Event marketers have always been at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, as they strive to grab and keep attendee interest long after each event is over.

So, it should come as no surprise that AI has become a staple at industry events. In fact—88% of event professionals said they plan to use artificial intelligence in 2018, a 107% increase from the previous year (source).

If you’re not familiar with AI, it can be difficult to know where to begin. So, we’ve created a helpful guide for event planners to help you leverage AI and maximize the success of your next event. Let’s get into it!

What is artificial intelligence?

AI, or machine learning, analyzes data and uncovers trends and patterns that allow it to carry out advanced functionality. To give you an idea of how fast AI is growing, check out these statistics (source):

  • 83% of businesses say AI is a strategic priority.
  • 61% of business professionals say machine learning and AI is their company’s most significant data initiative for the next year.
  • 84% of businesses say AI will enable them to obtain a competitive advantage.

For a deeper look at AI, check out the following blog post: Artificial Intelligence and Marketing. But for now, let’s look at five ways you can use AI to improve your next event!

5 Ways to Use AI for Your Business Event:

Event planning requires extreme attention to detail and the ability to organize a variety of moving parts. Although humans have mastered event planning—AI can help take your professional events to the next level. Here’s how:

1. Personalize event promotion with AI.

As all event marketers know, a strong promotional strategy is critical to the success of your event. Your pre-event content and advertising builds hype for your event, attracts new audiences, and ultimately generates event registrations.

However, not all potential attendees have the same needs and interests—so, a one-size-fits-all promotional strategy won’t produce optimal results. But, as you may know, personalizing event campaigns is a demanding and time-consuming task. Luckily, AI has made personalized content creation and distribution more streamlined than ever before.

The latest and greatest in technology use AI and machine learning to analyze prospect data and tailor campaigns to each person you contact. In the lead-up to your event, AI technology has the ability to assess audience behavior and customize your content, format, and cadence to provide a personalized experience for each individual prospect.

Here’s an example—let’s say a prospect searches for content about marketing technology, and then downloads a whitepaper about the benefits of marketing automation. Artificial intelligence can now process this information, assign meaning to it, and automatically send a promotional email regarding the keynote speaker for your next event—who happens to be discussing marketing automation.

2. Collect and score leads.

Lead generation is often a primary objective for B2B industry events. After all, simply generating attendance won’t boost your event marketing ROI—you must also convert attendees into paying customers.

In the past, event marketers relied on rudimentary technology and manual data entry to capture leads at events. But, this often led to mistakes and missed opportunities. These days, AI technology can capture attendee information the moment they arrive at your event. Upon collecting this data, AI can even automatically score leads and organize them within your CRM. Not only will you avoid human error—you’ll also save your staff time and energy,  ultimately providing a more seamless experience for attendees.

3. Use chatbots for attendee interaction.

One of the biggest challenges at an event is ensuring that every attendee gets the attention they need. Attendees often have questions, comments, and product inquiries—yet, it’s nearly impossible for your event staff to be available for questions around the clock.

Fortunately, AI enabled chatbots can take much of the burden off of your employees. Both before and during the event, chatbots can assist attendees and provide answers to their questions.

Some marketers view this technology as a gimmick or novelty—but chatbots have become more sophisticated in recent years. In today’s age, chatbots have transcended simple answers and are able to offer in-depth, personalized responses that closely mirror human communication.

Not only will chatbots increase efficiency— but they’ll also draw crowds. People love to check out innovative technology, and they’ll often choose to interact with a chatbot rather than seeking out an event staffer. To maximize engagement, place chatbot monitors strategically throughout your event hall, on your event website, and throughout any promotional materials you use.

4. Offer an event-specific app.

The rise of mobile apps has been one of the fastest-growing trends in event marketing. Consider this: 86% of event planners say they plan to create a mobile app for their next event (source). Mobile apps can serve as event guides, offer surveys and polls, and streamline scheduling—but artificial intelligence can make your event app even more valuable.

An AI-fueled event app can analyze attendee activity and offer personalized recommendations in real time. For instance, AI has the ability to process information from an attendee’s online activities and then recommend a specific session that fits their needs and interests. And, your event app can track the sessions a person attends and offer personalized follow-up content and suggestions.

Your event app can be more than a helpful tool—it becomes a personalized guide that ensures a more fulfilling experience for each and every attendee.

5. Automate event follow-up and nurture programs.

Once an event has wrapped up, your follow-up strategy is a critical step to generate leads and maximize ROI.

The follow-up process is easier said than done—as some of your attendees won’t be ready to make a purchase or interact with your content immediately after the event. AI enabled tools can categorize event leads and deliver automated content based on where they are in the buyer’s journey.

Final Thoughts on AI for Business Events

Although it’s already made a big impact on the marketing world, AI is only in its beginning stages. Always keep in mind—AI should be an important part of your event strategy, but it shouldn’t replace human interaction entirely.

Don’t lose sight of the main purpose of a professional event —meeting your customers face-to-face and building strong personal connections. Rather than overwhelm your event with technology, implement AI in ways that promote efficiency and offer more rewarding, memorable experience for your attendees.

Contact us today to learn how our business database can improve your marketing efforts!

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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