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50 Tends Effecting the MICE Industry in 2014 2. Marketing

In 2014, there was an outstanding convergence trend compared to previous years. In the beginning of 2014, MICE event was beginning to appear as fully digital, and the apps and other advanced technologies are fully integrated and embedded across the exhibition. Marketers were experiencing their busiest time to cope with this trend of convergence. They increased their investments on technology convergence sectors such as augmented reality or 3D projection mapping that are non only sufficient to attract visitor’s attentions, but also are reusable constantly. They were also obsessed with wow factors, which are continuously impressing visitors while affecting positively on the brand images.

At the same time, marketers couldn’t help striving to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs, which required them to bring up with brand new strategies to introduce advanced technologies with high efficiency ensured. To this end, they had designers in the early stages of the exhibition preparation, so that they can design the venue to their intentions, while having the ‘multi-disciplinary team’ in operation for a year. As a result, in 2014 there were many exhibitions were hosted based on integrated brand campaigns. Global Experience Specialists (GES), a world class event marketing agency also focused on the trend of convergence introduced in the MICE industry. The company also released its annual list of 50 trends effecting 2014 in the four segments of budget and planning, marketing, technology and design. In this article, we discuss the GES’s list of trends, and how events in MICE industry can cope with these trends to improve the effectiveness of the event operation. Second article is about ‘Marketing.’

Contents

1. Budget and Planning
2. Marketing
3. Technology
4. Design

2. Marketing

Regarding big data, Gina McDuffie, the Marketing Director of Global Experience Specialists (GES) said that some people think that big data is a trend passing us by, however it is such important and valuable for us that many marketers want to have as much big data as possible. However, sometimes they get obsessed with acquisition of data, and getting in troubles having too much than they needed. An important aspect regarding big data is not to be overpowered by the enormous amount of data. Instead, marketers should focus on identifying what the most important problem to the company or their customers, and discovering solutions that address those problems. So, how we can collect data whose quality is excellent both in quantity and quality through MICE events, where a huge amount of customer data is available? Regarding this, GES suggested the following 13 key words.

Designing with Purpose
Gone are the days when designers only consider the booth design. Now they should provide or design an event environment so that the event can achieve its intended objectives with all relevant information taken into account. For example, exhibition designers should provide an environment where customers and visitors can have a longer communication with booth personnel. In addition, designers should attend in any marketing campaigns, to help determine how to reflect marketing messages in the exhibition and how to make the visitors’ responses measurable.

On-Site Tie-Ins
The face-to-face marketing activities between the booth personnel and visitors is the most important aspect to consider when designing exhibitions. However often times we can see face-to-face marketing activities not in harmony with the entire marketing strategy. So marketers should effort to integrate the face-to-face marketing activities tightly into the on-site marketing strategies. For example, if you distribute presentation document at your booth, in which visitors are highly interested, you can attract visitors to your booth spontaneously.

Line Engagement
It would make a company feel good at exhibition to see visitors standing in a line to experience its product or service. However, the situation may be somewhat boring and intolerable in the visitors point of view. So, marketers sometimes provide some events for the visitors in the line. GES developed a special event for children waiting in a line to see a santa clause in the Christmas season in 7 Westfield Malls. That was a 72-inch touch screen. Boys and girls were allowed touch the screen to decorate the christmas tree displayed on screen. The touch screen event was successful in that it attracted the children’s attention to their brand while they are on the line to wait for an experience event.

Context-Based Data
To provide visitors proper information, marketers monitor visitors traffics and locations in real time and install and deploy advertisements or contents on the paths. This deployment of contents also allows visitors enjoy the exhibition in the natural context. I addition, if these deployment practices could be improved by continuously tracing the paths of visitors and identifying time visitors stay with the contents, then the exhibition will be significantly improved in the long term.

Social Media Integration
Majority of social media channels of the visitors can be very useful marketing channel. Recently marketers try to best use of social media channels integrated with advanced technologies. For example, the exhibition visitors have a badge with a RFID chip embedded. Once the badge scanner scans the visitors information, it automatically tweets, mentions or shares on their social media channels.

Engaging Newbies
For first time visitors, it is difficult to attent sessions and visit all booths. A special program providing these first time visitors with a chance to communicate while experiencing the exhibition even in the unfamiliar exhibition atmosphere, it would be a good strategy. For example, providing a microsite pages providing an online community for first time visitors, mentorship, lunch or special advise and recommendations pages would be a great idea.

Influencer Injection
Many companies leverages their channels of influencers to maximize their marketing events. This marketing approach can persist during or even after the event through social media activities done by those influencers. Some companies even provide a separate space for influencers in their booth.

Smarter Platforms
Marketers are in search of a platform that can maximize the visitors’ experiences. A platform like Vivastream would be an answer, where participants can build a community and the members can communicate through social media, while the communication is recorded in a single page in the community. On the other hand, Socious allows the communities and their members can increase the brand building even outside of the event venue.

Virtual Engagement
Companies use virtual technologies to provide visitors with a special experience. Recently some companies provide a virtual booth online for those who cannot come to their booth physically. The virtual visitors are even provided with information they needed online. This approach is being widely adopted in that it can utilize the offline exhibition booth for broader and permanent uses.

Apps as Giveaways
Healthcare booth exhibitors were limited number of giveaways. Marketers came with an idea to provide health-related applications to visitors to address this issue. A company, for example, provided an application for free which checks up the current biological status of diabetic patients, and allows them to check their blood sugar level.

Stand Out Pre-show Push
Pre-show events are also becoming an important marketing activities. Marketers are focusing on creative ways to promote the exhibition in advance. Paper letters are gone, but a digital letter embedding a USB storage is used for invitation. Even letters containing flower seeds were used so that the recipients can grow the letter. John Woo, the vice president of creative design at GES said, “The more fun and the more creative the communication becomes, the more expectations visitors will have.”

No Seat, No Problem
Reserving a ticket for a big famous conference like Google I/O Conference, one of the world famous event hosted by Google is practically impossible. To address this issue Google broadcasted and shared through Youtube and Google+ the event and the relevant information on a real time basis. Also, for those who have no reserved seats, Google developed an extension event titled, Google I/O Conerence Extended so that 350 developers from 85 countries could meet and network.

Digital Content
Across the MICE industries, the concept of paperless event has been widely spread, and thus the event planners and participating companies become to rely on digital media. Participants can search information using kiosks installed around or touch pads, make a request of information using tablet PCs or download PDF documents on their smart devices.

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