by Holly Barker
There’s a big problem event planners today must solve as we creep into 2015 and begin mapping out our event marketing strategies for the year ahead. If you have not noticed, attendee knowledge has increased year over year, and the rate is accelerating rapidly. We have any information we need at our fingertips, available 24/7 wherever we go.
There’s a plethora of marketing messages whirling around us every hour of every day – either via text, email, or online. There’s never a dull moment to sit back and relax, when the world of digital and social envelop us every second of the day.
Just Keep Swimming
One of the results stemming from this mass digital envelopment is decreasing attention spans that are changing how events are being marketing and experienced today. In 2013, the average person’s attention span reached a milestone: it is now shorter than a goldfish’s. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span has decreased to 8 seconds, which is shorter than the 9-second attention span of the average goldfish. Yikes! So, how can event planners get messages and marketing through this 8-second barrier?
TED Talk Your Way to Success
A great idea event planners can use for agendas in 2015 are shorter presentation times. TED talks are well known for going this route – they get to the point, are inspiring, educational, stay on point, and close with well-rounded suggestions or learning points. If you haven’t listened to a TED talk, take a look at the science behind TED’s 18-minute rule. It’s truly fascinating to see how forward thinking the organization is when researching the length of their talks, and understanding in order to “inspire someone” you cannot do so in a two-hour keynote. It’s easy to lose a person’s attention after 20 minutes, which is not what you want to hear after speaking for an hour as a keynote presenter…
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Images are a great way to spice up marketing materials used at events. They play a prominent role in news articles promoting an event, blog posts, website promotion, conference guides, presentations, social media campaigns – you name it, it probably needs a photo. Attendees are more likely to retweet a tweet the event team has posted with a fun image on it, rather than a boring text tweet. Engage and interact with attendees by using creative imagery – start a fun photo contest using the conference hashtag to get attendees excited about being at the event, or on their way to the event. Everyone loves to take photos at events – it will definitely go a long way and keep the event memorable for weeks after the event takes place.
A Step Up From Photos Are…
Videos! Short, creative videos are THE way to go at events in 2015. If you haven’t already started making short videos for marketing materials, now is the time to test drive a few short films to prep for next year’s event season. A good video can be worth a thousand pictures! Remember to keep your event videos short (less than a minute), fun, and thoughtful. Have an end goal in mind when creating videos at events – you may be able to use these videos for marketing purposes after the event, so be creative, but also keep the viewer in mind at all times. Get to the point and let the viewer know what you’re saying/selling/providing and why.
Tradeshows are crowded, overwhelming places. Attendee attention spans are short, and tend to get shorter as the long days wear on. Provide value to attendees – have more interactivity during sessions to engage and spark conversations. Learn what attendees truly value in the sessions and seek from the event. Having increased audience engagement tools is necessary for continued success at events. Attention spans at trade shows are decreasing, so it’s important to keep your goals in mind when planning your event marketing strategies for next year, and use fresh, shortened tactics as part of your strategy.