A version of this article originally appeared on Freeman-EMEA.com.
We’re all aware of the value that technology can add to an event. Intuitive event registration systems simplify the pre-event process and allow organisers to deliver a more personalised experience at show site, things like event apps and live polling platforms encourage audience engagement on the day, and tailored email marketing campaigns help to keep our events front of mind once they come to an end.
There has been a lot of discussion around technology and innovation at the industry events I’ve both attended and spoken at in recent months. It seems that now we’ve witnessed firsthand how technology can enhance the attendee experience, we’re eager to see what else can be done to develop this sub-sector of the industry further.
The need for bespoke tech solutions
While it’s great to see new technologies coming to the fore, we need to remember that every event is unique — much like the people who attend them. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to technology at events, which means we need to make it personal and build event technologies that are adaptable, and account for things like an event’s sector focus, the host venue and, of course, its target audience, to name but a few.
The same goes for existing event technology – it’s important to avoid referring back to the same tool kit for each and every event. What may have worked at one show may prove less effective at another. It’s important to carry out the right research and select the relevant technologies to incorporate accordingly.
Using data in a consultative way
Event industry professionals traditionally dealt with commoditised products — the materials or spaces that are essential to the execution of any brand experience. Now we’re looking well beyond those services — which are still equally important — and leveraging the large amounts of data that are becoming increasingly available to us.
Our teams are now focused on capturing this intelligence, analysing it and using it to provide our clients with unique customer insight, so that we can help them improve events year in, year out. We need to take a leap of faith to truly maximise the potential of this approach, one where organiser, supplier, and venue actively engage in three-way conversation with one another.
To invest or not to invest?
While technology is perhaps the most obvious way for the industry to innovate, many of us are weary when it comes to investing in its development. Today we spend so much of our time online that opportunities for face-to-face communication are becoming increasingly valuable. Our industry is unique in that it can bring people with common interests together under the one roof. Now we need to look at the ways we can extend that value beyond the show floor, and technology can help us do that by connecting with attendees at the various stages of an event’s life cycle. It’s through a willingness to make mistakes that we can learn to improve further.
The value of tracking technology should not be underestimated either — it’s ultimately attendees who determine an event’s success. Our industry needs to invest in these types of developments so that we can identify what type of engagement attendees want on a granular level, and work with organisers and venues to personalise and fine-tune our events in response.Technology is in a constant state of change, much like the brand experience industry, and it’s one of the tools that we can continue to leverage to evolve and develop in line with the changing behaviours of the attendee. I predict that our ability to respond to these wants and needs will only improve further if we — organiser, supplier, and venue — declare our commitment to the brand experience category, and truly collaborate. At the end of the day, we’re all working towards a common goal: to enhance the attendee experience and ensure the future success of our industry.