Imagine this scene at your next event. The floor activity is electric. People are swapping the latest technologies, the registration booth is abuzz and smart cards are being swiped to capture new leads every second. You smile and realize that this is the kind of “productive pandemonium” that only a skilled event planner can appreciate.
Things are going so well you decide to leave the floor for a few minutes and check in with your team. When you enter the staff office where your team is camped you sense a preternatural calm. Mad energy meets meditation. It feels, in a word, uneventful.
And your smile turns into a grin. Because you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Why Ecosystem is Everything
A skilled support system running behind the scenes of your event enables you to execute an awesome show experience. So how do you build a well-oiled support machine?
One approach is to look at everything behind an event as an ecosystem—or a living organic system that is equal parts “people”, processes and technology. This requires, in turn, that you not only staff your support team skillfully but that they use the event management software to keep things running smoothly with your input.
While “event ecosystems” will vary by provider, a solid system must deliver in four key areas: 1) Planning 2) Managing 3) Tracking and 4) Analysis. These key functionalities should also be cloud-based and accessible by every member of your team.
Centralized Planning. Not Just for Control Freaks.
Event planners are control freaks by nature. A “kluged together” mix of spreadsheets, registration data and other stuff used for planning and producing events can still make anyone feel like a klutz. That is why it is critical that you choose an event planning system that is both modular and integrated—from single events to enterprise-wide activities.
Software like Event Central from G2Planet, for example, is built around a cluster of three core modules for a) calendar b) strategy and c) company. From there you can add modules for budgeting, lead capture, certification and more as your needs and challenges grow.
It is important to note that Event Central, helps you strategize and plan ALL of your enterprise events, from webinars to conferences to tradeshows, and provides unique visibility into actionable data leveraged from all of your activities.
Managing by Modules
Planning is nothing without execution. Here is where the modular functionality of an event ecosystem helps to keep things running smoothly—from lead capture to personalized attendee follow up after the event.
Unlike legacy event planning systems, modular, cloud-based event planning systems allow you to use only what you need when you need it. More importantly, because they are modular, they are designed to work both individually and as part of a system. Your registration tools communicate with your lead capture system. Data is collected and aggregated for analysis. IT and CRM speak the same language because the technology is universally understood.
And in rare “event” that things go wrong, any good provider will offer 24/7/365, U.S. based English language tech support to quickly troubleshoot and solve problems.
Tracking. In Real-Time.
Every well-planned event has an end-game. While goals vary from event to event, capturing and fulfilling high quality leads is a hallmark of success. This requires more than merely acquiring lead capture software.
A good event planning system will help you integrate data from a variety of lead capture systems and funnel it into a single data ecosystem. Once that lead is in the system you can turn it into a “digital ID” that allows you attach real-time time quantitative and qualitative data to improve your post-event follow up and your on-going CRM priorities.
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Well planned, managed and tracked events across the enterprise allow you to aggregate your high-quality data in one place. A system like EventCENTRAL, for example, helps one event planner manage 3,000 training events attended by hundreds of business professionals on a single data platform.
That planner, in fact, has been able to apply “big data” insights to isolate both the positive attributes of an event and proactively plan for previously unanticipated “events.” What’s more they have a trove of data that can be migrated into other sales and marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop and more.
The very best events today are collaborative activities. Corporate event planners need to be savvier than ever to assure their customer base not only attends their events but also contributes something of value. This might be a product insight, or a market vision or any kind of learning that be used to improve the user experience.
With so much more riding on every new event, your back-end system needs to keep things equally “uneventful,” so that you can focus solely on customer surprise and delight.
Looking for ways to make your events run smoothly?