As the events industry heads into a new year, the market for live experiences shows no signs of slowing down. This thriving economic climate is great news for events looking to grow — but it also means that promotion and marketing are more important than ever to make your experience stand out.
To find out how event creators plan to approach the opportunities and challenges of a saturated marketplace, we surveyed more than 600 event professionals in Australia and New Zealand for The Pulse Report: 2019 Event Industry Trends.
Here’s what the results had to say about how event marketing will change in 2019.
What’s changing: 3 overlooked marketing strategies that will become more popular
Competition for attention is fierce in Australia, with 27% citing increased competition as their biggest challenge for 2019. And although 36% of respondents will be looking to increase their marketing and promotion budget in the year ahead, there is a push to get scrappy. One in every four event creators (40%) state that insufficient budget is the biggest challenge affecting them.
The following three overlooked tactics can help you get scrappy and stand out.
1. Influencer marketing
Less than half (46%) of event creators said they were using influencer marketing. Yet our survey results showed that ‘word of mouth’, and ‘social media marketing’ were the two most effective marketing techniques for even promotion in Australia. In fact, 82% of consumers are likely to trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. Micro-influencers are also gaining in popularity — that is, people with followings that are smaller but extremely valuable to your event. Because of their hyperlocal and engaged followers, they can be very effective in converting fans to attendees.
Put it into action: Be sure to do your homework before you commit to hiring an influencer and make sure you track their results so you know who is worth using again in future. Download our Guide to Instagram Marketing to learn more about how to create advertising and influencer campaigns on Instagram.
2. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
57% of event creators in Australia and NZ said they aren’t using SEO. But if you’re not investing in SEO for your event pages, you’re losing sales — research shows that 89% of attendees use search for purchase decisions. SEO is a vital way to reach new people looking for things to do in your area on sites like Google.
Put it into action: It’s time to add SEO optimisation to your regular “to-do” list. Discover two steps to kickstart your SEO with the SEO Cheat Sheet for Events.
3. Experiential marketing
More than 60% of event creators aren’t using experiential marketing. But these kinds of campaigns can help you capture your audience’s attention, humanise your or a sponsor’s brand, and create experiences that leave people with lasting, positive brand impressions.
Put it into action: Experiential marketing can be an intimidating concept, so here are some simple ideas for inspiration:
- Create mini “taster” events to create a pop-up style experience of your event
- Use smaller, individual experiential activations, like on-site art installations
- Offer experiential activations as an on-site sponsorship opportunity for your partners
See how AirBnB has used experiential marketing successfully with our Q&A with Ayni Raimondi, Global Head of Brand Activation at Airbnb.
What’s staying the same: The 3 most effective event marketing tactics
Not every event marketing tactic will change in 2019. These are the tactics that event professionals said were most effective in 2018 that won’t be going anywhere in 2019.
1. Word of mouth
One of the oldest types of marketing is still as powerful as ever: word of mouth. 56% of event marketers said word of mouth marketing was an effective strategy for them in 2018.
Put it into action: Find the passionate advocates within your existing customer base, and give them the tools and motivation to help sell tickets. Learn how you can identify social ringleaders — the people who attend the most events, invite the most friends, and spread the most hype about your event.
2. Social media marketing
46% of event creators said social media marketing was an effective driver of ticket sales for them last year. In 2018, Facebook and Instagram were the top social platforms to reach event-goers. The more you post and gain followers, the more people come to your event, the more people post on social media about your event — which in turn drives more followers to your account and the cycle begins again.
Put it into action: Selling out your events is your top priority. And your social media strategy is how to make it happen. Make sure your social promotions have the most impact they can by selling directly on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
3. Email marketing
When it comes to marketing your event, you can’t ignore email. And event creators agree: email rounds out the top three most effective channels for event marketing, with 40% of event professionals relying on it.
Put it into action: If you’re resting on the email practices you instituted five years ago, you’re not doing email right anymore. Not sure where your email strategy stacks up? Check out this benchmarking survey to see how your email marketing efforts compare, and where you could polish your efforts to differentiate your event emails from your competition.
Get up to speed on what’s ahead
Discover how your event stacks up against industry benchmarks and more in The Pulse Report: 2019 Event Industry Trends.