Craig Sukenic is Vice President of Sales for SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals. Sukenic is responsible for advancing the company’s strategic sales goals, including driving increased sales and broader partner relationships within SmartSource’s key target markets of conferences, events, trade shows and business solutions.
Top Criteria for Selecting an Event Technology Solution Provider
Exhibitors and sponsors invest significant resources – financial and human capital – to make their presence at leading trade shows and conferences a success. In fact, event marketing budgets are on the rise as evidenced by a Bizzaboo “Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends” report that found that 63 percent of marketers plan on making higher investments in their event, both in terms of dollars spent and number of events in which they exhibit.
One area where event budgets are growing is event technology. For instance, Bizzaboo research suggests that $50 million was invested in 2017 for event management solutions alone, with Frost and Sullivan’s data putting the event management software industry’s revenues at over of $28 billion.
There’s no question that marketers are recognizing the benefits derived from these and other leading-edge event technology solutions: increased engagement, lead capture and branding support. As a result, they are relying on a wider range of event technologies. Where some, however, fall short is in their selection of an event technology solution provider. Many simply do not take the time to properly vet this resource and, in failing to do so, struggle with deriving the maximum benefit. By evaluating a provider against key criteria, marketers can gain the full benefit of each technology’s performance features.
National Reach with Local Execution
First, it’s important that a provider has a broad geographic reach in order to assure that the solutions needed will be delivered on time to the event venue regardless of whether it’s on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, South or anywhere in between. Ideally, the organization will have fully-staffed offices across the nation with ample onsite inventory and effective logistic protocols in its various branch offices. This coast-to-coast reach facilitates delivery schedules as fast as same-day service, as well as providing savings in shipping costs. This is often critical towards the ability and willingness to accommodate potential last-minute changes.
Broad and Deep Product Portfolio
Marketers should seek out providers whose product line includes the latest in brand-name event technologies. The selection should include a wide range of event solutions, from event management software, mobile event apps, lead retrieval software, audience polling and beacon technology, to LED displays and video walls, digital signage, interactive kiosks and charging stations, touch screens, sound equipment, lighting and projectors, computers (laptops, MacBooks, iPads, etc.) and related peripherals.
From Concept to Deployment
A provider whose value proposition extends beyond simply having the right products, including having experienced “architects” to help design and customize technology solutions to best meet an exhibitor’s specific needs, is a marketer’s best choice. Solutions Architects are the missing link in so many event technology applications. They raise the right questions at the onset of an engagement to ensure that the right technology is used and optimally configured. Then, they apply their technical expertise and integration skills, giving exhibitors access to their in-depth knowledge of the technology, and ultimately, the ability to harness the technology’s full performance features.
In addition to seeking out providers with a team of qualified solutions architects, select an organization whose team also includes other trained technicians and dedicated project managers, who serve as single points of contact to manage all aspects of their clients’ event technology needs.
An organization that has been named the official and/or preferred event technology provider for leading trade shows, expositions and convention centers across the nation should indicate to an event marketer and exhibitor that this provider is a reliable, high-quality and professional resource. This is a provider that won’t let you down in terms of equipment performance or technical support. Not many providers hold this distinction but it is well worth a marketer’s due diligence in seeking out this type of high-caliber event technology provider.
Additionally, industry referrals are an excellent way to identify your preferred Event Technology Solution Provider. In doing your due diligence, consider asking for examples of similarly scoped events along with industry standard benchmarks such as Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS accounts for promoters versus detractors and is an excellent way to validate capability to ultimately realize your vision for an event.
It’s Not about Price, It’s about Value
As always, while pricing is a factor, it should not be the only criteria used to consider your preferred event technology firm. Your presence at these events is highly visible and likely critical to your overall marketing strategy. What happens if a microphone goes out while your CEO is presenting if a backup isn’t in place? How does it look to your target audience if the aspect ratio of your digital content is misaligned with the display? Look for an event technology firm that is capable of executing your vision by offering a high-value solution.
Experience Equates to Confidence
Finally, look for an event technology solution provider that can cite a decades-long, proven track record meeting the needs of marketers and event and meeting planners across all industry sectors and geographic territories. This experience, backed by a guaranteed commitment to quality assurance, is a real testament to an event technology solution provider’s commitment to its clients’ complete satisfaction.
There’s little doubt that event technologies will continue to see broader application in trade shows, conferences and industry events. The Bizzaboo Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report also found 86 percent of event marketers feel that event technology can have a major positive effect on the success of their events and that a majority of “over-performing” organizations plan on raising their event technology budgets. This action is supported by data from Enterprise Event Marketing, which found that event technology can help increase event engagement by 20 percent, increase productivity by 27 percent, and decrease costs by 20-30 percent. Even higher performance metrics can be attained when the right event technology solution provider is used.
Your vision is critical. Finding the right event technology solution provider is essential towards the execution of your vision.