Rolling out an event app with your invitation or announcement with a clear strategy will maximize your investment. Use it to engage your participants and get real-time feedback that helps shape the content of your event. Leverage it to grow relationships with sponsors and give exposure to your partners. It’s all about your community.
“We are using these mobile and digital tools to intentionally develop and deepen a sense of community,” says Sr. Director of Incentives & Engagement with M&IW, Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, CITP. “Not just at the event itself, but even more importantly, as a channel within the pre-event promotions and post-event connection.”
Mobile apps and digital platforms create value for the participants beyond communication through networking, gamification, and educational opportunities. Additionally, interactive technologies can be used to bridge events and audiences year over year.
TOP EVENT SOCIAL MEDIA TREND: POSTS ARE PERSONAL
According to research completed by HubSpot, the main social media goals of most marketers in 2022 will be to reach new audiences, grow relationships with customers, and boost customer service.2 This means there will be a shift in how marketers leverage social media to promote events. Instead of using social purely for brand promotion, it will also be used as a channel for fostering deeper relationships and building digital communities.
Pave the Way for Paid
As mentioned above, personalization isn’t a new marketing trend per se. However, it is when it comes to event marketing on social media. While event organizers can’t exactly personalize their social media posts for dynamic audiences, they can target segments and lookalike audiences with more personalized social media ads. Social media platforms now provide advanced targeting and customization options for event marketers who are willing to pay to show the right content to the right people at the right time.
Invest in Visual Identity
Visuals are no longer just a nicety; they’re an essential, core component of a successful event marketing strategy on social. Scientists have proved that visual images get to the brain 60,000 times faster than text. This means visual content (images, videos, gifs, memes, the works) allows you to communicate your message in a concise and compelling way. To ensure your social media posts are on brand, on message, and eye-catching, consider hiring a professional to develop a social media brand kit for your logo, theming, color, fonts, and targeted messaging that represents your event and resonates with your audience.
Make it Too Good Not to Share
It’s a well-known fact that the average attention span of an average human is around eight seconds; most of the time, people are simply scrolling through social media rather than actively engaging with the content. While you might not have a large budget for paid ads or professional design, you can add a level of personalization through engagement. Share posts and updates about “real” people to keep it authentic. Encourage comments and conversations from your online community to keep it relevant. And, lastly, give them a reason to engage and easy to share your content.
“Event marketing on social media takes a little patience and lots of strategies,” according to Jill Pearson, Manager of Digital Marketing and Media for M&IW. “The world of social media is constantly changing. To effectively promote your event and reach a new audience, your efforts need to be sophisticated and more creative than ever before.”
Whether you are a fan or foe, social media will continue to be in play. Each social platform serves a different purpose, and it’s crucial to use them the right way. While you don’t need to break the bank, you most likely will need a social media expert and an exceptional PPC marketing campaign.
TOP EVENT CONTENT TREND: HIGHLY PLANNED VERSUS HIGHLY PRODUCED
The increasing importance of video means that delivering captivating content can be our most powerful marketing touchpoint. It’s a visual world out there. In fact, the human brain absorbs 50% more information through moving pictures and sound than the next best medium.3
Top trends today include real-life content, live filming with personalized messaging, well-crafted stories, and captioning. How we present information in today’s digital world is vastly improved when we move to a multimedia format. Seventy-five percent of people are more likely to watch videos than read print.4 Your production value needs might vary—they might not always need to be highly produced, but they should always be highly planned. Yes, the final product is paramount, but getting there requires a strategic production team and shared confidence in the production plan.
“We get it, today’s expectations often include a quick turn on digital content. Exceptional planning gives everyone as much breathing room as possible. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to make it impactful as it needs to be,” explains Flow Creative Services Manager Danielle Omega. “Consult with your creative team to design a strategy that is true to your brand, reflects your event identity, and supports your business objectives.”
This is where the power of visual communication comes into play. Your team should create and adhere to a detailed timeline, set filming dates months in advance, take your feedback to heart, and keep you engaged during the post-production process.
THESE EVENT ‘TRENDS’ ARE THE FUTURE
Intentional design, tech solutions, personalization, and planning are fundamental building blocks of an impactful experience journey. How we use them in 2022 aims to help to move hearts and minds, give back to the planet, and ease the planning process.
Maximizing the impact of your event starts with a discovery. As you map out your promotional and engagement strategies, start by assessing the complete participant experience—from the boldest of event announcements to the briefest of push notifications. Flow creative services, event marketing, and engagement experts view your event from 30,000 feet and innovate across integrated teams and solutions at M&IW. Stay tuned for more opportunities to connect with your audience and grow with the Flow.
- Source: Forbes
- Source: Hubspot
- Source: Forrester Research
- Source: 2017 Workplace Learning Report, LinkedIn
Flow is a division of M&IW. Bringing marketing, creative, design, and engagement experts together within Flow provides a more seamless and cohesive creative experience for our customers. Interested in working with us on your next event creative, event marketing, or engagement project? CONTACT US.
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