DoubleDutch's Ian Suber shares some of what he's learned from working with the world's event marketing professionals.

Working at DoubleDutch for almost two years has given me the unique opportunity to speak with thousands of marketing, communications, and event professionals all over Europe. (Yeah, I took the time to look at my call numbers). :)

In that time, the conversations have evolved a lot, and I’ve learned an incredible amount about these professionals; Everything from what they love to what keeps them up at night. Here are just a few things I’ve been able to uncover…

1. Show me the money!

This classic scene from Jerry Maguire is similar to the meetings between CMOs and CEOs.

CEOs want the hard numbers. Networking is great. High attendance too. But at the heart of it, marketing and event professionals need to show that an event that cost X amount of euros (or dollars), generated 2x, 3x, 4x or more in revenue.

Essentially, you need to be able to demonstrate that this event has an impact on your desired business outcomes.

Two years ago marketing and event professionals saw mobile event apps as a nice-to-have as it helped digitize the paper guide. Nowadays the conversations I have are more about how apps are must-haves as meeting organizers have begun to see how insightful the data and metrics that advanced mobile event app platforms can generate are for them.

Having mobile event app platforms that integrate with existing marketing systems, like Marketo, Salesforce, registrations systems, etc., now enable event professionals to accurately defend their spend and show how much revenue was generated.

The C-suite is starting to realize that in-person events and conferences are the marketing channel most ripe for technological innovation.

2. “♫Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet you’re still using paper at your events?♫”

Adele almost had the right question.

A shockingly high number of event marketers admit they still rely on paper guides at their events, even at a time when there have been some amazing technological advancements like beacon-enabled location based messaging, marketing automation platforms, IBM’s Watson beating humans in Jeopardy, Bigfoot being found in Texas (…ok I admit this last one has nothing to do with technology but it’s still amazing!)

Paper guides are often outdated the moment they return from the printer. They are impossible to update in real-time and last minute changes can break the budget. Every event organizer knows all too well the pains of making and communicating last minute changes to attendees like room changes, schedule changes, announcements, etc.

The folks I’m speaking with are realizing now, more than ever, that event apps provide them much more flexibility and even allow for fun, serendipitous conference moments between attendees. These moments don’t happen with static paper guides.

3. If you can measure it, you can improve it.

It’s well documented that face-to-face meetings are the best and most trustworthy way of doing business. Research by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) showed that 40% of prospects converted to new customers because of face-to-face meetings. This is why in-person trade shows, conferences, and events make up the largest portion of a B2B marketer’s budget.

Organizers can’t be physically present when and where all of these interactions are happening, BUT they can with mobile. Event apps give you the ability to create a connected community of like-minded individuals at your event while keeping your finger on the pulse of what attendees are doing and saying. Marketers love how mobile can bring offline interactions online so they can be measured and analyzed like digital campaigns.

It’s estimated that marketing tech spending will reach $120 billion by 2025 and a huge part of this will be trying to measure the engagement at live events and meetings.

When speaking with professionals on the phone, the most common answer I get for how they measure the ROI of their events and meetings is with email surveys. When I dig deeper, the response rates are shockingly low and typically around industry averages: for internal employee surveys the response rate is 30-40%, external surveys just 10-15%.

Mobile event apps can dramatically increase response rates because you are catching people live during the event while feedback is top of mind.

Think of the last time you took multiple days off to attend a conference and upon returning to work, you had to sift through 100+ emails. Taking the post-event survey is usually at the bottom of your priority list, which is why leading marketing and event professionals want to use mobile to catch their attendees when they are in-the-moment.

The lower your survey response rate, the less conclusive your data is. A recent MPI survey showed mobile event apps on average increased survey response rates by 103% …our DoubleDutch platform did it by 166%. So yes, marketing and event professionals, there is hidden data out there waiting for you to grab it!

4. Communications professionals want in on the action too!

Marketing technology isn’t only for marketersWhen I speak with communications professionals they want to also be viewed as innovation leaders in the company. They are also responsible for a large number of internal meetings and want to make sure their attendees (employees) are fully engaged and providing valuable feedback and data which can be analyzed.

Their meeting responsibilities are vast and include education and training workshops, leadership summits, onboarding, holiday parties, corporate days, internal departmental conferences (IT, HR, Marketing, etc), and more.

A recent DoubleDutch SKO case study detailed the impact of a data-driven internal meeting that used a mobile event app. Measuring employee engagement has a renewed importance for communications professionals as it can help them understand how happy their employees are, how attached they are to the company’s mission and values, what is important to them, and much more.

As you can see, I’ve learned a lot after thousands of calls and conversations. I’d love to chat with you and learn more about your event strategy. Contact us today!