The event industry is changing at a rapid pace. In this new era of emergent and hybrid experiences, one thing is for sure — technology will be a major player at any gathering for the foreseeable future.
There are currently over 300 event technology companies in existence, but Pierre Metrailler, SpotMe’s CEO believes that “90-95% of corporate events are still happening on Zoom.”
During the recent PM Forum, a UK network of marketing and BD decision-makers in professional services, Metrailler shared first-hand insights on how leading brands let their events strategy evolve with their event technology.
While it was nice to reflect on how far we’ve come as an industry, it was also an important reminder of how far we still have to go. Keep reading to check whether you’re following the 8 ways your events strategy and technology should evolve to get the best possible results.
Just before you dive in, here’s a quick reminder for our upcoming SpotMe Talks event. Join us and learn how to deliver events that generate demand and nurture prospects as part of a wider integrated marketing strategy and sales approach.
1. Decide what the customer journey is going to be
Audiences have higher expectations of a brand’s digital capability than ever before. When a customer signs up for an event, Pierre Metrailler, CEO of SpotMe explains that we must focus on their entire event strategy rather than the event platform itself. “From the sign-up process to the reminder emails to on-demand videos, it’s all about the details. You have to think about those requirements as part of the experience design.”
2. Stay clear of vanity metrics
“Vanity metrics are all over the place and unfortunately, vendors are not doing a great job at educating the community of marketers on how to work best with metrics,” says Metrailler. He adds that companies should only select three metrics for measuring success: attendance rate, drop-off rate, and call to action. Check out this breakdown below:
3. Use an existing registration tool
Metrailler believes that companies spend too much time thinking about the registration process when planning events and said that “the future of event technology will move away from that”. He went on to explain that “there is no marketing automation platform out there that doesn’t do forms or registration, so use your current one, because that’s what you’ve been using for newsletters sign-ups, so why not use that for people to sign up for your event? Don’t bother with a different specific registration tool unless you have a good reason to do that.”
4. Don’t try to build a community
When asked about innovations to encourage community and engagement in the digital event world, Metrailler believes that “very few organizations can create the network effect that is required to build a community of people that meet and come back to talk and share insights outside of the actual event.” He explained that “if 20 brands out there are creating a community, you’re just competing against too many other brands. People’s time is limited, so they’re not going to give it to you, they may give it to somebody else but in reality, they’re already giving their time to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.”
5. Event vendors still haven’t figured out the basics of running a hybrid event
As gatherings shift from virtual to hybrid, it can be incredibly difficult to cater to both sides at once. The SpotMe CEO said “. Nobody has figured out the proper way to run a fully hybrid event… the question now is how do we make them [virtual attendees] continue to join without feeling like second-class citizens? That’s going to be the biggest challenge and also probably where the most innovations are going to come.”
6. Getting people to attend online isn’t the hard part, getting people to return in-person is…
Metrailler explained that “if you want to increase your reach and your engagement, hybrid is still the way to go”. But the real challenge is how we get attendees to see the benefits of joining in-person after nearly 18 months of just virtual events. “People have preferences, they also have constraints and, it’s our job as event marketers to prove to them the benefits of why they should join [the event in-person]. You can make some of the content exclusive to the in-person audience… or they can meet with your leadership on a one-on-one basis. You need to decide what things you can do to convince them to join in person.”
7. Your attendees’ preferences have changed, accept it
Metrailler notes that he has seen a big shift in attendee preferences in the last year. “Your clients and your prospects no longer want a two-hour event. Research indicates that attendees want to join for just 20 minutes, which means a shorter format, shorter engagement but more frequent.”
8. Focus on your CRM records
“I think the biggest missed opportunity is how can we enrich our CRM records,” says Metrailler. “Events are here to help you accelerate relationships. If you can pinpoint attendee trends, it will help take your business to the next level, to develop and grow your customer relationships. I think that this is the future of what event tech can bring to the table.”
Some of these uncomfortable truths point towards the fact that the industry is evolving. If we can adapt to the new changes it will only lead to more innovation, and in turn create a regular source of exciting opportunities for marketers, event creators, and the fee earners at the firms they support. If you didn’t have the chance to tune in for the PM Forum, you can watch the session on-demand here.
How do leading brands deliver an agile event strategy?
Hear from the SpotMe Talks panel of experts! Meet Astellas Pharma’s Director of Congress and Events Enablement, Katie Knight and Reed Smith’s Chief Marketing Officer and European Lead at the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), Sadie Baron on March 16th! Don’t miss out, register now.