EMS240There is no better forum for learning about the newest event trends, strategies and ideas than the annual Event Marketing Summit, held this year at the Chicago Sheraton from May 6-8. The Summit brings together event clients, agencies and vendors (in an excellent Expo Hall!) to learn about highly successful event case studies and to become better practitioners of our craft through a myriad of educational topics and world-class keynote speakers. And of course, it is a chance to form networking connections. This year’s conference did not disappoint!

Keynote speakers included Tim Ellis, CMO of Activision, who spoke about the marketing muscle his company uses to launch and create passionate armies around Activision’s latest games. Equally compelling was Lisa Holladay, VP Brand Management for Ritz-Carlton who spoke about the unique brand experience they try to elevate for each guest of the hotel. Both offered fascinating insights into how they completely understand their guests on both a demographic and psychographic level and how they use this depth of knowledge to deeply connect and appeal to them.

Beyond the keynotes, I attended over a half dozen more presentations from agencies and clients speaking about successful events and the strategies and tactics that led to their success. If I had to pinpoint a few of the more frequent themes I heard in these sessions, they would be:

Disruptive Experiences – There is a trend toward creating event or meeting moments that shake up the conventional wisdom of attendees and “shock” their minds into thinking differently about a challenge or opportunity.
Passion Points – The more intimate and immersed an agency becomes with their client the easier it is to discover the emotional triggers that lead to breakthrough strategic and creative ideas.
Less Can Often Lead To More – Restrained activity and quiet minds can often lead to bigger ideas more than a packed agenda. It isn’t how much noise you make, how big the entertainment is, how much information is communicated or how many parties you create. “Break” is a crucial part of “breakthrough.”
Change Is The New Currency – Agencies that embrace accelerated corporate change as the norm and respond to it will be the ones that prosper in the future.

If you examine these concepts, they all seem to have a central theme – how to connect with and break through indifferent or perhaps over-worked corporate audiences. There is less time and more responsibility placed on marketing and sales teams. Multi-tasking and over-stimulation is widespread. Remember that time is minimal.

Smart marketers like FLIRT Communications are using corporate events and experiences to build interest, amplify passion and encourage commitment at a time when the distractions of everyday office life are at a minimum and they are most open to suggestion. We do this by intimately understanding the needs of our audience and the connection points that lead to a more dedicated workforce.

Drop us a line to tell us what you got out of this year’s Summit and what you are doing to connect more deeply with attendees or audiences. And we’ll see you at Event Marketing Summit 2014!