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News

  • Corbin to be Inducted into the EIC Hall of Leaders +


    Corbin Ball, together with Henry Givray, Edward Liu, and Deborah Sexton will be inducted into the Event Industry Council's Hall of Leaders for 2018, the most prestigious honor in the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry.  The awards celebration will occur on October 16, 2018 in Las Vegas during IMEX America. 
         Personal note: I feel tremendously honored and
    Read More
  • The May/June 2018 Issue of Corbin's TechTalk News Now Available +

    The May/June 2018 issue of TechTalk  is  now available and is packed with new meetings technology articles, links and ideas! 

    In this issue:

    • NEW ARTICLE: Face Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events
    • NEW ARTICLE: Coping with Technology Change
    • NEWS
    • 15 LINKS FOR MEETINGS, BUSINESS AND FUN
    • QUOTES OF THE MONTH
    • RECENT ARTICLES WITH "QUOTES FROM CORBIN"
    • SUBSCRIBE AND THE FINE PRINT
    Read More
  • Corbin Ball & Co. Marks Its 21st Anniversary +

    In April of 1997, I left my career as Head of Conference Operations for a high-tech association (SPIE) to form my own speaking, consulting and writing firm focusing exclusively on technology for events, exhibitions and meeting venues. I was the first person to do this full-time -- the 'OG' of event tech! Today, I am happy to say there are many Read More

  • Corbin Named as One of the Top 30 CMP Influencers by the CIC +

    I am very happy and honored to be included with 29 other colleagues in this first peer-nominated influencers campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) program. 
    .
    As the 30th anniversary year of the Certified Meeting Professional Program began, the Convention Industry Council (CIC), which administers the program, wanted to recognize this milestone by honoring the CMPs
    Read More
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Latest Articles

  • 1 Face Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events
  • 2 Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change
  • 3 50 Ideas Using Video to Market and Improve Expos and Events
  • 4 Leveraging Social Influencers to Build Meeting Involvement and Attendance
  • 5 Event Chatbot 101 - Essential Questions Answered
  • 6 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas
  • 7 Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?
  • 8 Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges
  • 9 Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2017 Technology & Innovation Watch
  • 10 The Top 5 Benefits of Augmented Reality for Trade Shows
  • 11 Eight Meetings Tech Trends to Watch for 2018
  • 12 How to Leverage Live Social Media Coverage for Event Engagement
  • 13 Evolutionary Changes In The World Of Event Tech
  • 14 The Rise and Benefits of Text Apps and Chatbots for Events
  • 15 5 Major Developments in Augmented Reality (AR) that will Impact Events, Exhibitions and Venues

Event Planners: How Event Tech Might Just Save Your Job

©2016 Michael Piddock

Okay, okay… so that’s a pretty incendiary headline; deliberately so to encourage you to click J – but please hear me out…

Here’s my logic:

Events – and by that I include ‘meetings, incentives, conferences and events’ – the full ‘MICE’ suite, represent (on average) the largest item of expenditure in business-to-business marketing budgets. The data backing this up is here, and my own experience of running B2B marketing teams concurs.

Why’s that? Because face-to-face meetings simply work, particularly in B2B, where Company A might be selling to Company B, but really it’s a human-being in Company A selling to another human being (or beings) in Company B.

Relationships matter, and relationships are formed, nourished and cemented face-to-face. Direct meetings help, but events of all types remain a great way to get a lot of key people in one place at one time and get the deals done.

Event budget cuts – what happens next?

So businesses spend a lot running their own events or attending industry conferences, and supporting this with dinners, hospitality, sponsorship, etc. and the costs rack up, and they’re correctly attributed to the ‘events’ line in the marketing budget.

So what happens if (or when) we hit a recession, slowdown, or ‘bump in the road’ caused by something like a Brexit, Trump becoming US president or simply another banking downturn? If history is anything to go by, our finance directors and procurement teams will start looking at marketing budgets. Where will they look first? Probably at the top of the list – the big expenditure items – like the 25% of the budget spent on events.

And as I said – this is what happened in the last downturn. Marketing budgets were slashed more or less across the board, but events took the lion’s share of the cuts in the B2B space, and were slower to recover when the economy got going again.

But one area of the marketing budget seemed to escape the FD’s wrath – and it’s no surprise that it was that spent on digital marketing.

How did digital marketing escape?

While it’s fair to say that digital marketing has grown astronomically since 2008, I think it’s also fair to say that back then most of the people making the budget cuts didn’t really get that. What they did see, however, is that every pound, dollar or euro spent on digital marketing could be measured and its effectiveness tracked. Adwords led to website visits, which led to conversions which led to clients.

When it came to fighting for budget, our friends in digital marketing had a war-chest of useful data that could be used to prove that what they were doing worked, and cutting back was a false economy.

Meanwhile, in the events space, ROI wasn’t so clear cut. Back then, the data wasn’t great, and it wasn’t easy to quantify the success of X Conference versus Y Seminar. The measure of the success of particular events might have come from the more influential salespeople, and with the axe swinging their primary focus would have been saving their heads, rather than sticking up for an expensive line item in the marketing budget.

And so meetings, incentives, conferences and events budgets got cut, and unfortunately, many excellent and hard-working events planners got cut with them.

Event technology means the world has changed

Fortunately, now things are VERY different…

This time round, event planners have access to data. They have efficient marketing, ticketing and registration platforms to acquire attendees and ‘digitise’ them easily. They have social media networks and related tools to build valuable communities on and offline so that events are a key element of a broader marketing strategy, rather than just isolated activities. And event planners have access to a huge amount of technology to engage audiences at events, understand their needs, measure their interests and preferences, and convert them into loyal customers.

Event technology – including event apps, interactive presentation software, audience response systems and feedback tools – is capturing data. This is the data that, used well, will give event planners the arsenal of information they need when the accountants start running the rule over the marketing budget.

We’re seeing loads of event planners really starting to understand this and realising just how powerful technology can be – not just to engage audiences with participation or interactive Q&A – but also to simply gather data. Yet there are so many events still being run without a reliable means of measuring their success or impact.

So back to that headline…

Event technology might not save you your job. Your events might be smashing it and your job might not be at risk at all. However, event technology does provide you with a great way of really proving the value of what you do. Fight fire with fire – or rather, fight finance people with the sort of data they understand and can’t argue with…

So… if you’re not already, futureproof your budget by using event tech and data capture....


Mike Piddock is the founder and CEO of Glisser - an interactive presentation software solution that live-shares slides to audience devices, and integrates audience Q&A and polling to gather data at live events, big and small. Previously Mike ran marketing and events teams for global corporations and fast-growth companies, across the telecoms, IT and financial services industries.

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