An even more in-depth and specialized approach, software management technology, can also provide a real-time picture of an event. This means constantly updated access to registration, presenters, scheduling of speakers and session attendance. Measuring every aspect of an event and collecting data for the long term can quantify the event, allowing for past/future comparisons so marketers can judge value over time.
“We improve measurement and automate meetings and events in real time,” said Paula Crerar, VP-marketing at nTag, an integrated event management technology company. “Today's audience is so used to manipulating the information they get and experience, they expect an immediacy. They expect to change the event based on the shared experience. We think of ourselves as bringing the online world to the face-to-face event.”
In the case of Global LINKS, another event management program, the technology allows event attendees to manage hotel reservations and the scheduling of private meetings. “All of our products are accessible via the Web. They are mobile,” said Shannon L. Ryan, director-product marketing worldwide at George P. Johnson Co., which created the software. “That's a key element because we understand that people are on the go. Having the real-time data enables them to make more strategic decisions.”
Using systems such as these can allow organizers much more freedom for change. As the technologies track every aspect of an event, they allow event auditing while the event is taking place.
“Networking is more targeted and more interactive,” Crerar said. “Then the attendee can provide instant feedback in the form of electronic survey, or through live voting or audience response.”
Global Links allowed Cisco Systems to have an immediate understanding of traffic patterns and session attendance, as well as an improved registration process, at its August Global Sales Meeting. The integration of the management software also allowed Cisco to enable organizers to communicate with each other more effectively, said Angie Smith, manager-operations and event management at Cisco.
“We have metrics built on just about everything,” Smith said. “The return on investment for me was that I had one full-time head-counter. Moving to the integration of Global LINKS allowed me to eliminate the person. I no longer needed that person—a piece of technology could do that for us.
“I would like to use it from now on,” she added. “The tool is just global. It takes into account and streamlines every piece of the event management business.” M