Every event organizer I’ve ever met has a few goals in mind for each event. The organizer’s goals tend to be: bring in top quality speakers and make sure the sponsors and attendees are happy. As you dig a bit deeper, most organizers do events for a greater sense of purpose in knowing that they have helped connect people and ideas for increased business, friendships and, ultimately, a positive ROI. Months and months of hard work go into creating an event and it all comes down to a few days of execution. Once the event has started, it’s a whirlwind of putting out small fires and making sure all the moving parts are in place to deliver a great show. This is where some of the organizer’s goals begin to fall short and often leave attendees with a sense of “that was a great event, but…” feeling that we’ve all had. An attendee has very similar goals: Learn new information, create new business, make friends and ultimately have a positive ROI!
The Problem: Events Are Getting Larger and Larger
Gone are the days of a hundred attendees at an event. Nowadays it’s not uncommon to attend an event with a thousand to tens of thousands of people. What this means is that it has become harder and harder for us to connect with the people who will matter most when it comes to achieving our goals. Have you ever tried to set a place to meet with someone just to find out it’s nearly impossible to find each other in the sea of people? Your goal may have been to meet ten specific people or to hear a certain speaker, but with all the organized chaos going on it just didn’t happen. As events get bigger and bigger it tends to be a win-win for organizers and sponsors but not always for attendees. When the event is over and the hangovers have subsided we are often left with a list of people we didn’t get to meet and a handful of business cards that are a nice to have but not a need to have.
The Solution: Technology
I believe that it’s time to apply technology in a better way to make sure all parties who help make an event possible (Organizer, Sponsors, Speakers, Attendees) can achieve their goals. We all know that the bigger the event is the more likely you will not have proper Internet access. Murphy’s Law! This tends to be the only technology we get access to and we are left alone to come up with a tactical plan on how to chase down and meet those who matter most to us. In the year 2013, we have better options and should be utilizing these as a standard to make great events even greater. A good event technology should take all parties in mind and utilize both mobile and web to help us connect with valuable prospects: before, during and after each event. Here are a few companies that are working on this and are worth a look:
1) Presdo Match
Presdo is founded by Linkedin Co-Founder Eric Ly and used by large scale conferences like LeWeb. One would argue that with good clients and a seasoned entrepreneur behind the helm, Presdo will be a company to keep an eye on! Presdo Match provides rich people and company directories and enables participants to network and plan their activities, while offering new ways to market your event and create new revenue streams.
DoubleDutch has been around for several years and we’ve been lucky to have the founder Lawrence Coburn on stage at SFNewTech. With over $18 million in funding and large events like CPAC utilizing the technology, they aren’t going away any time soon! DoubleDutch helps bring your events from good to great with data-driven mobile technology. Use engagement data from your mobile event app to ensure that each event is better than the previous one.
Active Network is the 800 Pound Gorilla when it comes to event software and technology. A publicly traded company (ACTV), Active has over a decade of experience and thousands of customers. ACTIVE Network – Business Solutions delivers event management and registration software that enables organizations of all sizes to run SMART EVENTS™—the next generation of events that save you time and money, build better relationships with your attendees, and grow your business faster.
Events as a way to increase business, learn new skills and make friends is here to stay! We should all be responsible for helping to make each event a success for all those who are involved. Working together and not only having access to new technologies but adopting them, utilizing them and encouraging our peers to use them will help make each event better and help us reach our goals of a positive ROI.
Matthew M. Gonzales – Guest Contributor
Ex-Marine from Bakersfield, CA who landed in Silicon Valley and spends lots of time in Dublin, Ireland. Over 9 years of consulting with tech companies and loving every minute of it! Read more from Matt on his blog.