Beacons, apps, augmented reality, digital badging—there are so many event tech options now that researching and decision-making could easily be a full-time job. But, since you already have a full-time job, here are some strategies Mark Bogdansky, senior director, meetings and events, Auto Care Association, outlined this summer during a session at Transform USA: Data, Analytics, and Digital in Events.
Challenge #1: Who should be in charge of dealing with event technology?
Event technology companies regularly inundate pretty much every department, from marketing, IT, and membership, to the C-suite and conferences. It just makes sense for these departments to work together to research and implement new technology.
Bogdansky suggested pulling together a conference technology group with a representative or two from the IT, conferences, and marketing departments. “I know, no one wants more meetings, but it’s much more efficient to do it that way,” he said. “It will save you time, money, and frustration, and it also will breed interdepartmental collaboration, which is something every manager wants.”
Challenge #2: Who should you talk with about new technology?
Talk with your co-workers, your colleagues in the industry, and your current technology partners, Bogdansky said. “Tech companies are not your enemy—talk with them.”
Challenge #3: How do you budget for technology when you don’t know what you’ll be buying yet?
Put an event technology line item in your budget. You don’t have to say what it’s for specifically, but get it in the budget from the get-go. Bogdansky recommended setting the value of that line item at 1.5 times what you spent on event tech the previous year.
If that’s not possible, make sure that any event tech you can’t get in the budget is sponsored, either for cost or for whatever profit margin you need. He suggested working with your technology partners, who may be able to do the selling for you, or at least will work with you to develop packages to sell to exhibitors and sponsors.