Beacons, big data, virtual reality, LED technology, projection mapping — the list of technology buzzwords goes on and on. You will hear them used in most industry talks, sales presentations, and discussions on the future of brand experiences. Many show organizers are in a hurry to implement the next best thing at their conference, event, or in their marketing strategy — making room in the budget for attendee “wow” experiences or for that cutting-edge solution that may provide more insight into their attendee base.
This is the question that needs to be at the beginning of the evaluation process for any new solution or technology. Yes, beacons are probably something your registration or audio visual company is talking to you about (or should be), and yes, they have the potential to connect with other devices to provide you with terrific metrics on and personalization for your attendees. But what are you going to do with that data? How will it impact your strategic decisions moving forward? And how are you going to ensure a return on your investment?
Take virtual reality as another example. This will, hands down, be a game changer for brand experiences. But it is so important to design your business objective or need first, and then ensure that your VR or event technology strategy aligns to that. This simple step will confirm that whatever the organization is yearning for not only delivers the “wow” factor, but also delivers results.
Many people in business will often change or implement new solutions when they have either problems with the way things are currently going, or a business need that a particular solution can solve. But in many cases, people let perception get in the way of the actual business strategy — especially when it comes to events and brand experiences.
We do not dig deep enough into understanding what the demographic of the attendee base truly needs and how that is a beneficial business move. Rather, we perceive that millennials want to see a cool new VR station or that attendees want to be wowed by an expensive LED video wall in the front of the exhibit hall. We get caught up in the visual ideas of these things and are quick to implement. Even worse, we make decisions based on personal preference or interest.
The easiest way to avoid this is to always start with a solid strategy — the why. Perhaps if your organization was looking for ways to expand its certification or educational content, VR would be a great solution that meets that goal. Or if your marketing team was looking for ways to promote social media growth and attendee engagement, the LED video wall would be the innovative means by which to deliver that result. There are some terrific new technologies coming to the market. But before you make the push to implement each and every one, be sure to ask yourself why. And once you have identified that why, leverage your partners to give you the insight into what innovative and advanced applications will help you get there.