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Event season is in the air, and as the diary begins to fill up with dates that will have you scratching your head in worry, it’s time to take a step back and look at what you really should be doing this year to set yourself apart from the competition.

As we are all well aware, events and trade shows are an important marketing tool for all businesses, enabling you the opportunity to meet customers face-to-face, and show-off any new products right before their eyes.

But as our reliance on digital communication has strengthened, the thought of talking and explaining anything in reality can be a daunting prospect. There’s no opportunity to air brush your business or re-write your sales pitch.

Unfortunately, many businesses can get bogged down in the budget, and think that there’s no way they can make as much as an impact as their bigger corporate rivals, but this isn’t the case with these event trends. Creativity is the differing factor separating the wheat from the chafe, and budget is quite simply irrelevant if you know how to be creative.

Swot up on these event trends and you may find your event ROI is boosted, as well as your brand reputation.

Create an experience

A trestle table and a few roller banners will do as much for your business exposure as a wet flannel. This set-up is outdated and ineffective, and that’s exactly how your brand will come across. Research has shown that stands which engage and excite attendees will have a long lasting impact of the brand.

Be ambitious and go to town with your stand.

Themes are becoming particularly popular, with a recent example of one brand opting for a Hollywood theme, where they had a red carpet, a few celebrity impersonators handing out popcorn, and all marketing material displayed like movie posters.

This not only drew in the crowds but left a lasting impression that was then followed up with a stylish invitation for them to book in a visit with one their representatives.

Trade shows can be a boring and dull experience, but if you can give them a worthwhile break away from the constant sales pitches, your brand will be welcomed openly with engagement.

Bring the entertainment

Since the introduction of Virtual Reality Headsets, many businesses have been harnessing technology to offer unique experiences to attendees.

Not only does this work in favour for the brands, as they can capture the audience and keep them on the stands long enough to hear their pitch, but it also works for the attendees who often prefer to receive an experience rather than a bag full of freebies.

From magicians on the stand, to games and photo booths, there have been so many unusual and quirky ways for enticing attendees, that those who aren’t embracing this trend are becoming completely ignored.

Live experiences are completely disrupting the monotony that can often be found at events, and in this case it’s either a with or against situation.

Share knowledge

Active participation has seen companies bringing their business to the shows, and this isn’t just in the literal sense but in the mentality arena.

Rather than just rocking up and displaying what they do, they offer workshops on the products, opportunities to give it a go themselves or even take part in a seminar.

Nobody wants to be sold to anymore, and if you’re marketing is on point and product is unique, you will find that attendees are much more interested in learning something than simply being pitched to.

Wave goodbye to the white paper filled with marketing jargon, and bring your knowledge to the table in an authentic and helpful way.

It will not only show your customer friendly approach, but will show you’re confident in the service or products that you offer.

The biggest change in event marketing is how you approach your future customers.

Once you understand and accept that times have changed, and they aren’t what they used to be, you can step out of the box and give attendees a real taste of what your business is about.

By Richard LeCount, sales & marketing director, USB4Photographers