Many of today’s best managers look at event planning as an “ecosystem” to remain agile. As shows splinter into segmented events and meet-ups morph quickly into “must-attends,” managing the churn requires that a planner pull more than one rabbit out of a single hat.
While an eco“system” can keep the magic alive what is really required today is a stack.
Data-Driven Enterprise Event Planning, or DEEP, is an ideal way to build your stack. DEEP is not a software system in the classic sense but instead an integrated "stack" of solutions that fit seamlessly into marketing automation platforms and the other tools used to run enterprise marketing operations. (Download the first of four DEEP Whitepapers below).
The key competitive question to ask a software partner today therefore is not "what's inside your system?" but instead "what's inside your stack?”.
"System" terminology fits better with legacy systems that are built upon their own set of rules. Legacy systems can make a great hat, until they are required to fit within a bigger box—and therein lies the problem.
How Real Solutions Stack Up
There's a reason you've never heard of a "legacy stack." Stacks are like a box of Legos that can be assembled and re-assembled in different configurations to fit the task at hand. More critically, the solution sets in a stack come in all “shapes and sizes” to build something bigger.
In the Lego analogy, a finished "stack" would result in a really cool model of an aircraft carrier. It could be a prototype or it could go into your trophy case. A "system" would be the actual carrier itself, which, even if upgraded with the latest gadgets, is not exactly agile. Which is also why it pays to develop event planning solutions around speed and precision over pure firepower. Or so many believe.
Extensible Architecture. Why It Matters.
In one variation or other, most CMOs today outline OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for their business lines. Event marketing professionals, therefore, are under increasing pressure to tie their tactics to a set of precisely defined results — which leaves little room for error.
Given the risks involved, it is exceptionally important that an event stack be designed with the end in mind. The better the inputs, the better the output, which is what DEEP planning is all about.
DEEP tools help managers build an event stack that “snaps” easily into the marketing stack. Once “snapped in” they can, in turn, generate critical data that proves ROI, exceptional user experiences and whatever else meets objectives. Nothing is wasted and all data is tied to a specific result.
This is particularly important as both the visibility and scrutiny grows over event planning within Fortune-class companies. Today a premium has been placed on a) extensibility and b) an agile framework or architecture. From our own experience working within event planning ecosystems (see below) it’s tough to build a succesful event marketing stack on any other foundation.
Sales Registration and the Single Event Stack:
Rock Concerts are not relegated to rowdy Bic-lighter wielding crowds anymore. Tech, Finance and Industrial companies today stage user conferences that can compete on any show biz level. While the sheer scale of such events can dwarf a small industry tradeshow, they remain “single,” proprietary events. It’s easy to overlook some key details in all the excitement.
One key area is the integration of registrants at these events. How does a manager know, for example, that a sales rep maximized their use of time at a major conference? Did they sit by the pool or did they dive in coursework? More importantly, how does a manager follow up on show activity so that they can show ROI on key metrics to the CMO?
G2Planet is currently working with a major brand to generate this kind of data—and extend its visibility up and down the corporate marketing stack.
The event planner of today is also frequently called upon to “reassemble” their information stacks to fit shifting requirements. Not all data can be extended to every silo. It is critical to work with a vendor that can help survey the “integration” challenges you will face.
At G2Planet this may consist of developing unique algorithms and code that can function as a kind of “universal” yet carefully proscribed API (Application Programming Interface) that can open the “back door” to your corporate event planning infrastructure.
Instead of making changes on the fly when speakers cancel, dates change, or when the CMO layers on a new stack of “metrics,” a universal API can help you adapt in real-time. Which, in plain English, means no changes to the automation, personalization and follow up procedures already in place.
The Integration Landscape and The Ecosystem
The chart below depicts a typical ecosystem for G2Planet. As you can see, many modules exist within our orbit—with our Data Driven Enterprise Event Planning DEEP at the center. The relative distance of each module from the source vary with client OKRs and other variables.
If you’ve been orbiting our industry for the past few years, you’ll notice a few of our competitors co-exist this ecosystem — and for good reason. Because we approach every problem with a “Stack” instead of a “System” mentality it is possible that some legacy “piping” or pieces are needed to get the job done.
The situation is somewhat analogous to the current landscape for high-speed internet access on a community level. While Fiber Optic cable was laid years ago, its only now that companies like Google and others have been able to provide the “final mile” connections to make it functional.
While event planning does not require the infrastructure of a cable network, a “Stack” provider has no intention of replacing perfectly serviceable solutions with their own propriety technology. If you are interested in the future, after all, that is how your edifice will crumble.
This post is part of a 2 part series on Data-Driven Enterprise Event Planning (DEEP). To read part 1, click here.
Demo our software for centralized event planning here.