To Extend Your Event or Embrace the Ephemeral Experience

Events are by nature, ephemeral. Experiences that don't last. There's power in that, but there's also value in extending the life of your event by giving it legs in the digital sphere. Which is better?

In today's fast-paced digital world, where your consumers and clients want fast, bite-sized chunks of information, ephemeral marketing has the power to captivate your audience in the moment. Marketing events have become a real-world equivalent of Snapchat, with brands generating as many leads as they can in a short period of time instead of nurturing their prospects in the long term.

Fleeting, blink-and-you-miss-it experiences like these are brilliant when you can hit the right demographic at the right time. Sixty-four percent of marketers say events and trade shows, and specifically the interactions at these events, play an important role when it comes to sourcing new prospects and driving business opportunities. However, engaging a community of leads after an event could prove to be just as lucrative.

Extending Your Event

A marketing event can be more valuable when brands think of it less as a moment in time and more as a catalyst for an ongoing marketing revolution, where leads and prospects are nurtured long after a trade show or presentation has taken place.

Extending an event through content libraries, where you can stream your event and engage with your audience online, can provide you with a fantastic return on your event investment. Repackaging your content so event visitors can share keynote speeches and PowerPoint slides with their networks can also yield great results. Bloggers, industry authority figures and local influencers can transform your event into a viral sensation that continues to generate sign-ups to your mailing list and draw customers to your sales pages well after an experience has concluded.

Extend the conversation on social media and reap the benefits of your event long after the ballroom is emptied out. By encouraging your social followers to share images and videos with their peers or write a comment about your event, you can turn a once-in-a-lifetime moment into a continuing collective experience. As news about your event grows, expect to reach more people than those who obtained tickets for the original event, allowing you to expose your brand to a wider audience and drive interest in your product or service. In fact, seventy-three percent of American marketers use social media to promote highlights from their events.

Embracing the Ephemeral

"Living in the moment" is a mantra that has been adopted by marketers who want to capture leads in the here-and-now and let an experience exist simply as a snapshot in time. Like a sports game or concert, live marketing events satisfy a consumer's need to be part of an experience that just can't be replicated, with the same feelings, in the digital realm.

By keeping your event a strictly ticket-only affair — and not streaming the event online — you can create an exclusive experience that will certainly create buzz and boost interest in your company. It's the model that pay-per-view networks like HBO still use; creating exclusivity to boost engagement with your brand.

An event might be ephemeral, but it still holds the potential to draw a huge ROI when compared to Internet-based lectures or mobile conferences. Why? Because it's face-to-face communication, is still the best way to build relationships and close deals. A huge 48 percent of event attendees say that face-to-face interaction is more valuable today than it was two years ago, while 43 percent believe this type of communication will increase over the next two years.

Pick a Side

The temporal nature of events has benefits and drawbacks. As more marketers turn towards experiential activations, tactics proven to work in the growing experience economy, embracing the ephemeral nature of events could be a very strong strategic move. It's working pretty well for Snapchat isn't it? However, extending your event into the digital sphere could provide you with longer term benefits, and a more reliable pipeline, to help your business grow.

Which strategy is the right strategy? Both have their merits, but it depends entirely on your business, brand, and event objectives. Are you looking to throw dynamite in the pond and see what happens, or troll the fishing net and wait? That's for you to decide, but if you're having trouble, we can help.

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Jonathan Ronzio

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