Disruption was the name of the game in 2023. But unlike the negative disruptors that characterized previous years (COVID, record inflation, supply chain issues, etc.), this year’s disruptors were largely positive for event marketers — like AI and new audiences with changing values. As we plan for 2024, mdg’s team of experts is resolving to make the most of the new trends and technologies that will help us identify, reach, and attract new audiences to trade shows and conferences.
“I will balance automation with emotion.”
— Shauna Peters, vice president and marketing strategist
Recognizing the inevitability of AI integration in many aspects of marketing, from supporting research and persona development to copy creation and predictive analytics, I will aim to strike a balance between leveraging automation for efficiency and preserving the vital human touch that people crave. Studies show that consumers value the option to engage directly with people, and I believe that blending AI’s capabilities with genuine human connection will not only enhance ROI but also foster lasting brand loyalty.
“I will use social proof to attract more international visitors.”
— Anjia Nicolaidis, group director, international strategy
Today, an event brand is less about what we say it is and more about what others are saying. As such, I will leverage the power of in-market influencers in our international campaigns to effectively localize content, engage prospects, build brand equity and increase conversions.
“I will adapt marketing strategies to the new generation of event attendees.”
— Christine Johnson, marketing strategist and content specialist
I will refine my mix of campaign strategies, tactics and messages to ensure I’m appealing to a younger, more diverse demographic. By understanding millennial and Gen Z values like authenticity, sustainability, and inclusion and their channel preferences, including YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, I will attract and engage more professionals from this emerging audience segment.
“I will use AI as a tool.”
— Shereé Whiteley, copy director
I will use AI for research and brainstorming, allowing me to open up new creative pathways. This will enhance my ability to formulate original ideas and write even more compelling copy.
“I will carpe the social media diem.”
— Sara Fellows, director of social media
It’s an exciting time for me — LinkedIn is hot and algorithms across the channels now favor organic content. I will continue using content marketing, social media and influencer marketing to extend the reach of my events’ campaigns to grow awareness, engagement, and ultimately conversions and attendance.
“I will champion strategy backed by data.”
— Rich Cook, director of web strategy
I will continue to embrace and encourage data-driven strategy so decisions are based on objective information rather than subjective opinion.
“I will appeal to the immediate desires of our audiences.”
— Cameron Korb, senior email and automation manager
In the age of instant gratification, our marketing should reflect one of the basic human drives — the pleasure principle. I will use real-time behaviors of prospects to implement automated email marketing, so we can provide them with quick, relevant information about events in which they’ve shown an active interest.
“I will treat B2B audiences like the consumers they are and target them accordingly.”
— Joe Mathieu, group director, paid media
Who said B2B campaigns need to be tethered to traditional media channels? Businesspeople are consumers too! We will take the approach of combining world-class B2B data with experienced, consumer-focused strategies and mediums — like podcast channels, electronic billboards, and digital out-of-home advertising — to reach our audiences where they are.
“I will build strategies that consider the return on intention.”
— Caitlin Fox, vice president and marketing strategist
The conventional return on investment, while undeniably valuable, now shares the stage with a more holistic counterpart. The return on intention is a concept that is driving participation for the next-generation event-goer by delivering meaningful experiences. By focusing on how we want the recipient to feel at our events, it will allow us to design activations that foster genuine connection.
Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes is president and chief marketing strategist at mdg, A Freeman Company, a full-service marketing and public relations firm specializing in B2B events.