Tablets. Social media. QR 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.