Investment comes in multiple forms. From firing up the activity of a marketing team to subscribing your company to a sales automation plan, the money you spend on new business products will (hopefully) increase company revenue and employee efficiency.
Improving the company logistics and investing in new marketing, sales, or service support tools is a natural step toward growth and innovation. However, there’s one last frontier that must be conquered.
According to the marketing research company Frost & Sullivan, organizations are spending more than $565 billion a year on events.
Not a small number, is it?
And almost $30 billion of these $565 billion is spent annually on manual processes that involve the planning and management of these events. That’s crazy, considering the difficulty of ROI evaluation and tendency for a sustainable resource distribution.
Morgan Stanley Equity Research, for example, highlights that event planning and event management remains one of the few areas of unmanaged expenditures within most corporations.
Something must change, don’t you think?
Investing in event automation and digitization seems like a reasonable solution. Check out some of the benefits of going digital:
Usually, when you look at things from an executive level, you might miss some important aspects. Ask your team or the person responsible for planning your brand events how much effort and stress goes into planning an event.
Also, find out the error risk when someone is manually managing the logistics, as well as how slow the entire process can be.
Let’s take, for example, the attendee online registration process. It can be extremely tedious to rely on Google forms, gather and analyze guest data, generate and send personalized invoices (which usually means manually creating Word invoices), wait for payments, scrutinize the registration list to identify who hasn’t paid yet and send them reminder emails ... need I go on?
Just thinking about all this can give anyone a headache.
Digitizing the event management means your team or employees will never have to think about doing everything manually ever again. Instead, you’ll set up the system, streamline the logistics, and dedicate the newly acquired free time to innovation, the event experience, or marketing strategies.
When you automatize the planning of your events, your unexpected expenses will decrease. Your team will know what their options are (if you decide to go for an event management system) and how much each option costs. Digitizing the event logistics allows you to foresee the overall expenditure and make better decisions regarding the event management itself.
A more professional look and feel
It’s not that your planning team (if you have one, although it’s more likely that someone from the marketing department or your personal assistant is responsible for managing an entire event) is unprepared or unprofessional. We both know how much effort and care they put into event logistics.
But let’s be honest: Badges created in Word will never look professional. An event page built on Wordpress.com will never compete with the ones created by experts. A poorly designed Word invoice will never be at the level of an automatically generated one.
You get the idea. To ensure a professional look and champion your event’s brand as an example of excellence, you’ll have to adopt an automated planning system.
So if you’re not quite there yet, but at least thinking about where to start and how to digitize your event, here are a few starting points to consider:
Step #1. Audit the planning protocols and assess the needs
It’s important to follow up on these tasks with the help of your planning team or the people responsible for managing your events. Schedule a series of meetings with them and discuss the event planning protocol (what actions they usually take when designing a new event).
Subsequently, focus on revealing those steps that are most challenging for the team and tackle the needs they have in terms of automation.
Note that they might not know certain tasks can be digitized, which is why it’s always better to invite someone (a professional event planner, for example) who knows the latest trends, but also is sensitive to reducing planning stress through automation.
Step #2. Set up specific selection criteria
I’m not going to lie: There are plenty of fish in the sea, and event automation options may seem abundant. It can be a bit overwhelming.
In order to pick the option that best meets your needs, you must have clear selection criteria. What are you looking for? What planning issues do you want to solve through digitization?
For example, if you’re mostly running brand events without a special emphasis on networking, then an event planning system based on fostering the one-on-one meetings between attendees might not be for you.
On the other hand, if your entire planning philosophy revolves around guest interactions, you might be interested in adopting an event logistics tool that can also provide you with a networking solution.
Make sure you thoroughly understand the event management protocols and needs of your planning team(s), so you can establish very specific selection criteria.
Step #3. Carefully evaluate the event tech market
Once you decide what you need, it’s time to take the plunge into the crowded waters of planning solutions. Check out sites like Capterra for more information about planning software or app reviews, or use Google to search for options. Make a list of the brands that are most suitable for your needs and move on the next analysis phase.
Step #4. Look for something that’s more than “just a product”
Let’s say you have 10 or 15 options on your list. How can you narrow it down to five or four brands? Always buy from companies that know to whom and what they are selling.
What does this mean? Check their content base. Do they have a useful and active blog? Can they help you and your team gain more insights about event planning and marketing? Do they have a strong onboarding and knowledge base?
Do they offer more than just a digital tool for managing events? A brand that truly cares about its customers will generate ongoing value on top of its product or service.
Step #5. Try a demo or talk with the sales team for more details
After narrowing down your list to just a few brands, you can take the next step and try the demo (if one is available) and see how user-friendly the planning system is. Take into consideration that, in some cases, learning a new system can sometimes be time-consuming.
However, when it comes to adopting an all-inclusive planning tool to fully digitize your event, your team will have to spend some time on understanding how it works.
Moreover, you could also schedule a few meetings with different sales teams and ask them questions about their systems. This will provide you with the necessary clarity to make an informed and grounded decision.
Automate for excellence
Purchasing an event management system to automate and digitize the planning protocol is so much more than just another bill to pay. It’s an important investment that will help your team decrease the logistics expenditure, while at the same time boosting your brand event’s impact on your audiences and increasing your professional excellence.