Today's events are getting wired in new and interesting ways! Engagement is getting a high-tech makeover incorporating both active and interactive experiences.
This episode of EM All Access focuses on the impact of technology on events and the continued push to link events to cloud technologies.
Hey there event marketers, Jessica Heasley here, with another episode of EM All Access—where we connect you with some the industry's most innovative events and the marketers behind them.
Today's episode is sponsored by GES, a global full-service provider of live events, and it focuses on the evolving event technology toolkit. As passive engagement gets a high-tech makeover—as active and interactive experiences—today's events are getting wired in new and very interesting ways.
I spoke with GES Executive Vice President, Wendy Gibson, about the impact of technology on events, and the continued push to link events to cloud technologies. Let's listen in…
There are a lot of technologies to choose from out there. How do you know what technologies are becoming the most critical part of the event strategy?
Gibson: There’s probably a thousand different types of technologies out there, but there’s really three critical ones...
The first one is your event management software platform. So that's kind of the foundation…how are you going to register attendees?... are you going to ticket them?... the financial information in the background—all of that. So that's just critical.
The second one is about attendee engagement. How can you use technology to engage and give a better experience for the attendee? So that could be a social wall, RFID. If you look at Trend Tracker, the publication that we put out in conjunction with event marketer, there's several of those different types of technology.
And the third one is about data and analytics. It’s really understanding: “did you meet the objectives of your event?” – data analytics can help you achieve that. With today's technology, you can track the individual attendee—what events they went to, you can use it to survey them— there's really a lot of cool things and invaluable insights you can get from data analytics.
And there some technologies that are going away, that are not making the cut when it comes to great event strategy?
Gibson: Anything that is not cloud-based or available online, is going to go away. Because who wants to haul out technology to an event and install it? In today's world and all the different applications out there, it’s cloud-based all the way.
How do you strike that right balance between just enough technology and not too much?
Gibson: It's going back to you what your objectives are for your event, and then really understanding and planning out how you can enable the attendee to achieve those objectives through technology. For example, if you really want to have someone experience a new product or a demonstration, get their hands on it. Either do it through virtual reality (VR), or bring your technology to the event and have them actually do the demonstration themselves.
We recently did an IT Survey on what attendees, for IT events, want and one of the questions is: ‘Would you rather sit in a demonstration?’ or ‘Would you rather touch it?’ or “Just watch a bake off?’—and they (IT event attendees) preferred to go up there and actually do the demo themselves.
The days of walking up to a booth and watching a long, drawn out demo are gone—people want to experience that—and with cloud-based technology and the younger generation, that's the new way.
With all that technology out there, how is GES poising itself and gearing up to be responsive to what the clients want? Which seem to be more about this great technology.
Gibson: Absolutely, and just by way of background, I’ve got 25 years in technology, so I've been involved in both events and technology. When you look at GES’ portfolio of technology that we offer as services and applications, we have more technology than most mid-sized IT companies—so it’s a great area that we’re investing in. We’re either building out the technology—we've done a number of really great acquisitions around technology—or we are partnering. We’re finding some of the best brands out there and best tech companies to deliver a really great experience for both our clients and their attendees.
Remember, every event needs to be anchored by those three backbones—the management platform, the interactive engage toolbox and the data and analysis engines. If you have the right tools, you will ensure that your portfolio is designed for both effective and efficient experiences. I’d like to thank Wendy for joining me, and you for watching.
Learn more about GES’ top influencers and problem solvers through our in-depth EM All Access video series on thought leadership.
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