Original content by Ken Madden, SVP, Head of Digital Engagement

Technology has enabled event experiences, powering attendee journeys for years. It has been a long, steady evolution mixed with windows of rapid innovation driven by adoption of new technologies.

The pandemic accelerated technology innovation, forcing everyone to take a deep look at how technology can truly drive experiences. As a result, we’ve hit a turning point in the industry. Many of these existing technologies are already mature and ready to scale, the relationship between technology and people is commonplace, and the tech and skills within our organizations are more advanced. 

Even though we’re now able to meet again in person, the pandemic caused long reaching changes in the experiential industry. 

Things have shifted

  • The needs of audiences and businesses fundamentally changed during the pandemic.
  • The re-emergence of physical engagement requires yet another change in design and structure.
  • Content that was relevant and appropriate last year is no longer applicable.
  • There is an opportunity to strengthen our experiential programs with digital strategies that amplify our in-person experiences.

We also have to shift

  • An experience is an experience. Don’t shy away from your in person expertise. Use it as a starting point and build on it. 
  • Think digital first and expand, but don’t be constrained by the in person experience. Focus on building value and driving outcomes rather than emulating formats and tactics.
  • Focus on tech that drives engagement.
  • Accelerate digital capabilities that build community, drive personalization and allow for more immersive storytelling.

We can expect to see

The future of experience looks different, and flexibility & integration will be key to the next stage of event tech.

  • Targeted, geo-specific, and more personal experiences
  • A longer tail on the content and conversation
  • Different event portfolio structures – different experiences for different needs
  • Flagpole events supported by digital and even other physical events
  • Connected and focused experiences based on changing needs

Three things you can do now:

  1. Align and refine your objectives.
  2. Get to know your audience, again.
  3. Audit and explore with a newly focused lens.