Event Trends for second half of 2009

Summer holidays are starting. Europe will go half dark for about 2 months. The more you live up North (Scandinavia) the earlier and the longer the holidays (is this a compensation for the dark winter period?), the more you live South, the later (August), not necessarily more.

Time to look what the event trends could/will be for the second half of 2009.

1. Continued push into virtual events

This trend is going on for a while now. No change. Companies are questioning their overall investment in events. In tough economic times, you can only win by gaining market share. Translated to events, this means “reaching more quality people” with a lower cost per head. Scalability!

Some events will get an online copy of the live event (not the right approach if you ask me), others will do a hybrid approach with different offerings offline and online, others will shift entirely to virtual. Lots of experimenting will happen. Watch and learn.

2. Event rationalization

Are we doing the right events for the right audiences? Don’t we do too many events? Or too random? Or audience overlap? Events will be more focussed and have a clearer message for each audience. Think before you act. Each event should stand out and have its right of existence.

3. Return on investment

What is the event vision, what is the goal, what are the objectives and how do we measure this? GOST (Goals -> Objectives -> Strategies -> Tactics) principle. Why are we doing this event? What is the return on investment? “Increasing brand awareness” is not enough as an answer. How do you measure this? Event managers who can will be more successful.

4. Use of social media

In the whole marketing and demand geneartion campaign of an event (whether live or online) more focus will be on the use of social media. Some for the right reasons in the right way, others because it is hot, fashion. In any case they will do it. We’ll see a ton of experimenting in this area.

5. Cost savings

Cost savings does not mean ” do more with less”. Event spend is typically one of the biggest spend of a company together with advertising. Events will get less budget.In this case, it really means less. Make sure you do the right things. This goes hand in hand with ROI and event rationalization.

 What are the core components of your event? Leave the “nice to haves” and really focus on the “must haves”. Some companies will cut too much and the attendee experience will be affected. Attendees probably won’t like it. They are the ones still paying to attend and potentially could get less. Messaging will be important.

6. Lower attendance numbers

Travel and Expenses continue to be under (huge) pressure in most organizations. In a tough economic climate training budgets are the first to disappear. People will spend their money wisely and only go to the best event that fits their needs.

Conclusion: it will be an interesting event season with much experimenting going on. For tens of years events have been a one way conversation (someone is lecturing many people). Gradually we evolved (are still evolving) into a two way street (interactivity between speakers and attendees, attendee involvement). What’s next?  The events business is shaping its own future. We all have been too long in our comfortzone. Brain power!!

Event Trends H2 2009

Event Trends H2 2009


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