The new year is in full swing, and it’s time to put those resolutions into positive action. To get one step ahead for events marketing in 2016, prepare to pull up your socks and discover those red-hot marketing trends poised to take centre-stage over the next twelve months.

1. Virtual reality will rule the roost
There’s no denying that choosing a venue is one of the most time-consuming parts of the event planning process. From making appointments to travelling to the venue, in-person show-rounds are often costly and inefficient. Thankfully, 2016 is set to deliver an alternative.
This year, virtual tours will take the helm by replacing physical show-rounds with an instantaneous and immersive experience from the comfort of your office. Here at Merlin Events, we currently offer virtual tours of Madame Tussauds, allowing you to ‘wander’ through the event space without having to be there in person. This year, we’re all set to extend this into more venues.

2. Innovative use of digital technology
From social media to mobile apps, digital technology is a major part of the event marketer’s arsenal. 2016 is set to build on this importance of technology with 3D projection and augmented reality leading the pack alongside digital ‘staples’ including free WiFi and online ticket purchasing. But while technology continues to boom, this year will also see a ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to event marketing. Instead of overloading on new technology, marketers will stick with platforms that can create personal, engaging and interactive experiences both pre-event and on-site.

Google Glass

Google Glass

3. Social media will step up a gear
To spread the word about an event, it’s no longer enough to simply set up a Twitter account or Facebook page and hope for the best. Social media users are more informed and savvy than ever, and this year event marketers must react by creating innovative, compelling content to engage their audience. When it comes to content, variation is a must – including imagery, video and audio alongside user-generated content. To find out more, read our 8 tips to supercharge your event social media efforts.

4. Wearable tech will continue to grow
2015 was the year of the Apple Watch, adding to a growing ‘wearables’ market featuring the likes of Samsung Gear, the Pebble and Sony Smartwatch. The wearable tech sector is set to gather pace over the next twelve months, and events marketers must adapt by creating content that is readable, engaging and usable on a smartwatch. To find out more, check out our handy guide to wearable technology for marketing.

AppleWatch

Apple Watch

5. Marketing automation
Last but by no means least, 2016 is set to be the year that marketing automation becomes a must-have in the events industry. By automating core marketing activities – including pre-planned social media updates, scheduled email communications, contact management and conversion tracking – event marketers will have more time to focus on those innovative, trailblazing campaigns that will set the industry alight over the year ahead.

So, what’s your plan for 2016?


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