The journey of an event marketer is akin to that of a fictional hero. Despite showing unwavering determination and will to execute a perfect event programme, the event marketer can’t slog it out alone. There is a need to get onboard a team of experts, partners and vendors to plan, manage and execute the event to perfection.
But in a world where digital technology has transformed the way events are organised, it is necessary to have someone who is skilled enough to maximise the impact of your event from the tech perspective – an event marketing technology partner!
Like Batman and Robin, Sherlock Holmes and Watson, and Han Solo and Chewbacca, the event technology partner acts as the reliable sidekick to provide you the tools and resources to craft a successful event that achieves your business goals and creates a lasting impact on the attendees.
Not everyone can be a sidekick though!
You need to properly vet potential event marketing technology partners before locking down on the best one. But how do you do that? What tests do they need to pass to become your trusted ally?
Arm yourself with these eight questions to evaluate the event tech solution providers. The answers will provide insights on their capabilities to handle different events, and how well they stack up against the competitors.
#8 How solid are your credentials?
There are numerous software providers in any industry. Some have established a solid reputation of managing various clients while others are newer, smaller players with new ideas and solutions to offer.
To select any event marketing technology company, first look at their past experience and performance with previous events.
How long have they been in business? How many events have they powered? Are they growing and profitable? Can they support your current and long-term need? The work done in the past will be a reflection of their capabilities.
Eventually, the ones with a stellar track record in executing efficient events should make the cut.
#7 Is your solution scalable?
Events are of different sizes and complexities. Tier 3 events that typically comprise of small meetings can be replicated easily, and the mid-sized Tier 2 ones can also be scaled with some effort. Tier 1 events, which are the largest and the most complex with endless moving parts are the ones where successful scalability needs some pretty incredible tech to power them.
So the question to be asked – is your event marketing tech scalable to handle different events? Can it address the current needs and concerns and provide an option to ‘grow into it’? The last thing you want is to invest your time and money into a software only to learn that it can’t handle the personalisation and complexities of your most valuable and marquee events or is unable to deal with the volume of Tier 3 events that you want to incorporate into your new strategy.
The same goes for the features offered by the software provider. Maybe you don’t need all the bells and whistles right now, but you might find them necessary in the near future. Think ahead while deciding which one best suits your needs!
#6 What marketing and sales technologies can you integrate with?
We have discussed earlier how important it is to integrate your event data with your internal systems and solutions. You receive critical insights to build attendee profiles, prioritise leads, improve prospect and customer engagement and do a lot more to create better events in the future. So, it becomes key to have the details of the different marketing and sales technologies a vendor can integrate their solution with and how smooth they can work in tandem.
For instance, is it an out-of-the-box solution? Does it require customer development or is available through an open application programming interface (API)? How smooth is the data interoperability? Can it all be done in real-time?
These are pertinent questions you should ask before locking down a vendor.
#5 What’s the level of training and support do you offer?
No software is flawless and a minor issue can certainly crop up from time to time with the most reputed, expensive solutions. If you encounter a technical glitch, what’s the support that the vendor offers?
Can you call a freephone number 24/7 for immediate assistance? Is there a chat function for real-time solutions? Is an online support ticketing system available? Does any provider have all these three functions?
Apart from immediate support, your technology provider should also have a comprehensive set of resources and knowledge base that can provide quick fixes. Do they just have limited materials to find a solution to your problem or is there a robust set of material, articles and educational content that can be promptly accessed? Also, is there a customer community where you can connect and share the best practices and ideas with other customers?
Another key question to ask is if the event marketing and management technology provider offers training. No one is better qualified to show you how to get the most out of your investment than the company you purchased it from.
If they offer training, is it in person, or is it a series of videos or webinars your team must watch on its own? If the latter, you may want to ask for hands-on help instead. Make sure that the company you’re working with is invested in your success from start to finish . . . and is there for every hiccup in between.
#4 Can I trust you with data safekeeping?
Data security has become a topic of great focus and concern in both the B2B and B2C industries today. Event attendees trust you with their data. From contact information to payment details, you probably collect a lot of personal, sensitive information from your attendees. It’s your responsibility to stay informed and compliant with the latest data security and privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the more recent California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that. Your technology partner should prioritise data security at the highest level and make it easier for you to maintain compliance.
#3 How will your solution help me measure the ROI of my event?
At the end of it all, event organisers ultimately look at the real, measurable gains they get from their event. Ask your tech provider to provide the details on the cost benefits their solution offers and whether the ROI can be tracked on the basis of different metrics. For example, how does the solution measure and track the direct and indirect costs of events? How does it track direct and attributed revenue?
Measuring the ROI of event programmes is only half the battle. You also need customised reports generated that can provide insights on how various aspects of your event performed. While discussing reporting, you should ask questions like:
- What single event and cross-event reports do you have?
- Can we build custom reports?
- Do you have any professional services to help us analyse our event data?
#2 What trends do you foresee defining event marketing in the future?
When you ask this question, you’re obviously not expecting the vendor to bring out a crystal ball and predict the future of event marketing – if you are, you may want to rethink your expectations!
However, you indeed expect your event marketing tech partner to stay updated with the latest trends in the technology industry and which ones could transform or disrupt the way event are managed in the future.
This shows they’re invested in their craft. It shows they’re forward-thinking. Regardless of whether the predictions are coming from a salesperson or the CEO, they show that the company is committed to staying at the forefront of the industry.
The worst thing you can do is get involved with an event marketing and management solution provider that is complacent and has no interest in staying ahead of trends in event marketing. You’ll be stuck right along with them.
#1 Do you keep innovating and improving your solutions over time?
The marketing and events industry is always evolving, and the technology that supports it needs to keep up. Otherwise, it can quickly feel stale and out of date.
Today, more is expected of event and marketing professionals than ever before. Their attendees expect a frictionless event experience from start to finish. Their stakeholders require them to be data-driven, precisely measuring and proving how events are tied to marketing and revenue goals. More and more, technology is making it easier for event organisers to keep up with these market changes.
As the event industry evolves and attendee expectations change, it becomes important to keep innovating and improving your solutions to provide richer, immersive and more personalised experiences. Your event marketing technology partner plays a crucial role in generating positive qualitative and quantitative benefits from your event. Thus, selecting the right one goes a long way in creating robust event programmes that are scalable and provide more bang for your bucks. Don’t be in a rush. Evaluate the merit of each answer at length, consult your peers and stakeholders, and make an informed decision!