A number of prominent trends have emerged in the meetings management (MM) space in recent months, leading to potentially significant change in the industry.
- A certain fatigue has affected the industry, as early adopters of MM programs have largely achieved their goals of driving savings and compliance.
- Brand managers have historically resisted MM programs, largely viewing efforts to control costs and ensure regulatory compliance as impediments to delivering customer engagement, brand loyalty, and sales.
- There is an ever-increasing need to supplement MM programs to enhance participant engagement and satisfaction at events, and deepen participant brand loyalty.
- Marketing executives need to prove, using event data, that the 20%-30% of their marketing campaign spent on live meetings is justifiable in light of shrinking marketing dollars.
- With commission reductions by Marriott and Hilton, program managers who have historically relied on the return of hotel commissions to subsidize the operation of their MM programs will now have to demonstrate the value of their programs when requesting operating budgets. This can lead to increased expense, reduced savings, and direct effects on meeting stakeholders, especially if commissions were returned to them to offset operational costs.
Taken together, these trends are bringing increased scrutiny on the value that MM programs provide. So as to not lose the benefits that have accrued already from MM programs, we need to develop engagement and measurement solutions, and tools to evaluate changes in participant behavior.Engagement and Measurement SolutionsEnhancing and measuring participant engagement
Organizations invest in live events to engage customers and develop brand loyalty, usually measured through sales. Participants attend live events primarily to learn something new and network with others. Creating events that meet both these goals provides participants with a worthwhile experience and contributes to brand loyalty, which in turn will lead to increased sales.
The live event marketing lifecycle provides numerous opportunities to enhance participants’ experience. Participants at live events expect highly individualized experiences tailored to their wants and needs, and marketers and event planners have multiple opportunities to create such experiences. Acquis provides strategies for which digital tools to use, and how to use them to enhance participant engagement and accomplish the event’s stated goals. Acquis can also gather touchpoints from each digital meeting tool to show attendee engagement in sessions, interactions with other attendees, satisfaction with sessions and the event, and so-on. These digital touchpoints can be used to create an event report card with metrics of interest to senior executives, such as client meetings, brand, budget, and sales.Community Creation
Using social media tools, Acquis can help create a participant community before the event to generate excitement and encourage attendance. We can use polling tools to solicit input from potential attendees in designing the event, enhancing their feeling of ownership. The sense of community created before the event can be carried into the event, using digital matchmaking apps, smart badges, and beacons to facilitate networking among participants, and keep them engaged for the following year.Personalized Experiences
During the registration process, we can collect psychographic data, such as personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle information, which we can use to determine preferred learning styles, goals for the event, interests for matchmaking purposes, etc. This information can then be built into the design of the event, affording individualized experiences for different attendees.Participant Engagement
Acquis staff assists the marketing team during the event to monitor participant engagement and satisfaction with sessions. Data collected from smart badges can determine attendees’ locations and allow for real-time notifications. Event apps engage participants through gamification, surveying, testing, and audience participation. Second-screen technologies allow attendees to annotate and send themselves slides from presentations, while allowing Acquis staff to determine what is of interest to attendees. Data collected from these event tools can be consolidated and used for future events.Participant Measurement
Data can be collected at both session and event levels for return on investment (ROI) purposes. Acquis staff works with the client’s marketing team to determine the goals of the event, and the metrics collected demonstrate the achievement of those goals. Acquis consolidates data from the digital tools during the event, and provides an event-level dashboard showing the success of the program. Acquis staff can also monitor ROI reporting from all client events over time, and provide both dashboards and analysis of ROI for the client’s overall event-management program, as well as specific event-level recommendations for future events. All reporting and ROI analysis is industry specific, measuring and reporting on metrics relevant to the client’s industry sector.Summary
Acquis Consulting Group brings extensive cross-functional expertise and experience to help clients engage their event participants and demonstrate event-level ROI. At the strategic level we help our clients decide which event technologies to use, and how to use them to engage participants and increase their satisfaction. We also help the client better understand whether the event is producing the desired business results, so the client can decide if the way it delivers events today is the best strategy. At the tactical level, we supplement the client’s marketing team, freeing it to do what it does best.
The following articles discuss various aspects of this emerging trend in greater detail. If you have questions, or are interested in this service, please contact Shimon Avish at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-609-2728.Further ReadingThe Future of Event Marketing: An Outlook on the Tech an Social Tools to Use for the Future Measuring Your Events Impact: Using Mobile App Analytics to Help Quantify SuccessThe Six Principles of Next-Generation Live MeetingsThe ‘Deep Dive’ Guide to Integrating Marketing Automation and EventsThe Next Big Opportunity: Mass Personalization and the Art of Brand ExperienceBy the Numbers: Using Measurement to Improve Your Brand Experience SuccessFive Ways to Use Live Meeting Analytics: A Conference Planner’s Guide to Meeting MonetizationSmart CMOs Are Seeing the Value of In Person Brand Experiences and EventsWhat You Don’t Know About R.O.I. and Why it Matters to Your Events and Your EnterpriseActionable Event Analytics: How to Use Data From Your Mobile App to Measure Success for Meetings and EventsIncrease the Payoff for B2B Events with Digital Immersion: Four Digital Best Practices Make Events More Contextual and EngagingThe Event Marketing Benchmark Report: Spring 2017