March 07, 2022
By Cvent Guest

In the new event landscape, savvy event professionals are using the Total Event Program framework to drive more value from their events. Because proving event ROI is increasingly important,  this fresh approach encourages organizations to think about event strategy as one cohesive plan rather than a collection of campaigns. Adopting this view can deliver a greater return on events for organizations of all types and sizes.

In this post, we’ll cover:

--what is a Total Event Program (TEP)
--how technology helps maximize engagement across all event types
--how technology can help you gather critical event data you can act upon quickly

Why do you need a Total Event Program?

The pandemic brought accelerated innovation to the event industry. But it also raised questions about how to navigate so much change happening at once. Events became multi-audience, multi-format, and increasingly digital. This trend is causing organizations to rethink the strategies and technologies they need to thrive in the new environment—for in-person events, virtual events, and hybrid events.

Enter the Total Event Program, which is changing how organizations create, market, and deliver events to generate more value for their audiences. By taking a holistic and strategic approach to event management, organizations can ensure that their events generate the desired outcomes. The Total Event Program framework provides a method for doing just that. And with in-person events primed to make a major return, now is the time to build a 2022-ready strategy for all of your events. 

What is a Total Event Program?

The Total Event Program (TEP) is a conceptual framework for planning, executing, and activating all of an organization’s meetings and events. It provides a holistic approach to event program management using integrated technology to originate, drive attendance, optimize engagement, make informed decisions throughout the planning process, deliver in any format, and drive value. 

Your TEP includes all the events, large and small, internal and external, online and in person, that an organization hosts and attends to reach and engage its prospects, customers, and employees.

Think of each event as part of an entire system designed to produce specific outcomes for your organization. A well-designed program includes multiple components working together in sync.

The TEP puts engagement at the heart of your event strategy, giving you opportunities to connect with attendees, potential attendees, customers, and partners all year long.

TEP relies on using a single technology platform in every step of your event process to deliver a customized experience that reflects your brand, engages your audience, provides a single source of truth, and produces quantifiable results.

A holistic approach with integrated technology takes the stress out of planning, executing, and activating events by providing you with one centralized place to manage all aspects of event strategy. It streamlines tasks to help you do your job more efficiently.

Will TEP work for my organization?

Not just for corporations

The Total Event Program structure is not limited to businesses. Adopting a holistic, cross-event viewpoint can help maximize the value of any multi-event program, including those run by governments, associations, non-profit organizations, and schools of higher learning.

Not just for large organizations

It is not necessary to host many events every year to adopt a Total Event Program strategy. Smaller organizations that wish to begin with a single event should look for solutions that scale with them, allowing them to start where they are and expand seamlessly as their program grows. Start anywhere. Grow everywhere.

Advantages of the TEP approach

By implementing a Total Event Program in your organization’s meetings and events strategy, you equip your organization to:

  • make the most of its events and investment
  • generate more value than you would through traditional, siloed approaches
  • reduce complexity by using one event technology platform to power all your meetings and events
  • create one cohesive experience for your audience and foster always-on engagement
  • manage your entire event portfolio under one framework
  • better understand the impact events have on desired business outcomes
Total event program

Engagement: How to Select the Best Technology to Maximize Engagement for Any Event Type

Technology can make or break an event experience. If it isn’t done right, attendees can feel disconnected from each other and your brand. But if you choose the right tools, they will be more engaged both with each other and with your organization, than ever before.

Selecting the best technology to delight attendees is easier when you know what to look for. Read on to learn why always-on attendee engagement is so valuable and how to select the right technology to maximize engagement across your Total Event Program.

Engagement is currency

Event professionals have known for a long time that engagement is important. But what is so special about engagement? And why should we care about it so much?

In short, engagement is currency. It enables the creation and exchange of value—it buys you awareness, demand, purchase, adoption, retention, loyalty, or any other conversion outcome you hope to achieve. Engagement is what makes an event successful, and it’s also what powers your business. Without engagement, there is no conversion—and without conversion, there are no sales or revenue.

Key Takeaway: Engagement is the currency of the new event landscape. Without engagement, there is no conversion, and without conversion, there are no sales or revenue.

Engagement is always-on

Your event is no longer an island. Engagement is not limited to a single point in time; it can happen before, during, after, or between multiple events. Engagement goes beyond the traditional start and stop dates of an event, beginning weeks before the event through content and well after the event is over via on-demand.

To keep attendees engaged, you need to constantly create new and exciting content, experiences, and opportunities for them. Fortunately, technology can help you with this challenge.

The most effective technology solutions support a Total Event Program.

Key Takeaway: To maximize engagement, stop thinking of events as one-time experiences and start seeing them as part of a continuous Total Event Program.

A Total Event Program maximizes engagement

”The Total Event Program is a conceptual framework for planning, executing, and activating all of an organization’s meetings and events. It puts engagement at the core of your event strategy, offering ongoing opportunities for interaction with attendees, prospective attendees, customers, and partners throughout the year.

Your Total Event Program includes all the events, large and small, internal and external, online and in person, that an organization hosts and attends to reach and engage its prospects, customers, and employees.“ —Cvent

You can tailor the Total Event Program to the unique needs of your organization and the specific goals you want to achieve. But at its core, the Total Event Program is about creating experiences that continuously engage people on multiple levels and across all channels. Technology selection is critical to a successful Total Event Program.

Key Takeaway: A Total Event Program incorporates all events an organization hosts and attends to reach and engage its clients. It is about creating experiences that continuously engage people on multiple levels and across all channels.

Connections at digital events

Choose technology that supports a Total Event Program

So, how do you go about selecting the best technology?

To create maximum engagement, you’ll want to select technology with features that will keep your attendees hooked. But not all tools are created equal, so be sure to choose a platform that supports a Total Event Program.

When evaluating technology solutions, consider these questions to be sure your solution is fit for a TEP:

  • Does the solution offer you a single source of truth for a multi-event, multi-format, multi-audience program?
  • Does it offer a single platform for events of all types and sizes, from micro-events up to multi-day industry events?
  • Does it have tools to drive engagement and real-time, personalized experiences?
  • Is the solution scalable and flexible to meet your changing needs?

The answer to all these questions should be yes! If not, keep looking.

Activation: How to Use Technology to Capture and Activate Event Data—Virtually and In-Person

To produce the most value from your event program, get better at capturing and activating data. Capturing data is about recording what happens. Activating means bringing data to life so you can use it as a valuable tool to make better decisions.

With so many options on the market, from event management platforms to webinar technology, choosing the right tools to capture and activate data can be daunting.

What is event data, and why should I care about it?

Analytics and data are the new gold, so understanding your event data is key to success. It's not enough for people to engage with your brand across multiple channels; you need to collect and package a record of that engagement and activate it so you can take informed action.

Events are packed with data, and if you want to produce value from your event program, the first step is to capture it. However, data delivers no benefit left sitting in a drawer; it must be integrated into a CRM or automation platform to unlock the value through activation.

Sales teams need to prioritize the most engaged leads to maximize their success. They need to know who attended multiple events and prioritize them accordingly. The more data they have, the easier it is for them to identify the most engaged leads, build relationships, and sell.

Platforms that help you succeed in the modern era provide integrations that get your event and attendee data quickly and easily into systems like Marketo and Salesforce. There, you can use it to build relationships and generate revenue.

Five steps for transforming data into measurable value

To help you unlock the promise of event data, consider these five steps—from setting goals to measuring results.

1. Figure out what you want to accomplish with your data first. What do you hope to learn? Where will this insight lead your organization? Data for data's sake is worthless—you need a clear, actionable goal to turn data into dollars or any other type of measurable outcome.

2. Identify what data you need to accomplish your goal. Start by thinking about all the sources of information that could help you understand what happened at your event. What did people do when they got there? What was their experience? What were their interactions with your company? Which pieces of data are most relevant to your goal, and which sources yield the best quality information?

Keep in mind that data is not limited to during your event. Consider capturing data for your Total Event Program so that you have a complete data picture that includes engagement before, during, after, and between events.

3. Map out what you currently do to capture event data. Think about how this data is stored and whether it's accessible in a way that will make it easy for you to use. You should also consider what you do to activate event data—how are insights turned into action?

4. Contrast your current approach with the results you want. What's the best way to answer your most important questions? How confident are you in the data you currently have? What are the potential risks of not using data at all? Are you creating extra work by housing data in multiple systems?

5. Select technology that will help you accomplish your goals. While there is no single silver bullet in technology, there are a few essential features. The technology should be able to turn data into insights with minimum human intervention, it should be easy to implement, and it should accommodate growth and change.

Use a centralized platform for maximum value

When selecting technology to capture and activate data, consider a centralized platform for maximum value. A centralized platform will allow you to easily scale activation, make real-time adjustments to campaigns, and drive conversions.

A centralized approach offers you a single repository for engagement data across all events (internal and external) and in all formats (virtual, in-person, and hybrid). You can scale activation more efficiently with a standard templatized lead definition across all events. The benefit of centralizing data cannot be overstated.

Conclusion

The Total Event Program framework is essential for driving more value from your events. It helps you consider your event strategy as one cohesive plan rather than separate but related campaigns. As a result, the Total Event Program will help you reach and engage your audience more effectively.

One of the most important things you can do to keep your audience engaged is to use the right technology. Choosing a single platform that supports a Total Event Program can help you create experiences that continuously engage and drive value for your organization.

To capture and activate data, set goals first, identify relevant data, map out your process, contrast with desired results, and then select technology. With the right technology in place, you can turn data into measurable value and unlock the promise of event-driven marketing.   

Cvent Guest

Cvent is a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider with more than 4,000 employees, ~21,000 customers, and 200,000 users worldwide.

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