From the sound of it, being in the events industry seems like a glamorous role to play. While that is true to some extent, there’s a lot of labour and hard work involved behind the scenes. Whether it be a small or large-scale event, an event organiser needs to put their best efforts to make sure the event is a resounding success.
Organising corporate events like trade shows, seminars and conferences can be a complicated exercise. From sourcing venues, handling registrations, marketing, gauging feedback and measuring ROI, there are numerous tasks you and your team need to handle. This could mean working endless hours, dealing with a lot of manual processes, and figuring out how to bring together different, detached functions and ensure everything works in tandem.
Here is where event automation can be a godsent. By automating various aspects of your event, you can
- Eliminate manual tasks
- Streamline workflows
- Focus on more important areas of your event programme
- Organise events efficiently
- Plan for scalability
- Be stress-free!
What is Event Automation?
Today, event automation has become one of the hottest buzzwords in the meetings and events industry. In layman terms, it means using software to automate tedious, repetitive tasks so that you can save time and focus on other important areas.
These can be different tasks related around your event, such as:
- Updating spreadsheets
- Event marketing
- Feedback and surveys
With technological advancement, event software capabilities have immensely improved and automation can be implemented through an end-to-end solution for the entire event lifecycle – from organisation, promotion to success evaluation. Such a solution entails event registration software, email marketing tools, onsite management tools, post-event surveys, and their integration with different SaaS solutions.
Using automation, you’re able to do more with less while narrowing the margin of errors. Since there is minimal manual effort required, the typical human errors that crop up across different tasks are eliminated.
Now let’s understand why automation for events is a no-brainer.
Why Event Automation?
It’s well-known that the role of an event organiser is among the most stressful ones around the globe, and using technology goes a long way in reducing some of that headache. Before automation tools were used for events, planning an event was a long-winded effort with multiple team members working overtime to track, log and execute all aspects of the event programme. While a few standalone solutions were released in the market, the lack of integration meant the event team had to fill most of the gaps manually.
In a complex industry such as B2B events, automation has gone a long way in simplifying most event tasks to a large extent. By offering connected solutions and ease of management, event automation helps organisers to:
- Simplify various tasks – registration, promotion, report generation
- Implement customisations
- Save time and focus on other important tasks
- Improve cost-effectiveness and optimise your event towards success.
Event automation offers event professionals the ease and leverage to organise bigger, better events without learning how to code or hiring a technical team. They can take advantage of APIs—application program interfaces— to customise how different technology communicates with others and make processes more streamlined. This ultimately helps them become more efficient and stay focused on the long-term vision as they grow and scale their events.
What tools can Event Automation integrate with?
Salesforce, Hubspot and other CRMs
If you’re an event organiser, chances are you’re most likely using a sales or contact management software like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics. However, CRM tools do not fulfil all your needs unless you integrate them with other critical parts of your event programme, such as registration software. This is done by using APIs and Webhooks, thus allowing easy flow of data between your event platform and tech stack.
Event Management Software
Similar to the CRM, your event management software is a repository of extremely useful data. For example, if you’re developing a new mobile event app, you would want to populate a lot of content from your event software into the app. Earlier, most organisers had to undergo the painstaking task of copy-pasting and rearranging everything in the app’s CMS. With event automation, you can easily sync your content housed in other systems by integrating through an API.
Another example is of email marketing and managing mail lists. You can use an API to streamline the process of adding new registrants to your email list. You can also manage your invitations by sending out reminders and personalised thank you emails to attendees and sponsors without having to export a list first.
Seating and diagramming software
In the absence of event automation, organisers had to create a seating plan for attendees based on the RSVPs from the registration list. Arranging all the names properly while also accommodating new names being added during the registration process became an annoying and weary job, with involving considerable manual effort involved. Using event automation software, seats can be easily allotted to attendees during check-in. This provides visibility on the guest profile and the venue staff is also aware where various delegates are seated.
Feedback and event survey tools
Feedback and survey software provide actionable insights to measure the efficiency of your event programme, qualify leads, and gauge the success of your event. But this is possible only when you have easy access to that data. You need to add the results to the CRM or sync them to the email marketing software, which will allow you to follow up on different responses.
Benefits of Event Automation
The most visible and obvious benefit of event automation is the time savings incurred, which helps you focus on what matters for attendees. You don’t have to deal with endless manual processes such as data entries, endless spreadsheets and manual lead follow-ups so that you can scale up marketing efforts and deliver richer, personalised experiences for attendees.
There is also a cost benefit involved, as the amount you spend on event automation tools is likely to be lower than hiring a large team handling different processes.
Here are some other major advantages of automating your event:
Simplification, minimising errors, seamless data flow
Simplifying the event planning process is perhaps the biggest advantage of using event automation. In the past, various disconnected tools and solutions related to different event planning processes were released with the aim of easing the burden for organisers. However, since all the information was trapped in silos, the onus was again on the event organiser to bring this cluttered and isolated data together to generate insights and relevant reports. This naturally led to endless hours of scanning, cleaning and processing the data with spreadsheets and data entry processes – all activities prone to error.
With event automation tools such as integrations, you can bring together the disparate data and fragmented tech solutions to create a unified platform with all your applications working seamlessly.
A big misconception most event organisers have is that automation limits the options to customise their events. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Modern event management software offers a variety of features, themes and templates that you can use for different aspects of your event. You can add customised colour schemes, images, logos and details as per your target audience. For instance, you can learn how to create a custom event website, with zero technical expertise!
Optimising event marketing
To leave a lasting imprint on the attendee’s mind, you need a great event marketing strategy. The two key focus areas for such a strategy are e-mail marketing and social media promotion. Read how event automation makes both these tasks as smooth as butter:
- You can easily customise and schedule your e-mails with the templates that match your organisation’s branding, without worrying about the time zone of your attendees. By using personalised communication and setting reminder emails, you can secure a greater response rate than in the usual scenario when you have to craft individual emails.
- With tools like Oktopost that allow you to manage, monitor and measure your social media activities, you can plan an effective social media campaign for your event. This enables you to track the progress of your marketing campaign as well as optimise it per changing needs and requirements.
Automating the non-creative aspects of the event programme, such as managing email lists and scheduling posts, helps free up time so that you can focus on creating more engaging campaigns and crafting more experiential encounters for attendees.
Generating comprehensive reports
Before the advent of event automation, generating in-depth reports and maintaining a detailed database of your events was next to impossible. This meant missed opportunities to build a complete profile of your attendees and gaining the desired insights to create better events in the future.
With event automation, you can utilise event analytics to map your attendee’s journey and get clear visibility across various data points before, during, and after your event. This helps you understand what motivates your customers to engage with your brands, capture quality leads and understand revenue opportunities that validate your event ROI.
You can get tailor-made reports that provide info on:
- Session data – which sessions are performing well, which ones lacking interest.
- Audience segmentation – which attendees interacted with your event across demographics, products, accounts etc.
- Benchmarking your metrics – compare your event data across different dates and locations to assess your event performance.
The success of events depends on your customers. To ensure your customers remain happy and engaged, it’s key to focus on personalised communication. Manual personalisation, however, can take an awful amount of time and labour to be successfully implemented. So, instead of spending thousands of pounds on your customer outreach programme, you can instead deploy:
- Mobile event apps (push notifications)
- Automatic billing
- Customised pathways while registering for the event
Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if all the tech-related requirements for your event could be handled by another person, leaving you enough time to focus on creating spectacular event campaigns? Such a role exists in the form of an ‘Event Technologist’. Read this eBook to learn everything about this role and why it is crucial to your event’s success.