21 Aug Let your events benefit from digital transformation
Events are the last standing marketing tactics from the pre-digital era. The role of marketing has greatly changed in the past 10 years: the use of internet and related digital tools has given marketing a more important and strategic position. The power of the customer, digitally transformed before all marketing departments did so, expresses itself mainly in digital ways. Depending on the industry up to 70% of decision making is done digitally.
This transformation has left events largely untouched, now it’s time they catch up! Speaking to my peers everyone agrees, but how to get it done? I will address the “how” in an upcoming blog, and will focus in this post on “what” we want to achieve with the digital transformation of events.
Let’s take a graph by McKinsey that shows how Digital Transformation is driving business value and adapt it to events to understand what digital transformation of events is all about.
• Participant experience: digital tools enable us today to provide a seamless and consistent experience for participants of any type of event. Most events are now pretty good at invitation and registration processes, including the upfront distribution of badges. Improvement can be made in the use of digital tools during the event and in the often neglected post-event phase.
• Event innovation: Virtual events and webinars are now mainstream: the wider and easier use of video is helping this to grow, AR and VR technology will help creating event more innovative event concepts. As in other areas of marketing, digital tools can be used to co-create event content with participants, interact more dynamically with them and capture the exchange to develop participant relations further. In this area event organizers can still make a lot of progress.
• Distribution, marketing and sales: events serve many different objectives, of which lead generation is the most important one. Not many event organizers are using the digital tools, available to qualify leads in real-time at events: however this is where events generate their ROI. Participant interaction could be better captured, and qualified data stored real-time in CRM and Marketing Automation systems, ready for follow-up by sales staff or business partners.
• Digital event fulfillment: live, in-person events as well as their virtual counterparts can enrich the participant experience by delivering content in “digital bags”, holding surveys in real-time and add gamification. Doing this in a smart way will help you understand what your participants are really interested in and build their profile in your database. A not to be missed opportunity for lead qualification.
• Targeting: Thanks to documented insights in customers and prospects we can now better target them for our events. Over the years, I’ve seen events diminish in size but increase in quality and ROI. Event participant data can also be used for further nurturing of the lead or customer, through a cross-channel approach. Digital transformation plays a key role in all of this.
• Enhanced Corporate Control: With ever more enriched databases underlying our CRM and Marketing Automation systems, we are able to produce reports and dashboards and get them delivered to the boardroom in an automated way. Nothing new you would say, but why then are still so many folks panicking over a request for reports from their superiors?
The model we followed is circular, meaning that the final step feeds into the first one. Each of the results of digital transformation of events is driven by data, connection, innovation and automation, as it does for digital transformation in general.
In the next blog post we’ll discuss how the digital transformation of events can be achieved. You will see that the transformation is not technology driven but based on finetuning of people, processes, data and IT tools.