The year is coming to a close, and rather than talking about 2012 lessons learned, I’d like to focus on what is yet to come. Here are some key concepts that I believe will become – even more – essential for corporate event success in 2013.
- It will be ALL about technology
Mobile apps have not only become instrumental for event planning purposes, but also for implementation, on-site support, and post-production of events. In 2013, they will continue to help ease the workload of event organizers, and increase on-site experiences for attendees. Looking at the range of event apps on the market, and their usage, it becomes quite clear that the event management community is not done hungering for mobile support tools. I am glad that there seems to be no end in sight to the creativity of developers in the New Year. Help us make events better: Keep the apps coming!
Event support technology has been evolving, and so have attendees’ preferences. Digitalization has taken over the corporate event world and will continue to do so in 2013 – with more finesse, and improved possibilities. We have done it for years: from the digitalization of invitations and info materials, to online event photo galleries, event videos, copies of speakers’ presentations, to the more recently introduced touch-displays on site, and the use of QR codes. The market of digital tools has been growing. But only recently have I seen a change in consumer behavior, opening attendees up to the digital world of events. I expect that in 2013, social media savviness and willingness to engage on many levels will have consumers gravitate even more towards digital event content. Attendees will increasingly use the digital event support tools you provide. And along the way, I predict, they will become more receptive to all facets your corporate events have to offer. Your event will live on.
- Hybrid event formats will take over
2013 will be the year for corporations to focus on their major events going hybrid! Interactivity will be the way to go on a global scheme in the years to come: marrying virtual and live face-to-face event experiences is appealing on many levels. Financial sustainability is expected from event organizers, and from attendees alike. Coupled with the focus on mobility and digitalization, this opens the market to the geographically independent concept of hybrid events. In a very cost efficient way – and by leaving the travel component open to the discretion of the attendee – interaction with target groups around the world becomes a reality. By streaming the event live via video or audio, the stage is set for sharing event content on a large scale. Incorporating live event blogs, twitter streams, and chats allow for interactivity that’s key, and encourage immediate feedback loops and input. And social media integration supports outreach, and allows those digitally attending the opportunity to tap into the networking component missing when attending a virtual event. And last but not least it’s the already mentioned digital products that will encourage attendees all over the globe to re-visit the event again at a later time.
- Efficiency will be key to a positive event experience
I encourage event organizers to focus on increased event efficiency in 2013. Efficiency the attendees can see and feel. It is becoming a necessity, since corporations are still requiring their employees to fulfill more responsibilities than their time allows for. It is essential to stay on schedule, for the speakers to stick to their message and for event communications to be relevant and personalized. While hybrid events allow attendees to consume content on their own terms, live event attendance and face-to-face interactions will still be essential in 2013. Plan with efficiency in mind, and be respectful of your attendees’ schedules. More importantly, always keep in mind: Everyone’s time is valuable!
- Collaboration & Cooperation will rise in importance
With the rise of hybrid events, international collaborations will gain even more importance in 2013. Strength shows in numbers. Especially for corporations that join forces – and budgets – to shed the light on their company. Organizations with similar target groups, or corporations with multiple branches around the world, will increasingly form alliances to each bring their best to the table. Unlike many cooks spoiling the broth, outstanding results can be achieved by merging creative minds, technology, access, databases, and budgets. Even though geographic distance, and cultural differences in this instance may be major logistic challenges they will be well worth tackling. When it comes to sticking to what people or corporations do best, and translating individual skills into an event, I have come to believe: The more the merrier!
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This post was also published at Social Tables