The Disruption Factor: Digitalization in Events
Tech provides more than just the ‘wow’ factor at events. It streamlines operations, allows you to do more in less time, and helps facilitate connections among attendees. Are you using digitalization as part of your event strategy? Here are some things you should be doing.
Tech pervades our personal lives and for that reason alone it needs to be part of your events. Even those of us who are not technically-inclined or early-adopters are now using tech in a variety of everyday uses that have come to color our professional lives as well. Some people have become so used to verbal search that typing into a window annoys them.
These personal user expectations are transferring onto attendee expectations for events. Because of this, digitalization is affecting all aspects of events. Some of the most common areas we’re seeing this in are:
- Event marketing
- Event planning
- Ticket sales and registration
- Speaker assessments and management
- Event presentations
But there are also things going on behind the scenes. Event digitalization plays a large role in understanding event data. Not only does it provide the tools in the query reports but data helps personalize your digitalization efforts like email marketing.
But how does digitalization play a role in your event strategy? And what forms should it take?
The Role of Digitalization in Event Strategy
1. Improving Engagement
Chances are this is a top intention for your events. Most event planners want to see more engagement among attendees because they know it drives ticket sales and breeds loyalty. But how do you use digital solutions to increase engagement?
Let’s face it, most people have a smartphone addiction. It’s about time we use this addiction to keep the audience engaged. There’s technology available that can turn a smartphone into a personal viewing center, broadcasting slides and presentations directly to an attendee’s lap. That makes every seat a good one
You can also project real-time social media interaction onto a wall or website for everyone to enjoy. There’s something attention-grabbing when an attendee sees their tweet projected in front of the entire group. It makes them want to see more of that and so what do they do? They post to social media again, which is exactly the type of interaction you want.
2. Saving Time
Why don’t most CEOs answer their company phone? Because it’s not worth their time. There are things they need to be doing. The same is true of some of your event planning activities. Why take a phone registration when it’s so much faster for someone to register online?
To operate as your most efficient self, automate what you can so it saves time for things that can’t be automated. For instance, social media posts can be scheduled to hit at your desired time. There is no reason to set an alarm so you can post them manually all hours of the day and night. However, making someone feel welcome is not something that is so easily automated.
Digitalization can streamline your efforts so that you spend the time on the things that require your personalized attention and touch. Digital solutions can give you some of your day back by cutting down on the amount of time it takes to perform a task.
3. Providing Answers on Demand
Digitalization can help ensure your attendees have all the information they need at their fingertips when they need it. They needn’t call your office to ask you when the event begins nor do they need to find a paper guide to figure out where the next session is. Digital solutions provide answers to your guests when they want them from anywhere they are (assuming they have an internet connection).
Answers are always up-to-date and can be provided in real time. People can also use voice-activated search, which is both engaging and helpful.
Don’t forget the importance of helping attendees get to know the host city. Digitalization can help with this as well through digital concierge services.
4. Improving Connections
While this idea may be very similar to improving engagement, the connections between digital tools and social media are becoming more integrated. Most event technology now has the ability to integrate social streams so that attendees can be present at your event while still sharing valuable information and fun with their online tribe.
Social media can keep attendees close between meetings by facilitating online networking. In addition to these options, a private online community keeps attendees in touch with one another while placing you in the middle of the interaction. Your event branding is also highly visible. These types of communities can help people get to know one another before they step foot in your event and will help them maintain contact afterward. They can also be an incredible venue for exchanging thoughts, best practices, and innovations.
Mobile apps help you connect members with matchmaking capabilities and location services that can tell attendees when people they wanted to meet with are in range. C2 Montreal, an international business conference which focuses on bringing together commerce and creativity, uses tech to give attendees the opportunity to connect and learn from one another on their own.
Finally, marketing automation can play a big role in moving potential attendees down the sales funnel and closer to purchasing a ticket. Once they do, you can use it to get them excited about your event. After the event, you can use this form of automation to stay in touch for next year.
5. Facilitating Feedback
Forget the paper forms. Digitalization helps you collect important feedback in a much more interactive way. The forms can be triggered by wearables and location devices to get feedback when it’s fresh on the attendees’ minds.
You can also encourage attendees to upload a video review of your event, speaker, or session. People love video and it provides a much more engaging experience for those watching.
6. Speaking to the Tribe
One of the most valuable forms of marketing is word of mouth. It’s the most believable and the least controllable. Digitalization and attendees going live on a social media platform can bolster your event’s reach astronomically. Make sure attendees know your hashtag and ensure you provide the kind of WiFi speed that will allow them to broadcast with fewer issues.
In addition to providing you with marketing gold, facilitating attendees’ ability to broadcast live from your event gives them the opportunity to share what they’re learning and experiencing with their tribe. This sets them up as an industry leader and a resource. If your event provides them with worthwhile content, they’ll likely return to you for more in the future.
Digitalization can also help you:
- Reduce staff costs and save time (through creating more efficient workflow structures)
- Increase attendee satisfaction
- Communicate more effectively with stakeholders and attendees
- Create impressive live interactions
Digitalization has been one of the largest changes in events in recent times. From improved email marketing to extending your reach, digitalization is likely part of your event strategy. What are you using it for? Share it with us below.
Additional Resources on Digital Solutions for Events
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