Event Marketing: What B2Bs Should Steal From B2Cs

AOL Block Party

Our Event Emporium co-founders went to the incredible Experiential Marketing Summit in Chicago and they bought back some real treats and forecasts for the future of event marketing.

You will be happy to know the future of conferencing is friendly, with a live hip hop artist on the mic and thrusting a cold beer into your hand.

A few out-there case studies were called out at the Chicago summit but top of the list was the AOL block party in Manhattan.

Gone are the days of executives broadcasting messages via PowerPoint. As the AOL party shows, the fundamentals of communicating with your audience are changing from measured touch points to elevating your overall brand. It’s about creating memorable experiences for your staff or press or consumers.

“This year we talked about how we could bring something new and fresh to an audience — a consumer — but also obviously the professional community,” Jimmy Maymann, AOL’s Executive VP and President of Content and Consumer Brands, told Mashable.

While the AOL event is assumed to have cost in the millions of dollars, they did achieve the ‘buzz’ they were hoping for. Thousands of attendees came to the party, enjoyed the free open bars, trendy food trucks, and AOL info booths.

Here are our top ideas for breaking the traditional conference mold and embrace the festivalisation of B2B events:

  1. Create plenty of options for attendees to share their experience, with a custom hashtag and photo booths.
  2. Ditch the traditional corporate music performances in exchange for a more mainstream artist to mix things up. The subdued string quartet can be replaced with a unique new music group doing something different! Inject some new music into your attendees lives!
  3. Don’t be afraid to put a completely unrelated activity on the agenda, not everything needs to directly link back to the brand messaging. Something like the AOL block party drone racing course and basketball contests were completely unrelated and fun.
  4. Festivals don’t need to only appeal to the millenials, the AOL block party was broad and inclusive. With performers and speakers ranging from Snoop Dog to Arianna Huffington.
  5. Capture the event to get more mileage out of it. Film everything, photograph everything, record audio and use it on your social channels, website and business collateral in the future.

Francesca Peskops