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  • Writer's pictureSegment Agency

More than a Trend: Leveraging Event Technology for Inclusive Event Marketing

Inclusivity in event marketing isn't just a buzzword; it shouldn't be treated as such. It's a crucial strategy for successful event planning, extending beyond mere physical attendance and encompassing the representation and engagement of diverse groups in every aspect of an event. And with the ever-growing role technology plays in our lives, it's become an invaluable tool in creating events that are not only accessible but also welcoming to all - successful from an execution point of view as well as an ROI point of view. 

So, what exactly is inclusivity when it comes to events? Inclusivity in events refers to the conscious effort to ensure all potential attendees, regardless of their background or abilities, feel valued and able to participate fully. This involves considering physical accessibility, cultural sensitivity, and representation. The benefits of inclusivity are vast, ranging from improved audience engagement to enhanced brand reputation and compliance with regional legal and regulatory requirements. A study by Eventbrite revealed that most event attendees and organizers recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion for the success of events​​, both from an audience perspective and in terms of ROI for those executing the events. 

Key Trends and Challenges to Consider

The current landscape of event inclusivity is marked by a proactive approach towards using technology to create more inclusive experiences. Industry leaders have started prioritizing diversity and inclusion, acknowledging their impact on event success and brand image. This includes attention to various forms of diversity, such as demographic, racial, religious, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and personal or professional backgrounds​. Thankfully, the event industry has already made encouraging progress regarding diversity and inclusion. Still, there's more work to be done - and common gaps when it comes to event planning with a view toward inclusivity. 

The first hurdle is identifying the areas where inclusivity is often overlooked. Some areas of diversity have become more commonplace in recent years (including race and gender). Still, more nuances need to be considered, including accessibility beyond just visible disabilities and cultural sensitivity. Overcoming these gaps requires a keen understanding of your audience and a commitment to continuous improvement. But how do you ensure a true sense of a diverse audience? One key is hiring a diverse staff for pre-planning and on-site execution. According to a survey by Cvent, 64% of event planners believe that diverse event staffing is important for creating inclusive events. Likewise, a survey conducted by Event Manager Blog shares that '47% of event planners believe that working with diverse vendors is important for creating inclusive events.'

Not-so-secret Inclusivity Tool: Event Technology

Event technology is evolving as rapidly as the rest of the tech world, which can help marketers significantly in their inclusivity efforts. This includes tech for accessibility, communication, engagement, and feedback. As this blog from Event Planner Expo puts it, With advancements in technology, the barriers that once limited participation in events are being dismantled, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse audience.

  • Accessibility Technologies: Technologies like assistive listening devices, captioning services, and apps for sign language interpretation are crucial for inclusivity. These tools help ensure that everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, can participate in and enjoy the event.

  • Communication Technologies: For events to be genuinely inclusive, they must cater to attendees from diverse linguistic, cognitive, and cultural backgrounds. This might involve providing real-time translation services or ensuring that event materials are available in multiple languages.

  • Engagement Technologies: Technologies that foster interactive and immersive experiences, such as virtual reality or interactive livestreams, are vital in bridging the gap between physical and virtual spaces, making events accessible to a broader audience.

  • Feedback and Data Analysis Tools: Post-event feedback is essential for understanding the effectiveness of inclusivity initiatives. Tools that enable real-time feedback and AI-driven analytics can help event planners make data-driven improvements for future events.

Overcoming Implementation Hurdles

Sometimes, incorporating new technology is easier said than done, however. There are often challenges to overcome, including cost, of course, and the learning curve that event marketers and staff have to deal with. However, effectively meeting these challenges presents unique opportunities for differentiation in the market and expanding your audience reach. 

To integrate inclusive event tech effectively, event marketers should focus on comprehensive planning, staff training, and measuring the success of inclusivity initiatives. KPIs in inclusive marketing are just as important as the more typical metrics we look at. Additional benefits include deeper insights, accountability, and setting benchmarks for future endeavors. Aspiring to Include, an organization focused on fostering workplace diversity, has straightforward ways to measure diversity and inclusion initiatives. While these are focused on workplace metrics, there's tremendous insight that works for events as well. 

The Future Potential of Emerging Tech for Inclusivity

It's no secret that the world of tech continues to evolve rapidly. As we look to the future, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to become more mainstream, promising exciting advancements in enhancing inclusivity in event marketing. These technologies can help event marketers offer more accessible and personalized event experiences (to culture, race, religion, dietary restrictions, language, etc.), allowing you to expand your events' reach and impact (and success!). It's not just about adopting the latest tools to be up-to-date - leveraging event technology for inclusive marketing is about a mindset shift towards creating events that truly reflect and celebrate the increasingly diverse society we live in. (Sidenote: Check out this Newsweek article for great insight on paving the way for a more inclusive future.)

Want to learn more about creating truly inclusive events? Contact Segment Agency for more info. 


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