You’ve run an event technology assessment to better understand your strategic needs, you’ve gotten buy-in from your team, you’ve asked around your network, and you’ve narrowed down your list of prospective event marketing platforms to a slim few.
Now comes the hard part: Determining which platform is the best for your organization.
At the end of the day, event marketing platforms share a lot of functions in common. However, it’s where they differ that will make the difference. And, it’s in your conversations with sales representatives and product experts that you will best understand those differences.
These are the technical questions that you need to be asking.
1) How does your platform integrate with other platforms?
No event marketing platform exists in silo. To get the most out of your platform you will likely need it to sync with other platforms in your event technology stack. These platforms could include CRMs, marketing automation platforms, business intelligences tools, event management platforms, communication tools, on-site registration tools and more.
There are several different methods by which platforms can integrate with one another, each of which requires different skill sets and degrees of labor:
Native Integration: Otherwise known as “out-of-the-box” integrations, native integrations come ready to activate. Despite this simple first step, native integrations can get somewhat technical when it comes to mapping the specifics of how the two platforms will work with one another.
iPaaS: Integration platforms as a service work as the middle-man between your platform and another one. Because iPaaS put in the technical work for you, they are often easy to set-up. The downside is that they can be less customizable.
Open API: By far the most flexible integration solution, open API is also the most technical. Here, developer expertise is required as you are basically building the integration between two platforms from scratch.
In the era of the internet, roughly 30% of consumers expect to communicate with brands via digital channels. Having an event website is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. While it’s possible to build your event website using a third-party platform like Wix or Wordpress, many event marketing platforms come equipped with tools for accomplishing this self-same task.
This comes with the added advantage of being able to more easily reconcile your event data—from website visits to conversions.
You may want your team to be able to quickly make websites themselves. If so, then you may want to to look into a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) website builder. These sorts of tools require little to no website design experience.
Ask to see a variety of website examples to get a better idea of what is and is not possible within your event marketing software.
3) Does your platform come with an event app? If so, how can you track event app adoption?
From networking and session management to venue navigation and interactive polls, event apps have a lot to offer attendees. If implemented well, they can create a polished attendee experience.
Some event marketing software providers will include an event app with their product. Others will charge extra. Some providers may offer comprehensive branding features that make your app an extension of your event brand, while others will not.
Some features to look for in event apps include:
Personal Schedule Builder
Special Offers from Partners and Sponsors
Live Polls and Surveys
Social Media Integrations
Regardless of the type of event app you use, there is only one thing that truly matters: Whether or not your people are using it.
When shopping around for an event app as part of your event marketing platform, ask what sort of reporting features the event app comes with. For instance, will you be able to see metrics like event app adoption rate, event engagement rate, or sponsorship engagement rate?
An example of an event app. (Source: Bizzabo)
4) What sort of reporting features does your platform come with? How will it help me prove ROI?
Beyond event app analytics, there is a wealth of other reports that you may want to access from your event marketing platform. Just as no event marketing platform exists in a platform, the same can be said about events in general. One event may play a key role in a larger event strategy, which may in turn play a role in a larger marketing strategy, which may in turn play a role in a larger organizational strategy.
It can be a real Russian nesting doll situation.
Reporting is essential for understanding how one event (or many) connects to the bigger picture and, by extension, proves ROI.
There are a number of reporting features to be on the look-out for, including:
Gross event revenue vs. event revenue goal
Revenue by promo code
Sponsorship page engagement
Number of returning attendees
Session and speaker ratings
The list goes on. (And grows even more intricate when we consider cross-event analytics).
The KPIs that are most important will depend on what type of event you are running and what your overall event goals are. That said, chances are you will be looking to derive event performance and areas for improvement from a range of metrics.
An example of an event analytics dashboard for specifically looking at data regarding an event agenda. (Source: Bizzabo)
Wrapping Up: The Art of Researching Event Marketing Software
This is by no means the end of your research. There are many areas that we did not discuss above, like contact management, customer onboarding and support, mobile optimization, SEO, and email marketing and automation. But, this list should help you in navigating four technical aspects of event marketing software that often get overlooked.
If you have further questions feel free to shout it out on Twitter by tagging @Bizzabo.
Guest Author Bio: Brandon Rafalson is the Content Marketing Manager at Bizzabo, the world’s most loved event software.
Building your event stack takes a lot of moving parts and sometimes multiple departments to hone in on what's right for your events. Make it easy with an integrated, automated, award-winning platform: