Technology has transformed events completely compared to ten years ago, and event planning teams have had to adapt. Shifting responsibilities in event planning gives rise to more sophisticated demands and more senior, strategic planning roles. Not all rising industry professionals are capable of managing their tech stack, and many lack the training and time to get up to speed – especially as their responsibilities evolve. What is the best way for organizations to cope with this transition? Many opt to delegate these tech tasks, which has led to the emergence of a new role dedicated to managing them: Event technologists, a brand’s best-kept secret.
An event technologist’s technical expertise allows them to make sense of different, ever-changing functions across the event technology stack, and then communicate them clearly to stakeholders in other parts of the organization. As part of the planning team, event technologists deeply understand the event goals and can, therefore, therefore find the best possible tech solutions to meet them.
In this post, we will discuss the role of event technologists within an organization and four key benefits to having one on your planning team.
Benefits of an Event Technologist
The Need for Event Technology in Marketing
Event technology is now an integrated part of every phase of modern marketing and event management, but many find the number of options and the new set of skills required daunting. Nevertheless, event professionals recognize the necessity, and the investment in event technology is rising. In fact, 52% of respondents to a recent EventMB survey aim to spend more on the creation of technology-friendly events. Additionally, in times of crisis, when the ability to travel, meet in-person, and do business is hindered, technology can help event professionals connect digitally, bridging the divide in dynamic ways.
The rise of marketing automation proved how effective it is to be data-driven, and events are now under the same pressure. As data becomes an increasingly important part of planning events (both virtually and in-person) and proving return on investment (ROI), data management skills are going to be in high demand. In fact, 48% of respondents to the same EventMB survey say use event technology to gather actionable data, and the number is rising. On the other hand, from event apps to web assets to wearables and beyond, the number of new data sources can make the task unwieldy.
Moreover, wherever planners have to deal with data, they also have to deal with a whole host of geographically specific data laws and regulations—an aspect that becomes more complicated with every additional vendor involved. Event technologists specialize in managing these complex aspects of event technology and support event planners who need to focus on the higher-level creative and strategic aspects of events under increasingly challenging circumstances.
4 Reasons to Hire an Event Technologist
1. Event technologists offer technological expertise
While a majority of event planners agree that event technology is now integral to the job, about 40% are not confident in using event technology. An event technologist leverages their expertise to make better event tech decisions more efficiently and with better confidence. This frees up valuable bandwidth that planners can allocate to other logistical issues or higher-level event strategy.
Remember a few years ago, when changing permissions in app stores had everyone worried they wouldn’t have a mobile event app? Event technologists keep abreast of any developments in the industry that might have an impact on the organization and event program and help to prepare for them. In our current, work-from-home climate, when planners are juggling the logistics of an evolving industry, an event technologist follows event technology trends and can translate technical concepts into digestible options for event stakeholders. This makes them the go-to individuals for advice on the best tech setup, supporting planners strategically rather than simply as a means to execute an event.
Moreover, event technologists will support the tech stack and work with vendors to anticipate and resolve issues more efficiently, without having to burden planners.
2. Event technologists simplify internal logistics for more efficient processes
Intimate knowledge of the organization’s needs and a keen understanding of the event tech market puts event technologists in the best position to align the tech stack with the company’s vision and broader strategy, whether it demands flexibility, scalability, etc. Their deep understanding of the organization’s culture and goals allows event technologists to convey those things better when sourcing event tech and set the right expectations from the beginning.
Moreover, when given the freedom to make purchase decisions, event technologists help organizations lower the administrative cost of pitching, deliberating, and seeking approval at different strata. Regardless, their familiarity with internal company structure, internal departments, and approval processes allows them to push projects through internal business barriers faster, which means more efficient sourcing.
3. Event technologists offer better data management
As one of the primary ways to measure success and ROI, data generated from event engagement, sales tools, marketing automation tools, and surveys allows planners to understand and improve upon their events.
However, while the majority of planners recognize the need for data collection, many are intimidated by it, leading to missed opportunities for growth. According to research from EventMB, only 48% of planners rely on event technology to deliver actionable data.
Planners of all types will have to become more familiar (at least at a high level) with what data is available, how it’s collected, and what it says about their events. That said, event technologists are in a better position to collate data from across the tech stack and translate it into more functional, digestible formats.
For example, the data available for demonstrating event ROI to exhibitors is often limited to that which the exhibitors provide after the event. How many leads they generated, what percentage were qualified (and to what extent), and what percentage converted.
The exhibitors’ input is important here, but an event technologist can help you take the reins on the conversation by providing you with data indicative of brand exposure, both digitally and within the physical space of the event. They can also help you source lead capture tools that give exhibitors the data they need, track traffic flow using wearables, harness facial analysis technology for sentiment and engagement data, and incorporate the new tech. In this way, they support organizers in negotiating with exhibitors and making necessary improvements.
Event technologists can also establish trends and benchmarks that help organizations track their progress and success over time. Being in charge of the tech stack for events across the organization, they could implement standard KPIs and metrics to enable comparisons from event to event.
Finally, event technologists help organizations retain more control over their data as they are accountable for the company’s compliance with data privacy and security laws and regulations. Data security and client protection should be at the core of the tech stack’s design, and an event technologist is responsible for anticipating, continually monitoring, and responding to potential security threats.
4. Event technologists strategize for success
While event technologists are in a position to simplify the planning team’s workflows, they are also responsible for keeping a pulse on the industry and staying on top of new and novel tech that delivers the more engaging, personalized event experiences audiences today expect.
This expectation is a product of the ubiquity of customizable technology and increasingly targeted marketing and messaging. Event technologists will need a keen eye for how the events industry interprets these and other factors and will be responsible for curating a list of the most relevant developments and translating their benefits into terms that speak to you and your stakeholders.
These developments may include the need for creating virtual event experiences, attendee-facing innovations, such as AI-powered audience engagement, or improvements to your internal workflows, such as new or custom API integrations between standard tools already in your tech stack.
Through an assessment of the company’s goals, event technologists can drive digital platform engagement, the success of which becomes a measure of the event’s success.
The Rise of the Event Technologist
The need for event technologists emerged from the rapidly evolving event tech landscape, and recent events require meetings and events teams to be more tech-savvy than ever. With technology’s increased involvement in the planning, execution, and success of events, the skills event technologists possess have never been in higher demand.
Event technologists create a more straightforward system of planning, organizing, and managing events by simplifying the sourcing process and designing a tech stack that supports workflow efficiency. By incorporating one into your planning team, you are creating an event tech expert finely tuned to the culture and structure of your organization. This person is in an optimal position to push tech projects through to completion and to communicate your organization’s needs and expectations as the tech is implemented.
By having someone on your team with a dedicated finger on the pulse of the event tech industry, you’re increasing your capacity to take advantage of groundbreaking developments and tools for personalized engagement. Event technologists are also better able to gather and process the data from these tools, using it to develop new strategies and drive ROI conversations.
For more information and tips on the event technologist role and how to pursue a job in this field, download the full report from Cvent.