Event and meeting planners typically end up choosing between two tech platforms. What are their pros and cons?
Today’s event planners can choose from a host of technology platforms to manage nearly every aspect of the meeting planning process and benefit attendees.
With so many choices, how can they make the correct choices in deciding which platform to use?
Many event planners end up choosing between two major options, the Classic Event Platform and the Event Tech Desk.
Each solution has potential strengths and challenges, as meeting technology consultant Corbin Ball explains.
The Classic Event Platform
Companies that supply a classic event platform provide comprehensive technology solutions to address many aspects of the meeting planning process. This includes registration, event website, marketing, scheduling, logistics management, content management, speaker management, and more.
These platforms aim to be a one-stop shop that allows event planners to meet most or all of their event tech needs.
- Planners can decide on the vendor and can typically choose from a broad menu of technology offerings. With fewer vendors, there is less negotiation time needed.
- Comprehensive platforms aim to provide seamless data integration among all the technology products within the company.
- In an ideal world, the user interface should feel the same among all the varied technology products therefore requiring less training. The look and feel should be the same among the various product subsets.
- It is a huge technology task for a company to cover all aspects of the needs of all types of meetings. This is an enormously complex challenge!
- Historically, data integration has been a harder task, especially for older, legacy systems.
- For some meetings, dealing with these mega companies with thousands of employees may be more than is needed for small, simple events in terms of cost and complexity.
The Event Tech Deck
The other main option is to choose a variety of different vendors, based on the specific technology needs of the event—to create a “deck” of different vendors.
- Planners can choose the “best of breed” specific tech solution to meet their exact needs. This can be less expensive and more targeted to the specific planning needs.
- Technology innovation is flourishing with new ideas popping up frequently. They are often start-up ventures. This option does not lock planners into one big system that may be slower to respond to new developments.
- There is significant progress being made in terms of data integration among smaller, independent meeting tech vendors.
- Multiple vendors require separate discovery, vetting, negotiations and more time.
- The user interface among varied tech products can be different requiring separate training.
- Historically, one of the biggest challenges is that there has been a lack of easy data integration among the different products – leading to a failure to easily collect data from multiple sources about specific attendee journeys (to better customise marketing and communication to that individual for future contact) and collectively to improve the overall event. This, however, is changing.
Moves toward event deck data integration
Data management systems are maturing to where integration is a much simpler task making the concept of an integrated event tech deck more feasible.
With state-of-the-art cloud-based event technology systems and advanced application programming interfaces (APIs), it is now possible to collect and analyse onsite data and connect them with popular CRM tools—closing the loop from a marketing standpoint. Interoperability is at the centre with much of the change that is happening.
The benefit for meeting planners is that they can choose an assortment of specialised event software products work together easily—an event tech deck.
Meeting planners are be able to find highly customised solutions using multiple technology products with the ability to extract valuable marketing data is if they were a single platform.
This rich interoperability makes it much easier to analyse the data and bring it back to CRM systems. Customer behaviour and interests expressed at meetings can, therefore, be tied to customer profiles allowing for much better marketing intelligence and more customised sales communication as well as general, overall data insights to improve events.
So, which planner to choose: the platform or the deck?
Both paths have their strengths and challenges. The good news is both paths are providing much better data integration and analytics options to broaden the options and improve events.
The two major event tech options—the Classic Event Platform and the Event Tech Desk—both have advantages and disadvantage, but both are big improvements on previous options.