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Four Event Marketing Predictions for 2012

by Kristin Veach  |  
December 12, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Which technologies and tactics will emerge for event marketing in 2012
  • How event marketers can boost tradeshow success using new trends

Tablets. Social mediaQR codes. Hybrid events. All of those have redefined tradeshow and event marketing in 2011, so what will 2012 bring? How can marketers embrace the latest trends to make their events more exciting and engaging?

Here are my four event-marketing predictions for 2012.

1. The use of RFID and social-enabled sharing will increase

Because of smartphones, photo-sharing and location check-ins are no-brainers. And marketers, as well as tradeshow and event attendees, have been using smartphones to share their event experiences via Facebook photo albums, TwitPic, Flickr, and so on.

But 2012 could well bring automatic social-enabled sharing thanks to radio frequency identification (RFID). The Ushuaia Beach Hotel in Ibiza, Spain, and Great Wolf Lodge in the US began pilot RFID programs that automatically share guests' photos and activity on Facebook. With RFID, no computers or smartphones are needed to make social updates (especially beneficial when you're hanging by a pool!).

Hotel guests set up a RFID wristband at check-in and connect it to their Facebook profile. When they swipe their wristbands at special check-in locations, a photo or other content automatically posts to their Facebook page.

As RFID costs continue to decrease and its availability widens, the event-marketing possibilities for RFID social-enabled sharing greatly increases. For example, companies could use an RFID-enabled strategy to set up a photo-sharing station for event attendees to automatically post pics of themselves with an industry expert or celebrity.

Or, attendees could be rewarded for multiple RFID demo-station visits, with fun product facts being posted to Facebook at each check-in. A show organizer could create an RFID show-floor tour that would guide attendees to booths introducing new products. That strategy would increase attendee engagement and stretch the event experience to guests' social networks—greatly increasing visibility for a company and its offerings.

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Kristin Veach is chief communications and growth strategist at experiential marketing agency Live Marketing, where she is responsible for driving results using online strategies for live events.

LinkedIn: Kristin Veach

Twitter: @Kristin_Veach

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  • by Ryan Frederick Mon Dec 12, 2011 via web

    I would add gamification. Events need to be more interactive and fun.

  • by HCG corporate designs Mon Dec 12, 2011 via web

    2012 will definitely be a very interesting year in terms of mobile technology and how it's being used to get a product/service (or in this case stated above an event) closer to the customer and his/her memory. I have recently attended a great event in Spain organised by Nissan and they had an event app too that was leading through the whole event which was absolutely fantastic. However, there were zero posters or anything where people could see the agenda of the event without using their mobile devices. And this was very annoying. So despite all the technologies we meanwhile have we must not forget about the simple things people are used to. I think the combination of both makes it!

  • by Kristin Veach Mon Dec 12, 2011 via web

    Ryan, I agree gamification will also play a bigger role next year. The competition and interactivity that video games provide can also easily be applied to events as ways to get attendees more engaged and active.

  • by Kristin Veach Mon Dec 12, 2011 via web

    Helene, you're absolutely right about being careful with technology--it alone doesn't lead to a better experience or stronger results. From my perspective, technology works best when it is integrated from start to finish, and the focus is on using technology to enhance the event.

  • by Julie O'Grady Tue Dec 13, 2011 via web

    I think the challenge for event marketers is to make sure they are covering all the channels. Event marketers need to re-think their traditional campaign execution. As they design campaigns, ideally you want to be able to re-use interactive campaign components across channels - from inside email to social, website to display, re-targeting and mobile for a cohesive integrated approach.

  • by Kristin Veach Tue Dec 13, 2011 via web

    Good point Julie. Obviously today's economic environment means event marketers are smart about how and where they invest their dollars. But it also makes sense to leverage as much as possible across multiple channels to present an integrated story and reach as many people as possible. Plus, an event or tradeshow can be extended beyond it's traditional time and space so it's no longer a one-off, but a year-long conversation.

  • by Julie O'Grady Wed Dec 14, 2011 via web

    Kristin, you should check out's multichannel marketing platform. Kwanzoo's platform allows marketers to build campaigns with their rich media units (smart polls, surveys, social promotions, and opt-in lead forms) and run them everywhere across all channels. And you don't have to go through IT to get your campaign up and running. You can do even do A/B testing and modifications on the fly.

    Online Media Summit uses Kwanzoo for their Tell-a-Friend promotions and campaigns. It's something that event marketers should check out.

  • by Eitan Mon Dec 19, 2011 via web

    Social-enable sharing is definitely a powerful way to enhance audience engagement. In addition to RFID you might want to check a new product developed by a start up company called Pic2go - using special QR codes technology.

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