5 Need-to-Know Event Marketing Trends from Amex GBT

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Amex GBTA new survey from Amex GBT highlights five key event marketing trends to focus on in 2024.

What key trends are marketing and communication leaders who plan meetings and events leaning into in 2024? A new survey from American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) Meeting & Events’ new Experience Studio set out to find out. Not surprisingly, technology was at the top of their list, from mobile apps and QR codes to artificial intelligence (AI) tools. In fact, if their overall meetings budgets increased by 10% this year, a fifth said they’d increase their spend on improving content delivery and increasing their use of technology.

Here are the five key trends highlighted in the study:

  1. Make your event marketing content as unique and relevant and the event itself. No one wants to look like yet another conference, just like all the others. “One thing is clear in today’s saturated marketplace — ordinary content just won’t cut it,” the report states. This means doing some homework on what will resonate with your specific audience by asking them at the start what they want to learn. Then take all that information and weave it into something that will appeal to their personal experience and values.
Thirty-four percent of surveyed event marketers said they are using AI. Some are using it to analyze all that customer data and come up with personalized messaging and optimize both the content and the cadence of the campaign. Others are using for everything from event theme brainstorming to creating agendas, promotional emails, speaker bios, event website landing page content, teasers and promotional videos. And, since social media is the priority channel for 39% of event marketers, they’re also using AI to create and optimize messaging on social media. But don’t lose that human touch, the report emphasizes. “The magic happens when we blend AI’s efficiency with human creativity, leading to innovative and unforgettable event experiences,” says Ariana Reed, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships (Technology) at AMEX GBT M&E.
  1. Lean into event tech (and not just AI). “From registration sites to venue sourcing, virtual reality to mobile apps, technology is your trusty sidekick in dominating every facet of event marketing,” the report says. With 59% saying they anticipate using a mobile event app this year, it pays to optimize their use beyond just digital agendas and a site map. Think push notifications, live surveys, sharing user-generated content, gathering real-time feedback and sending post-event communications, the report suggests. QR codes also are useful for everything from checking in to increasing engagement via signage and tracking interaction, said 47% of those surveyed. Beacons and Wi-Fi connection data also can be good ways to track attendee engagement.
  2. Optimize your strategic partnerships. Don’t forget to tap into all your event marketing partners, be they internal subject matter experts or external event agencies, the report suggests. The keys to supercharging the effectiveness of these partnerships is collaboration, trust and transparent communications, it says — along with starting early in the process and, if possible, developing long-term partnerships so you don’t have to start from scratch with each new event. The most important criteria when selecting these partners were their creative capabilities, even above price, the survey found.
  3. Sustainability and inclusivity need to be at the forefront. With 78% of respondents saying their organization expected to have corporate sustainability goals before the end of 2024, this is now a key factor from the very beginning — starting with venue selection. Many are seeking destinations that provide a lower carbon footprint for travelers, certified sustainable venues that also are accessible to all and prioritize eco-friendly practices. But sustainability and inclusivity don’t stop once the destination is selected and the contract is signed. Event organizers also are looking for diverse and sustainable supplier partners, staffing and speakers, as well as off-site activities and healthier, less carbon-intensive food and beverage menus.
  4. Invest in engagement. “In a world where attention is the new currency, focusing on engagement is the smart investment,” the report states. This means focusing in on ways to provide creative and unique experiences, surprise-and-delight moments and personalized interactions. Socially focused events, such as corporate social responsibility types of activities, can help attendees bond and create meaning at the event. Lasering in on engagement is especially important for events that play significant roles in event marketers’ strategic plans, such as product launches, incentives and special events.

The research was conducted by The Experience Studio, a specialized team within AMEX GBT that focuses on maximizing attendee engagement. The study is based on proprietary AMEX GBT M&E data, licensed third-party data, industry insights, a global proprietary survey of marketing and communication professionals, and interviews with industry leaders.

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