Live marketing in the age of digitalization and new participant needs
The world of live marketing is undergoing a major transition. That’s not just something we’ve noticed, it’s also the conclusion arrived at by several studies such as the German Convention Bureau’s Meeting- & EventBarometer. In particular, the three global megatrends digitalization, sustainability and demography have been identified as the main drivers of this transition.
And in practice, organizers like our TMC live unit are now noticing changing expectations among event participants, for whom the largely one-way flow of information in traditional (presentation) formats is no longer satisfactory. Instead, they want information transfer and knowledge generation to involve intensive experiences. Being involved, taking part and working out ideas together – these are the needs of modern event participants. “Use the wisdom of crowds.” That has become a popular idea in the Internet age and also applies for events. As in the Web, traditional one-way information flow has also become (almost) a thing of the past in event marketing. Here too, the participants demand communication in both directions and, where possible, on an equal footing.
What follows from that is clear enough: New formats are pushing into the event business, while existing formats are becoming more modern, with increased digital content. Traditional events get left behind if they can’t adapt adequately to the transition. The combination of oversupply and redundancy among events and the greater expectations of participants is leading to disruptions in the event business.
A Chinese saying puts in a nutshell how event organizers should work with their participants now and in the future:
“Say it to me and I’ll forget it. Show it to me and I’ll remember it. Involve me in it and I’ll understand it.” – Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC), Chinese philosopher
Participative event formats like the ad-hoc BarCamp conferences, Open Space, World Café, round table sessions or the fishbowl, a modern type of panel discussion, have been developed and tested in recent years and have become permanent features of the event ecosystem. Other formats could be added to the list as organizers and agencies come up with new interactive formats and agenda building blocks and put them to work almost every day.
Other options for promoting discussion on an equal footing include online voting tools like SLI.DO (whose name is also its URL) or the Catchbox, the nifty foam-encased, throwable cube microphone that can really liven up fishbowl and other discussion formats.
Putting these interactive options to use at events is nothing new for our TMC live unit. We have a broad range of experience with a wide variety of events and formats that we’ve organized and staged. We can only confirm what can be read in studies and journal articles: The transition is well underway and those who still want to reach their participants effectively tomorrow have to make sure they’re involved today. The old Chinese saying applies as much as ever in the digital age.
If you’d like to learn more or need assistance planning events, get in touch with us. By phone, digitally or in person – but always on an equal footing.