12 - 01 - 16
Identity’s Top 9 Events Predictions For 2016
Since the global economic slowdown in 2009, we have since seen a return of confidence amongst our clients. While exhibitors are somewhat cautious when it comes to investing in events, we predict that as our economy improves, exhibitions will play an increasing part in the marketing mix. Our experience here at Identity is that international exhibition markets continue to grow, and we have been active across the globe in a variety of established and new exhibitions.
Here are our top 9 events predictions for 2016.
1. Visitor Engagement Becomes More Advanced
You don’t want people to walk past your stand – their engagement is vital for the success of exhibiting. Games, competitions and challenges are as old as time but they drive genuine engagement, and still work! What we think is important for 2016 is that exhibitors will improve their use of data capture which will in turn allow better measurement of engagement, informing how this can then be leveraged into increasing the success of an individual exhibit or an entire event. Take simple details from everyone who steps on to your stand and analyse that information after the event to understand what brought them into your space.
2. Better Training For Events Personnel
Our experience of watching increasingly lazy staff behaviour on stands mean there is a real need for exhibitors to beef up staff training prior to the events. The attendees have come to meet and talk with them, not just watch the content that they can already view online but on bigger screens. Data capture devices evolve for all but it is of fundamental importance that staff on the stand are fully trained to understand the specific goals of exhibiting and that they make the visitor experience on the stand personal and memorable.
3. Richer Data Capture & Analysis
The definition of big data is the vast amount of digital information that is being captured by organisations for collection and analysis. The amount and type of information being gathered has increased rapidly thanks to the ability of analysis software which continues to be refined so we can all discern useful conclusions from this data.
Registration gathers a significant amount of information with the growth of near-field technology systems such as Poken, and we believe that the data captured will become even more useful. Great strides are being made in the use of data capture technology at events which tracks both exhibitor performances and the behaviour of attendees around the event itself. We believe that as this is better understood it will allow informed decisions to be made in the future about where and how to exhibit.
One final suggestion on data capture: we cannot stress enough that however you capture information (and there is nothing wrong with pen and paper!) you have to ensure that when this information reaches your CRM all the pertinent details are recorded and the prospects are reached within no more than two business days. Studies tell us that the first company to contact a prospect will be the most likely to win the business!
4. Big Data + Survey Data = Content Marketing!
With the rise of content marketing driven by the need to make your online presence engage with the target market, so the opportunities for improving your performance at an exhibition will grow. We forecast that for 2016 more will be made of the activity that surrounds an exhibition to build up the presence at an event before the doors open. Exhibitors will combine big data with survey data to build interesting post-event information, creating feedback and content with which to engage with their audience after the event.
5. Modular Stand Systems Reach Tipping Point
We have watched the growth of increasingly flexible modular exhibition stand systems in use around the world over the last few years and it is our belief 2016 will prove to be a tipping point for modular. As a company we have delivered some fantastic modular solutions for our clients that allow them to use, reuse and reconfigure their exhibition presences at a whole series of shows. We have seen that as our ability to deliver better stand solutions combined with custom built focus pieces grows, the value this gives allows our clients to add more exhibiting to their schedule.
6. Smart Event Planners Will Think Mobile First
It is now not unusual for people to have two or more mobile devices with them at any one time and we believe that this will continue to have a significant impact on the industry. Mobile devices offer exhibitors unique opportunities to communicate with attendees who are themselves often engaging with online audiences during events.
One struggle that venues are continually facing is the increasing demand for quality Wi-Fi. The ability to meet the huge amount of bandwidth required for the devices being used by attendees and those exhibiting must not be underestimated in the perception success of the event by all of the stakeholders. We believe that something as innocuous as the ability to get a connection could have a very serious impact on future visitor numbers.
7. Up Periscope!
We have long since advocated getting involved with the seminar programme as a great way to boost sector credibility and status as well as a prime way to encourage visitors to your stand. Thanks to the power of the Periscope app, your speaking appearance at the event need not be limited to attendees physically at the show. Periscope is a great tool that allows you to instantly broadcast your talk to a wider audience.
Additionally, it is well worth remembering that this need not be exclusively for the seminars and this will grow extensively in 2016. We advocate taking the time to make short clips telling people what is at the show, give them a guided tour of your stand and tell them why they should come and see you. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will then let you share this content to a worldwide audience within seconds.
8. Printed Fabric Graphics Grow In Popularity
The rise of printing on fabric to dress an exhibition stand shows no sign of abating and it is not hard to see why. Reaction to printed fabric from exhibition visitors is that it is a higher quality product and this reflects well on the exhibitor. It adds an element of touch into the visitors experience and this is important for the appreciation of the design of the stand. Allied to this are the practical considerations – it is easier to transport, mount and de-rig a fabric graphic system, thereby saving time and money for all concerned.
There are also environmental benefits. In the same way that there is a cost saving for shipping and building the stand, this is also going to be “greener”, and it is a lot easier to reuse fabric graphics over traditional branding methods.
9. The 365 Day Event
Social media is a key marketing tool and is growing in significance as organisers and exhibitors bring their chosen platforms into the centre of their marketing processes. The social media revolution is showing no signs of slowing down and the creativity and results achievable means that organisations will continue to allocate more resources to this aspect of marketing, with the expectation that it will become an integral part of the events themselves.
What social media allows is the extension of the impact of going to, being at or exhibiting at the show. In prior years, an event would take place and there would be some printed preview of the show in specific publications. Now the potential exists to extend hugely the coverage in the build-up phase, massively boost engagement during the exhibition itself and (most importantly) in the post-exhibition phase to build on the relationships created by the face-to-face meetings at the show itself.
Lastly, making the post-show analysis a community event will give vital pointers to what could be done better next time. This information is gold dust and must not be missed.
The events industry continues to be an exciting place to be with no signs of innovation letting up. Identity are proud to be an award-winning business that work globally on all types of events. From concept through to creation and installation, our skilled exhibition stand design and build team will transform your brief into reality.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the very best for 2016.