A Guide To Bulletproofing Your Marketing Strategy During A Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a great deal of uncertainty. Only view organisations were prepared with a marketing strategy during a crisis. If you are in charge of a business or an organisation, the uncertainty takes on a new dimension, and you will most likely want to know which are the most critical steps you can take to fend off the global disruption we are all experiencing.

In a rapidly changing environment, your primary concern should be to keep your organisation or business running. This may require a significant shift of priorities and extensive restructuring, paying particular attention to your marketing and communications plans. 

RELATED: How To Design An Omnichannel Marketing Planning

While it is impossible to avoid all risks, modifying your marketing strategy during a crisis is the first step. In this post, you’ll find a guide to bulletproofing your marketing strategy in times of crisis.

What Your Customers Want, Revisited

Marketing hinges on effective communication. Now, more than ever before, it’s crucial to ensure that your marketing strategy communicates the right message and is in line with your customers’ expectations and circumstances.

People’s needs and priorities have changed substantially. Many will have questions that your website or social media do not currently answer. To address this, you will need to rewrite customer personas based on how Covid-19 may have affected them.

You may want to use the six new customer behaviour thresholds identified by Nielsen, and evaluate how your redesigned marketing strategy should fit within them.

Above all, remember that one of the main things customers want in times of crisis is information and reassurance. Consider how your online presence needs to be redesigned, so it puts customers first by keeping them in the loop. You may not have all the answers, but being transparent will build rapport.

HOT TOPICS: Social Media For Science And Research: Current Trends And Future Possibilities

You may also want to consider using video conferences, live chat, or live Q&A sessions to draw your customers into the conversation and listen to what they need. This will generate insights into what’s most valuable to them and will inform the adjustments you’ll need to make to your marketing strategy during the crisis.

The faster you respond to what your customers need, the higher your chances will be to secure a more significant market share.

Rethinking Your Brand Image 

Understandably, some business owners may be reluctant to launch any marketing campaign right now. They may think that customers have other things to worry about, or that it may be perceived as frivolous and insensitive.

Yet, this is an opportunity to forge a more personal connection with your customers, as long as the message behind your marketing strategy is relevant. The key is to increase trust and offer something of value in difficult times. To do this, you’ll need to anticipate the new normal and the role your brand is to play in it.

From Nike to McDonald’s, market leaders have been adjusting their brand message to the situation while remaining inspirational. So ask yourself “What is my brand’s key message in times of crisis?”.

Not every company can shift its core services or products to meet critical demand, but reshaping your brand image and message is doable. Your values and mission may remain the same. Still, the focus is different: it could be educational (by offering much needed fact-checked information), offer support and a sense of community, or address your customers’ pain points with new or redesigned products and services.

One thing is for sure: this is not the time to sit back and wait for the storm to pass. Your ability to respond to this crisis may completely transform your brand’s public perception, and if handled well, it will attract loyal customers.

FROM THE BLOG: Getting Started With The Digitalization Of Associations

However, because the long-term scenario is too unstable, it is wise to redesign your marketing and crisis communications along two dimensions: short term (within the next three months) and medium-term (the next six to nine months). Next, we will look at the most effective ways of doing this.

Bootstrap Marketing

Your short-term marketing strategy in times of crisis will have the most substantial impact on your bottom line. Focus on agile, dynamic, and easily adjustable solutions and be cautious with expenses. In other words, reassess your marketing strategy and incorporate the principles of bootstrap marketing into your plans. 

One way of doing this is by investing in your social media strategy. Low costs and high exposure rates situate social media marketing as one of the most effective approaches to work on right now.

Under normal circumstances, people spend an average of 3 hours a day consuming content on social media. Since the start of the pandemic, social media use has increase substantially: usage time has grown by 40% for WhatsApp, 50% for Facebook, and Instagram live views have doubled. This is where your audience is, so it makes sense to redirect your resources to social platforms.

You can use social media to delivering customer service as if it was a crisis management tool. These platforms allow you to develop one-to-one and more personable interactions and can generate a positive impression that’s likely to carry on beyond the duration of the crisis. 

Making Services and Products More Accessible

Another short-term marketing strategy in times of crisis involves launching price promotions and freebie campaigns. Now is the time to demonstrate solidarity and empathy with those whose day-to-day life has been affected. The examples are everywhere. For instance, online course provider Bluprint is offering free access to their content for a limited time. Digital Marketer is offering free membership to those affected by Covid-19. People are turning to creative endeavours and to learning new skills, so think about how you can capitalise on that.

This could entail fully or partially dropping paywalls, offering payment assistance or new payment terms, and creating updated low-cost versions of digital products. In short, consider what your brand can do for your community of customers, and in the process, you may generate more leads.

Adjust Expectations And Customer Retention Models

The main goal of your medium-term marketing strategy, not only in times of crisis, should be retaining existing customers. If you can maintain volume by keeping customers going back to your products and services, you’ll have a better chance to weather this storm. But you may have to do this at the expense of overall profits and accept lower ROI as a trade-off. In times of crisis, everyone’s expectations need to be adjusted. 

INTERESTING READ: Generate Pre-Event Hype With Content Marketing

To adjust your retention strategy, funnel your resources taking into account what could “the new normal” look like in your industry. Content marketing will continue to play a crucial role in every medium-term marketing strategy. A new landscape equals demand for new content, and content marketing will help deliver what your customers want while keeping your business afloat. 

Conclusion

The current crisis presents a chance to create long-lasting value, establish thought leadership, and inspire loyalty through actions that matter to your customers. This is an excellent time to become relevant and stay relevant. If you need support with your crisis, managing efforts or redirecting your marketing strategy, get in touch to discuss a tailor-made solution. 

How To Design An Omnichannel Marketing Planning

Change is a constant in life – and therefore in business too. The digital marketing world changes especially fast, and every year something new and big promises a steady stream of customers or of event attendees. But if you want to meet KPIs and see consistent results, it makes sense to invest in a bullet-proof digital strategy instead of dabbling with whatever happens to be trendy at any given point. 

To be effective, such a strategy must be based on omnichannel marketing: the use of multiple channels that complement each other and create a consistent user experience. The idea is simple: don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and go where your clients already are. Let’s take a detailed look at how cross channel marketing can benefit you, and at the best ways of implementing this type of marketing campaign.

RELATED: Developing Social Media Strategies for Conferences and Events

The Benefits Of Omni-Channel Marketing Plans

An omni-channel marketing plan allows you to reach customers wherever they are. And because you can deliver your message using their preferred medium or platforms, your chances of achieving organic customer engagement are higher.

Omnichannel marketing allows the integration of several digital marketing strategies and takes the pressure off operational tasks. Email marketing, customer acquisition and retention, content marketing, or social media campaigns are no longer stand-alone tasks, but instead, form an integrated marketing strategy that is aligned with your business objectives.

Image Source: SmartInsights

RELATED: Event Marketing Strategies to Avoid

If correctly implemented, a cross channel strategy is easier to manage. It can also be easier to monitor the audience response – for example, email unsubscribe link rates. This data facilitates making data-informed adjustments to continuously expand your reach. 

Also, omnichannel marketing works for businesses of all sizes, because the focus isn’t so much on resources or marketing budget, but on knowing your audience inside out and on delivering an impactful message. 

How To Design An Omnichannel Marketing Planning

Omnichannel marketing relies on diversifying marketing communications across multiple channels. And to communicate with potential customers, first, you need to know where to find them and go there yourself.

  • Start by researching the most-used channel’s platforms by your target audience. This could be a mix of email, web-based advertising, social media content, TV ads, blog posts, mobile apps, etc. Whichever you plan to target, remember to do it ensuring your strategy is not redundant, but complementary. 
  • The platform you use may vary, but your message must stay consistent. Find the overlap between your brand identity and goals, and the needs of your audience. Then, make information available at different places where the audience may come across it, either accidentally or because they’re looking for it. 
  • Of course, this means you must have a very granular idea of who is your audience, what they want/need, and where they shop or look for information. A customer persona is a great starting point to determine the ideal engagement model to target.
  • Next, identify the touchpoints. These are every interaction your potential customer has with your brand or message. Identifying them involves seeing the entire process as a journey or an experience –  a holistic view of customer acquisition that takes into account obstacles, needs, and opportunities. Here you can see an example that applies to the MICE industry, but of course, this varies from sector to sector.

Touchpoints meeting industry

Image Source: Weemss

  • Remember that omnichannel marketing can be implemented both online and offline. For example, you can combine digital advertising with ads in a physical location. At events, this could mean using both physical banners and event apps. The right mix is different for each industry, so testing is key. 
  • Irrespective of your industry, never underestimate the importance of social and mobile. The most visited sites in the world are social media sites including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. These are not only used for leisure, but also as a source of information and so they are useful tools to reach a targeted audience. As for mobile use, more than 51% of online traffic comes from mobile devices -surely a channel that no business owner wants to miss!
  • On that note, a landing page will direct users from mobile and social platforms to your website. Landing pages play a crucial role in lead generation and conversion. Research suggests they can increase conversion by 300%, and the figures are even better if your landing page features video content.
  • Lastly, take advantage of technology. Digital technology can improve the efficiency of your omni-channel marketing strategy. For example, marketing automation can save precious time so you can focus on analysing results and tweaking your campaign, and their implementation is feasible even for SMEs. If you can pair marketing automation and CRM tools, so much the better!

RELATED: Nine Ninja Tips To Stand Out At Conferences And Business Events

Conclusion

Omnichannel marketing is a profitable strategy that every business owner or event organiser should know about. This type of strategy relies on personalised and targeted communications that capture your audience’s attention wherever they happen to be. The benefits are many: they can boost awareness, create a strong positive impression, generate leads, and streamline your operations. 

If you’d like to establish a strong presence in multiple platforms so you can deliver the best possible customer experience, creating an Omnichannel marketing campaign is the next step. Get in touch and we’ll start planning the most effective strategy for your business straight away.

Event Marketing Trends For 2020

The past few years have been incredibly fruitful for the events industry, which is projected to grow even further between now and 2026. 

As the industry grows, so does the need for event organisers to develop and maintain a competitive edge that sets their event apart from the rest. This requires being familiar with the most effective event marketing strategies, but also staying abreast of the latest trends in event marketing. Events can have a tremendous positive impact on brand perception and revenue, but they rarely sell themselves without a carefully executed strategy behind. Event marketing has proven invaluable for lead generation, customer engagement, education about products and services, brand awareness, and to boost both demand and sales. This is why event marketing is essential to promote your event and reach your target audience.

RELATED: Generate Pre-Event Hype With Content Marketing

pre-event content marketing

This post brings it all together, exploring where the industry is headed and the trends to consider to ensure you reach as many potential customers as possible with your next event.

**Feb 14, 2020: Due to recent event cancellations, this post was expanded to include a new trend that all event organisers and meeting industry executives need to consider.

Crisis Management

Crisis management is already a prominent theme in the conversation among event marketers, executives, and organisers. In a short period of time, we have seen world-class events like Mobile World Congress and Geneva Motor Show postponed or cancelled over Covid19 concerns. Adding to that is a growing number of restrictions on employee travel and travel bans issued by different authorities. 

In this scenario, some organisers may wonder how to reconcile their duty of care towards exhibitors and attendees with the commitments already made regarding the celebration of event. The situation continues to evolve, but we are already seeing two trends emerge.

The first trend involves incorporating crisis management into the overall event marketing strategy. In the US, more than half of event planners claim to have faced a crisis situation, ranging from no-shows to software failures. Not having a crisis management plan in place can be enormously detrimental to the organiser’s reputation. Building a loyal event audience takes years and a significant financial investment, so it makes sense to take protective measures. And this is not only a response to Covid19, but rather an integral part of responsible event planning. 

Crisis Management in Events

Source: Inevent

As part of the event crisis management trend, this year we may see a growing number of organisers plan for eventualities and build this preventative concept into their event marketing plans. This could entail setting up a dedicated committee who works in close liaison with digital or social media executives. This would allow a quick assessment of a given crisis’ repercussion in the audience. Moreover, it would be wise to document every crisis management plan in detail so it can be fine tuned event after event.

Of course, some crises will be beyond the organiser’s control, and this is where the second trend comes into play. This involves switching to alternative event formats. Many organisers affected by cancellations have already chosen to host their events online and / or livestream them. This is the case of Salesforce World Tour, Microsoft MVP, Google Cloud Next, and Adobe Summit. On this note, it should be stressed that virtual events can still include experiential and interactive components, such as live Q&A sessions. 

Re-designing in-person events into digital experiences is set to be one of most far-reaching trends in the MICE industry this year – and perhaps beyond 2020 too. Now is the time to evaluate your organisation’s ability to respond to challenges and adapt to change at short notice.

Multichannel Event Marketing

Communication is the essence of marketing. For communication to be effective, it is essential to use strategies that deliver a message clearly, at the right moment and in the right place. Technology facilitates this, which is why we have seen a surge in digital marketing techniques applied to events. 

This year we are likely to see how multichannel marketing consolidates its position as a top digital marketing tool for the events industry. Multichannel marketing involves the coordination of different channels, from content marketing to email, including social media, printed mail, paid advertising, etc. This is a critical aspect of event marketing due to its role in lead generation, and must be orchestrated into other aspects of an event marketing plan. 

RELATED: How To Design An Omnichannel Marketing Planning

Omnichannel Marketing Planning

2020 will be a year to get creative with multichannel marketing strategies. We are already seeing some planners create events that do not market their product or service directly, but rather promote values that resonate with their audience. https://blog.bizzabo.com/multi-touch-event-marketing An example is The Economist’s roaming food truck, which delivered a message the on environmental impact of our food choices. This strategy supports important events organised by The Economist, such as the https://events.economist.com/  Sustainability Summit, and promotes it among a different audience.

Another sub-trend within multichannel marketing involves the growing understanding that customer journeys are no longer lineal. This makes it essential to choose channels that convey your message consistently at every touch point. In the case of events, this means from the event website to post-event follow up communications.

Experience At The Core

This year we will see an increasing number of events become bespoke experiences from beginning to end. This growing focus on personalisation requires a paradigm shift: as IBM’s VP of Events and Conferences put it, it is “one experience for 30,000 people vs 30,000 experiences within a single event”. Undoubtedly, this is one of the main challenges of 21st century event marketing. 

Turning events into personalised experiences requires a detailed grasp of who are your event attendees and what their expectations look like. Concepts like customer personas and customer journeys can be successfully imported into events marketing to achieve the kind of bespoke experience that impresses attendees and makes them feel like VIPs.

The experiential focus can also extended to the selection of event partners, for example those providing accommodation services. During 2020, we will most likely witness an increasingly sophisticated approach to choosing event travel partners, with a focus on those that deliver tailored guest experiences that are a perfect match to attendee’s lifestyle preferences.

Another trend worth mentioning involves blurring the divide between consumer and business events. This means adding a social or gamified component to events by default (e.g. giveaways, hands-on experiences, group competitions, etc.). This year’s message is “put people first”, and plan your event marketing strategy around those things that capture human attention universally.

Delivering Satisfaction Beyond The Event

The exponential growth of the bleisure sector is set to impact the way we plan events. Bleisure is already earmarked to be one of the biggest trends in travel industry in 2020, and the bleisure offer is key factor weighing into the decision to attend an event or not.

The growth of this sector is also a result of demographic changes that event organisers cannot overlook. Millennials are becoming the predominant demographic in today’s workforce, and their strong orientation – and expectation- towards travel and leisure is likely to be carried into business events. 

RELATED: Why Millennials Aren’t Joining Your Association

millennials association workforce

In practical terms, this means 2020 is the year to start considering how to deliver attendee satisfaction once the day’s sessions are over. Some ideas include guest passes, reduced hotel rates for family members, printed or digital destination guides to the destination, and discounts at select retailers. 

Also, bringing wellness into the equation will make attendees more receptive and may turn them into loyal brand advocates. A growing number of events will feature dedicated break rooms, quiet or tech-free areas, or mini-events focusing on wellness as part of the larger event agenda.

Next-Generation Technology

The expert use of event tech can simplify your marketing efforts and yield a wealth of data that you can use to stay at the top of your industry. This year, we are likely to see a stronger focus on technology that measures not simply attendee numbers, but attendee engagement and reputational impact. In particular, we can expect to see the widespread adoption of three technologies:

  • RFID, especially since its functionality at events continues to be refined.
  • Artificial intelligence, particularly when built into event apps, since it facilitates the creation of tailor-made experiences.
  • Branded event apps will continue to evolve into curated experiences that put attendees in control of the event agenda and deliver hyper-relevant content. They can also measure engagement metrics through the event’s lifecycle.

RELATED: Nine Ninja Tips To Stand Out At Conferences And Business Events

Stand Out Conferences Business Events

The use of next-generation technology can also have a strong impact on sponsorship success. With it, organisers are better able to quantify exposure and KPI achievement, and so it becomes easier to demonstrate the real value of sponsorship.

Sustainable Events

Green events that mirror global social trends are expected to gain momentum this year. Attendees are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of events, so organisers who incorporate green principles into event planning are likely to see an increase in attendance numbers. Sustainable event management has been hailed as the number 1 trend in the MICE industry for the next decade. 

The focus on sustainability says something about the organisation behind an event, and positions them at the vanguard of their industry. Moreover, embracing this trend may help attract new sponsors among those who also prioritise sustainable practices.

As more organisers commit to transparency, accountability, and minimising the event’s footprint, this year we will see the consolidation of the following sustainable initiatives:

  • Being more intentional and creative with venue sourcing. Smart venues and their built-in technology may soon become a game-changer in the events industry.
  • Reducing waste by cutting down or eliminating plastic use and printed materials. Running paperless events is becoming easier thanks to the latest technology.
  • Switching to local sourcing in event F&B, as well as reconsidering the use of bottled water.
  • Implementing green practices in waste management, especially where on-site recycling and food are concerned.
  • Designing events for virtual attendance. Hybrid events are not only more sustainable, but can also increase reach and therefore attendance. And due to recent events, the generalised switch to hybrid and digital meetings may come sooner than we expect.

Conclusion

Adopting multichannel marketing, switching to an experiential focus, delivering satisfaction beyond the event, harnessing the power of next-gen technology, and prioritising sustainability and crisis management are the trends that will dominate event marketing this year. 

Implementing change based on these trends can help your organisation measure and achieve key KPIs, like attendee engagement, revenue, registration numbers, mentions, and customer acquisition rates. At the same time, being at the forefront of the industry can deliver exceptional results in lead generation and ROI.

If you would like to explore the best ways to implement these trends at your events, get in touch today. As an expert in strategic event management, I offer tailored solutions that can position your event as a bespoke experience that inspires attendees and delivers tangible results to sponsors and organisers.

Getting Started With The Digitalization Of Associations

This article about the digitalization of associations was first published on Boardroom, provided by IAPCO, author Frank M. Waechter, Founder and CEO of fmwaechter.com | Digital Marketing.

According to the World Economic Forum, digitalization is one of the key disruptors of the 21st-century. This process has caused profound changes in the way we interact and go about our lives. And has also transformed the nature of work and organizations. Ernst & Young suggests that the digital transformation is here to stay, and so it’s essential for associations to jump on board, embrace the digital mindset, and bring added value to their members – especially to new generations who are digital natives.

Digitalization, and thus digitalization of associations, is already underway, so embracing it is not a matter of if, but instead of when and how. In this post, we take a look at the most effective strategies and solutions that associations can use to achieve this.

Related: Digital Transformation in the Meetings and Events Industry

Should Your Association Go “All Digital”?

The first step is to kick-start a digital transformation strategy is deciding what to implement, how to do it, and on which time frame. Although it might be tempting to go “all-in” on digital, this isn’t always practical or necessary. Implementation success rates seem to be rather low – under 30% according to this McKinsey survey. On the other hand, those who are successful take an incremental approach to digitalization. Digital organizations don’t become so overnight, but they work and rework their strategy. Until they’re able to create new and stronger forms of engagement with their members. Therefore, it’s wise to make gradual changes strategically, using carefully chosen digital tools to enhance existing and more traditional operational models.

Low-Cost, High Impact Solutions

Mindset is as important as tools when it comes to the digitalization of associations. The process starts with building digital skills into the association’s culture, bringing key stakeholders on board, and breaking down silos before going all out. You can achieve this with limited financial resources – it all starts with the right mindset and with the disposition to make small-scale changes that have a significant impact.

Free content analytics tools are an excellent place to start. These tools enable data-driven decision making, which forms the basis for digital strategy. With this anticipatory intelligence, you can discover which content drives interaction best and which digital technologies your members are already using. The information can be used to predict what your members need. Also to formulate digital marketing campaigns using the format and channels your members prefer. For example, setting up an online community on a social media platform allows members to share and network 24/7 using tools they’re already familiar with. Some organizations, like the Association for Clinical Research Professionals, have created their online community platforms. Whereas others (like Trades Union Congress) offer their members online training in a webinar format, all through their website.

Related: Marketing for Associations: 4 Reasons to Use Google Analytics

Automation and Digital Tools

Another cost-effective tool is marketing automation. While not free, these software packages can save on labour costs. At the same time, deliver highly targeted communications that reach the right person with the right message at the right time. Also, consider the products or services your association already offers and how can they be digitalized. With marketing automation, it’s possible to segment members based on their interests and goals. And offer them tailored content.

Digital tools like machine learning or artificial intelligence have enormous potential for success, and they don’t need to be costly. Chatbots can be quickly built on social media platforms and drive a conversational approach to member interaction. And since they can learn autonomously and become more accurate over time, they are a sound investment.

Related: Does Your Associations’ Website Meet 2019 Standards?

Conferences and events are other areas of opportunity. Event apps are replacing printed conference guides, making them more portable and user-friendly. 

Examples of Digitalization of Associations

Organisations like the National Association of College and University Business Officers are building membership value into their events using year-round, multi-event apps that not only deliver smooth registration, networking and personalized content but also engagement, interaction and intelligence.

Another example of how digitalization can strengthen the reach of events: BILD, a Toronto-based land management association went paperless for its annual awards event. To do so, they implemented a CSP (content services platform), which bridges the gap between digital experience management (DxM) and content management. For the annual event, this move allowed members to submit and manage applications on a self-serve basis. Also reducing greatly time-related inefficiencies and risks of human error. Content management systems can be pricey, but there are affordable options too. In the beginning, association leaders may want to explore basic packages and solutions. Thus making sure their features target the most important goals for a particular event.

Related: 4 Concepts To Understand Digital Transformation in the Event Industry

Conclusion

The digitalization of associations is complex and multi-faceted, but its benefits outweigh the challenges. Taking a gradual approach to digital transformation can help your association remain competitive, future-focused, and member-oriented. Start taking steps now to give your association a strategic advantage and establish it as a trusted leader in your field. It’s never too late to become digitally aware and lead transformation successfully. If you are looking to give your association a digital strategy, get in touch with me. We offer digital solutions specifically tailored to multiple sectors in the MICE Industry.

Digital Transformation in the Meetings and Events Industry

I wrote a piece in 2017 about the foundations of the digital transformation in the events industry. At that time, the mice industry was trailing behind and had a lot of work to do. Two years on, and technology has advanced rapidly. So, does the events industry stand now? Technology is transforming the way we live and do business. Most industries have adopted it, changing many aspects of their design and makeup in the process. Digital tools are now a crucial part of strategic event management due to their proven ability to bring in substantial benefits. These benefits include significant cost and time savings, higher attendee satisfaction, and better exposure and image building.

The growth of the web is making many changes in all sectors. But, what influence is the digital transformation movement having on the meetings and event industry now that we have embraced it?

What exactly is digital transformation?

“Digital transformation is the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model.” – Gartner

Digital transformation allows people to solve their traditional business problems in new ways. It offers new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting our traditional methods.

Digital transformation in the events industry

The events industry is embracing digital transformation with all the latest tech on display at conferences and meetings. But, the new technologies available are assisting conference organisers with creating an immersive experience, making the registration process seamless. Those are the two basic, but major changes we are seeing. We are now in the Age of Experience. This means that every event, no matter how small now needs to become an immersive experience. The modern generation will settle for nothing less.

Technologies like 3D, VR, and AR can blend the digital and physical aspects of an event. They help create authentic conversations between delegates, attendees and speakers. This technology gives events the potential to become content marketing engines. As organisers in the events industry, we are now able to turn attendees into participants by adding an experiential dimension to our events, making a conference or any other event a collaborative occurrence as opposed to a function that people attend just for the purpose of consuming knowledge.

So, what can we expect in 2019 and thereafter?  

Digital transformation will have an ever-evolving effect on the events industry, with these four tech-trends at the forefront.

1.   Facial recognition

This exciting technology will permanently eliminate paper from the registration and entry process. It will also optimise the security at conferences, streamlining access.

2.   Virtual Reality

A technology that is constantly evolving has now merged with social media. Oculus venues is a virtual reality platform that enables live events to be seen with Live Nation, Ticketmaster, and through an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The obvious point being that attendees don’t have to physically be there to experience your event.

3.   Augmented reality

Perhaps more effective than virtual reality, augmented reality is having a massive impact on the events industry. Engagement for events is crucial and can be very challenging given the demands of the modern consumer. Augmented Reality will boost engagement levels and create hype on social media by encouraging attendees to interact with your content and, in turn, share it with their following.

4.    Artificial intelligence

Smart technology is influencing the events industry in a big way too. By utilising chatbots in a wide range of scenarios, event planners can automate several tasks, better serving their attendees.  

Conclusion

So, as you can see, technology has been implemented and used to great effect already in the events industry. Associations are taking great interest in investing in new technologies, but this means a total overhaul of existing systems and practices. All for the betterment of the industry of course. The events industry is changing, and progressing in order to adapt to current trends, but these trends are forever changing. It never stops. It is a perpetual investigation and evolution of science. As players in this industry, we should continue to embrace it and view it as a thrilling time, full of opportunity and potential. We must, however, constantly seek ways in which we can be at the forefront instead of continually playing catch-up.

To learn about ways in which your association can truly embrace digital transformation in the meetings and events industry, get in touch with me. I specialise in delivering results for stakeholders within the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Event Industry as well as for Associations and SMBs.

Why Millennials Aren’t Joining Your Association

Marketing for associations can be tricky especially when your target audience is made up of Millennials. Are you struggling to attract millennials to your association? You’re not alone. With millennials coming of age, and now comprising a third of the world’s workforce, it’s important to try and understand how they operate. They’ve completely eclipsed baby boomers and are also gradually succeeding generation X.

This is making them the cardinal drivers of growth in business and, of course, highly influential in terms of modern connection and communication as they are the largest living generation on earth.

So, how exactly do you attract millennials to your association or organisation? The issue lies in the fact that previous generations are the ones trying to recruit new members. This, quite frankly, isn’t possible if you don’t try to get inside the mind of a millennial. It’s the age-old struggle of one generation trying to relate to the next.

By understanding why millennials aren’t joining your association you will gain insight on how to attract them. To achieve this, you need to understand what they want.

You don’t understand what they want

Millennials value their personal time. More so than their predecessors. Work/life balance is the most important thing to this generation. Putting work before family and friends is simply not an option and when it comes to personal fulfilment, they’ll even change career paths to obtain it. They are purpose-driven individuals.

What has this got to do with how they buy into any workforce or associations? Well, millennials won’t simply sign up to an organisation for its benefits. They will only buy into an association if it is mission-driven. They want to know if your association is aligned with a cause.

They will only give the time of day to an association that is actively contributing to a cause that resonates with them, so, pick a cause that empowers your members to work together to accomplish shared goals.

You aren’t telling an emotive story

This ties into our first point. Marketing for associations in the modern era needs to be emotionally driven. It needs to tell a story. It’s probably time you reassess your marketing strategy entirely. A change in messaging can work wonders for connecting with millennials.

Author, Janet Litherland puts it superbly:

“Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.”

This is exactly the kind of content that millennials look out for. You could go so far as saying it’s what defines them. They look for the meaning in everything. So we suggest you find the meaning in what you do, what your association represents and incorporate your purpose into you marketing efforts.

You probably haven’t given them much responsibility

Once you’ve attracted some younger members, we suggest you empower them. Millennials cherish transparency and can be quite sceptical of leaders. They want to be taken seriously, so why not add someone younger than 40 years old to your board? This way, you’ll not only get the respect and attention of a younger generation, but you’ll also be able to hear directly from them. It shows them that you value their voice. Give them responsibility and allow them to be a part of crucial decision making.

You’ll find that they too want to make your association better, more accessible and more relatable so listen to them, allow them to offer feedback. This creates an environment of true collaboration and you’ll most likely find that their input will improve your association.

Millennials are a tech savvy generation and often have their finger on the pulse, offering refreshing, and incredibly current insight. The world is advancing by the minute, so why not have someone who has grown up during the information age help guide the direction of your organisation?

Are you using social media?

It’s imperative for your association to make an impression through social media, as this is where millennials spend a lot of their time. Around 88% of 18-29-year olds use social media. Further to this and according to Fortune, millennials spend roughly 27 hours a week consuming media online.

The important aspect to recognise here, is that millennials are using this time to inform themselves on the world around them. This means that you should tie our first two points together and turn them into engaging and aesthetically pleasing content for posting online.

These are some of the ways that you can aim to connect with millennials online and attract them to your association. Pair the above with a targeted digital marketing strategy and millennials will be far more likely to join your association. For more insight on marketing for associations, get in touch with us today.

 

Frank M. Waechter | fmwaechter.com
Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Growth Marketing, Data Analytics for the Meetings Industry, Events Industry and Associations. Conference and Event Activation, Live Marketing, Onsite Engagement.
Carrer del Mestre Joan Corrales 107-109 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 691 328 572

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