1. Customized experiences. Marketers need to customize not only the on-site experience, but also the pre- and post-event communications. Different types of buyers will be targeted with different messaging. They'll also be able to customize the actual product and buy it on the spot -- in many cases, event attendees will be able to customize the product before they buy. (Some 66.5% of consumers say they are more likely to buy a product if they can customize merchandise during an event engagement, according to a survey we conducted in 2010.)
2. Brands will become ultra-personal. Get ready for the rise of the totally experiential brand. Savvy marketers will position their brands as personal, customized, responsive and real.
3. Hyper-targeting. As demographic data get sliced and diced, marketers will be able to apply key learnings from the direct marketing channel to live events, isolating hyper-targeted slices of key demographic groups and focusing experiential efforts on just that vertical group.
4. Hyper-location. With hyper-targeting comes the ability to more acutely engage the target, and marketers are adding true strategy everywhere we go -- literally targeting the active location of consumers where and when they are engaging.
5. Technology will take local to global. The evolution of technology and social media will allow brands to give localized events not only reach, but also true global connection. Translation: Event portfolios will finally be connected and truly integrated.
6. Interaction = transaction. For years, marketers have tried to push consumers to retail once the event ended. In the future, the transaction will move to the actual event, and brands will allow consumers to buy products and sign up for services on the spot, anywhere, by any device.
7. Privacy will continue to be debated. If Gen Xers are known for being focused on themselves and their privacy, Gen Y consumers have no problem putting their entire lives online for all to see. It means that there will be more of an "open relationship" between brands and consumers.