EventTech Reactions

3 Key Takeaways From EventTech 2018

The EventTech conference is becoming less about the technology, and more about how the industry is using technology to deliver more engaging experiences.

The 2018 edition of Event Marketer’s annual event technology conference is now a wrap. As we’ve seen over the years, EventTech is and remains a rallying point for our community of brands, agencies, and technology providers. It's where we come together to reflect on case studies, get hands-on with demos, and explore future-facing trends.

As always, we had a blast preparing and presenting our EventTech talk on the top 15 trends to watch for in 2019. Beyond the trend-spotting, we couldn't help but notice a shift in this year's conversation.

As "events" transform into "experiences," the wow factor for the marketers, planners, and vendors that frequent the show is less about the new technology, and more about what the technology means for moments.

More than ever, people are focused on how to leverage emerging technologies to change behaviors, elevate engagement, and deliver data-rich insights for brand stake-holders.

And to that point, it's worth noting that going forward EventTech is actually merging with the annual Experiential Marketing Summit. But for now, let's stay focused on the show we just left and highlight a few of the major conversations you may have missed because, what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas...

Three Key EventTech Takeaways

1. Are You A Storyteller Or Storyseeker?

Event marketers are keen to leveraging social media to drive conversation and extend event messaging, however, we're starting to see less conversation creation and more conversation curation.

At events, there is of course a place for telling your brand story and doing so through a variety of formats and mediums. But a panel led by entrepreneur and digital persuasion expert Erin Gargan King, discussed the evolution of influencer marketing, and the shift away from leveraging celebrities to taking advantage of “macro, micro and every day” influencers to boost your social storytelling in a more authentic way.

It's now your job to find and tell the amazing stories of your attendees, rather than force feed pre-built stories through your event hashtags and social feeds. It's time to shift your thinking from 'what can we promote' to 'who can we promote' and to find those authentic stories happening on the show floor, then amplify them.

2. Real-Time Data, Now What?

Connected devices and platforms are giving us more data than ever before, but it's what we do with the data that matters.

For example, Klik makes event wearables that light up and enable attendees to exchange information. But beyond the expected data most event wearables collect—who met who, what booths saw the most traffic, how many people attended certain breakouts or keynotes—Klik now connects with SalesForce to promote more meaningful follow-ups.

When a prospect or high-value customer stops by your booth, their salesperson or account owner is notified. That interaction can indicate that the individual is interested in your product and also gives you fuel for a more valuable conversation and an opportunity to set up a new meeting.

On the analytics side, real-time data can help you understand traffic patterns—if attendees are arriving late to particular meetups or sessions, perhaps you notify them earlier. If certain areas are not getting the desired foot traffic, perhaps you move the coffee bar. If certain breakouts are getting more or less attention, perhaps rooms should be moved or topics changed.

Again, it's now about harnessing the power of all the wearable data to become smarter and more intentional with the attendee journey before, during, and after the event.

3. What's The Deal With Event Apps?

No question event apps are due for an upgrade and there are currently two disrupting approaches.

The first way forward is to build more and more features into existing app experiences and provide greater value in a single soup-to-nuts event app. This year’s Cisco Live event app offered an unprecedented level of full-featured intelligence, from personalized recommendations designed to help attendees build their schedules to an intelligent chat bot named “Clai” who acted as a personalized concierge.

The second approach is to leave behind the traditional event app and employ a lightweight AI-enabled chatbot solution to answer attendee questions as they arise. Where is my next session? When is lunch? One EventBot provider, Sciensio, finds that staff, volunteers, and attendees alike love the conversation style of event chatbots and prefer the "need-to-know" experience to feeling overwhelmed with information inside of a new app interface at every event.

What's Next For EventTech?

Technology is increasing our abilities as marketers to personalize experiences and connect people in meaningful ways with each other, with spaces, with brands, and all within these fleeting physical moments in time.

Events are still the best way to help people feel that sense of connectedness and to nurture a more active audience. New event technologies must be ever more pointed and intentional about delivering meaningful results when layered on top of or in tandem with this brave new world of brand experiences.

The next edition of EventTech has been announced for May 2019. Yes, EventTech and EMS are in fact merging and we are looking forward to rejoining our friends across the event and experiential marketing communities for an informative and inspirational event next Spring!

Don't forget to download this year's Event Technology Landscape "supergraphic" to keep your finger on the pulse of the experiential industry and learn about al the hottest vendors from event management, attendee activations, networking, social, and much more!

Written by

Joe Lovett

Director, Strategic Planning / Cramer

Additional contributions by: Jonathan Ronzio

Story EventTech 2018 Recap

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