Event tech is a double-edged sword for many marketers. On the one hand, event marketers know event engagement drives return on investment (ROI). Engaging Events 2016 states 91% of event professionals say increasing event engagement is an organizational priority. Yet, marketers struggle to define and create event ROI for their organizations, let alone communicate event ROI to colleagues outside of marketing, who may not have a realistic understanding of how or when the return on event marketing can realistically be recognized.
Event Tech Evolution: From Apps to Always-On
As smartphones became ubiquitous, event tech seemed to hold the promise of both event engagement and tracking of event ROI. Suddenly, every event had its own app. Planning and development of event apps became a critical part of event planning.
Despite the prevalence of event apps, though, event tech continues to be a tough nut to crack. Coming into 2017, event professionals were still dealing with the following issues:
Low Adoption – Less than 50% of event attendees use event apps. This is partly due to some of the challenges marketers cite with event apps and partly a reflection of overall smartphone trends. Comscore reports that half of smartphone users now download zero apps per month, greatly reducing the chances that your event app will event be downloaded, let alone adopted.
Spotty Connectivity – While most event apps depend on wi-fi connectivity for many or all of the most important features, marketers continue to report event wi-fi accessibility and quality as abysmal. Nearly 35% cite this as a major frustration with event apps.
Poor Compatibility – Even in the best case scenario, where attendees both download and engage with event apps—and have great wi-fi connectivity—getting data in and out of many event apps is challenging. With ever increasing costs and complexity in their martech stacks, marketers remain disillusioned with event tech’s poor compatibility with other platforms.
These issues are causing many event professionals to take a step back and evaluate their approach to event tech. While attendees expect a connected experience, in many cases, a complex, costly and time consuming event app may not be the answer to event engagement.
Further, with the emergence of always-on marketing, the event experience now extends to before, during and after events:
“The wealth of digital options and technology has fostered a new mindset for events: rather than being stand-alone, individual experiences, they are now becoming single touch points in an always-on, year-round portfolio of marketing strategies. Content generated at face-to-face events is being shared online to keep people engaged long before and after the events occur.”
When Less is More: A New Approach to Event Tech
Instead of focusing on an event app with a limited lifespan, keep in mind these three principles, when evaluating event tech geared towards creating event engagement:
Simplicity – Identify a few key areas attendees find critical to a great experience, and address those well
Accessibility – Plan for poor wi-fi by leveraging messaging platforms that do not depend on wi-fi to be successful. This also removes barriers to entry caused by low interest in downloaded apps.
Continuity – Meet attendees where they already, interact in everyday life, with your event tech, rather than expecting them to come to your app. This makes event content evergreen and opens the door to always-on communication.
By creating continuous conversations on the messaging platforms on which people already spend 91% of their digital time, event professionals can reap the rewards of continuous engagement.
The Future of Event Tech: A.I. Chatbots
How can event marketers create always-on, personalized, relevant conversations with audiences, at scale, while spending less than they are spending on event apps today? The answer lies in leveraging A.I. chatbots.
A.I. chatbots have the power to create personalized, on-demand experiences that act as the best representation of your brand, every time. They can create customized experiences, in the language of users, guided by real-time input and feedback from those users.
Below are three ways event professionals can leverage this emerging event tech:
Event Attendance Promotion – Instead of ineffective generic spray and pray marketing, using cold calls and call centers, leverage SMS text and messaging with A.I. driven, human assisted chatbots to assess and encourage event registration and attendance.
Event Engagement and Concierge – Greet attendees and offer specialized content for their interests, gather real-time feedback and promote deeper engagement with event sessions.
Post-Event Follow Up – Get feedback on the event, drive attendees towards follow-up calls-to-action and even get a jump start on registration for next year
How AtlasRTX Can Help
AtlasRTX combines A.I. driven chatbots with human-assisted conversations to create real-time customer experiences that drive engagement and sales. AtlasRTX offers customers relevant, on-demand interactions, anytime, anywhere, in any language, without a full-time staff to support it.