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Event Industry Trends
8 April 2024 

Behind the Scenes: Our Journey To Becoming a Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ Leader

Gabrielle Scott
Gabrielle Scott
Behind the Scenes: Our Journey To Becoming a Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ Leader

Gartner® published its inaugural Magic Quadrant™ for Event Technology Platforms a few weeks ago, and Bizzabo was named one of three market Leaders. Being a Leader is not just a nice marketing catchphrase, it’s a meaningful acknowledgment from an impartial, trusted source of technology insights that we “execute well against [our] current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow.” 

This honor is also an opportunity for us here at Bizzabo to pause and reflect on the journey that brought us here — and the phenomenal customers, employees, and partners who propelled us on this journey. In this article, we’ll explore what it took to become a Leader and the crucial role of key stakeholders along the way. 

The Gartner Magic Quadrant Process: A Timeline to Success

In September 2023, Gartner notified us they’d be undertaking an inaugural Magic Quadrant evaluation for the event technology industry. We quickly confirmed that we met baseline requirements (mostly around revenue, customer base, and platform functionality) and returned the preliminary questionnaire within a few days. 

A few weeks later, Bizzabo received an official “Welcome Packet” outlining the submission’s requirements: 

  • A 15-section survey
  • A 60-minute demo
  • A 45-minute executive briefing
  • 10 customer references and verified customer reviews on Gartner Peer Insights 

We quickly assembled a cross-functional team to work on the survey, identified a small subgroup to record the demos, and confirmed which executives would provide the live briefing. We knew Gartner’s analyst team would be inundated with a mountain of information, so to break through the noise, we had two tactical goals: 

  1. Make our submission as easy to consume as possible.
  2. Validate our claims with as many proof points as possible.

In a parallel motion, we worked closely with our Customer Success team to build a short list of reference customers who had interesting use cases to share and would be willing to speak with Gartner’s analyst team. By early December, we had completed all the submission requirements, breathed a sigh of relief, and sat back to wait. 

Looking Back: A 12-year Journey to the Magic Quadrant

In many ways, the road to becoming a Magic Quadrant Leader began 12 years ago when Bizzabo’s journey began. 

Although Bizzabo was founded as a simple event networking app, our founders soon recognized the need for broader capabilities and made the early pivot toward building an “all-in-one” solution. Guided by a belief in the power of corporate events to bring people together, Bizzabo focused on creating a streamlined, easy-to-use event management platform. 

bizzabo team

In 2020, as in-person conferences were canceled en masse because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry desperately sought a way to evolve. So, we made two key decisions during the pandemic years: 

  1. To transform Bizzabo’s event management system (EMS) into an Event Experience Operating System (OS), a modern, open platform that unites attendees, speakers, and sponsors through experiences, regardless of format or size
  2. To bet big on the eventual return of in-person experiences by acquiring Klik Experiential, smart badge technology that takes networking to a whole new level 

Our decisive shift to support virtual events bred quick results, with attendance skyrocketing 500% and revenue doubling. More importantly, Bizzabo had a new vision for the future: events that unite attendees in unique, shared experiences regardless of how they attend. That vision continues to guide our everyday work and strategic planning. 

Perhaps that’s why it’s particularly meaningful that Gartner ranked Bizzabo as furthest in “Completeness of Vision” of the 13 vendors evaluated in the Magic Quadrant. This valuation reflects “the vendor’s innovation, whether the vendor drives or follows the market, and if the vendor’s view of how the market will develop matches Gartner’s perspective.” For us, it validates that we’re helping to shape the industry, introducing new innovations in event technology, and leading the way into a new era of event experiences. 

Cultivating Success Through Customer Relationships

Gartner’s evaluation of both customer references and verified reviews demonstrates how customers’ firsthand experiences are a testament to the impact of an organization’s products and services. The most powerful customer stories are often developed throughout a longstanding relationship — battle-tested and approved.

Gathering Continuous Feedback and Feature Update Recommendations 

As a customer-centric organization, Bizzabo gathers customer insights in a continuous feedback loop. Every customer has a dedicated customer success manager (CSM), who they work with to share feedback on the Event Experience OS and to log new feature requests. 

Our Product team regularly shares a list of features being considered for development and asks every Bizzaboer to score each feature based on specific criteria, giving CSMs another opportunity to advocate on their customers’ behalf and upvote their feature requests. These scores are tallied and used to help prioritize our product roadmap. 

Bizzabo customers know that our Support team has an exceptional response time — 20 minutes by email and fewer than 5 minutes by phone — but what they might not know is that we also tag each support ticket by theme (e.g., how to, product, feature request). Then, we analyze the tickets for actionable trends, including creating additional content for our Knowledge Base or adding a new feature to our consideration list. 

Customer feedback directly influences the evolution of Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS, including several features released in the last year. Here are just a few examples: 

  • Based on popular demand, we released “hidden sessions,” enabling organizers to hide certain sessions from the agenda and make them accessible only by direct link.
  • Driven by high-volume event organizers running multiple event series at a time, we introduced the ability to designate different email domains and branding for different events. 
  • Acting on feedback from some of our top media customers, we added the option to embed a custom HLS player within the event agenda. 

Meeting a Diverse Range of Customer Needs

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant evaluation focused on three specific use cases:

  1. In-person conferences/tradeshows
  2. In-person field marketing/roundtables
  3. Virtual conferences/tradeshows

In truth, we find that most of our customers manage event portfolios that contain a mix of event formats and sizes. For example, they may run a series of single-session webinars to generate leads and nurture relationships before a regional roadshow or flagship conference. 

“We use the platform for all our events from 30 to 2,000 attendees. I’d strongly recommend the product to anyone running regular events of any kind. My favorite part is that I’ve seen several feature requests of mine implemented.” 

Gartner Peer Insights

The customer stories that really resonate with me speak to common issues facing many organizations, like tech consolidation and the challenge of delivering unique attendee experiences. Here are a few stories that really make this point:

Customer Story: Piano Academy Live

piano bizzabo case study

Amsterdam-based analytics platform Piano was looking to empower its small marketing team to execute in-person and virtual events by consolidating the many point solutions in its event tech stack.

After selecting Bizzabo as their all-in-one platform, the Piano team quickly got to work using the Event Experience OS to plan and execute their upcoming conference, Piano Academy Live. They leveraged several of Bizzabo’s features and services to customize the event experience, setting up Salesforce and Slack integrations to drive operational efficiency, localizing the event website for their Japanese customers, building a custom-branded event app to maximize attendee’s in-person experience, and even renting the Bizzabox, our turnkey event check-in solution. 

Ultimately, Piano’s conference sold out seven weeks early and went off without a hitch. Following their in-person success, the team decided to move all of its virtual events from Zoom to Bizzabo and is planning to expand its events program as a critical piece of its marketing strategy. 

Customer Story: DPW Amsterdam

DPW amsterdam klik touchpoint

DPW Amsterdam — a tech ecosystem that connects procurement and supply chain professionals, startups, and investors worldwide — previously relied on several point solutions to manage their annual hybrid conference, including Brella for networking, Eventbrite for ticket sales, and a homegrown tool for agenda management. 

Following feedback that the event experience was “scattered and fragmented,” DPW began looking for an all-in-one event management platform to deliver a better attendee experience. They explored potential solutions (Cvent? “Too legacy and too clunky.” Brella? “Tried to upsell us.”) and eventually chose Bizzabo after being impressed by the Event Experience OS and Klik wearable tech. 

DPW’s flagship conference in October 2023 was a resounding success, uniting 1,250 attendees in person and thousands more online. Each in-person attendee was outfitted with the Klik SmartBadgeTM, which supercharged networking and drove exhibitor lead capture. In a post-event survey, attendees and sponsors agreed that Bizzabo had met DPW’s ultimate goal and elevated the event experience. 

After a successful experience at DPW Amsterdam 2023, the DPW team is looking to the future — planning to go all-in on Klik, investing in the custom-branded app, and maximizing their Bizzabo investment to orchestrate multiple events worldwide. 

A Commitment to Continuous Improvement

When new employees join Bizzabo, they’re introduced to the company’s corporate values as part of the onboarding process. Although most corporate mission and values statements are relegated to a fading poster on the wall, I’ve found our BizzaValues to be a daily guiding force for every team and initiative here.

My favorite is “We dare.” Here’s what it says: 

We encourage ourselves to dream big and swing for the fences. We dare to fail but always fail forward. We question the norm and embrace change. 

This mentality empowers our Product and Research & Development teams to innovate fearlessly, backed by an organization that is not afraid to keep iterating and improving until we achieve excellence. 

One of the factors that Gartner looks at when evaluating Vision is “market understanding,” defined as “the ability of a vendor to understand buyers’ needs and translate these needs into products and services.” We solicit feedback early and often by working closely with prospects and customers through various one-on-one interviews, beta programs, and phased product releases. This allows us to finetune our products and services to ensure they deliver maximum value for our buyers.

Bizzabo’s commitment to customer- and market-driven innovation has been recognized time and again. We’ve been named a two-time Leader in the Forrester Wave and a consistent G2 Crowd category Leader, in addition to winning “Best Event Tech” from both Eventex and the Event Technology Awards

As of today’s publication date, we are also the only event technology platform on Gartner Peer Insights recommended by 100% of its reviewers — a distinction we’re quite proud of. 

Looking to the Future as a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader

Being recognized as a Leader is an incredible honor, but we also consider it a challenge. 

We know that most Bizzabo customers manage complex event portfolios of multiple event types, from large conferences and webinars to smaller field marketing events and roadshows. We’ve heard our customers loud and clear: “Help me do more, help me prove more. I’m juggling a million things and don’t have time for complications.” 

That’s why we’re focused on enabling event organizers to manage events at scale  — consolidating their event tech stacks in favor of a single source of truth, improving operational efficiency with a thoughtfully designed, easy-to-use user interface, easily customizing their event assets to comply with their brand guidelines, and driving ROI with actionable event intelligence. 

The path to success is rarely a straight line. The ups, downs, stops, and starts that led Bizzabo to this point forced us to become an agile, innovative, resilient organization. We’re grateful for customers, partners, and team members who inspire us daily with their creativity, dedication, and grit. 

If connections and community make your heart beat faster, I hope you’ll join us on this journey. 

gartner magic quadrant event technology platforms bizzabo

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