Marketers can’t afford to fall behind on the latest experiential marketing trends — if anything, they should be setting them. In recent years, technological innovations like wearables and touch-screen devices have redefined how we plan, execute, and experience events. Additionally, tech tools like QR codes and near-field communication (NFC) technology have ushered in a new era of guest engagement and experience enhancement.
The savviest event marketers understand that to stay competitive, they must create and implement tech-driven campaigns. This article serves as a guide for brands looking to leverage technology to create exceptional event experiences that better connect with their consumers and elevate their brands.
What Are the Benefits of Emerging Event Marketing Technology?
Wearable devices, such as smartwatches, smart glasses, virtual reality (VR) headsets, and NFC wristbands, provide brands with valuable participant data from activations and events. This enables them to correlate participant contact information with their observed preferences and make analytics-based behavioral predictions. Marketers may find that certain activations are more popular in some locations, while participants of a certain age prefer other activations. Wearables can also maximize throughput, increasing not just the quality of data but also the volume.
Most people love technology and are eager to try out emerging tech, so new devices and tech experiences can easily create advertising and on-site interest and may increase participation and traffic to the brand’s on-site location. Additionally, NFC wearables make fun mementos that fans might want to keep and continue to wear.
How Can Event Marketers Successfully Incorporate Tech?
NFC marketing is a game-changing event marketing strategy. For example, the Lexus U.S. Open Performance Drive utilized NFC wearable technology to consolidate attendee registration, allowing them to easily participate in three different activations: the golf swing analysis, the putting skills challenge, and the trophy photo.
The Chase U.S. Open saw similar success with NFC devices. Using NFC for consolidated registration, attendees could participate in three different activations:
- An Instagram video overlay that allowed attendees to serve at the tournament by clicking a QR code.
- An augmented reality (AR)-based serve speed calculator that allowed attendees to hit a virtual tennis ball and compare their serve speed to the pros (with a gif takeaway).
- A hologram-based photo op that made attendees look like they were holding the U.S. Open trophy.
However, maximizing the security of the wireless network connected to the NFC devices is crucial. This can be achieved by implementing advanced cryptographic protocols for a secure communication channel between the devices or using passive communication devices to limit the potential range for eavesdropping.
One notable security benefit of NFC chips is that they don’t store any personal information within the wearable device itself. Instead, when you scan the NFC chip using an application, the app captures the data and associates it with your individual and unique NFC number.
Event marketing QR codes are another powerful strategy for engaging attendees and enhancing the event experience. First, create QR codes that link to specific event-related content, such as event schedules, speaker bios, or exclusive promotions. Attendees can simply scan the codes with their smartphones to instantly access the information. Additionally, consider using QR codes for check-in and ticketing, making entry smoother and more efficient.
Encourage attendees to share their experiences by incorporating QR codes that link to social media platforms, encouraging user-generated content (UGC). Be sure to track QR code engagement to gather valuable data for post-event analysis and future marketing efforts.
Enhancing Event Marketing Strategies With Innovative Tech
There’s one key aspect of a successful tech-based event marketing strategy: Make it fun, fast, and shareable. Most attendees are drawn to fun activations! Design a straightforward and efficient registration and setup process to collect the necessary information without complicating things for attendees.
As a general rule, registration shouldn’t take more than 60 seconds to complete. And regardless of the activation, make sure there’s a final takeaway — this will remind guests of the experience and give them a positive impression of your brand. Takeaways also allow participants to share with their friends and family long after the event is over, increasing brand exposure and reputation.
NFC chips, QR codes, and wearables are just the tip of the iceberg: As we dive deeper into immersive tech experiences, we’re also likely to see more wearables outside of live events (e.g., smartwatches and LED clothing or accessories). That said, much like how CDs and VHS tapes gave way to digital music files and DVDs, some wearables will soon be replaced with touchless tech options; gestures may trigger specific applications and experiences in midair.
Event marketers who are new to incorporating technology should collaborate with an experienced team that can design and implement ideal tech infrastructures tailored to specific requirements. A team like this can not only help marketers achieve their objectives but also ensure the proper management of data security.
Ultimately, event marketers must stay at the forefront of technological innovations, not merely keeping pace but leading the way. Traditional methods may have worked in the past, but the success of any modern trade show and event marketing strategy hinges on embracing and employing tech advancements to stand out in the competitive business landscape.