The Future of Event Marketing

January 25, 2020
By Michael Copp, Executive Vice President

I recently came across some interesting event marketing trends and predictions in a regular newsletter from MDG, a PHCC marketing consultant. In the article written by Renee Goldstein (2019), Predicting the Future of Event Marketing, she outlines marketing tips and how to offer a personalized experience to attendees. (Retrieved on the World Wide Web on Dec. 23, 2019, here) Many of the concepts I found to be interesting just as a general reminder of how different generations expect different experiences and ways of connecting. Goldstein’s recommendations include:

Sense of Community

  • There is a growing expectation of a personalized, tailored experience. John Gerzema, CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics/The Harris Poll, refers to this “iDNA”. “More and more, companies are tapping into this level of hyper-personalization. Diets can be based on blood type, supplements are tailored based on lifestyle and even music playlists can be created based on DNA.”
  • Attendees are seeking intimacy through a sense of “tribalism”—”finding connections with one another based on common behaviors and interests”. … Goldstein notes that this is significant to underrepresented groups like Americans of color and women… “These underrepresented groups then find a sense of community within a bigger community…[it’s] ‘get to know me, understand who I am.’”

Multiple Generations

  • Goldstein (2019) notes that Generation Z and Millennials “want their voices to be heard, yet they don’t want to be sold to.” They not only want to be an audience member, but also a contributor. Gerzema (2019) writes, “A big trend right now in business is ‘design thinking.’ Are we as an industry bringing younger people to do the design thinking on events? … What kind of events would they create?”
  • Goldstein (2019) notes that marketeers should also consider that “Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are remaining in the workforce longer” and are going back to school to develop new skills. Events could be a great place for a mix of skill development, networking and sharing of best practices.

The Human Experience

  • All generations are looking for what Goldstein (2019) describes as the “human-to-human experience.”
  • Gerzema (2019) writes, “The Harris Poll named ‘short-selling’ as one of their top consumer trends—essentially, getting what you want delivered to your door, and instantly.”
  • Don Pazour, CEO of Access Intelligence, noted that providing “snackable” content marketing pieces to the intended audience during the marketing cycle is an effective tactic. Pazour (2019) suggests that “If you have [content] year-round, and you give those little bits and pieces and you allow little tribes to form, it can make the central event bigger… “Either the people come and the show gets bigger, or you figure out how to monetize the bits.”
  • Trade shows still provide the value of human connection.

As Goldstein (2019) concludes, “we must remember that we are connecting…people—and these people crave belonging.” Different generations expect a personalized experience during which they engage on their terms, learn relevant and timely skills, receive value quickly; and all within a community of like-minded people.


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