Issue #37

Applying to Attend Events

Marketers are cherry-picking event attendees through an application process.

Invite-only events are a well-known trend in the industry, from the quirky “TED meets Coachella” Further Future event that requires an invite, to Amazon’s secret, invite-only MARS robot event, held this year in March in Palm Springs. The strategy gives event marketers all the power in cherry picking their audiences, making sure to capture the right ratio of first-timers, influencers, C-level attendees and decision makers. But there’s a new twist on the growing invite-only trend—the rise of the application-required event. Marketers can curate the attendee roll better by prospecting better, scrutinizing responses and, ultimately, discovering new audiences to target.

Who’s implementing the application-required strategy? TED famously requires one to attend one of its conferences, whether it’s TEDGLOBAL, TEDWomen or, simply, TED2018. The organization aims to “actively seek out leading thinkers and doers across a wide range of fields.”

Festivals are leveraging applications to select attendees. FORM, a music and arts festival “curated” by experimental music group Hundred Waters, is one of them. Attendees submit an application that asks them to “describe their inspirations in order to attend the festival held in the ‘eco-city’ of Arcosanti in Arizona.” Only 1,500 attendees are selected, though admission is free.

Mindvalley A-Fest is another one. The “curated community” of attendees from 50-plus countries gather each year to explore “personal transformation.” The festival calls its attendees its Tribe, and it wants to ensure that everyone holds “similar values and a shared mission.” The next event takes place this November in Jamaica. “By attending A-Fest, you’re not just attending one event. You’re joining a community, with access to our private Facebook group, and meet-ups which take place around the world throughout the year,” the application page states. “If we feel you’re a strong fit after reviewing your application form, we’ll send you the link to purchase your ticket and officially welcome you to our Tribe.”

Like A-Fest, OpenCon, an organization that supports open access to research and educational materials for all, aims to curate an event community not only for one annual event but year-round. “OpenCon annual conferences seek to bring together a diverse, representative, and highly engaged group of participants, regardless of their access to travel funding. For this reason, OpenCon 2017 is by application only and does not offer open registration,” its application page states.

Creating engaged, year-round communities, fostering influencers and upping the caliber of content and networking—just a few of the benefits of wrapping the velvet rope around your event.

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Trend Marketers are cherry-picking event attendees through an application process.

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