Adding the right tech to your event will increase efficiency, attention acquisition, and audience engagement. Selecting innovative event tech will improve your event astronomically, as long as you find one that suits your needs and those of your audience.
Navigating all the options and the terms used by technology providers can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together a free ebook for you. Evenium’s “ABCs of Event Tech” is a glossary of terms applicable to event tech. Get your free copy now.
Technology selection is also an ideal time to examine your processes and root-out things that aren’t working. Selecting the right tech is as much about the technology itself as it is the vendor partner you choose to work with. Ideally, you want a good fit in both areas for the best value in your event tech investment. Here are the steps to achieving it:
Step 1: Assess App Store Reviews
Most people know to read Apple or Google Play reviews but what they often miss is that the gold isn’t in the star rating. Many reviews factor in things that are not app dependent like device problems, tech support problems, or compatibility issues. Look for reviews that speak to adoptions and use. Pay attention to specific comments about the app. Even though app stores are cracking down, many app reviews still belong to trolls and competitors. The more specific the review, the greater chance the reviewer has used the tech.
Step 2: Look for Attractive Pricing
Pricing considerations include actual base price and components or extras. Understanding the pricing is important in calculating value. Some apps charge per seat or user. Figure out if the pricing is a monthly fee or a one-time purchase. Some companies advertise monthly pricing but the cost must be paid all at once. They break it down for budgetary purposes but don’t allow a true monthly payment option.
Ask if there’s a contract. If there is, inquire about early-termination fees and other fees or increases you should be aware of. Does the company allow for pay-as-you-go options? Speaking of options, can you sign-up for an annual license or have the flexibility for one-off events? With Evenium’s ConnexMe you can do either.
Step 3: Focus on Easy Implementation
Internal implementation for any app will take time. Ensure that your team is prepared for implementation and what it will mean on your schedule. Does your vendor have implementation and training available? Are there additional costs for that or is it contained in the app fee? Is the training on-site, at the event, or on-demand?
Understand exactly how your staff and your attendees will learn the new tech. How much of training will be on you? Your team will need training and if your vendor doesn’t provide it or the learning materials necessary, you’ll want to factor the time and cost of doing it yourself. This type of self-education isn’t hard in most instances but it will take up resources. Be clear on what your vendor offers.
Even if you think no training will be required, you will still have people who lack the confidence to just dive in. Always factor in the need for some training but…
Step 4: Make Ease of Use a Top Priority
Implementation is your first challenge as people are often hesitant to embrace tech but when they see how it will help them, they will come around. Your attendees may be a harder sell. That’s why you want to make sure any event tech you choose is user-friendly. You need something the average attendee can download and begin using right away. You want little to no learning curve (but as mentioned above, you will always have those who need a little hand-holding). If there is one, you want to make sure there are ample training materials and possibly someone onsite to help show people how to use it and get them excited about the opportunities.
In addition to being easy to use, you want your attendees to want to use it. Look for features that will entice participants to get involved with the tech. For instance, ConnexMe attendees become active participants in creating the content. They can take notes directly on the slide without leaving the presentation and can zoom in on the content to get a better look at points of interest. Speakers and event organizers can launch polls directly from the app and it gives results to the audience in real time.
Step 5: Check for Compatibility
Chances are you use a lot of different types of tech and so do your attendees. Make sure you check with the tech vendor to find out what systems it works with and, more importantly, doesn’t.
Another reason to check compatibility is to help streamline operations and user experience. One event app that handles everything your attendees need is preferable to asking them to download a couple of different apps. For instance, with ConnexMe TV you can bring event app features directly to the big screen with minimal effort and no additional equipment needed.
This is also an ideal time to look for cost-cutting measures by eliminating other things and replacing it with your new tech. With Evenium’s ConnexMe, you can forgo expensive AV equipment rentals for a much more personal viewing experience. ConnexMe transforms attendees’ smartphones into personal, handheld viewing and collaboration stations where attendees can interact with the presentation through slide commenting and polls among other features.
Step 6: Exploration of Features and Problem Solving
Since you’ve already looked at compatibility, you’ve likely begun looking at features as well but it’s important to go beyond the feature list. Often your vendor has ideas on how their features can help you solve problems your event may be struggling with. For instance, you may be looking for more engagement opportunities at your events but you’re not sure how to accomplish this.
If you read a feature list, you may miss what you’re looking for. Instead, have an open discussion with the vendor about your needs. In the example of a desire to increase engagement, your vendor may speak to in-app networking capabilities, live polling, anonymous commenting and other things that invite participation.
If you host multiple events over the course of the year, talk to your vendor about your needs. Are these events continuations involving the same audience or are they dramatically different? Sharing this information with your potential tech vendor can help you both get a better understanding of your needs on a per event and multiple event basis. It can also help you get better value by finding out if an annual or per event license works best for you.
How to Know If Your Event Tech Vendor Is “The One”
In addition to the six considerations above, you need to find an event tech vendor partner you can grow with. Here’s how you know you’ve found “the one”:
- They want to know about your event or your event planning business. If they don’t understand your demographic and your market, they can’t provide solutions tailored to your needs.
- They are helpful. A tech vendor understands your needs by asking the right questions. They look for solutions for you and your event and take the time to explain the options.
- They have your success in mind. A great event tech vendor asks you where you plan to go and how you envision growth in the near future. They can make suggestions based on your ideas and their experience with other clients and their successes.
- They understand your industry and its challenges, what tech is currently used in it, and provide ideas for how you can better serve your audience.
- They have suggestions and best practices on how to transition from your current tech to theirs.
- They have an onboarding process and a training schedule. A great event tech partner communicates and sets expectations. They’ve brought on a lot of new clients. They should know what to expect and communicate that to you.
- Their current customers are satisfied. You needn’t worry so much about problems as you do solutions. A good event tech vendor is focused on the customer. Because of this, they are willing to give you references and put you in contact with other users.
- Their social media imprint is positive. Again, people will have bad reviews on occasion but most of your research should show someone who is appreciated by their users. Perform a couple of quick searches and see if their social media reputation matches what their testimonials on their website say.
Pricing should never be the only factor when choosing event technology. You need value. Value requires that price is measured against the learning curve, adoptability, and compatibility with what you’re currently using. Any discrepancy with these things will not make the technology valuable, regardless of how inexpensive it is.
At Evenium, we listen to the needs of our customers and have solutions that fit those needs. We know that engagement is a top priority and our software is, among other things, fun to use. Our clients frequently experience 100% adoption rates among attendees. Not many event tech vendors achieve that. We’ll work with you to ensure you’re happy with your tech decision and even better – that your attendees are. Learn more about ConnexMe and how your audience will experience a new level of connection and activity.