The Crunch: As social media continues to influence consumer decisions, many retailers are turning to experience marketing to capitalize on that trend. Companies are beginning to go beyond traditional conference formats and create events that connect consumers with their brands through fun, interactive experiences. BizBash, the largest event-planning website of its kind, provides retailers and other large-scale planners access to more than 50,000 resources. Through directories of venues and vendors, detailed coverage of event trends, and idea guides and galleries, BizBash enables retailers to quickly design socially-relevant experiences that connect with their customers and achieve their marketing goals.
The large paper flower display at the 2016 Indie Beauty Expo in New York was built as a fun, social media friendly backdrop for the event, which showcased 130 independent beauty brands. It also symbolized how out of place — like a wallflower — Jillian Wright and her luxury beauty brand felt at typical trade shows.
As an independent brand, Jillian recognized the need to target not only buyers but also consumers and enthusiasts — the pulse of the indie movement and the force that drives trends in the market. Unable to find a good fit for her brand at the larger beauty trade shows, Jillian decided to launch her own beauty expo in 2015.
“We wanted to create an environment that made people happy, and I think it’s catching on like wildfire,” Jillian said. By the next year, Jillian’s expo had doubled in size, and for 2017, it was set to launch in several additional cities across the US.
As the CEO of BizBash, a comprehensive online event-planning resource for businesses, David Adler has seen how the industry has been modernized by technology, and what opportunities companies have to create a memorable brand experience.
“With the rise of social media and the rise of influencers, events have become the crescendo of social media campaigns,” said David. “As we know, experiences are the new luxury. They’re impacting retail; they’re impacting absolutely everything.”
With over 50,000 resources — including venue and supplier directories, event news and coverage, idea galleries and guides, plus a magazine — BizBash is helping retailers create meaningful experiences that harness the power of social media marketing to increase their impact.
How to Achieve Your Marketing Goals with Events that Resonate with Connected Consumers
For retailers, marketing is becoming closely linked with compelling events. “You go to retail stores and it’s all about the event,” David said. “Events are now 25% of all marketing expenditures.”
With the increasing focus on events as marketing tools, David stressed that the best strategies for reaching your goals as a retailer are attention to detail, being a good host, and choosing décor geared to social media. Details such as DIY goodie bags that engage people in different ways or strategically placing the bar in a place that stimulates conversation can make the difference between boring events and viral ones.
“It’s not about how many people attend anymore,” he said. “It’s about how many conversations you’re curating. It’s all about the social physics of an event.”
Event décor ties into social physics and social media, in fact, the décor at popular events is designed with shareability in mind. The most memorable thing about an event is no longer how beautiful or expensive the atmosphere is, but what’s interesting enough to share on social media. Noting this trend, event organizers are getting more creative about where and how they use décor.
“People are activating spaces at events that used to be afterthoughts, like bathrooms or hallways, because everybody goes there,” David told us.
Cross-training and learning from your network is also crucial to pulling off an effective event. The digital and experiential aspects of event management need to be in sync with one another. For example, David suggests getting vendors — who have a wealth of first-hand experience — involved in the planning process.
The timing is also critical. An event can easily fall short of its potential because another popular event is held on the same day. BizBash’s Event Planning Tools have a built-in option that helps retailers avoid event conflicts and expensive flops by planning around others in their vertical and geographic area.
Ultimately, creating a strategy with achievable outcomes is the most important aspect. “You should know why you’re doing it — what your goals are,” David said. “You want to stand above the crowd.”
A Comprehensive Resource for the Latest in Experiential Trends
Since the explosion of mobile engagement and social media platforms in the last decade, we’ve witnessed the rise of personalized storytelling in a massive way. Now, the business world has unprecedented access to what’s trending in every sphere on a global scale — and that includes event planning.
BizBash’s Events, News & Trends page, six regional editions of BizBash Magazine, along with national vendor and supplier guides, help retailers quickly “peek over the fence” to see what others are doing and whether they’re successful.
Since gathering ideas is key to what BizBash does for event coordinators, its team includes 14 journalists who attend and report on events. Following events, BizBash creates a detailed write-up of what suppliers and vendors were used, what the goals of the event were, and what the response was. This contextualization allows retailers to gather and apply ideas and concepts quickly.
To facilitate brainstorming, BizBash has a designated section of its site called Search For Ideas that contains over 2,000 event photographs BizBash has collected over the last 18 years. Event planners can create a custom search or browse by popular categories.
With such comprehensive resources, BizBash prides itself in being the largest event planning site of its kind.
Worldwide Reach Positions BizBash as a Leader in Memorable Events
As the Indie Beauty Expo’s success demonstrates, creating a personalized, experiential event builds brand recognition and loyalty among consumers — the most influential trendsetters in any market. With the growth of social media, the consumer’s voice becomes amplified, and the most successful events empower those voices.
With a site that draws over 230,000 users each month worldwide, BizBash reaches a wide audience. As the future face of retail continues to change, the company is helping retailers by gathering and reporting on venues and trends that influence the way they engage with their customers through meaningful event experiences.
“We think we’re in the center spoke of where the world is right now,” David told us. “Events are becoming the new town squares in the community, especially with social media being so spread out. The future is how the Internet of Things is going to change not only retail but events.”
And BizBash gives businesses the tools and informs them on the latest event trends to move their brands forward by creating shareable events around the world.