by Matt Alderton | April 25, 2019

Successful meetings and events don't just "happen." Rather, they're the product of careful, deliberate planning by skilled meeting professionals who work tirelessly to stay on the cutting edge of their industry.

 To help those professionals remain at the forefront of meeting design, global meetings and events firm BCD Meetings & Events produces "By Design," a quarterly report on meeting trends and innovations, the latest version of which has just been published, BCD M&E announced today.

 The new report is divided into several sections, the first of which focuses on marketing and what BCD M&E calls "the attendee journey."

 "For corporate events, it may be that your attendees are a captive audience -- they are often required to or at least interested in participating in your meeting, conference or incentive program, which means you are better positioned to cut through the noise," reads the report. "But how do you give people something to buzz about? How do you make your event less of a 'have to' and more of a 'want to'?"

Create a Fear of Missing Out

The key, according to BCD M&E, is building "FOMO" -- fear of missing out. To do that, it suggests leaning heavily on content and influencer marketing while also executing an active "listening" campaign.

 "To build a fear of missing out, you must understand the experience from an attendee's perspective -- what do they want to be part of?" the report explains. "To know this, you'll need to blur the lines between marketing and customer service. From your audience's point of view, this is always about listening to what they want and need. Use social networks, surveys and focus groups to listen to your event attendees prior to and during your event. By being audience-centric, you develop stronger relationships with your brand, build anticipation and give meaning to the user experience."

Make Sure the Event Is Inclusive

Next, BDC M&E offers advice for resonating with attendees of all ages. The secret, it argues, is inclusion -- planning meetings that appeal to everyone. "All generations are part of our meetings now, and their needs and preferences overlap," the report says. "Identifying the center of an audience's Venn diagram is key to understanding the logical relations between these sets."

Incorporate Themes That Resonate

According to BDC M&E, a handful of themes resonate across age groups, and the organization recommends audience personas as another indispensable tool for meeting professionals in 2019. These generally popular themes include:

  • Wellness
  • Collaboration
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainability
  • Community service
  • Self-actualization

"Meetings and events, like any other product, need to be relevant for an individual to buy into them. Audiences should be motivated to participate, and that motivation is driven by their individual wants and needs -- personas and audience segmentation are the keys to uncovering them," BCD M&E asserts in its report. "At its simplest, audience segmentation is an analysis of your audience (or potential audience) -- a research project. The goal is to identify commonalities amongst your potential attendees and create 'personas.' You then use those personas as a compass for your event design, aligning your efforts to them from the get-go."

 "By Design" -- which also includes profiles of Meliá Hotels International and the city of Bangkok, Thailand -- is available in its entirety from BCD M&E's website.