How to decide if you need a digital events platform

Event marketing has changed radically in the last two years because of the pandemic.  It shuttered in-person shows and conferences, forcing brands to use digital events to connect with customers and prospects.

This spurred demand for digital events platforms (DEP) that could hopefully deliver the value once created at in-person events. Although in-person events are taking place, virtual events will remain an important channel. They cam engage geographically disparate audiences in a far more cost-effective way than in-person events.

Download the MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Digital Events Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide

DEPs enable event marketers and organizers to plan, deliver and measure the results of digital event experiences that serve geographically distributed audiences live or on-demand presentations.

Though functionality differs from platform to platform, digital events platformss help organizers and brands by offering functionality such as:

  • Digital registration and payment processing
  • Agenda creation and management
  • Video-based content delivery
  • Interactive engagement elements
  • Virtual “exhibition” components and resource libraries
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Integrations with existing martech systems

Is a digital events platform right for you?

To come to a decision about DEP software, it’s critical to understand your event planning processes, know how to measure success and be able to identify where you are looking for improvements.

Deciding whether or not your company needs a DEP calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources.

Dig deeper: How to mine data from online events

The important questions to explore will differ depending on your use case, but the following examples may help spark some ideas.

For all companies:

  • Have we identified our goals for digital events? Will DEP software enable us to achieve these goals more effectively?
  • Can we invest in organizational training? Digital events are part of a business strategy and not just a software investment. It’s critical that all internal stakeholders understand the goals behind the initiative and learn how to execute the strategy through the adoption of any DEP that your organization might license. Many software vendors offer an array of add-on
  • professional services to help with strategy goals, in addition to onboarding and training on their products. Training must be comprehensive, consistent and continuous to ensure you make the most of your investment.
  • Have we established KPIs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring and reporting results? Once you’ve established your goals and communicated them throughout the sales and marketing organizations, you’ll need to decide on the metrics that are most important to your efforts and monitor your progress in achieving them. Remember to set clear expectations, incentivize staffers who embrace the tool, and experiment with new ways to drive better results.

For companies hosting customer- and prospect-focused events:

  • Can sales and marketing agree on the next steps to take with a client or prospect based on behavioral and intent data gathered at events?
  • Do we have C-suite buy-in? With a clear mandate from the top of the organization, both marketing and sales leaders will remain accountable for results and ensure that their respective organizations will collaborate as necessary.
  • Who will own or manage the DEP? Marketing and sales must be closely aligned for any DEP strategy to be successful. As such, both organizations need to understand their responsibilities and be accountable for fulfilling them.

 For event organizers seeking revenue from sponsors or attendees:

  • Are we currently able to provide our attendees and sponsors with the type of experiences they’ve come to expect? If not, what DEP features would help us attract more qualified attendees and sponsors?
  • What data would we like to collect for ourselves and for sponsors? How could we do that with a DEP? Would it improve the quality of the data to help us provide more value and renew sponsor contracts? Would a platform help us comply with privacy restrictions?

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About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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