FCM Meetings & Events is an award-winning strategic event management agency for the corporate market with offices in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and India. FCM Meetings & Events is proud to provide dynamic solutions for corporate events for clients across the globe in over 100 markets.
Formerly cievents, FCM Meetings & Events has a longstanding relationship with Cvent. They offer full scope services for clients including strategic direction, event logistics, event design, and technology solution production. FCM leverages a host of available Cvent solutions for their clients including the Event Management platform, Cvent Supplier Network, the Strategic Meetings Management solution, Onsite Solutions, Mobile Event Apps, the Cvent Attendee Hub®, and much more.
Improving Global Inefficiencies with Cvent Technology
Prior to adopting Cvent, FCM operated with costly inefficiencies and disparate point solutions across their global team. A lack of technology integrations and siloed practices resulted in fragmented processes, incomplete data, and time-consuming manual labor. “Prior to using Cvent, we were a global events agency so we had teams in so many countries across the world,” explains Emma Eves, Event Director. “And we found every single team was using different processes and had different technology platforms, so it was really ineffective for our clients who we work with globally.”
The FCM team realized they needed a comprehensive, integrated solution that could serve as a single source of truth across the organization. “We needed a technology that we could roll out through the entire business so that we weren’t duplicating efforts, and it would mean that we could have one process in place that we use globally,” says Emma. This would give FCM the ability to consolidate data, create global best practices, and ultimately grow their business strategy. Equally important, they needed to increase client satisfaction. She adds, “We wanted to find a platform where we could show great return on investment for our clients. That’s so crucial to so many of our clients, and therefore crucial to us.”
FCM first partnered with Cvent in 2015 to leverage key technology solutions that were integral to the business. Over the last seven years, they continued to adopt new solutions to power the entirety of their service offerings. “From the implementation of Cvent, we have been able to consolidate our data, strategically target new business, and have freed our planners to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time doing what they love – managing events,” says Emma. “Cvent has really become a one-stop shop for us, in the sense that our entire process from start to finish has been built around Cvent.”
Leveraging Cvent to Support Strategic Business Growth
Cvent is, importantly, the central platform used to support a holistic customer experience for FCM clients. “The most important part of our clients having a successful event is making sure that they’re within the Cvent suite for the entire lifecycle of the event,” says Jennifer Ashraf, Event Implementation Manager. Here, the automated dataflow between integrated solutions creates a frictionless experience from start to finish. She explains, “From the beginning of the planning stages, they’re using the Meeting Request Form, going through the Cvent Supplier Network for venue sourcing, then going into Flex for their website, building attendee management, and then going into OnArrival when the attendees are actually onsite. They then are going through an access portal and having reporting for budgets. And Cvent allows us to provide that for our clients so they have one experience, one whole lifecycle of the event, all in one place.”
Equally important, the FCM team found event technology to be a strategic investment that helped improve efficiencies for more streamlined internal processes. By removing manual, labor-intensive tasks through automation, they could refocus their efforts on strategically growing their clients’ success. Their close relationship with Cvent ensures they stay at the forefront of industry trends and best practices. Kate McMahon, Director of Account Management, explains, “We’ll connect with our partners at Cvent and have a collaborative discussion about any issues that we’re facing, and really rely on our partnership and technology to create better efficiencies for both us and our customers.”
Navigating the Global Health Crisis with Event Technology
When the global pandemic began, FCM’s core business was immediately affected. “It was something we all faced in the industry,” says Andrea Molina, Director of Event Operations. “We had to deal with cancellations, contract negotiations, and then we had to pivot to virtual events.” While FCM had executed successful virtual events in the past, in-person events had long been their primary focus. The new emphasis on virtual meant improving certain skill sets while expanding on FCM’s areas of expertise. “The first thing we focused on was upskilling our staff, and understanding virtual technologies and production strategies was really important,” says Andrea. “Having these relationships like we do with Cvent – to have the right technology solutions for a quick pivot to virtual for our customers and vetting the best partners – was key.”
As they began to understand how the virtual event landscape would evolve, the FCM team needed to identify scalable virtual strategies for their clients. As a third party agency, they stress the importance of suiting the right strategy – and the right technology solution – to each client’s specific goals. “Some of the considerations we made when making the pivot to virtual was first honing in on the event objective,” offers Andrea. Kate adds that the initial move into virtual was a learning experience for both FCM and their team. “It’s been a journey educating our clients on what virtual is and the understanding of staffing, resources, expenses. We’ve come a long way and they definitely understand the value of virtual now, but in the beginning it required a shift of mindset.”
Elevating Expertise to Support Client Goals in the New Event Landscape
Whereas the team may have previously heavily focused on destination, venue sourcing, or onsite activities, the new virtual landscape required them to now think in terms of digital goals and production strategy. Emma explains, “From an agency standpoint, we really have to focus on each individual client’s needs, whether that be huge returns on investment, audience engagement, or whether that’s on getting that messaging out.” In fact, they have been able to produce more than 420 events in the last 12 months for their clients to continue moving the business forward.
The shift also prompted a renewed focus on content which, in turn, challenged event professionals to expand their expertise as event producers. They had to learn not only new platforms and production elements, but also needed to implement ever-changing best practices as virtual events became more common. Andrea believes this was a universal experience across the industry that, although challenging, ultimately benefited the profession. “Throughout the last 18 months, I feel like the meetings and events industry propelled everyone to progress the skill sets that we’ve gained, which could have taken 10 or 20 years,” she explains. “So we are now TV producers, we’re content creators, and we’re lawyers managing contract negotiations and postponements. We’re really excited about that and we’re all just better event professionals for it now that we’ve gained those additional skill sets.”
Powering Client Virtual and Hybrid Events with the Cvent Attendee Hub
In fact, the FCM team has executed over 100 successful virtual events to date for more than 20,000 virtual attendees. They found the Cvent Attendee Hub to be a valuable addition to their tech stack in supporting their clients’ virtual and, eventually, hybrid events. “Since Cvent is really at the core of our business and what we do, the Attendee Hub is perfect for us because of the seamless integrations between registration and then the platform and the app as well,” says Andrea. Keeping the entire event ecosystem in one place meant they didn’t have to manually sync data between multiple systems. She adds, “With the constant updates that are happening to the Attendee Hub, it ticks more and more of the boxes every day for what our customers are looking for, so we’re excited to continue the journey with Cvent.”
Moreover, the easily manageable tool gave the team the flexibility they needed to solve for their clients’ needs on the spot. The self-service capabilities are crucial in allowing FCM maintain efficiencies for their clients while helping to elevate their skills as technologists. “We’re not having to work with a builder or send an email to get something done...we’re very tech savvy and technology driven, so our team has the skills to do that,” insists Kate. She adds, “The control is in our hands and, as planners, we love that.”
Understanding and proving the value of virtual events has been a key objective for FCM’s clients. With the automated functionality in Cvent, FCM can provide their clients consolidated, in-depth reporting to evaluate and prove the success of their event. Andrea explains, “The data capture is key, as the lifecycle of the event is captured through Cvent. So our clients have actual, measurable data afterwards, especially in the virtual world...things like touch points, cost savings we were able to negotiate, the level of engagement, interactivity, and sponsorship opportunities as well.” She adds that using this data has allowed their team to strategically enhance their clients’ total event programs, as they can then make sound business decisions based on that data. FCM can serve as a strategic partner for their clients, thereby supporting internal growth and retention goals.
Understanding the True Value of Partnership
The FCM team continues to value their strategic partnership with Cvent as the industry continues to shape itself around new event formats. Kate explains, “With the suite of Cvent products that we use, we’ve been lucky enough in our partnership with Cvent to be in the early adopter program for some of the products.” With the Attendee Hub, they knew the immediate value of leveraging the platform to support their clients’ virtual events. Kate insists, “Working as a partnership with the Attendee Hub, there was no trial run with that one -- we had to get it.”
She notes that FCM maintains a reciprocal relationship with Cvent, wherein their feedback is actively helping to shape product roadmap. “It’s a two-way relationship, and we feel that feedback is key,” explains Emma. “Every time we come forward with feedback from the event planner perspective, it’s taken very thoughtfully and we’ve seen changes within the technology that have come from the feedback we provided. So it’s great to know that we’re always heard and have an open and transparent communication with our Cvent team.”
By supporting their clients’ event goals across the pandemic, FCM believes they have only further strengthened their client relationships. They advise other event professionals to manage crises by maintaining transparency with their clients and being willing to explore new technologies. Jennifer notes, “I think the future is so much brighter now that we have these different ways to engage with people, and virtual is going to be here to stay. And I think we've really kept up with what the evolving trends are going to be.”
In looking at the future of FCM Meetings & Events, the team views their Cvent partnership as an integral part of their business development strategy. “Since we started our partnership with Cvent, we have registered around 300,000 people in Cvent events. So that really just shows how Cvent is a key part of our business,” says Emma. “When we’re in a sales stage or an account management stage, we can really show them how much we do in events with Cvent, so they can trust that relationship and know that we’re experts in the field.”
The FCM team is looking forward to a year filled with new business opportunities and the continued growth of their team, thanks to their unwavering ability to support clients with event technology. As they continue to grow, Kate notes they are dedicated to further building their team’s expertise in Cvent. She says, “We’ll be accessing a lot of the event trainings and getting certifications so we can put our new planners in front of clients.” In the meantime, they continue to pioneer innovative technology solutions and experiences for their clients’ total event programs as they expand their close partnership with Cvent.
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