As a part of our ongoing series on ‘Innovation and the Future of Events‘, we invited Tim Heffernan, Chief Development Officer, T3 Expo to share his perspective on where face-to-face events are headed and what will make them successful in the future.
Create a Journey of On-Demand Shareable Moments; Not a Destination
By Tim Heffernan
The future will see events break away from their current nature of a static point-in-time and transform them into engaging, shareable moments that occur throughout the exhibitor and attendee journey as they seek innovative knowledge and experiences.
When executed successfully, the entire community of interest will have on-demand access to the expertise of the exhibitors, speakers, and attendees. Much like the synapses in our brains, the association/corporation will help connect the community together for the intelligence sought, through the different types of channels that work best to apply that information. Shows and exhibitors will drive more personalized journeys to attendees, that will lead to more commerce driven decisions focused on continual problem-solving. The problems that are being solved will, in turn, drive the agenda, future themes, topics, speakers, and attendee journeys of the next gathering. This cycle will continually evolve the event and deliver it to attendees via omnichannel learning and sharing means. Thus, the event will never become outdated, personalization will occur continuously, and shareable moments will go far beyond the show floor.
To actualize this future, we must start at the core of why attendees attend events. Most go to events to discover new ways to make their jobs and lives better. When they attend industry and corporate events, they are immersed in information that helps solve problems. While at a trade show, attendees try to plan and meet people who can help them solve a business problem and make their customers more successful (and that will hopefully give them a better work/life balance!). They then share these kernels of knowledge with their fellow attendees and colleagues back at the office to explain why they attended and what were their key takeaways. Attendees might even post their new knowledge treasure that they found across social networks, to catalog the exact moment of discovery. At T3 Expo we call these instances ‘shareable moments’, and we are tapping into these to help transform events for our clients.
To begin that journey for your events, look to create augmented personalized experiences that encourage shareable moments across all channels between onsite and virtual participants. Attendee journeys differ based upon their respectie motivations for attending the show. However, they invariably share these common goals: discover information, trends, and solutions that will make their business successful. These journeys should provide a visual and tactile framework to develop actionable insights that ease some of the most pressing pain-points in their own customers’ buying journey.
At T3 Expo one measure of our success is how we create shareable moment journeys that end in commerce. Ensure that your team and external partners are responsive to this change, recognize how it will change your service model, have the creativity needed to execute it, and figure out how to adjust revenue streams to capture that value. We recommend your team start with your attendees’ and exhibitors’ goals to build those paths of discovery. This is how you will start your event’s evolution towards a successful future.
And remember, we are living in an interesting time, where shareable experiences mean everything. We have become a society of avid Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat users. So let’s make every moment of the journey count and shareable for our event participants!
More to explore:
- The Role of General Services Contractor, Ten Years Hence
- Creative Problem Solving, Going Beyond Brainstorming