Top 8 Audience Acquisition Tactics for 2019

By Nicole Bojic, Group Executive, Strategic Solutions Group

For decades organizations marketed their events in print advertising—mostly in trade journals—or through word of mouth, processing the resulting registrations by fax or business reply card. Then email and the Web came along and revolutionized the way events were marketed, but new technologies and changing behaviors are again driving new methods of acquiring audiences. This article, which is a first in a series of audience acquisition resources, explores the top 8 ways the most savvy marketers will be getting high-value attendees to their events in 2019 and beyond.

Influencers
It is not likely that email is going away anytime soon, especially given its direct link to online registration. However, you are likely to see it employed in ways that go beyond the traditional save-the-date or early-bird promotional offer to include new marketing channels. The most impactful of these channels will be influencers, especially as target audiences skew toward millennials who value authenticity over hype. In fact, according to recent research, 90% of millennials say authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands to support.[i] So, it makes sense to invest in ways of engaging and tapping into the built-in trust of your influencers. Creating the ability for influencers to share email or social content with their network greatly expands your reach through authentic word of mouth.

Speakers and Partners
Working with speakers and partners is another way you can amplify your message to get the word out about your event while enhancing the value of what you’re offering. Think about how popular Adidas shoes are and how much more popular—coveted even—Adidas Yeezy’s are because they’re a collaboration with rap artist, producer and fashion designer Kanye West. Negotiate co-marketing activities with luminary speakers upfront in the contract phase and then drive the messaging throughout the audience acquisition phase. Approach your partnership relationships in a similar fashion, focusing more on what you can offer together than how much revenue the sponsorship might bring you. A well-considered, co-branded approach will elevate the overall attendee experience while creating a more strategic and rewarding relationship with your partners. Elevate the partnership from branded water bottles to co-presented demos that show off the full capabilities of your joint offering, and preview that in your acquisition efforts.

Internal Communications
Don’t forget the influencers and enthusiasts in your own backyard—your employees. Creating a comprehensive internal communications plan should be an essential part of any audience acquisition strategy. After all, who knows your products and your clients better than your employees? It’s also an excellent way of including employees who may not be directly involved with the event. Use everything from internal messaging toolkits and sales contests to social sharing tools in order to help amplify your message.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Borrowing from the cool factor of popular events like SXSW and TED, an increasing number of B2B companies are getting in on the experiential action. In fact, a recent study from Bizzabo showed that B2B events account for $512 billion in annual spend! That means there’s more competition than ever for your prospective attendees’ time and money. So, when prospective attendees perform a Google search on “best B2B conference of 2019,” or “best cybersecurity conference of 2019,” or “best [insert keyword here] of 2019” you want to be sure your event appears within the first 10 organic results. Why? Research shows that 70–80% of search engine users only focus on the organic results.[ii] But it’s not just your event website that you want people to find. Ultimately, you also want to be included on the wide variety of articles that list must-attend events, which means you’ll need to identify those lists and follow-up with the authors about including your event.

There’s another reason that SEO is important—customer experience. If your event website is your primary conversion platform for registration (and it likely is), then you want to make it as easy possible for prospective attendees to find your site. Studies have shown that even if people know the URL and can access it directly, they often perform a google search to navigate to a site instead. For example, reviewing the site traffic data during the six months leading up to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, organic search traffic is by far the leading source of traffic (47%) to the site, followed by direct traffic (34%). This is a trend that we see regularly, and a behavior you likely partake in as well.

Retargeting
Retargeting is a form of marketing where advertisers target consumers based on their previous internet actions. There are various types of retargeting available today, but the most effective for events are email retargeting and event retargeting ads. Email retargeting can be especially useful in converting prospective attendees who have begun the registration process but not completed it. There can be many reasons a prospect abandons their registration, including a distraction such as a phone call or meeting, or a barrier such as a costly registration fee. Depending on where and when the registration was abandoned, you can email the prospect with personalized messaging that will help convert them to becoming a registrant. With event retargeting ads, you can capitalize on the prospect’s interest by displaying a Twitter ad featuring a luminary speaker after they visit your event website. Or you might want to display an ad with a discounted registration fee or other promotional offer to help drive conversions.

Creating FOMO
With more and more events to choose from, how do you make your event stand out from the crowd? One way is to create a fear of missing out (FOMO), and the surest way to do that is to generate a feeling of exclusivity. Whenever there’s a chance that one might not be able to participate in something that is happening, it creates FOMO. This can be achieved through clever messaging that employs language such as “invite-only,” “limited-space,” “apply to attend,” or “only 20 seats remain” that creates a level of exclusiveness to make people feel special when they secure their spot. The trick to being successful with the FOMO approach is that your event absolutely must deliver on the promise it makes of being extraordinary. You can also combine this approach with segmenting and attracting VIPs or C-level audiences. By creating exclusive perks and content for a smaller subset of your audience, you can test to see what works and then build upon that.

Destination
According to the Decision to Attend Phase 2 (DTA2) Study from IAEE, in 2017 the top three drivers for attending an event were education (92%), destination (78%) and networking (76%) and have consistently been the top three drivers since 2014. For shorter (half day or less) events, proximity and ease of accessing the destination are likely to be the most important factors to highlight. However, for multi-day events, it can be beneficial to play up the destination. You may even consider partnering with local businesses to offer discounts or special tours that entice attendees to extend their trip. The advantage is twofold: It creates a richer, more memorable attendee experience, but it also creates a deeper investment in the trip for the attendee, making it less likely that they will cancel at the last minute.

Content and Experience
At the end of the day, attendees are looking to come away from your event feeling like they’ve learned something, experienced something completely different, and made valuable, new contacts. Not only must you deliver on all of this, you also have to articulate and share the feeling before it ever happens so you can get the right audience there in the first place. It’s important to work closely with event strategists to ensure cohesive messaging and attendee journey. Each point in the journey should feel like it is building on the last, making it richer and more engaging. This requires a keen understanding of your target audiences, the event strategies, the content and messaging, and your overall business goals.

Our experienced InVision team can help you incorporate these tactics into a comprehensive audience acquisition and engagement strategy that will meet your business goals. In fact, we’ll even help you define the KPIs that will ensure long-term success.

Email us at info@iv.com for more information or visit our website at www.iv.com.


[i] Source: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/survey-finds-consumers-crave-authenticity-and-user-generated-content-deli/511360/
[ii] Source: https://martech.zone/seo-statistics/

 

Preview the Future

Enhance Your Experience Design with Previsualization Tools

Written by, Tim Smart, Manager, Technology Innovation Group

(Download PDF Version: Preview the Future

Anticipation builds as you move through the branded registration area and  vast expo space. You look around, impressed by what you see, but you’re excited to get to the general session and take your seat. As you go through the doors, you’re swept up by energetic music and pulsing lights moving around the room. You take your seat and the lights dim, revealing a beautifully designed stage and dazzling opening media piece on the screen. The excitement is palpable, but you’re not really there—you’re in your office, thousands of miles away. You’re experiencing your event virtually through previsualization tools.

The Power of Previsualization

InVision believes in using the power of previsualization (previs) to create smarter, more impactful events. Imagine being able to experience your event long before it even begins—getting a 360-degree preview, complete with environments, lighting, music and motion—without having to travel to the venue or build expensive sets.

When applied correctly to a production design workflow, previs enhances collaborative design thinking and accelerates decision-making during the pre-production process. With previs, you can test different concepts, experiment with effects and make changes before you execute them in the real event space. You can sit in the audience or stand on the stage. You can evaluate the impact of your music, media pieces and stage designs. And, best of all, you can share this experience with key members of your team during the development process—no matter where they are in the world.

So, What is Previsualization Anyway?

Popular with game developers and film directors, previsualization uses 3D computer renderings and virtual reality to create a realistic visualization of how something will look when complete. By simply putting on a pair of VR goggles, you can be instantly transported into a virtual environment.

Advantages for Event Marketers

InVision’s Technology Innovation Group was inspired by how previs technology was being used in other industries. We thought this same technology could offer tremendous advantages to event marketers, including:

  1. As an organizer, you have the ability to visually experience an environment in a form very close to reality. You can view sightlines and first-person perspectives from the best and worst seats of the house, on stage and everywhere in between.
  2. Executive speakers can experience what they’ll see from the stage, including locations of confidence monitors and other visual aids.
  3. Dynamic lighting schemes can be integrated into the virtual space and video media files can play on the virtual screens, bringing you closer to the actual experience.
  4. Programmatic and visual decisions can be made earlier in the process, cutting the cost and time spent developing environments because key decision-makers can experience the exact same space at the same time in advance of it physically being built.
  5. Designers can design within the virtual environment, reducing costs associated with any redesigns on site.

Previsualizing Success

Since 2015, InVision has utilized previsualization to help our clients develop more impactful programs, work more collaboratively and streamline development costs. We’re currently working on the next generation of previs, incorporating both augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality into our previsualization tools. Let us demonstrate how to bring your event to life before it even begins.

If you’re interested in learning more about how previs can enhance your planning process or if you’d like a live demo (which we highly recommend), let’s talk. Contact us at info@iv.com.

5 Tips for How to Create Powerful Media

Written by, David Rathod, Creative Director, InVision Communications

(Download PDF Version: 5 Tips for How to Create Powerful Media)

InVision believes in creating captivating, transformative experiences that connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level. There’s no better way to engage an audience and convert them into brand enthusiasts than with imaginative storytelling told through beautifully executed media. For us, media constitutes a variety of elements, including video, motion graphics, theatrical effects (i.e. lighting and sound), and interactive components and technology (i.e., augmented reality and virtual reality).

Here Are 5 Tips for How to Create More Powerful Media Experiences for Your Brand:

1. Define the Takeaway.
Before starting any media project, establish what you’re trying to achieve. When the experience is over, what do you want people to do? What do you want them to feel? Craft your messaging so the audience reacts in a certain way and develop the style of your piece to generate the feeling you want to establish. Think about style in the context of movie genres—is this a comedy, drama, thriller or historical story? Knowing what you want the audience to do and feel will inform how to tell your story.

2. Treat Media Like a Journey, Not a Destination.
Effective storytelling takes audiences to a place they might not have otherwise gone. Though there is a beginning, middle and an end, the point of the story is the power of the experience itself. Use honesty and imagination as a way of getting the audience to let down their guard and get caught up in the moment. Put yourself in the mindset of the attendee, think about how you will excite and inspire them; and guide them along a path of discovery that ultimately connects them to your brand. If you’ve taken them on a compelling journey, you will have earned their trust along the way. And with brands, trust is critical to success.

3. Craft a Unique Message.
Instead of creating a safe, generic message, take a stand! To win over the audience, distinguish your brand by developing a smart, creative, unexpected story—something that supports your brand story, yet separates you from competitors. Tell your brand story with heart and conviction, not marketing lingo. If you feel a personal connection with the story you’re telling, others will too. Be bold with your media design to maximize impact—when done well, it always pays off. You can be bombastic and loud, minimal and elegant, or funny and irreverent. A succinct, bold idea that reinforces your brand, yet resonates with people catapults your brand to be top-of-mind.

4. Flatter Your Audience—With Intelligence.
Today’s audience is more sophisticated than ever. As this link from eMarketer shows, people absorb media all day, every day—online, offline and on their phones—which means they’ve seen it all. Audiences want to be moved and impressed, so give them original, exciting work. Whether you leverage elegance, humor or emotion, be smart about it. Don’t dumb it down. Create experiences for intelligent, observant audiences and they’ll respect your brand for it.

5. Put the Venue to Work.
Where and how will the audience be experiencing the media? It’s important to understand the venue space itself. If it is expansive and spacious, use the whole room. Lighting effects, projection mapping and interactive elements, such as PixMob, can help fill out a space, making it feel more intimate. It’s also important to pay attention to running time and tempo. For example, if you’re creating an opening experience, the audience will give you their full attention; use it wisely and don’t overstay your welcome. Always leave the audience wanting more.

Engage and Inspire Your Audience with InVision
Immersive, engaging media experiences can transform the way you connect with your audience. People love being taken on a journey, and a well-crafted story told through film/video, interactive elements, live performances or a combination thereof can boost the emotional engagement they have with your brand, your products and your people.

If you’re interested in creating more powerful media experiences, let’s talk. At InVision, we’re always excited to tell brand stories in new, thought-provoking ways. Contact us at info@iv.com. 

 

Brand Storytelling Through Film

(Download PDF Version: Brand Storytelling Through Film)

Event attendees look for experiences that deepen trust and appreciation of the brand. Successful creative has to generate honest communication or we risk turning off audiences. So to sustain competitive advantage, businesses must become masters of brand storytelling.

The guidelines of effective storytelling are pretty simple:
1. Tell honest stories with style and quality.
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
3. Create a story that you personally would want to experience.

With those in mind, the marriage of emotion and film technique will enhance your brand story in a way that creates an authentic message and deepen connections.

4 TRENDING FILM TECHNIQUES FOR EMOTIONAL FILMMAKING

Humanize the Brand
Google played with film storytelling styles in a fun and clever way by using various documentary filmmaking techniques to connect audiences with their brand in ways that traditional third person POV filmmaking cannot always do. This includes up close and personal interviews, wide shots so we can see the environment and the use of graphics to augment a rich, multilayered and authentic story.

Humor
Done right, this remains a fantastic way to enchant the audience and create an atmosphere of trust and confidence. If your brand has a good sense of humor like HP, the viewer’s more likely to believe in you, knowing that you’re not merely spinning a marketing yarn. But if comedy isn’t appropriate, a light, friendly approach helps make the right emotional connection. Occasionally it’s the most serious message that’s best communicated with humor.

Virtual Reality
VR immerses the viewer in ways 2D or 3D can’t do. Since it requires headsets, the experiences are individual instead of communal, but the depth of involvement is impressive. Some VR now combines virtual reality, augmented reality and live video which opens doors to amazing possibilities. There’s a lot of smart experimentation being done: brands like Mini, Lufthansa and Facebook have produced interesting content and the New York Times, music performances and film festivals are featuring it.

Hybrid Filmmaking
The iPhone, GoPro and DSLRs are making it possible for everyone to become filmmakers. Tangerine, a feature film shot entirely on the iPhone 5, told a story in locations that traditional films would have to spend significant money to secure. The relaxed filmmaking style is unintimidating and feels more like they’re making a home movie or selfie. Inexpensive filming technology in the hands of skilled and creative filmmakers can lead to quiet, unexpected and powerful stories.

Interested in learning more about brand storytelling through film? Contact us at info@iv.com

Written by, David Rathod, Creative Director, InVision Communications

Millennials: Same Goals, New Methods

0600  Millennial Handout Final High Res

How to Build an Attendee Journey

Viewers watching the show. Long exposure shot.

Remember what it’s like to be an attendee of an event? You’re a spectator, watching and listening, hoping to walk away with some sort of call-to-action. Maybe it’s putting the information you learned into use or feeling more motivated to continue to do what you do every day, even better. Whatever the case, you attend these events hoping to gain something new and to be inspired.

So how do we as event marketers, ensure that most (if not all) of our attendees feel more connected to our brand; prepared for the future ahead; recognized for their achievements; or feel re-energized for a brand new year?

It’s simple. We build an Attendee Journey. An Attendee Journey is our holistic approach where we immerse ourselves into the mindset of the audience while also keeping in mind the objectives and messaging that we want to communicate. It’s the perfect blend of designing a campaign that delivers measurable results and potentially new behaviors. It goes beyond a simple production of an event by transforming a traditional ballroom into an environment immersed with your brand and messaging, staging that stirs excitement, stunning graphics that convey visual stories and compelling speakers whose energy radiates into the attendees.

Below are just a few key insights that will help you develop an Attendee Journey that delivers engaging experiences that inspire lasting results.

Know Your Audience
Who are they and what are their mindsets?

Set Objectives and Envision Success
What kind of campaign?
What does success look like and how will it be measured?
Are your objectives measurable? (ROI, ROO, ROE)

Design with Purpose
How will attendees be engaged?
Are there any compelling industry trends that you can integrate into the program?
Is the message woven through the entire event?
How will you extend the message beyond the event?

Want to learn more about building an Attendee Journey? Contact us at ivcinfo@iv.com or check out how we did it for one of our clients: Global Conference Case Study

 

Designing the Experience

In today’s world, there is a new element we must consider as we launch the meeting planning exercise. We are a part of a digital revolution where technology and social devices are driving business decisions and human behavior on all levels. We need to spend some of our time focused on designing the experience our attendees will have. People are inherently fond of connection, collaboration, learning and sharing with others. A truly successful conference is one that shifts the behaviors of the audience from attendee to advocate.

Check out Jeff Hurt’s blog for tips on how you can become a strategic design thinker.