Six Event & Exhibition Trends for 2018

Whether it’s through hosting special events, sponsorship or participating in exhibitions, it’s predicted that events will make a resurgence in 2018. As marketers see the return of face to face communication and personalised interaction, not only to reach their existing customers and client base but potential and new contacts as well.

Because of this resurgence Graphic Mill has predicted six event and exhibition trends we expect to see in 2018 and beyond…

Customer Engagement

Customer engagement is set to add more power to events. Events won’t be seen as just sales pitch opportunities, but will be used to create an emotional response from visitors. When customers form a connection with a brand and build up a relationship, when they see a good deal, they might make a purchase. However, customers who feel more emotionally connected to a brand are more likely to make a purchase. They’re also more likely to recommend those products and services to people they know and continue to be loyal to that brand into the future. Expect to see exhibitors using different tactics to boost engagement with their customers like some of these mentioned in a recent article by Sensei Marketing.

Sustainability and investing in longer term solutions

As businesses and individuals become more environmentally conscious we predict that in 2018 more exhibition stands will be made from higher-quality and more sustainable materials.

There will be more importance placed on using modular stands with components that can be reused and remodeled again and again for different events. Which not only will have a positive effect on the environment but also helps to keep exhibitor’s costs down!

Graphic Mill can recommend reusable exhibition stand options that are bespoke or available off the shelf and hire out modular elements for different sized exhibition stands. Affordable storage options are also available for your exhibition stand between your events. Exhibition stand design is also hitting new highs, and competition to stand out is fierce, Graphic Mill can also help you design a stand that will still attract attention from delegates, fellow exhibitors and sponsors alike, while incorporating many reusable elements.

Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)

VR & AR offer marketers a new way to reach consumers and are slowly beginning to become more mainstream. They offer exhibitors a unique and cost-effective ways to truly showcase products and services, as they can take the viewer away from the exhibition or event and right to the product completely altering the dynamics of product demonstrations.

A recent study commissioned by DigitalBridge  found that 33 per cent of shoppers say they would be more likely to buy expensive items on the spot if they could use AR technology to see it in their homes first.

AR has the power to overlay our daily lives with a digital experience. VR promises to take users to an entirely alternative space and time. And as they are still relatively new technologies, their application to the event experience is set to be truly exciting.

Changes to exhibition formats

It’s not just stand design that’s set to evolve, exhibition formats are changing, too. Event organisers are choosing to replace networking lounges and break out areas with immersive hubs that feature activities, video content, interactivity and much more. Innovative new event formats are set to transform conferences with more active learning sessions as opposed to traditional passive presentations, enhancing the human element of events with more engaging formats, networking and activities.

Eventbrite recently posted 20 Creative Formats to Refresh Your Conference in 2018 which will give you an idea of what could be in store in the coming year.

LinkedIn sees new life among event marketers

While Twitter use continues to decline, LinkedIn has made strides to keep improving the platform. It’s the go-to social network for making business connections, but despite having more than 100 million active monthly users it’s an underrated tool for event marketing. Exhibitions and events are great for professional networking, so in 2018 we expect to see LinkedIn activity forming a bigger part in event marketing strategies and events reaping the promotional benefits.

Instagrammable moments

From themed pop-up events to experimenting with immersive environments, businesses across many industries are trying to capitalise on instagrammable moments, turning their brands or products into sharable experiences. We’re seeing exhibition stands being designed to include instagrammable scenery for example that one highly photogenic display wall or exhibit that looks so good on a mobile screen it encourages social sharing.

Are there any other trend you expect to see in exhibitions and events during 2018? Share your thoughts with us.