Chris Federspiel began his career at a young age, coding websites in middle school, followed by Perl and CGI scripts in high school. He later moved into sales and marketing for Internet Creations and Silverline. He co-founded Plative as a Salesforce Systems Integrator (SI), followed by Brainiac. His latest venture, Blackthorn.io, has seen exponential growth and success, having received multiple Salesforce.org Partner of the Year awards. His teams have worked to earn Blackthorn Events the honor of being one of the highest-rated events apps on the Salesforce AppExchange. For more information, visit blackthorn.io.
Over the last couple of years, the events industry has seen a drastic change in operations as in-person events have abruptly shifted to virtual formats in response to widespread safety protocols and stay-at-home orders. Now, as we prepare for life after the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid events are quickly becoming an avenue for providing the best of both worlds. With more than 34% of event organizers planning to invest more in hybrid events in the next few years, they have become a standard event format in the new landscape.
Although the pandemic has significantly impacted events, the demand is still expected to grow. The events industry had a 2019 value of $1.14 trillion and is estimated to reach $1.55 trillion in 2028. As the events industry transforms and grows, event managers are turning to new event software and technology to create the best experience for their attendees.
Regardless of whether the event is in-person, hybrid or virtual, implementing and integrating new technology can cause challenges that prevent an organization from creating the ultimate experience for its audience. New software can confuse and frustrate event teams as they navigate adoption. Adding on the conversations about the metaverse and virtual reality, the multitude of technology options for events today can be even more overwhelming to managers.
To help event managers create successful events while implementing new tools and technologies, here are some of the most common issues in event management to watch out for when preparing for an event and how to prevent them.
Attendee registration is the most important step in event preparation because an event can’t take place if no one is attending. Although registration seems simple, it can make or break an event and potentially disrupt the overall experience as a result.
Most organizations house essential event information in multiple different locations, such as online registration forms and on their website. They also use these pages to receive payments during registration and collect attendee information. However, this often creates a challenging and strenuous registration process, which will deter potential attendees from signing up. From registration to post-event feedback, organizations should ensure all steps in the event experience are straightforward and efficient.
For a positive user experience from the start, all event details need to be on the landing page. The landing page is the first step of the event experience; therefore, it must be engaging, informative and easy to understand for potential attendees. It’s essential to request all possible information needed and required from a potential attendee during registration. A few crucial items to include are:
Landing pages can be overwhelming to design and create from scratch for every new event an organization plans, but there are options for event managers looking to avoid the headache. Pre-built event page templates save money, effort and time for event organizers, and they eliminate the need to design or code forms and pages. Pre-built event templates guarantee the user experience kicks off on the correct path.
Data collection and accessibility are essential for events. Registration form data directs attendees to crucial information and keeps them engaged from registration through post-event follow-up communications, such as resources, recordings and surveys. Prior to the event, organizations can ensure instant communication, on things such as schedule changes and updates, with SMS and email reminders. Event managers can easily share valuable information and updates when they have access to participants’ phone numbers or email addresses.
With proper data collection, event managers have insight into crucial attendee information. They have the ability to access event data instantly within their customer relationship management (CRM) platform. They also have a full view of all customers’ and prospects’ interactions and communications, enabling them to customize and tailor ongoing communications. For example, suppose an organization asks registrants to select a specific interest from a registration form. They can utilize that data from those interests to add the registrants to relevant marketing paths automatically. Even outside of events, using existing automation integrations enhances and strengthens the entire customer experience.
Additionally, proper data collection can assist event organizers in more efficiently reporting event success. Management expects event managers to show a return on their investment, and effective data collection provides the metrics needed to do so. Metrics such as the number of people in attendance, attendees’ industries, job titles and more can inform and direct future event strategies and initiatives. CRM tools, such as Salesforce, track these essential event metrics. Teams can record attendance metrics to their CRM tool to show how their event impacts significant goals and use event data to form effective strategies for future events.
The last thing event managers want to do when an event is over is spend more time on it. Yet, most event teams spend a significant amount of time pulling together reports, gathering additional data and sending follow-up emails after an event is over. Using an existing automation platform and CRM to complete post-event tasks can save hours of time. Technology dedicated to streamlining event processes allows an organization to tie its attendee and event records to opportunities, leads and contacts. Post-event tasks that can be completed by existing automation platforms and CRMs include:
Organizations can also streamline operations for recurring events by utilizing tools equipped with cloning software and recurring event features to create similar pages and event experiences. Rather than manually re-creating pages for every event, which requires setting up crucial details and necessary integrations, they can save hours of valuable time by using existing assets. Teams can then take existing information, such as marketing initiatives or the last events’ attendee list, to update events in the current pipeline.
As this new era of events evolves, so will the tools, technologies and strategies organizations use to ensure event success. Event managers can take steps to ensure their events thrive during this transition by improving the overall user experience, collecting necessary data, and harnessing the power of automation platforms for post-event work. Preventing and recognizing common pitfalls will best equip event managers to successfully execute their next event and reach their event goals. C&IT