Presentations

Informative, thought-provoking, inspiring and fun programs. Read More

Consulting

Boost your company's technology with Corbin’s consulting services. Read More

Corbin’s Link List

The web’s most extensive list of industry categorized links! Read More

Articles

Hundreds of free articles on meetings technology and event planning. Read More

TechTalk

Subscribe to Corbin's Free High-Content Bi-Monthly Newsletter. Read More

Software Tools

Free planning tools, spreadsheets, templates, handbooks, & more. Read More
  • 1
 

News

  • The July/August 2018 Issue of Corbin's TechTalk News Now Available +

    The July/August issue of TechTalk News   is now available and is packed with new meetings technology articles, links and ideas! 

    In this issue:

    • NEW ARTICLE: As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Stay the Same
    • NEW PODCAST: Leading Learning: Technology, Meetings and Learning with Corbin Ball
    • NEW ARTICLE: 5 Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019
    • NEWS
Read More
  • Corbin to Chair IBTM's Technology and Innovation Watch Award for the 15th Year. +

    This award is the longest running and one of the event industry's most significant award recognizing technology innovation - the "Academy Awards" of events technology. I am very pleased to I have been asked again to chair the judging committee. This award is a great opportunity for technology companies to show their new stuff and get a free booth at IBTM
    Read More
  • Calling #EventTech Providers: IBTM Technology Watch Award Applications Are Now Open +

    The IBTM Technology Watch, established in 2000, is the original meetings technology award! I have had the honor of chairing the judging committee for the past 15 years and am eagerly looking forward to doing so again this year. This award has highlighted wide assortment of international events technology innovations that continue to impact the events industry. With new ideas
    Read More
  • 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
  • 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

    • 1

    Latest Articles

    • 1 As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same
    • 2 Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019
    • 3 Face Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events
    • 4 Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change
    • 5 50 Ideas Using Video to Market and Improve Expos and Events
    • 6 Leveraging Social Influencers to Build Meeting Involvement and Attendance
    • 7 Event Chatbot 101 - Essential Questions Answered
    • 8 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas
    • 9 Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?
    • 10 Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges
    • 11 Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2017 Technology & Innovation Watch
    • 12 The Top 5 Benefits of Augmented Reality for Trade Shows
    • 13 Eight Meetings Tech Trends to Watch for 2018
    • 14 How to Leverage Live Social Media Coverage for Event Engagement
    • 15 Evolutionary Changes In The World Of Event Tech
    • As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same

      We are living in a time of unprecedented technology change. How will these changes affect meetings and tradeshows? Will they remain a central form of education, networking and marketing? Will virtual meetings and other communication technologies replace the need for face-to-face events and exhibitions? Although there will likely be very

      Read More
    • Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019

      ©2018 - Guest Post by  Ryan Gould, Elevation Marketing

      If you’re a business owner or marketer who’s serious about maximizing ROI, then you need to have a presence at industry trade shows. It’s all in the statistics—when it comes to efficiency, 85% of B2B marketers and salespeople say that trade shows

      Read More
    • Face Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events

      Face recognition (FR) is rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. iPhone X users open their phone using FR as their passwords. Airlines and TSA are starting to use FR as a faster and more secure way of check-in and boarding flights. Apple, Facebook, Google and Snapchat have made recent

      Read More
    • Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change

      When laptops computers first appeared in the early 1990s, manufactures called them “freedom machines” with ads showing smiling users inputting at the poolside and the beach. We don’t see these ads anymore. People are aware that technology isn’t increasing our leisure time -- we seem to be working harder than ever!

      Read More
    • 50 Ideas Using Video to Market and Improve Expos and Events

      ©2018 By Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES

      Video marketing is king! The State of Video Marketing in 2018 report from Wyzowl details numerous survey statistics about the growth and increasing power of using video for marketing products and services.

      This applies to events. The creative use of video can help

      Read More
    • Leveraging Social Influencers to Build Meeting Involvement and Attendance

      ©2018,  Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES

      Celebrity endorsements have been around since the start of advertising. The athletes on the Wheaties box, the movie star promoting to the TV cameras, the Nike Swoosh on sports star’s clothing all are part of advertising. Psychologists have long realized that buyers are more

      Read More
    • Event Chatbot 101 - Essential Questions Answered

      ©2018 Guest post by Mark Kao, COS Rental

      Chatbots aren’t new. Joseph Weizenbaum created a prototype in 1966 and named it ELIZA. But the idea didn’t catch on until 50 years later.

      Today, chatbots are the talk of the event planning and marketing town. If you’ve wanted to know more

      Read More
    • 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas

      Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES

      As someone who sees a wide array of event designs in the 30-40 events I attend annually, it is refreshing to see a number of innovative event designs in a single conference. This was the case with the recent EventTech conference in Las Vegas produced

      Read More
    • Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?

      ©2018 Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES, MS

      What is blockchain?

      According to Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016),“blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

      Blockchain is a means of managing electronic

      Read More
    • Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges

      ©2018 Robert Walters, Meeting Evolution

      Recent articles have indicated that many organizations attempting to deploy a Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) technology solution have not experienced the savings and improvement they expected.  In many instances, the reason has nothing to do with the technology selected – but the internal procedures and processes

      Read More
    • Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2017 Technology & Innovation Watch

      ©2017 Corbin Ball, Chair of the IBTM Technology & Innovation Watch Judging Committee

      Established in 2000, The IBTM World Technology & Innovation Watch is the longest running and regarded by many as the most significant technology award for the meetings industry. The goals are to recognize technology innovation and to

      Read More
    • The Top 5 Benefits of Augmented Reality for Trade Shows

      ©2017 Guest Post by Brendan Scully, Scully Creative Labs LLC

      Trade shows offer a great opportunity to promote your business and its products, but you have to do what you can to make the most of this opportunity. You are competing with other companies for attention, so it is important

      Read More
    • Eight Meetings Tech Trends to Watch for 2018

      These are exciting times. The rate of technology change is accelerating with thousands of ideas, apps and innovations bubbling up to help meeting planners, exhibitors, venues and other meeting participants to do their jobs better and improve the attendee experience.

      This annual review covers many of the major events technology

      Read More
    • How to Leverage Live Social Media Coverage for Event Engagement

      Guest post by Reno Marci

      Live events have a unique value to marketers, because they afford businesses face-to-face time with potential customers, allow for physical demonstrations of products and services, and can be used for lead generation purposes. However, social media means that interactions no longer need to be face-to-face

      Read More
    • Evolutionary Changes In The World Of Event Tech

      Guest posting by Kevin Maddox

      Mobile phones and computers were considered science fiction in the early nineties. Back then, video chatting was also a distant dream, or rather it was a concept that was solely reserved for Star Trek. Technology has progressed exponentially since then. Last decade, we saw virtual

      Read More

    Meetings and Marketing Meet: Three Ways Events Are Becoming Central to an Overall Marketing Effort

    Meetings Meet Marketing
    ©2017 Corbin Ball & Co.

    Events and tradeshows have posed a significant challenge to marketers. Although events are proven promotional tools, they have lacked detailed data collection and analytics capabilities found with other marketing vehicles such as email campaigns and websites. Much of what happened at the event or tradeshow, stayed at the event or tradeshow!

    However, this is changing.

    With the recent explosion of onsite data collection and analytics tools, meetings will no longer be the “black hole” of marketing analytics. Events and tradeshows are beginning to provide a goldmine of data detailing attendee preferences, interests, movements and interactions. These data can help meeting planners make mid-course corrections on existing events and improve future ones; they can provide significantly more value for exhibitors; they can provide attendees with a much richer and more personalized experience.

    With the integration of sales automation tools and CRM systems, customer behavior at events can now be tracked in precise detail. Event analytics are moving to a central position in the marketing mix and can help planners using these tools take a seat a C-Level table with sales and marketing executives. New corporate positions such as VP of Sales Analytics and SVP of Sales Effectives point to this shifting trend towards the importance of analytics. Event planners and marketers can work together to improve the event and provide a much more detailed profile of the attendee (customer) interests and desires while elevating the importance of events within the organization.

    There are three trends that are making this possible:

    1. The explosion of onsite data collection tools:

    The past few years have seen very significant increase in onsite data collection tools:

    • Mobile event apps: Mobile event apps have become the norm at many events and provide participants with rich detail about the event and a range of networking tools. As every touch in the app can be trackable, a wealth of data about user interests, likes, dislikes and interactions can be gleaned.  The mobile app providers are beginning to refine the data analytics within their products to provide significant marketing insight.
    • Fixed beacons: BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices (known as iBeacons or beacons) working with mobile event apps can measure crowd flow and individual participant movements. Interactions are based on location.  With beacon technology, not only is every touch trackable, every movement can be.  Some of the capabilities include:
      • Heat maps: the measurement of crowd flow through an exhibit hall to see where the hot spots are and where they are not.
      • Dwell times:  Beacons cans measure the time an attendee stands in front of a booth – if an attendee spends 15 minutes in a booth, they are likely more interested in the product than if they were just walking by. This list of interested booth visitors is very valuable to the exhibitor, but, from the other side, a list of the exhibitors and the time spent would be useful to attendees as well.  
      • Session attendance for CEU (continuing education units) tracking: This is very important for medical, pharmaceutical, some financial events and other meetings requiring continuing education, but is also valuable information about attendee interests in general.
      • Networking: It is possible using this technology for attendees to detect people of like interests who are near them for networking purposes. These interests are also a valuable component of attendee interest profiles.
    • Wearable beacons: Wearable beacons can do everything that fixed beacon can do and more. About the size of a U.S. quarter, they are inserted or attached to badges and can work independently from mobile apps. So, the attendee doesn’t need to download a specialized app and have their mobile device charged with Bluetooth on for them to work. The result often is a much higher use utilization rate, but at a higher cost.
    • Mobile polling, survey and social Q&A applications: Mobile event apps and standalone apps have made surveys and audience polling much easier and cheaper for an event planner to manage… and at a small fraction of the cost of renting polling keypads. The results can give immediate feedback to planners and speakers about attendee thoughts and sentiment. Social Q&A tools, where attendees text and up-vote questions, facilitate group interaction and point to what matters to the audience.
    • Second screen technology: Second screen technologies, such as Educational Measures, allow attendees to interact with onscreen visuals on individual tablets and other mobile devices. This technology can provide very precise detail of engagement, of individual attendee interests and responses to built-in polling and survey data.
    • Gamification: Gamification tools, increasingly found as part of a mobile event app, create better and more meaningful experiences. These data points are also very useful for adding to attendee profiles.
    • NFC badges and NFC USB sticks:  Although NFC (near field communication technology) has been around for some time, the ability to quickly exchange contact and other data between attendees and exhibitors with a tap of a badge or a standalone NFC device (such as Poken) is extremely helpful as well as valuable from a marketing perspective
    The myriad of data collection tools listed above provide very precise detail of attendee actions, behavior and interests. This starts to become actionable when combined with the increased analytic capabilities of registration, mobile event app and standalone engagement technologies combined with interoperability with sales force automation and CRM and marketing automation systems (see next sections).
    2. The rise of data integration capabilities:

    Data management systems are maturing to where integration is a much simpler task. With state-of-the-art cloud-based event technology systems and advanced APIs (application programming interfaces), it is now possible to collect and analyze onsite data and connect them with CRM tools such as SalesForce.com – closing the loop from a marketing standpoint.

    Interoperability is at the center with much of the change that is happening.

    One example is Eventbrite, a basic consumer-oriented event invitation, registration and ticketing system. This San Francisco based company has been built from the start to be interoperable with others and lists hundreds of software products that it integrates with in its Eventbrite Spectrum page.

    Consortiums of newer cloud-based event technology companies are working together to share data and work as one.  For example, Swoogo (event registration), Hubb (abstract collection/exhibitor management/scheduling/task management), InGo (social marketing), DoubleDutch (mobile event app), and InsightXM (data analytics and marketing) work together integrating data as if they were a single platform providing rich data and marketing capabilities among them.

    Other options for planners are integration platform-as-a-service products such as Built.io, providing solutions to more easily integrate a wide range of software systems into CRM and marketing automation tools.  Features include workflow maps, ties to enterprise collaboration tools such as Cisco Spark or Slack, data mapping, activity triggers for complex workflows, mobile app integration, API builders, API debugging and testing tools and more. In essence, they make the process of integrating modern software products much simpler.

    The benefit for meeting planners is that they can choose a assortment of specialized event software products and figuratively bolt together to work together seamlessly. Meeting planners will be able to find highly customized solutions using multiple technology products with the ability to extract valuable marketing data is if they were a single platform. 

    This rich interoperability makes it much easier to analyze the data and bring it back to CRM systems.  Customer behavior and interests expressed at meetings can, therefore, be tied to customer profiles allowing for much better marketing intelligence and more customized sales communication.

     3. Advances in analytics and marketing automation systems:

    Marketing automation refers to technology used streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows to increase operational efficiency and grow revenue. Companies such as Marketo, Eloqua, SilverPop and HubSpot have been evolving progressively capable marketing automation products over the past few years.

    Finally, with advances in cloud-based computing and APIs, event technology companies have been able to integrate with these companies to greatly improve marketing efficiency. We now have the technology to make data actionable. Events and exhibitions can now be integrated into a unified marketing program.

    Here are some examples:

    • Vista Equity Partners’(owners Lanyon and Cvent– the world’s two largest event technology firms) purchase of marketing automation firm Marketo for US$1.8 billion is an example of how the big players are recognizing that live events are a significant component of a broader marketing landscape. The ability to wed live event data with customer (attendee) profiles is a major step forward for combining the data flow from all sources to provide a much more targeted relationship. Ties to marketing automation platforms and CRM systems are a natural step forward.
    • DoubleDutch, one of the leading mobile event app companies, integrates with Eloqua, Marketo and Salesforce. Their homepage emboldened title is “LIVE ENGAGEMENT MARKETING” without even a mention of mobile technology indicating the importance of using onsite technology in a marketing campaign.
    • Certain Software has been an industry pioneer with marketing automation. This major attendee management software firm has had ties with Eloqua and other related companies for the past several years. The opening page of their website now proclaims “Enterprise Event Automation Software” with a white paper on Integrating Marketing Automation and Events indicating a significant corporate move in this direction. Certain’s new “Event Intelligence” functionality allows marketers to tie event data within a marketing automation platform. Onsite attendee activity can be scored within the marketing platform allowing marketing campaigns to connect more directly to attendee needs.
    • Etouches, another major attendee management company, provides an “all-in-one event management platform” with 16+ modules to perform a wide range of event technology tasks. They have allied with Silverpop, part of IBM Marketing Solutions portfolio, for marketing engagement and acquisition services.
    • Feathr, originally a mobile event app company, promotes “Feathr’s Marketing Cloud,” a set of digital marketing tools to track event websites, publications, and newsletters to analyze more than twenty features for every action registrants perform – including time of day, session length, platform (mobile vs. desktop), browser, screen size, cursor position, geographic location, and more.
    • Splash markets as a “one-stop event shop” to provide “all the tools Event Marketers need in one place.” They provide a range of guest list management, web design tools, email marketing tools, mobile apps and more with integration to Marketo, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics.

    Future Trends:

    Financial services, pharmaceutical and technology companies are some of the key vertical markets pushing the events analytics envelope. And the efforts are paying off! Tracking the wealth of onsite behavior and incorporating into customers’ profiles allow a more precise measure of the event ROI and helps companies make marketing decisions with a better view of customer needs and preferences. As the trends mentioned above mature, we will see costs come down and become more accessible and routine for a wider range of events.

    Additionally, new data options including artificial intelligence and predictive analytics (making statistically-based predictions of behavior through analyzing current and past behavior) will becoming available. Event planners and marketers will be able to make the best choices based on the data.

    As meeting planners are often intimately involved in the onsite technology purchase decisions, they can help to elevate their events marketing impact with the right technology choices. This is a rapidly changing area, but there are many good choices to make now. Event planners should embrace these new onsite data collection, integration and analytic tools to figure out which ones are most applicable for their events. They, then, can work with their event marketers and other C-suite executives to grasp the true power of face-to-face marketing.


    Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES, MS is a speaker and independent third-party consultant focusing on meetings technology. With 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity He can be contacted at his extensive web site Corbin Ball Associates - Meetings Technology Headquarters (www.corbinball.com) and followed at www.twitter.com/corbinball. Subscribe to Corbin's free every-other-month, high-content TechTalk Newsletter/Blog at www.corbinball.com/techtalk.

    Pin It

    What The Audience Is Saying

    • Fantastic seminar! Very exciting advances to come. Your enthusiasm is contagious.
      Michele Mamacos Manager of Events Services
      Northlands
    • Amazing! I have not learned so much in such a short time ever! I want more!
      Rafael Olivares Sales Executive
      Finnish Tourism Board
    • "Way beyond the best I could have imagined!"
      Russell Clark Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S.
      Environmental Protection Agency
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3