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How to Make Your 2017 Technology Event Stand Out

Tasked with organising a tech product launch, reseller event or IT-related conference in 2017?

Wondering how you can attract the audience of decision-makers and trendsetters that you desire?

Class, Training or Workshop, Conference, Entrepreneurship, Event Technology, Job Fairs, Exhibitions or Trade Show

It’s not easy to stand out in the competitive world of start-up and tech events, so we asked 6 experts to share their top tips for creating hype amongst techie types.

Stephenie Wright, Event Marketing Executive, Anderson Frank International

Stephenie Wright

Stephenie Wright

It’s all about making your event feel unmissable. Everyone wants to say they were there for the latest product announcement, demonstration or must-see talk. If for example, you want to attract NetSuite developers to your event, a keynote from NetSuite founder Evan Goldberg would probably do the trick.

The social aspect of events can be a huge pull too. You get to meet people from all backgrounds and walks of life, which is an amazing experience.

There’s a lot of buzz around after-parties at the moment. They’re a massive opportunity for you to build brand loyalty and for your attendees to network with each other in a more relaxed environment.

None of this has to break the bank. If you tap into the right hashtags on social, get pally with trade press, and co-organise your parties with sponsors you can put together an amazing event on a limited budget.

If you are looking for somewhere to spend your cash, give away branded products that will pique the interest of your target audience. USB pens, selfie sticks and car chargers are really popular at the moment in the tech sector. We also give away novelty rubber ducks for attendees with kids.

In short, be savvy with your marketing, invest in the right channels and have a proactive approach to commercial partnerships.

Kelvin Newman, Founder, brightonSEO

Kelvin Newman

Kelvin Newman

When you host an event you’re not reinventing the wheel. We can, and should, learn from other people’s successes. But it’s far too easy to look at your competitors and try and reverse engineer what makes their event successful. I think that can be a distraction and you risk being seen as a copycat.

Much better to look at events targeting completely different industries and seeing what you can learn from them. It’s much better to pinch ideas from them than a competitor because there’s a lot less chance of seeming “same-y.”

There’s a very practical thing I do to get this kind of inspiration. I keep an eye on Twitter for event hashtags of events I’ve never heard of. When I find one I search for Tweets about the hashtag. I usually then filter for just tweets containing photographs and then quickly browse for ideas of things we could do at our events. Sometimes it’s signage ideas, other times it’s a new approach to layout or programming. But a couple of minutes scanning the hashtag photos usually gives me a few new ideas.

Adam Babajee-Pycroft, Managing Director & Head of UX at Natural Interaction

Adam Babajee-Pycroft

Adam Babajee-Pycroft

I organise a monthly UX meetup in Bristol called SWUX, which has been running for about three years and regularly attracts around 75 people. My recommendation is to include a variety of topics and different formats. The best events combine both esoteric “where are we going?” talks with practical “can I use this Monday?” workshops.

Often, technology events will lean too far into the realms of the esoteric and fail to deliver any advice or techniques which their attendees can use in their daily roles. However, it’s important to include some of this type of content in order to inspire people and provoke discussion. Workshops where delegates can participate and practise different tools or techniques whilst collaborating with other attendees can also help encourage ticket sales.

We believe that these sessions which enable participation increase the community feel of our events and create unique experiences. This is especially helpful when attendees may have seen the same workshop at another event, but gain a different perspective based on the people who collaborate with them during the session.

Divina Tumlos, MCIM Chartered Marketer, Global Head of Marketing, Citihub Consulting

Divina Tumlos

Divina Tumlos

To stand out, I believe technology-related events need to be Topical, Timely and Truthful.

Topical – IT topics are usually recycled. From when the vendors announce the launch of their product, distributors and resellers simply repeat the vendor’s story. Unless the event is a demo (which can be on-premise at the client’s site or via WebEx), there really is a low need for the technology audience to attend yet “another” product presentation. My suggestion is to bring a product to specific markets or sector. So instead of just presenting product x, a more relevant approach would be to say, “how product X can help Y sector.”

Timely – The conversation must be about the now and the future. Technology moves rapidly and a forward thinking IT audience wants to know how they can improve their IT systems, and work performance. A lot of IT events fail in attendance because the presentations are about products that have been launched months back.

Truthful – Attendees can see through agenda’s that have been fabricated to conceal sales pitches. No one wants to hear a sales pitch. What really works are events that are collaborative – both for the facilitator and the audience – where everyone participates in the discussion. There is more engagement and all the attendees leave the room more enriched and helpful to their peers.

Mike Walker, Managing Director of MGN Events 

Mike Walker

Mike Walker

Build a narrative around the technology that really brings it to life. Look for ways you can tell a story, how you can identify and connect with your audience, and fully integrate the tech into that brand experience – it needs to be more than just a straight product demo if it’s to be remembered.

Make learning about your tech fun, even if it’s something not usually associated with fun, such as accounting software. A top trend to increase audience engagement is through gamification.

An easy idea for a Q&A session is to award points through your app to members of the audience that participate with good questions. The better the question, the more prize points awarded by the speaker.

Any way to make your event more fun and interactive will only enhance learning and understanding of your product. Using gamification to create audience buy-in will certainly enhance their experience and make it a stand out event for them.

Maria Schuett, Head of Marketing, Central Hall Westminster

Maria Schuett

Maria Schuett

Looking at successful technology events, I believe that building an approachable brand that your audience can connect with, whatever their level of knowledge, is key. Having worked in events and marketing, in my opinion one the biggest challenges in the industry is that companies often miss opportunities by applying a one size fits all approach to event marketing and branding.

Additionally, taking the time to identify your delegates’ needs is crucial. At our tech event Meet the Future we added an element of the unknown through active audience participation, which added a new dimension through creating ownership. When it came to event programming, we weren’t scared to test new formats with some quirky ideas which engaged all stakeholders in the event.
A rich programme of original content supported our brand and helped it to take shape and stand out from the competition.

My top five tips to help your event technology event stand out are:

  1. Know your audience and deliver content that is relevant. Sales pitches usually aren’t.
  2. Identify your event’s USP over competitive event concepts and allow for further development in your communications plan.
  3. Dare to be different and experiment with event programme designs.
  4. Make sure all stakeholders are engaged with your event content.
  5. Build an approachable brand. With tech events you quickly run the risk of disconnecting from delegates with less technology knowledge.

Conclusion

If you want your event to really stand out, make it truly relevant and useful to your attendees. Indeed, if you ensure the humans are the stars of the show, the technology, in turn, will get the attention it deserves.

Great post by Bel Booker via www.eventbrite.co.uk

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