10 Ways to Bring More Tech to Low Budget Events

Are you trying to figure out how to incorporate more event technology on a small budget? We have some ideas to help.

Everybody loves tech, right? You may hate learning how it runs or setting it up, but most event attendees love a tech-laden experience for the oohs and ahhs factor. But tech doesn’t need to be something only big budgets can do. There is tech for the rest of us. Here are some good ways to get tech on the cheap.

First, the most important technology that spans all areas of your event is social media. If you have a small budget to work with, you would be remiss not to plug into every available channel on social media that fits your ideal audience. Don’t bother with sites that they’ve skipped but post diligently and have conversations with people on the sites where your audience is active.

10 Ways to Bring More Tech to Low Budget Events

Talk to the Venue

Audiovisual and tech are some of the biggest profit areas for venues outside of food but there may be some areas where they can work with you. Ask them how you can get that portion of the bill lower. Are they willing to move on the WiFi price or AV equipment rental? Will they let you bring someone else in? Ask them what’s solid and what’s fluid when it comes to their pricing structure. The worst they can tell you is that it’s all non-negotiable.


Invest in Your Own

Another idea is to decide what pieces you use most often and what it would look like to buy your own equipment. Chances are the tech is tax deductible (at least part of it) and you could share the cost over multiple clients. Before you do this just think about the venues you usually use. Do they allow for outside tech? If not, this is probably not the route you want to go.

Become an Affiliate

Some event technology companies have affiliate marketing programs. This is especially true of software companies. If you bring on clients who use the tech, you get a portion of that back, a finder’s fee of sorts. You could choose to pass this back to the client as a discount on the tech to help small budgets get more for their money.

Give Up Something Else

In the event industry, everything is a tradeoff. If you can’t find discounted tech, or if you want the latest and greatest to make an impression, you need to sacrifice somewhere else. This could mean no DJ or a smaller decor budget. Tech does make a big impression when it’s done right so creating a great playlist instead of using a DJ may mean more bang for your buck. After all, while music may set the tone, it rarely makes people stand with mouth agape the way tech can.

Ask a Vendor for Creative Solutions

If you have an AV partner ask them for their ideas on how to get the most interest for the least amount of cash. In tech, there are items that cause a real stir and items that do cool things behind the scenes. Ask vendors what has the biggest wow factor for the price.

In-Kind Sponsorships

If you have the right kind of audience at your event, one your tech vendor has been interested in getting in front of, you might be lucky enough to arrange an in-kind sponsorship. They may provide services or technology or even software for free or at-cost for exposure.

Swap Out Big Ticket Tech Items

Get rid of big ticket tech if they don’t provide big wow and do things differently. For instance, you can swap out AV rental of a big screen for your presenter with software that allows all attendees to view the presenters’ slides on their own devices. This ensures everyone can see the slides perfectly.

Try Image Tech

People love to take photos at events. There’s technology out there that enables attendees who have taken photos with their own devices and uploaded them to social media with the event hashtag, to get them automatically event branded and printed with no work on their part. The reason this works well for your event is because it encourages people to upload pictures to social media, and gives them a souvenir. Plus, since they took the picture and uploaded it, you ensured they like it, which is not always the case when you have a professional photographer taking shots of the crowd.

Know What You Can Skimp on and What You Can’t

There are a number of options for low-cost WiFi for your event, but know that if your event has a couple thousand attendees, WiFi isn’t something to skimp on. You want your tech to be budget-friendly but not at the cost of the user experience. Know what you can skimp on and what you can’t. If you can’t afford cool video mapping for all of your walls, that’s fine. You can select a small area with lots of impact, like right above the food display. People will appreciate it. But if you skimp on the workhorse of event tech – WiFi – people won’t come back.

Use Cheap Tech that Gets Noticed

When you have a limited budget, don’t spend money on tech that doesn’t get noticed. There are several types of technology that spur on engagement such as leaderboards. Leaderboards can be used with social media or participation contests and they rank people based on your specifications. They’re very inexpensive to create (you could even do it manually with an excel spreadsheet and social media tabulation) but they get people talking and participating, which makes them a good option for small budgets.

In Conclusion

Like all other areas of event planning, being creative is the best way to get the most interest for the lowest expenditure. Look for items that make a big impression. Just as you might opt for a single, dramatic flower instead of a cheap bouquet to cut costs in decor, the same can be done with tech. Don’t be afraid to get creative or ask for ideas. Many startup companies are willing to run affiliate agreements or in-kind sponsorships for top billing.

How do you do tech on a budget at your events? Leave a comment for us below.

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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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