Events are strategic, challenging, memorable, engaging, bold, exhilarating, and, most importantly, impactful. Indeed, events are everything, and at the 22nd annual Experiential Marketing Summit, April 24-26, at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, we’ll explore why.
The three-day EMS agenda is designed to inform and connect the experiential marketing community around the hottest topics and best practices impacting events, budgets, careers and more. From master classes offering access to experts, to provocative keynotes, to breakouts led by brand-side marketers, to peer-to-peer huddles and creative challenges, there are more than 60 opportunities to explore everything that matters to you in this industry throughout this year’s program.
Here, we offer a preview of what we’ll cover at the show—tactics and trends that are helping event marketers to level-up their events, campaign strategies, revenue and careers this year.
THE EXPERIENTIAL EXHIBIT
Trade show strategies, exhibit portfolios, on-the-floor booth experiences—they’re all changing. For the team at Bombardier, it’s about evolving away from “telling” to “showing” in ways that transform brand perception. “We focused on the experience—not just about what we were building, but how do we help them when they arrive in their vehicles, how do we get them outside to see aircraft easier. Time is everything in everybody’s life these days, so how do we make it easier for our clients to actually engage with us and have an experience?” Kerry Lamont, manager-shows and events at Bombardier told EM.
Throughout EMS, we’re offering opportunities for you—corporate trade show pros and partners—to learn from and alongside industry peers as we dive deep into exhibit strategy and activation, and how experiential marketing tactics and strategies are increasing the performance of trade show investments. It all kicks off with the master class, “Trade Show Exhibits X Experiential = Future,” featuring trade show experts from Lenovo, Delta Faucet, Philips and more.
RETURN ON ____________.
From return on investment to return on engagement to return on diversity, the measurement playbook is ever-evolving and its role and effectiveness has never been more critical for event marketers in fluctuating economic times. At the 2024 Experiential Marketing Summit, we’ll break down the new KPIs, challenge you to rethink what you are or what you are not measuring, and help you develop stronger roadmaps for success.
DEI, for example, has become critical to the success of forward-leaning brands and organizations. But applying these principles and practices within the event marketing function is often overlooked. We’ll be exploring, through a variety of presentations and conversations, how to tackle challenges and create strategies, beginning with a deep dive into new methodology from the Experiential Marketing Measurement Coalition in a master class.
In addition, Visa will peel back the curtain on its “Win/Win/Win” approach that tackles the complex and nuanced challenges of measuring sponsorship, while Essence Ventures will explore how the industry can better redefine experiential ROI.
AI FOR SPEED AND ENGAGEMENT
The pace of business, and events, is moving at lightspeed as technological advances like genAI transform workflows, increase personalization and require writing yet another new chapter in the playbook. As Ryan Keen, senior marketing manager at Coca-Cola, told EM this year: “AI is really interesting, and we’re seeing a lot of great ways to create more immersive and customized experiences. We’ve done programs outside of festivals, for example, with our sponsorship of the Drake [concert] tour, where we’re using AI to enable fans to immerse themselves in a version of the Sprite commercial that Drake did with us. So, it creates much more customized creative that couldn’t otherwise be done on a manual basis at scale.”
We’ll hear from one of the most influential AI brands (and event organizations) in a master class led by Erin McElroy, program director-event experience and executive programs at IBM, on the macro and micro implications of AI in business and in marketing. Atlassian will also share the AI tools its organization is leveraging most to create personalized recommendations, predict event attendance and integrate data better to optimize event agendas.
Step aside, millennials. By some estimates, Gen Z will make up a quarter of the workforce by 2025. The spending power of this generation of “increasing financial independence” and influence (over even their own parents’ purchasing decisions) is projected to reach into the trillions soon. In a keynote power panel, we’ll hear from marketing execs from Cisco, Shipt, Walmart and Warner Bros. on the experiential tactics they’re deploying to reach this digital-first generation.
And yes, there’s a new kid on the horizon that all marketers need to be strategizing for—Gen Alpha. Keynoter Alyson Griffin, head of marketing for State Farm, will discuss how to flip the script on marketing mainstays with an arsenal of new tools that entice Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Nike will then dig into its partnership with U.S. retailer DICK’S Sporting Goods that has unlocked new opportunities for connection with Gen Alpha athletes.
Attendance numbers are up. Budgets, not so much. With more marketers called to lead growth strategy, we’ll be exploring how brands and partners are strategizing for growth with flexibility at the center of it all. At EMS, we’ll learn about L’Oréal’s “cost-efficient” and “resource-savvy” event programs that were successful for its team despite financial pressures.
The team from web-based design platform Figma will share the growth story of its five-year-old conference, Config, that includes giving up the reins in some areas to its active (and highly creative) attendee base. “I could imagine at another event, if these things happened, they just kind of happen on the side, but when we see this happening, we support it, right?” Claire Butler, senior director-marketing at Figma, told EM this year. “We put it in our emails, we retweet it, we share it out. And so, we help cultivate that. When these things happen, we figure out how we can jump in and help.”
Events are… a community. We’ll see you in April.