As a marketer, I typically enjoy exploring new and innovative approaches to business. That being said, I still want to invest my time in marketing disciplines that drive quantifiable business results. Unfortunately for me, new and innovative does not equal tried and true.
With the rate of new marketing technologies popping up on the scene daily (okay… hourly), this conundrum is affecting all sorts of marketers in their decision making process– including event planners.
If you’re an event planner on the market for an event management system, you’ll quickly notice on your path to finding the right solution that there’s a distinct fork in the road. While there isn’t one best direction for every event planner to take, you’ll want to consider which route will get you to your desired destination (namely, in front of potential attendees).
First let’s explore the two options…
To the Right
On the one side, it’s a clearly lit, trodden-down highway where countless others have gone before. The solutions at the end of this road are safe. They offer features such as:
- Secure payment processing
- Attendee badge printing
- Customizable registration questions
- The ability to put your company logo on the event registration page
This tried and true path might be what makes sense to you today, but keep in mind that if you’re purchasing an event management system, you’re probably going to be hosting more than one event in the next few years. How is your audience going to change in that time frame? These “safe” choices will definitely get the job done just fine for now, and they probably include all the features your boss asked you to look for. So it seems like the way to go, right? Not so fast…
To the Left
The other path is an uncharted route with gnarly branches, creatures that go bump in the night, and probably some booby traps along the way. I say that because this is a newly created path. Remember the scene in Beauty and the Beast where Belle’s dad gets lost in the woods? This path looks more like the one he chose. However, while this path might seem uncertain, at the end lies a whole new breed of event management solutions. They offer all the newest bells and whistles, such as:
- Integrations with social media sites
- Mobile apps for registration and attendee scheduling
- QR codes
- Online communities for attendees to interact
- Advanced marketing automation features
While this second path leads to a seemingly “enchanted” destination, these solutions might offer a lot of features that you don’t need for your events right now… or ever. Another risk of taking the unchartered path is that you’ll be a trailblazer in this type of event marketing (hence the scary path). Many of these newer event management solutions have added the technology to be mobile and social-friendly, but as far as the results generated from those features – it’s still up in the air.
Which Way to Turn?
You might be thinking, “I don’t know anything about social media, and mobile apps aren’t on my boss’s list, so that second one must NOT be the route for me.” And you may be right. But remember: your job as the event marketer is to ultimately drive registrations to your events. So the right path for you is not just what makes sense for your organization, but ultimately what makes sense for your future attendees. You might not care much about those snazzy new features, but they might be pretty important to your attendees.
For instance, if you’re hosting a conference for digital marketers, you better believe that they’ll expect a social component to the event. And, they will probably pass the word along to fellow digital marketers through social media (thus boosting registrations). On the other hand, if you’re hosting a corporate board meeting, you likely won’t have many attendees wanting to tweet about it. Techies will probably want to register for an event through their mobile devices. Your grandparents might not.
So while you’re debating which way to turn in the event management software buying process, put yourself in your attendees’ shoes and see which way they would venture. Chances are, you’re going to be happier with your event management solution if your registrants are happy with it.