Familiarizing yourself with putting new marketing technology at the center of marketing strategies implementations, such as analytics and marketing automation, is crucial. While every experience that can only be lived in real life will be more valuable each day, the use of data to create personalization at corporate events is a must.
Marketing technology seems to be expensive? But how much that would cost to not digitize a marketing strategy? To explain us these controversies and the importance of having an empowered view of technology to add knowledge to marketing, we invited Charlie Taylor, EMEA Marketing Manager at G2.
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1 – Why is event marketing technology so popular nowadays?
These days, Marketers wear a lot of hats so we’re constantly trying to figure out ways to make things scalable, whilst keeping them personal.
Phones have made it so much easier to bring digital and the event world into the same realm.
Check-in can be done with one scan of a barcode making the user experience so much slicker. No need to print off your ticket beforehand, which no doubt you forgot to do.
Gone are the days of queuing outside a hall hoping you’d get into a session. There’s technology now that means you can pre-book your agenda and plan your whole day out. Great for attendees, but equally fabulous for organisers as we get to know what’s resonating (or not) in advance and can shuffle rooms / content accordingly.
And then there’s polls. When I started my career in marketing, I used to send a post-event survey and get really low completion rates (turns out no one wants to fill out a survey when they’ve already spent a whole day out of the office). Then I’d do printed surveys that my team would hand out on the day and get the audience to fill out after each presenter came off stage. This worked well for events up to 150 people, but it wasn’t scalable or environmentally friendly. So I changed to using an event app which had everything built into one place – polls, a place to network, the agenda etc. I’d get a completion rate upwards of 80% using this method. I used polls as the ‘secret sauce’ to keep people engaged with the app all day.
Put together, these seemingly small tweaks make a positive difference to an attendee’s experience and ultimately help us marketers get closer to our growth goals.
2 – Why would you say that Marketers of so many industries are bringing event marketing to the core of their strategies?
In a world that’s becoming more and more digital, the importance of human connection is more critical than ever. There’s a famous Maya Angelou quote that I love which says “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I try to have this in the back of my mind when I’m thinking about any of my marketing programmes, but especially when I’m planning events as I believe you can have the biggest emotional impact on someone in person.
“How do we want to make attendees feel when they walk through the door?”
“What feeling will they have when they see the lunch menu?”
“How will they feel when they leave today?”
Experiences are more memorable, so when something your brand does delights someone, that person’s affinity to your brand grows.
In addition to this, the concept of community has grown tremendously over the last few years – we all want to be part of a tribe. In B2B, I use this as an opportunity to bring customers and prospects together to share their experiences using our technology, discuss the challenges they face in their roles and ideas for how to overcome them.
And, finally, it’s an easy way to stand out. How many trade shows have you been to where you walk around the show floor and salespeople are looking at their phones or chatting amongst themselves? I’d much less inclined to go and speak to someone like that than someone who is at their booth smiling at me. Doing the basics well at the events can give you a real competitive advantage and when we spend as much as we do on trade shows, I want to make sure I get the best ROI possible.
3 – And how is technology affecting these conferences? Do you see it as a differential advantage or a mandatory best practice that those who don’t follow will fall behind?
I don’t know about you, but I’m time poor, I always wish there were more hours in the day. If technology can make me more productive, then it’s absolutely an advantage.
I’d much rather spend time coaching speakers on their presentations (something technology can’t do), than manually updating my registration list for the tenth time.
Event technology can be expensive, but I see it as an investment. I build my business case around the number of hours I get back and by sharing how it’ll enhance the event experience for attendees and, in turn, my pipeline goals.
4 – Specifically about event apps and event management platforms, what would you say are the main struggles of event marketers when choosing a vendor?
There are two things that are really important to me.
The first is support. If something goes wrong at an event, you need to try and resolve the issue in real time so I always make sure there’s 24/7 phone support. Onboarding is also a key part of support for me. It’s easy to get swept up in a sales process and be excited by a shiny new tool, but if you don’t have a team dedicated to get you up and running then things are going to slow down. A great Onboarding team should be working with you on your overall event strategy and be there with you every step of the way until your first event is live with a goal of turning you into their company’s next super user.
The second is customisation. If you outsource something, you never want it to look or feel like it’s been outsourced to your customers. The event technology or service still needs to look and feel like your brand. There are so many great event tools out there now that can be highly customised so that you’d never spot the difference, but some are more investment heavy than others.
5 – For all Event Pros who are reading our talk at this moment: what’s the first step they should take when choosing a strategic partner to help on the digitization of their event marketing?
Make a list of all the steps that go into your event from start to finish and highlight the bits that take up a tonne of time and why. Is it because they’re really admin heavy? Is it because you don’t have the resource in house and you’re not an expert at the task in hand?
Once you have your list, then you can start having a look at partners who can help with these challenges. In some cases, you might find a partner who can help you with everything under one roof. Or you might want to shop around. This process can be kind of overwhelming, but I have a little tip to make it easier. At G2, our mission is to try and make it easier for you to find the technology you need to reach your potential, so if you’re stuck on what vendor to appoint in the Event Planning, Event Registration & Ticketing or Event Management space, have a scan through the reviews to hear experiences from buyers like you.
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Don’t forget to keep learning:
- Tools every Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) should use
- 6 reasons why Event Planners fail when starting an Event Planning Business
- The Future of Event Apps
Check out the latest projects Charlie is working at the moment! You can find him on LinkedIn .