Event Technologist: An Interview with Chip Begley

June 9, 2020

The event technologist role, an interview with Chip Begley, who is director of event technology at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc. Hear his thoughts on event technology and how the role of the event technologist will adapt to the pivot. You can also follow him on LinkedIn.

Chip Begley, event technologist

How would you describe the event technologist role before the pivot and now?

Before the pivot, event technologists were an important part of an event. Whether it be registration websites or mobile apps. But I think now after the pivot, we are critical.

Like the content delivery, the success or failure of the program is directly a result of how well we deliver our product and solution. So it’s gone from being a good thing to have, to being mission-critical.

What measures of success do you have? How do you know you have done a good job?

In my role, we are kind of in a unique position because we’re a third-party planner. So for us, it’s providing value to the client, and for me personally, it’s providing value to the client being that trusted advisor.

We had a client recently come to us who had this event scheduled, a trade show, right at the beginning of the crisis. And all of a sudden the travel bans hit and they had no option but to cancel it. So, you know, they come to us and I get it. You put your heart and soul into something for a year and then can’t get your head around how it’s going to look making a pivot. So they came to us to help them make this virtual. For me, I knew I did a good job because I was able to be clear with the client and advise them as if I were them. 

So my first question for them is: what do you currently have? Is there an opportunity for your current investment to be pivoted to virtual? It turned out there was. So, you know, it ended up not being a revenue opportunity for us or a business opportunity, but I still provided that consultation and direction.

We know we did a good job when the clients are coming back to us for repeat business.

What is the hardest part of your job as an event technologist?

Now it’s keeping up with everything, as there are so many different options out there. So we’re constantly vetting new technology. It helps us keep track of all those options and makes sure we can speak to our clients intelligently.

The perfect storm for me is having several clients that need the same kind of solutions so that we can leverage some bulk pricing to make it affordable. So that’s a challenge to understand what they need and if it can fit together perfectly for everybody.

How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends? Particularly right now?

Well, I am lucky to be surrounded by a great team. I think there are 15 of us full time that are on the technology team here, and especially now we’re all actively involved with email campaigns, webinars, industry blogs, and that sort of thing. Plus, we’re constantly demoing products.

The other thing is we have a channel (on Microsoft Teams) and we collaborate about what we’ve vetted and what we’ve discovered so that we don’t have several people tying the same shoe. Then, we’ve created a database to record what we discovered so that if three or four people do end up vetting the same thing, all their comments and scores are added there. Then we can easily say, this has been reviewed by five people, and everybody scored five out of five. Therefore, that might be a great option. So it’s just kind of being organized and how you’re recording your data.

And finally, what advice do you have for people as they pivot to digital?

The first piece of advice is to get into action. You know, I think it’s easy to kind of get stuck like a deer in headlights, wondering how am I going to make this happen. My advice is to just get into action and start testing stuff. Eventually, you’re going to find the right solution.

And then also embrace the change. This is where we are. This is how we’re living so embrace this. The virtual component is going to be here for the long term. When live meetings come back, I think a virtual component is still going to be commonplace.

So I think, I think it’s just getting involved and embracing the change.

 

If you are an event technologist (or know someone in the event technologist role) and would like to be interviewed, feel free to email the team.

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