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How Technology Creates the Time to Be Creative

March 19, 2013   |   AUTHOR: Julius Solaris   |   POSTED IN: event technology

This is a sponsored post by Event Tech Circus.

Gallus Events are managing two Event Technology events in the next few months. Event Tech Circus in Amsterdam and Tech Fest in London. Head Honcho William Thomson explaines a little bit about the technology he uses to support these technology events.

This is a great case study for other event organisers because William has pieced together free tools and paid-for technologies. He also uses contra deals and pulls in the odd favour to ensure that technology supports his events as much as possible. He demonstrates that being smart with technology allows a small event company to manage large events and crucially frees up time to deliver more value to participants.

creativity-event-technology

Running your own events company and staying on top of the events you run is, putting it mildly, a challenge. Being based in Barcelona and running events in London and Amsterdam hardly makes things easier. But of course running events has never been an easy way to make a living. I’ve been in the industry for fifteen years and I’ve seen events become so much more complex and ever more challenging. In my opinion the only way we can stay on top of our events is to adopt, understand and use more event technology.

Gallus Events use seven primary bits of software to keep on top of our events. The first four help us manage our events with minimum time and resource and the remaining three help us increase the number of people who attend our events.

1. Event Manager Theme

The WordPress event theme we use is fantastic. It took us a few hours to have our Event Tech Circus site up and running. One day from registering the domain name to have an all singing and all dancing site. Following the launch of Januas (the multiple event version of EMTheme) in March the theme has taken things up a notch by allowing many events to be housed together on one site.

We use the single event theme for Event Tech Circus. Thankfully as Event Manager Blog is actively supporting our aim of bringing the Event community together in Europe they have provided the theme for free. However at $99 each, these themes offer a bargain website that small to medium sized event businesses should certainly consider using to their advantage.

2. Eventbrite

Eventbrite made collecting payments easy, almost mind boggingly easy! It took ten minutes to set up Event Tech Circus. We originally investigated using and setting up our own merchant account and a payment gateway: both are needed to collect credit card payments independently. But unfortunately the world of banking hasn’t quite caught up with the dynamic needs of our industry.

Thankfully Eventbrite was on hand and using their payment gateway we avoided a month long wait for our own gateway and a serious cash flow pinch. We of course have to pay a few euros per transaction and we don’t receive our funds until after the event but this is a small price to pay to be able to collect electronic payments and have the system allocate invoices. And by being listed on Eventbrite we have already generated a few attendees! A fantastic added bonus.

3. Podio

This is a fantastic project management tool. It is app based and incredibly flexible. Podio allows you to allocate and monitor tasks as well as store information on sales, venues, speakers and almost every other aspect of an event. You can invite work colleagues and external guests. At the moment we are using the basic offering and it is free. It has been tremendously useful for Gallus Events and we expect to upgrade to the $9 per worker per month in the summer.

4. Eventsforce

Eventsforce “powers” Tech Fest and we really will be using it to power all of our events going forward. The system collects payments (similarly to Eventbrite) but is more cost effective for larger events (if you can manage to get over the payment gateway and merchant account problems). Linking the payments to the other aspects on the platform allows us to have more visibility and control of our finances.

It does a whole host of things for us including providing a website as the front end to the software. Eventsforce is ideal for an event company that run more than a dozen events and have more than a 1000 attendees. Our use of Eventsforce is included in our overall sponsorship agreement for Tech Fest but for the ideal company as described earlier you will only be talking a few thousand euros per year.

5. Dotmailer

This is a fantastic emarketing tool. Incredibly flexible and really easy to use. The reporting functions, the spam testing, the triggered campaigns and the automation are all great features and make this a great all round email marketing tool.

Owing to the success of Mailchimp and other initially free email system providers, paid for email marketing systems have really had to raise their game. For the additional benefits Dotmailer isn’t very expensive, perhaps costing around €3000 a year for a medium sized company. We are very lucky that owing to a long standing relationship we use the system for free as long as we don’t email too often!

6. Conferize

Conferize are one of our start-ups at Event Tech Circus. Conferize is a system designed to help organisers gain attendance at their events by leveraging social networks and by using the skills of Conferize staff to place advertisements and list your event.

It is available for free to all of our users. We will be using the basic system for Event Tech Circus and the premium one for Tech Fest (as part of our sponsorship agreement). It will be really interesting to see the value from the premium service and to see if the investment is returned in an increased awareness and attendance at Tech Fest.

7. Hootsuite

We use Hootsuite to schedule and generally control the release of our Social Media content around Tech Fest and Event Tech Circus. We are tweeting across a couple of Twitter accounts and we link to Facebook and to LinkedIn through Hootsuite as well.

We use the basic free offering and it is a massive help. We will be investigating our options in the summer as we believe paying a monthly fee may be justified but at the moment the free system is doing wonders for us. Content marketing is crucial in both our events and a tool such as Hootsuite is crucial.

In Conclusion

It would be possible to run our events without using most of this event technology but we would be working harder and I would need a bigger team. But crucially the technology we are using allows us to do two very important things. This technology allows us to raise the income from our events (and certainly above the level of the actual cost of using that technology).

Hootsuite, Dotmailer, Conferize and Eventbrite add a lot of value to our event by helping us raise awareness of Tech Fest and support our content marketing strategy. Secondly using Eventsforce and Podio helps us run our events much more efficiently.

Put simply, technology runs (and in some cases “powers” our events) creating the time for us to run the experience.

  • StanDzuba

    Excellent list, Julius. The only one I dislike is Podio – bloated and overpriced, worse than free alternatives (like Bitrix24, for example), but it’s a matter of personal choice, I guess. HooteSuite is totally essential.

  • http://eventmanagerblog.com.com/ Julius Solaris

    Noted!