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Event orchestration | 16 July 2018

How to Evaluate Your Event Technology Stack

Brandon Rafalson

Are you using the right tools to achieve event success? We’ll review how you can evaluate your event technology stack.

Odd as it may seem, there was a time when event technology didn’t exist. Individuals registered for events via mail-in services or on-site, events were advertised solely in newspapers and magazines, and — at the end of an event — organizers were left with very little usable data.

Contemporary marketers now rely on an intricate mix of tools, such as marketing automation software, CRMs, and event software (aka the event technology stack), to achieve event success. They leverage this tech stack to build websites that drive registrations, promote their event through email marketing and social media, and gather data at every stage of the event lifecycle.

However, not every mix of tools is the right mix of tools. Some may not play nice together, some may be more manual than you want, and others may have hidden potential just waiting to be unlocked. In this article, we’ll review how you can evaluate your event technology stack to fully unleash the power of your events strategy.

How To Evaluate Event Technology

Your event is more than just the event day itself. Countless hours go into producing an event both before and after it happens. When analyzing the merits of an event technology it’s important to examine the full event technology lifecycle.

The event lifecycle stages can be broken down as follows:

  • Event Awareness
  • Event Management
  • Event Experience
  • Event Success Measurement

Next, we’ll take a closer look at each of these event lifecycle stages and what event professionals like yourself should keep in mind when evaluating technology to meet the needs of each. We’ll also provide several sample questions that event professionals should ask themselves when considering whether or not their event technology is a good fit for their needs.

Stage 1: Event Awareness

If an event happens in a conference center and no one ever promotes it, does it even make a sound? Adequately promoting an event is essential for driving registrations and, in turn, event attendance. However, the Event Marketing 2018 Report reveals that generating demand for an event is a common pain point among event organizers.

From building your event website to getting the word out, your technology should provide you with the necessary tools for getting get the job done.

Questions To Ask

  1. Do you require designers and developers to create or modify your web pages?
  2. Do you incentivize registrants to share promotional codes upon submitting their registration?
  3. Do you use remarketing campaigns to capture the contact information of potential registrants who did not finish their registration?

Stage 2: Event Management

Collecting and managing event registrants goes way beyond spreadsheets. Literally. From ticket types to dietary restrictions, job titles to lead stages, each contact that registers delivers gobs of data.

Some of this data is more important for providing attendees with a satisfying event experience (e.g. whether a contact prefers a gluten-free, kosher, or vegetarian diet or a vegetarian diet). Other data can be critical to the success of your event marketing campaign and, subsequently, the success of your organization as a whole (e.g. whether a contact is a prospect, customer, vendor, or partner).

An efficient event management tech process should enable organizers to create multiple ticket types, manage contacts data via software integrations, and seamlessly process revenue.

Questions To Ask

  1. Do you manage different ticket types? For example, single-day, multi-day, VIP, virtual, or in-person?
  2. Do you integrate event contact data with a CRM (customer relationship management) software?
  3. Do you still manage event data in spreadsheets?

Stage 3: Event Experience

You can’t have an event without attendees. Well, you can, it just might make for an awkward post-event debrief with the rest of your team.

Whether you’re planning an internal training event or a massive customer conference, providing a rich experience is crucial for keeping your attendees engaged, satisfied, and coming back for more.

Fortunately, the right event technology stack can help you engage your attendees with tools that cater to networking, in-session polls, a smooth event check-in, an easy-to-use event agenda, net promoter score surveys, and much more.

Questions To Ask

  1. Do you offer an event app for attendees?
  2. Do you send real-time notifications to your attendees during the event?
  3. Do you deploy polls during your event to survey your attendees?

Stage 4: Event Success Measurement

Forrester Research reports that the average CMO allocates 15% of its budget to events. That’s a huge slice of the fiscal pie. To prove that an event is worth the slice, marketers need to be able to collect and analyze meaningful data.

The right event technology stack will enable marketers to pull event revenue numbers, compare cross-event KPIs, and sync data to your CRM to paint a clearer picture of how an event fits into a contact’s journey with your organization.

But event success is more than just ROI. That’s why your event technology should be able to connect the dots between email marketing performance, social media engagement, event app engagement, attendee preferences, and sponsorship performance so that your next event can be better than the previous one.

Questions To Ask

  1. Which reporting systems do you use to report event success?
  2. Which reporting elements do you track and review?
  3. Do you track mobile application engagement KPIs?

Next Steps: Evaluate Your Event Tech Stack

Whether promoting your event, managing event data, creating a valuable experience for attendees, or drawing meaningful conclusions from event analytics, event technology can help you achieve event success. Not sure how your event technology stacks up? Take our free Event Technology Assessment and receive actionable insights on your event strategy. Benchmark how well you promote your event, manage registrations, and report your event success.