By: Eric Olson, General Manager
Active Network | Business Solutions
Last year I spoke more than a dozen times on event technology, and every time I encountered the same experience. A nervous, overwhelmed event planner pushes her way to the front of the room, thanks me and says, “What do I do first?”
It’s maybe the single best question to ask about technology. Yet, there is only one person in the room brave enough to ask it.
As digital tools flood into corporate and association events, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and it’s even easier to overwhelm your audience. So, my response is always the same.
“Make sure you have a very clear list of business objectives for your events. Then focus on implementing ONE piece of technology to better achieve those objectives; Do that one thing really, really well.”
It’s really that simple. And since January is a time for diligently penning resolutions to drop a few pounds or drink a few less cocktails, I think it’s also time for every event planner to make a technology resolution.
Three Steps to Creating Your Technology Resolution:
1. Create a measurable, stack-ranked list of goals for your event or events in 2012. Whether the goals are to increase attendance or improve post-event sales, create a prioritized list of goals that you can control and measure.
2. Make a list of the technologies your audience uses most often in their daily lives. For example, I noticed a recent technology conference that 80% of the room was using an iPad to take notes and interact during a session. Yet, the event had no connection between the live experience and those mobile devices. Instead the event had a single microphone in the middle of the room. Think about the technologies your audience uses in their everyday life to 1) find content and 2) interact and collaborate with each other.
3. Identify one technology from the list in #2 that will better help you achieve one of your goals from #1 and create a specific goal to implement it in 2012. For example, if your goal is to increase attendance and your audience is filled with LinkedIn lovers, your goal may be to implement a LinkedIn group to drive attendance at your event. Remember, technology doesn’t always have to hit your budget.
This exercise can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be for your organization. But, the hardest part is getting started. So, start with one thing. Make it measurable. And focus on doing it really, really well.
If you do it right, this isn’t just a resolution you can keep. It’s a resolution that can grow, expand and continue to benefit your business for years to come.
Cheers to good technology and great events in 2012 and beyond.
Eric Olson is responsible for driving global sales and operations. Before joining the company, Eric was Vice President of Marketing and Media for a prominent education provider, specializing in online courses, virtual events and live conferences. In seven years he grew the company’s annual revenues from less than $10 million to more than $140 million, primarily through the expansion of its events portfolio.