It is needless to say that technology is an integral part of day to day lives in 2016. Most of us rely on our smartphones before we even get out of bed first thing in the morning, as an all-important wakeup call. We also use that same device in countless other instances throughout the day; as a radio, GPS system, music device, to browse the internet and let’s not forget – to make phone calls.
That’s just one device alone. For most of us technology enables us to do our jobs, to communicate with clients and colleagues across the country or the globe – some jobs wouldn’t even exist without the internet.
Corporate event planning and attending these events has changed dramatically over the past half a decade or so, due to the dominant and undeniable presence of technology in every aspect of these events; from their initial conception to publicising the event, all the way to follow up emails after the event itself.
Where we previously used slides and projectors, speakers can now use 3D holograms, 3D printing to enhance their talks; we can even have a speaker call in from a distant remote location, and be heard better than someone actually present in the room. Gone are the days where you would have to manually write and address your event invites by snail mail. You can now create targeted and dynamic e-invitations online, and get a good indication of how many people are talking about your event, and how many people are interested in attending.
So what are the main ways that technology has enhanced corporate events?
1. Social Media
Although obsessed social media users can be irritating in our personal lives, social media can be used as an invaluable tool for planning and promoting corporate events. What is more, deciding on a convenient meeting venue for the entire event planning team doesn’t have to be a complicated issue anymore. You can simply create interactive social media forums and chats which you can embed links, photos and open the conversation for longer, coming up with more innovative ideas throughout your working day, rather than struggling to come up with the idea on the day of the meeting,
You can kiss goodbye the day’s of physically flyering your event. It is a lot more time and cost effective to set up social media advertising, which provides a more targeted way to publicise your event, with useful and interactive features built in to the post. With this sort of advertising, you can track everything too, and this way you are able to see how successful your efforts are, and change your strategy accordingly.
Another way of utilising social media to cause a stir before the big event and get your attendees excited it is starting a twitter hashtag. Attendees can see what others are saying about the event, and contribute to the general conversation too. This creates a sense of community before the event even begins. Social proofing like this will help boost your attendance rate. Fear of missing out a.k.a. ‘FOMO’ is a real psychological phenomenon. People are more likely to attend an event if a majority of their peers are attending too, especially if they are chatting about it on social media quite a lot.
2. Augmented Reality
On the day of the event itself, the more techy events may incorporate augmented technology features for their attendees. Examples of augmented reality that can be used at events include mobile apps which bring print or other products come to life when they are viewed through your phone. Organisers of events can also utilise forms of augmented reality to deliver 360 degree panoramic technology. This provides an immersive and interactive view which will attract attendees to your event, and keep them talking about it for weeks to come.
3. Wearable Tech
Wearable technology isn’t just beneficial for fitness brands and the leisure market anymore. Although currently a less common occurrence at corporate events, wearable technology is well and truly infiltrating its way into the corporate events sphere. Music festivals are jumping on the bandwagon, offering wristbands to punters which offer GPS access to find ones friends, and even have access to credit and debit card information to pay for food and drink on site with the tap of a wrist. Why can’t corporate event planners follow suit?
4. Video Conferencing
Once again, the internet can prove rather useful for planning the event itself. If the coordination of your event preparation requires a team of people to meet regularly, sometimes busy schedules may get in the way. Video conferencing can be essential to making these all important meetings happen when they need to. What is more, video conferencing can be rather useful for those people that cannot attend your event. Keeping the option open will make your event more inclusive overall, and will help you get your attendance up.
5. Email Marketing
Often a very neglected stage of the event planning funnel is the period immediately after an event. Unfortunately, your work is not over once your event is all done and dusted. You want to keep your guests up to date and interested in your event and future events for as long as possible. Ways to nurture this interest is through an email marketing funnel. Grab all the email address of people who initially registered for your event and send them a link to all the images, videos, and podcasts from the original event.
People will be interested in written notes from your event if it is a speaker conference, and photos of themselves and their colleagues if it was a more of a social affair. Providing links to all of the above in a single email will help keep your event brand at the forefront of their minds for the next time you are relevant, like next time you set up at a London conference venue for example. What is more keep these same email addresses in a list to send an email chain to in the run up to your next event. If people were interested in your event the first time round, what is stopping them from attending again?
All in all, technology can really help you bring your event to life, and make an event an unforgettable experience, helping you gain revenue and recognition for your company.