When strategic meetings management first came on the scene almost 20 years ago, the main focus was controlling spend and mitigating contractual risk, which produce very tangible and very important results. Over the past few years, I have observed that the drivers of SMM have be transforming and that organizations are also now focusing their SMM approach on intangible outcomes, such as consistency in branding, a centralized corporate calendar, and an improved user experience, among others.
Organizations have found that the intangible outcomes of SMM can be just as meaningful to senior leadership as the cost avoidance and risk mitigation that is the standard for SMM. Let's examine why harnessing these intangibles can be impactful.
• Inconsistency in corporate branding can be rampant, especially in multi-national organizations. A branded meeting in one country may look like it's a completely different company when held in another country, thus confusing the marketplace. An SMM helps to overcome this challenge by providing visibility to meetings before they’re planned. Consequently, enforcement of corporate brand standards can be part of the approval and planning process, ensuring that all meetings and events reflect the current corporate brand and messaging.
• Many organizations find that one of the significant intangible benefits of an SMM is the centralized corporate calendar, where all meetings that have been registered can be published. Although the centralized calendar has been around for years, it had not always been a primary focus of SMM. A calendar ensures that executives don't get unintentionally double booked and allows planners to avoid conflicts when they’re scheduling a new meeting. It also gives key partners, such as corporate security, insight 24/7/365 into types and locations of meetings in order to mitigate reputational risk and improve duty of care. Additionally, a centralized calendar allows business units to see the meeting portfolio for their specific team.
• An improved and consistent user experience before, during, and after the event is mission critical for many organizations. Having a consistent and intuitive attendee registration process from meeting to meeting is essential. With the proliferation of meeting apps, the user experience is enhanced via instant access to the most current meeting information, and with networking and engagement opportunities. Post-meeting surveys are sent and the life of the meeting can continue through thoughtful curation.
Although the user experience is mostly an intangible, progress is being made with harnessing data and converting some of the user experience into something more tangible by measuring statistics such as customer loyalty. Integrations between meeting technology tools and customer relationship management systems are progressing rapidly.