I love technology and face-to-face events. Thinking about how to meld the digital and live event experience makes me weak in the knees. But, there’s a lot of stupidity I see on the sales, venue and planner side. So in the interest of being less grinchy next year, these are my seven wishes that I think will make things better for everyone.
- #Eventtech salespeople: Do your research. Everyone has a competitor. If you’re an event app, you may have 50 competitors. Tech is a really crowded space. Don’t you dare say, you’re “the best” or there is “no one like” you. We all know that’s hooey. Show what differentiates you from the rest. And figure out how to explain how you will add value in a meaningful way to my attendees and my stakeholders.
- Meeting/event planners: Ask more questions. When you’re given a directive to include more technology into your meetings, ask “why?” Not in a snotty way, but in a way that helps your stakeholder define what the objective is for doing so. Too many meeting planners hear “incorporate technology,” and decide that adding an event app checks that box without ever thinking through what they’re trying to achieve or what the best tools for achieving that objective are. What a colossal waste of time and money.
- Salespeople: Talk to your developers. I can’t tell you the number of salespeople I speak with who have no idea how the tech they’re selling works. All they can do is go by rote during a pitch or demo. That doesn’t help anyone except the deeply vague and easily convinced. If I ask you about customization, using APIs or something else that might be off-script, you need to be able to improvise in an intelligent way, my friend.
- Planners: Develop an attendee communication and adaptation strategy. If you don’t communicate what you’re doing that’s new or what you expect your attendees to do, they’ll do nothing. And that’s a sure way to flush all that money you spent on #eventtech down the toilet. Draw out a marketing strategy that targets your attendees’ behavior. Outline the value proposition for their engagement. Define when and how you’ll communicate the benefits of adaptation to them. Make it as simple as possible for them to engage.
- Planners: Don’t expect people will do what you wanted. No matter how cool you made that game or app or digital collateral, chances are, your attendees won’t try to download it until they’re at registration. So what do you do now that you’ve got 1,000 people who didn’t read your pre-show marketing? Make sure you have an on-site training session or concierge set up to walk people through getting set up and engaged.
- Venue salespeople: Be honest about your broadband and WiFi capabilities. Stop assuming that a 100-person event means 100 connections. Estimate that means a minimum 300 connections (three devices/person) and be honest about whether or not your hotel or facility can handle that kind of traffic. If it can’t, be prepared to know what the solution for temporarily beefing up your service is or acknowledge that another venue might be more suitable.
- Planners: Realize that shiny and new = expensive, but that you do have options. Yes, having a hologram of your CEO stepping out onstage to welcome people would be awesome … if you have $100,000 to spend. You don’t? Then set up an augmented reality experience attendees can trigger with their phones to deliver the same content for a fraction of the cost. Again, it comes down to goals: If you know what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll see options. If you just focus on the tool rather than the reason why you want to do something, your new year will be filled with obstacles.
What do you wish people would start or stop doing? Tell me in the comments below.