Down the mousehole : Episode 006

13 Oct, 2018

“So let’s talk about chatbots then – what are chat bots?”

“Voice is the next trend when it gets to events.”

Guest biography

Julius Solaris

Julius Solaris

Founder and Event Tech Guru

Julius Solaris is the editor of EventMB. Started in 2007, EventMB is the number one online platform worldwide for event professionals. Julius is the founder of the Event Innovation Lab an immersive training program for Fortune 500 companies and high performance event teams.

He has been named one of 25 most influential individuals in the Meeting Industry by Successful Meetings Magazine.

Books
He is the author of over 10 books on event technology, event marketing, meeting design and innovation (The Eventtech Bible, Meeting Design, The Future of Event Marketing, The art of venue negotiation, Annual Event Trends Report, Social Media for Events, The Event App Bible , The Good Event Registration Guide, Engaging Events, The Venue of the Future). Over 200,000 event professionals downloaded his books.

International Community
In 2008 he started the Event Planning and Management LinkedIn Group. Now at over 380,000 members it is the largest community of event professionals online.

Social Media Experience

Before becoming a 100% dedicated editor and speaker, he has been working as Social Media Consultant for FTSE250 companies in the UK. His last campaign with RS Components won Econsultancy’s The Digitals for Best Multichannel Marketing Campaign.

Portfolio
https://EventMB.com
http://eventmanagerblog.com
https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/the-power-of-events-free-report
https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/videos


Contact
https://www.juliussolaris.com
[email protected]

Episode transcript

Randle Stonier

00:00

Hello and welcome back to Three Blind Mice – I’m the Mice Maister-in-Cheese, the honorary Doc.

Radio Events

00:06

Welcome to radio does events for the three blind mice podcast. Thanks for tuning in. We bring you what’s hip and happening behind the scenes of meetings, incentives, conferences, and events. Three blind mice with a cast of thousands from radio dot events.

Randle

00:23

So welcome back. We’re going to go straight back into our interview with Julius Solaris from the event managers blog, where I catch up on all things event and event tech

Radio Events

00:34

In your car, at work, at home, work on your smart phone.

Randle

00:42

Julius, can we now turn to event tech itself? What areas of event tech and marketing technology should we be aware of? What should we have on our radar screens coming up over the next year or so? I’m not asking you to name specific names, but tell us about the general areas of application. Let’s take, for example, AR and VR or the more recent term, Mixed Reality, which is increasingly dominating conversations and has been incorporated into an increasing number of event design solutions. You might want to comment on that or mention other themes of emerging technology of course.

Julius Solaris

01:15

AR/VR, is a comparison that I would not like to make. AR and VR are very different things with different purposes, different applications that we’ve sort of discussed at length in our reports and publications. And very different technologies as well. I’ve never been a big fan of AR, but you know, the investment that a lot of smartphone makers are doing on AR, signals that we have to start looking at it more deeply – giving the attention it deserves. Because if Apple is investing in AR it means we need to look at it at least understand what’s the application of it. And to me these days, the application that we see is probably for a lot for the experiential side, a lot for the activation side, for the sponsorship side of things. You can make things materialize in front of you. There’s a lot of wow effect around that, being able to engage and play with brands and propositions from sponsors. That’s the one I’m most excited about. There’s one of mixed reality when it gets to presentations for example. So Microsoft has been doing a lot of work to have you as an audience of a presentation – have the speaker almost give you objects instead of slides that you can play with as an attendee. So a very immersive experience there with mixed reality as it’s called. So in between AR and VR to a certain extent. So that’s very interesting. But we’re far away from seeing something like that. I don’t like to talk about the future because I don’t know what’s going to happen and it’s not healthy for our industry to think about what is going to happen in 20 years’ time, in five years’ time, or even in three year’s time. I like to think about what is going to happen next year because that’s what we would need to be concerned with when it gets to tools that we use for our events, not strategies. So, it still has a lot of gimmick factor as I see it, it’s a stunt in most cases. I have to prove the long-term value of having it there, the investment resources, budget, all of that. If we want to replace an entertainment band, with a cool AR activation is something that you can try for your event, is it a long-term sustainable strategy for your event, a tool that you could use on the longer term? I don’t see the application yet, so I cannot comment on that.

Julius

04:12

Now VR, when I talk about VR, I don’t talk about virtual environments where we could move and interact with avatars. Okay. When I talk about VR, I talk about mostly 360 degree live video, which I think is one of the most untapped opportunities for event professionals right now. So just to clarify for your audience, we’re talking about immersive participation in events, so sort of elevating the live streaming that some events have these days. So it’s putting a camera connecting audiences to a more immersive experience where you can look around with your phone. You don’t necessarily need the visor to do that or an Oculus Rift or Oculus Go. You can use your iPhone, you can connect by Youtube, Twitter, Facebook – they all have 360-degree support and all of a sudden you can be in the front seat of a conference and really look around and look at the speakers up close. It elevates the experience of remote attendance, which I think is one of the most neglected opportunities that we have. We don’t do a lot about the people that cannot be there because they have something else going on. You know, when there’s a massive business opportunity for those that are willing to innovate and creatively approach the 360 degree live streaming to their events. So I’m extremely excited about that. We’ve seen some, you know, sports these days, they are the strong products that happened during the Superbowl here in the US where you can watch the game with your VR mode, be there on the front line and see the game happening all around yourself. So that’s very, very engaging.

Randle

05:58

What about the time lag – have they cracked that now Julius? Because, in my experience when you threw it open to questions for the audience that weren’t in the room and questions were arriving seven seconds after everybody else had sort of left and gone home as it were, it was kind of like a bit embarrassing. Is that something that is still work in progress or is it getting better?

Julius

06:21

It’s still a problem. If you would ask the event technology providers these days, what’s the number one barrier for adoption of their tech? They would blame it on Internet infrastructure in venues that they work with, the lack of reliable wifi and infrastructure is a problem indeed. That affects how we interact with those. Having said that, if there was a reliable infrastructure at a venue selection standpoint, you can then implement something that is extremely solid. And as I said it is served via Youtube. So, you know, to a certain extent you can interact with that environment very easily in a very secure way. Obviously if you’re developing your own tools to do it, that can get more complicated. That can go, you know, require more investment. But I’m talking here about baby steps that we could do to involve the audience better. But yes, lag is still a problem. You know, there needs to be a fix or require the proper infrastructure. You know these problems are being solved very slowly, but they are being solved. You know, we see the rise of 5G, we see that Internet in some cases doesn’t have to go from cables anymore in remote areas, it goes through a mobile signal and it’s faster than ever. So, you know, we can expect in the next few years that to change, but yes, it is still a barrier and it’s still part of the evaluation you have to make when you select a technology tool – is it becoming an enabler or is it becoming a problem? You know, because if you don’t have the infrastructure, the budget to support it, then it’s just a problem. Move on and do something else.

Randle

08:06

One of the areas that I was interested in, I think it was covered in one of your recent episodes with the event manager blog was, was the area of facial recognition. How would you sum up that, what, what’s going on in that space and how is it beneficial to the event planner?

Julius

08:22

No, I was going to mention that because I’m desperate about facial recognition in the sense that I don’t understand what is there to think about? Why are we thinking about it?  Look at what happened here in the US when they implemented facial recognition in airports. So Orlando airport, they sped up the check-in process by 15 minutes on average. It’s a long time, a lot of time, you know, 15 minutes. It’s an eternity when it gets to events, right? Because, you know, events happen over two days, 15 minutes of those two days. It’s a huge chunk of the time that you’re wasting on something that annoys everybody, like waiting in line to get in. It’s a major retarded problem of events that we need to fix and solve. It comes with challenges. It’s not an easy one. Right? Because in some countries…

Randle

09:22

I went to one of the exhibitions in Amsterdam, I think it was probably about 18 months ago. So that’s a long time in tech speak. I was very disappointed when as I approached the scanner, it said “Male, Old”. And I thought it clearly just isn’t working properly.

Julius

09:41

Oh, that’s stupid. That’s how to alienate your attendee.

Randle

09:49

You need to teach it to lie at least gracefully.

Julius

09:52

Yeah, exactly.

Randle

09:54

The last thing I wanted to know is that I’m being revealed as “Male, Old”

Julius

09:56

‘Beautiful attendee’, that’s what it should say. ‘Oh, congrats on your eyelashes’ it should say that to the ladies.

Randle

10:02

‘Nice facelift!’

Julius

10:08

Exactly. So I think that’s just a bad choice. No, as you said, 18 months ago, is a very long time. I spoke to one of these companies doing facial recognition for events. I spoke to them at the very inception a year and a half ago, two years ago maybe, and they told me, they could process 500 attendees at a time to be accurate. In the space of a year, they are now able to process 15,000. So that’s the speed at which this technology is evolving. It has a benefit. We analysed…we did a case study in EMB (Event Manager Blog) where we looked at the process times – it is five times faster than regular check-ins because you sync your profiles on registration with Linkedin or Facebook and it matches that pictures to you or you can upload your own picture if you want.

Julius

11:01

So it’s very easy to do. It poses some issues because, in some countries, say Muslim countries for example, it is a problem to get the face of some attendees at check-in so it doesn’t apply to everything. There are some problems inherent to that. There are some privacy concerns, there’s a lot going on in there that you’d have to analyse and the companies actually are tackling because they see the issue, they’re not blind to it, but the opportunity is far greater than the issues here because the opportunity is to solve, especially for large events, one of the biggest problems that we have, which is checking people in a fast manner, the fastest possible manner, but also it offers more opportunities when it gets to security. So we now have, for example, with the same airport application they’ve been able to match the face against databases and to immediately identify potential threats to security. So some festivals in the UK, I think it’s the Download Festival, they’re using cameras to scan faces at the event, match them against potential threats… terrorists threats.

Randle

12:24

I think (one of) the best place(s) they could apply it is actually for all the concerts and festivals – that on the initial ticket application, you submit your photo and if you’re not the person turning up with a ticket on the event you don’t get in. Wow. That would be interesting. That would change things overnight. (Glastonbury are actually doing this)

Julius

12:47

Interesting. I like the way you think Randle. You know, we’re talking the day after the news that broke yesterday about one of the biggest ticket providers out there for concerts. I won’t name names here because it’s still to be proven, although there’s a video that surfaced yesterday and it was picked up by major media – with Ticketmaster having a stand, a booth at a big ticketing event, basically welcoming an undercover journalist posing as a scalper, basically welcomed them and saying we want to work with you with your scalping efforts. So that’s really scary because the problem that many see and they talk about, it’s actually something that is being actively encouraged, although it still has analysed. There’s no sentence on these people (no confirmed proof yet).

Randle

13:49

The suggestion is at the end of the day that the people who were putting on the events or the people who are promoting the events are as much, shall I say in some cases, many cases, a few cases who knows, shall I say, culpable in that they may have their hand in the candy jar.

Julius

14:06

Yes. What I’m saying is that facial recognition can be a great solution to the scalping problem, because it’s personal, it’s your face, you cannot give it away. The application of that, we’re talking high level, the official recognition is part of AI, artificial intelligence, so it’s one of those applications that is deeply changing together with chatbots, which is one other one that I’m pretty excited about.

Randle

14:39

So let’s talk about chatbots then – what are chat bots?

Julius

14:42

Bots I love, I love, I love the application of those in how it can potentially change. I’m almost redefine the use of mobile apps at events. I believe we’ve, we peaked when it gets to mobile apps at events. Despite that, our own research says there are a lot of events that haven’t used mobile apps. I don’t think they will adopt mobile apps. Eventually they will skip to the next technology and chatbots resemble a lot of what that technology may look like. Why do we use mobile apps at events? Okay. Randle, I’m asking you the question, why do we use them at events? Why would you use a mobile app at say a large exhibition?

Randle

15:32

As an information device? It’s the main communications tool for event organisers. If there are changes to the communications or to the information, then it’s very easy and quick to update it – for push and pull communications, both pushing out instant messaging or instant information or immediate information and also receiving that back in from your exhibition visitors, for dynamic mapping, helping people get around the venue. If you’ve obviously got that functionality enabled and some of the challenges are worked out in terms of internal positioning systems. For social media engagement, for leveraging sessions, speakers, seminars. For getting the message out there, getting everybody involved. At the end of the day. It helps lift sponsors profiles even further as far as exhibition visitors are concerned and helping the organiser help the sponsor get the bang for their buck. Will that do?

Julius

16:48

Yeah, hundred percent. And I agree. But how do we take it a step forward? I think that really the need when we have apps is to substitute and how they were born, is to substitute the show guide, right? The print material that you have to scan through, go through pages and pages to find a map, to find information about a speaker to find information about an exhibitor. So that was the purpose of the show guide and all of a sudden all these mobile app providers came along and said, wait a minute, you can save money because you don’t have to print all of these show guides anymore, you can avoid the waste of show guides, although many events still have both of you know, and then you can access information in a faster way. That was the proposition of a mobile apps for events. I need to find what’s happening, you know, in a conference program of the activation, who will be speaking next. I immediately access the schedule. I look through the agenda and see who’s coming next. Right? So I know if it interests me or not. Now chatbots, so we have the ability to chat with an automated response system with questions and answers preloaded there and really learns about what you want and if it doesn’t have the answer, connects you to a live person that can check exactly so that ability there is massively important for events. Why? Because as we said earlier, in an event environment, spending two minutes on an app to find a specific piece of information I’m interested in, it’s a long time. We have to live with that even, you know, going through five different screens from the home-screen to click on the agenda. I’ll click on the day, click on the time of the day, and then look at the session. It’s five steps more than I need when I can go to a chat bot and say, okay, who’s coming next in the conference program? Who’s speaking next? Right. So I immediately have that information without having to search through different screens so that’s readily available information. It’s very important for events and is usually the reason why we turn to volunteers. Staff to provide that information, or to show floor staff and all of a sudden they are bombarded with the same questions all over again. Where are the restrooms, where can I get some food? Where is the parking?  Very frequently asked questions that take a lot of time to answer from live people, which you still have to have within an event. But we were talking about reducing the volume here so you can find some efficiencies within your team. That’s been consistently the feedback that I had from large shows. I was doing this as part of training to a 50,000 plus software exhibition company. I’m in the US and while I was presenting the ChatBot idea, the marketing team was like, ‘oh, we’re not sure. It’s just buzz.’ When I presented the opportunity, the operation staff, the production stuff say, ‘wait a minute, we have staff here on the show floor and they’re asking the same questions all over again for the whole show. What if we instruct our audience to use the ChatBot instead?’ Asking questions through the Chat Bot that could save us an enormous amount of time and dedicate our staff to do more meaningful activities, more important prioritizing activities there. I see that as a very practical application that gives a very direct, and one to one opportunity. You’d be amazed by the fact that in some cases, especially introverted attendees, they won’t show up to your staff and say, ‘Oh, this event is totally crap, I hate it’. Probably here in the US it can happen, there’s still gonna be some of those, but, you know, we don’t tend to give negative feedback to staff at events or we don’t even bother replying to emails now asking for our opinions for the fifth or sixth time, in our inbox. It’s just an annoying piece of the process of events. So what if we could direct the feedback through chatbots and ask in a conversational manner and you’ll discover that we’re more inclined to share a negative feedbacks.

Julius

21:24

Negative feedback is the rarest form of improvement that we have for our events. It’s very tough to find, there’s not a lot of attendees that would give it a ways, especially when it gets to be introverted people. Which sometimes tend to be the decision makers as well. So we can all of a sudden feel more comfortable within a chat environment for the same reasons why we feel comfortable expressing our political views on Facebook and thinking that it doesn’t affect people in real life. It’s the same type of process. Or on Twitter. We feel like just because we’re doing it online, it doesn’t exist. So I’m trying to use that negative behaviour for a positive effect here, which is collectively meaningful.

Randle

22:16

Effectively what we’re saying is look, we’ve all begun to see chat bots being used on more progressive websites, but they’re just as important and useful as an extension of your event app, your whole audience engagement around the event.

Julius

22:33

Absolutely. The fastest way to have it (chatbots), you don’t have to forgo your mobile apps. I have a chatbot modules within them. And it’s also a marketing opportunity, you know, because chatbots also work at a website level, they don’t have to be mobile apps when you’re trying to sell a ticket for a $4,000 conference and you expect people to convert online, you can have the best possible content marketing funnel that converts people at the end of the day, but they may have some (additional) questions and you’d better be ready to answer those. So a live chat module at a registration stage will help you to convert these prospects into registering for your event.

Randle

23:22

How far are we from having chatbots that we can for one use a Siri type Alexa interface where we can just vocalize our question rather than having to type them into a little keypad whilst being knocked by people walking past us in the aisles?

Julius

23:39

I think voice is the next trend when it gets to events for the very same reasons why we’ve so far – it is the next step in the evolution from mobile apps to chatbots to voice, because that simplifies the process even more. I don’t have to type. I just have to ask my phone, where is this, where is that? And I’ve seen the implementation of that with some Alexa booths at some trade shows here in Vegas where there’s an Alexa booth. You can ask questions. I started to ask them questions and I had to pick up my phone and shoot a video while I was doing it. Random. I’m sorry. That’s my geekiness did it and I plan to use it about the event in one of my future presentations. Now, no name, no shame, but you know what I’m like, don’t mention it now because it’s so bad. First of all, you know, you can tell by my accent I’m messed up with my English and you know, it didn’t recognise me at all.

Randle

24:40

Let’s say it’s not your first language but you speak and understand it well

Julius

24:42

It’s not my first language and it just didn’t understand me at all. I’m getting better at that with my Google home assistant and home. I’m starting to get it to understand. I use it to set up reminders for quick actions where I don’t want to take out my phone. My remote control of my TV, I speak into it and it goes to the channels. Why do I have to remember what a channel is, what’s the number of them? I just say ‘CNBC’ and it goes there. Immediately.

Randle

25:13

I think that the television interface is still frustrating, it’s so frustrating for so many people. It’s just unbelievable that we’re so slow at making this transition.

Julius

25:21

It is, but you know what, it’s learning is changing. People are investing in it. Brands are investing. Amazon is investing in voice dramatically because it’s the only way they have to get ahead of Facebook and Google when it comes to advertising. So they’re investing a lot of money. So whenever these giants are investing a lot of money, which is the case, for example, with Facebook and VR and 360° degree video. Zuckerberg is deeply committed to that, and that signals that we should take care of it, understand what the opportunity is. But there’s some other applications. One of our sponsors that we work with have an application that is super cool. They actually take the voice from the speakers at events and they translate that into a script that you can then share with your attendees to make what has been discussed tangible and on paper. The voice to text (transcription/)translation is a very interesting application. So there’s a bright future for voice at events for the same reasons. Siri, Alexa, the mobile app of the event, who should I meet in this room? You should meet the person next to you, because they are interested in this and that. That’s a potential application of the future. Where should I go next? Where can I find this? Where can I find that? Pop up the screen immediately find the information for you. That time sensitive application of technology, whenever time is involved, that why I’m keen on facial recognition and all these applications because they shorten the time and we don’t have a lot of time at events

Randle

27:07

Is there anything else that we should have on our radar screen before we move off the subject? And I appreciate we’re talking the next 12 – 24 months as opposed to 3-5 years.

Julius

27:18

Well, I haven’t seen a lot of start-ups popping up over the last year. I think there’s a lot of consolidation happening. There’s a lot of companies buying companies right now. So that innovation is becoming part of larger tools. So you see a lot of larger tools shipping with more vertical innovation.

Julius

27:40

I’m a big fan of smart badges. I think that smart badges need to become the standard. I think we’re missing on a huge opportunity when it gets to analyzing traffic and data when we use a printed badge. Because you are immediately giving up on the opportunity of analyzing the (people) flows of your event, where people stop, if they stop in front of a specific area or a lounge or an activation or a session. You could immediately pop up (on the event app), a feedback mechanism for your content. There’s a lot of opportunities. There’s a networking opportunity with smart badges – some badges tend to flash when you’re around people that you should meet. There’s some very interesting applications in the smart badge category and the fact that it’s becoming integrated with some of the registration tools gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Randle

28:43

As we wrap up, let me just understand the information tools that you produce that benefit event organisers – you have the Event Manager Blog, how often does that come out or get updated?

Julius

28:56

We published around 3-4 articles a week. We try to be extremely focused on giving you the tools that count, giving you thought leadership, what you need to do, inspiration on a number of topics from catering to innovative meeting formats, events formats, ideas for themes. We try to be very hands on and practical in our advice that we give out to you for the tools that need to be used. So, that’s a weekly basis, 3-4 times a week. You can subscribe to the weekly newsletter if you want to get just one email with a summary of all the articles for the week so your inbox is not flooded with emails. Then on a monthly basis we do some level of a report which could be one of our signature reports. The Event App Bible probably being the most famous. The Event Trends report that comes out around November time is probably one of the most popular in terms of downloads where we talk about the trends in the different aspects. And then co-branded reports that we do with partners. One of the most anticipated ones is going to be out next month together with IMEX on the occasion of my keynote there at the event in IMEX America here in Vegas. We’re doing a report about the power of events, which we’re extremely excited about. It’s 29 key studies of the most inspiring events from around the world with practical takeaways that you can apply to your events. So very great stories there and very inspirational for our industry. So there’s a lot of reports happening. We have a monthly Webinar as well. We have a lot of initiatives – we do Facebook live chats. There’s a lot happening on the blog.  You can definitely connect with www.EventMB.com and it’s very easy to immediately recognise all the activities. We also do a lot of videos on YouTube https://bit.ly/2gyYchz – We have probably the most popular (event) channel right now, and so there’s a lot happening.

Randle

31:17

Thank you Julius. That’s just great. A big thank you to you for helping shine some light in the dark corners in particular in the event and marketing technology space, which all of us are constantly working hard on trying to keep up to date. But, you know, sometimes the day job takes over. I’m curious if there’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self back in the day, based on what you know now, what would it be?

Julius

31:14

When you do something that it’s out of the ordinary, it’s very tough to be confident about what you do. I would be more confident if I would go way back. Today we have a business with thousands of contributors. We have, we established ourselves as the most popular website (traffic) for event planners worldwide. So I feel that we’ve achieved a lot. (I wish) We’d had a little bit more confidence back in the day. So, I would give me a pat on the back and say, go and kick some ass.

Randle

32:29

Okay. You’ve taken that the events industry to heart and evidenced that. If you had your time again doing anything, what would you do differently, whether in events or outside of the events arena?

Julius

32:44

Interesting. I feel that I would want to be more hands on with events… doing events because my involvement with events has always been about talking about events with a lot of research, but it’s still digital. I love the face to face interaction. I get a little bit of that when I go and speak around the world. It gives me a lot of energy to meet the people that read us in person. We started our own events this year with our Event Innovation Lab. We did two in New York and Los Angeles, which were extremely successful and we’re planning to do more over next year. So I want to do more events, other than writing about events, which is my passion, but you know, I’ve done a lot in the last 11 years.

Randle

33:37

I think that’s evident. Congratulations. Julius is, it’s lovely to talk to you. It’s great to hear about all the things that are going on and I look forward to seeing you continue to go from strength to strength and for anybody listening out there then do go to our website, Radio.Events, and you can find out all about Julius, the Event Manager Blog, Event Tech Bible, the insights and reports etc. All the links will be there. Julius for now. Thank you very much indeed.

Julius

34:05

Thanks a lot. Thanks for having me.

Randle

34:11

A reflective comment and thoughts for the Events Industry

I’ve been reflecting on the interview with Julius over the last 2 episodes and many of the valuable points he makes. As we all know, the challenge for all event professionals when planning and executing any event is how best to achieve the core objectives in a cost effective and engaging manner, that leaves all stakeholders wanting more.

But as part of that, we are often faced with that perennial challenge, what comes first, the chicken or the egg, the event or the technology?

And as many are realising, they are not mutually exclusive.

Getting value from technology must to be the overarching consideration in its adoption.

But by the same token, it is very apparent that many event owners and planners are failing to make the most out of the technology and digital tools available to them. And this is evidenced by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services report on the Event Marketing Evolution, sponsored by Splash – 52% of respondents said events drives more business than other channels, but only 23% of those polled say they can calculate return on investment for the events they organize. The belief in the power of events is overwhelming but proving it is still lagging a long way behind.

The general consensus in the HBR research is that events are a valuable marketing tool, and that spending on events has become a larger part of companies’ overall marketing budgets.
“Companies are spending on event marketing at a growing rate, with 54% boosting their event activity over the past three years, and only 17% cutting back,” concludes the report.

As Julius said in his interview, today’s technology, applied in the right hands can help us rediscover the importance of events. And I think that’s very true, but that real re-discovery of the power or events will only come if we modify our historical approach.

And that’s about facing up to some facts on budget realities and organisational understanding and cross functional engagement.

The new world of events is about Actionable data, better

understanding of buyer behaviour, mid-course corrections on existing events and actionable insights to help us improve future ones; providing attendees with a much richer and more personalized experience, sales with better quality of leads. If we explore the new event technologies, they are activities that now richly benefit other areas of the organisation – virtual reality (VR) (impacts Training and Development but also Channel and Brand marketing), artificial intelligence (AI) (Marketing and Operations and Customer Services benefit), eventbots/chatbots (Events, smart-badging, facial recognition and live streaming and cloud-based event management systems – they perhaps mean less concierge personnel, less event planners or freelancers.

I think that the biggest pressures and challenges facing brand owners and event organisers is 1) the event budget itself – how can you keep doing more for the same as last year, whilst embracing all these new technologies – it’s not possible. and 2) the organisational structure, the event planner has to help other silos, other budget holders in their understanding as to what event technology or marketing technology is out there, and what it can really do, and why the budget ‘cake’ needs to be re-sliced.

But there is good news out there. I think Event planners are well positioned to make events and the impact of their events far more effective for the organisation.

But it does require a fundamental re-set. A re-set to the historical approach to events. It’s about re-discovering how we can do events differently, by harnessing not just event tech, but marketing technology. About re-engaging – re-engaging other functional owners (Marketing, Operations, Training & Development, Technology and Customer Services) on the potential power of technology around events and the kind of integrated solutions, that collaboratively together can make budgets work harder. So it is about the need to re-visit budgets and how the cake is sliced (a conversation with Finance and other functions). Events ultimately needs bigger budgets, but bigger budgets from working collaboratively with other functional areas in order to deliver even better returns, by better understanding and helping them better understand the potential of all event technology and marketing technology but also, getting more budget from these other functional silos by helping them understand that bigger potential through collaboration and a more integrated engagement.

They won’t know what technology is out there and what it can do for them and how it’s transcended other functional areas, unless you as the event professionals actually get out there and spread the message. But you need to understand it all first.

I think Event professionals have a unique opportunity to move from the margins to the heart of the organisation.

Oh, well it’s definitely time to lighten up after all of that heavy stuff. My apologies. Well, I’m not apologizing. I hope it was useful. And if you’re still with me even better, as we are rushing towards the close of another episode of Three Blind Mice. And if you haven’t guessed by now, I like to try and mix it up a bit. So as I said earlier, some things will appeal to certain stakeholders more than others and hopefully there’s enough there for everybody to have a little dabble every now and again. And we all like a little dabble.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to feed back on this or any episode, then there’s a whole raft of options for you but not least of which is our Voicepipe, which is on our website at Radio.Events. That gives you the ability to send me a voice message directly from your computer, from your mobile, whatever you prefer.

And maybe I’m going to put it on the air next time. Who knows? But whether you like it, whether you hate it, when there’s something I’ve said that you agree with, something you think is contentious, that I’m talking absolute Balderdash, don’t hesitate to let me know. If you are enjoying Three Blind Mice and you’d like to see it continue into the future, at some point I have to deal with the acid reality of the commercial viability, which is not something we like to talk about. The grubby stuff such as money. There are several ways to help me get Three Blind Mice out there. One is to become a Patreon of Three Blind Mice – it could be a one off donation or it could be something on a regular basis, so if you head over to Radio.Events and check-up on Patreon, then that’ll tell you all about that.

Alternatively, if you’ve got some slightly bigger Spondulies that you’d like to spread a little love in our direction to help spread the message out there, then you could become a mainstream sponsor and again, head on over to Radio.Events or click on the sponsorship tab. Give me a bell, drop me a note. Who knows, and if you become a Patreon, I’ll give you a name, check a shout out in my next podcast. So there you go. Now I have to put of a threshold on it because you might get it, might do it for a dollar because I think it’s all done in dollars, but you know, let’s say for anybody $10 and above there’ll be a name check and obviously the bigger, the bigger the Spondulies, the bigger the name check. So I look forward to. I’m counting a few cents with you every now and again. If you’ve enjoyed it, please spread the message. Please keep coming back. Please keep downloading and get your friends and family involved too. It’s a big community. Let’s spread the love. And finally a big final shout out and thanks again to Julius Solaris of the Event Manager Blog for having joined me over the last couple of episodes and of course, a huge thank you to you for tuning into Three Blind Mice. Until next time, stay safe.

Three Blind Mice is edited and mixed by Sam William at www.RightRoyalAudio.com – Right Royal Audio – be heard, loud and clear.

 

Radio Events

42:59

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Three Blind Mice here on Radio.Events. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share it with your friends. Do head over to iTunes, give us a rating and leave a review. Don’t forget, you can send us a voice message directly through our Voicepipe at www.Radio.Events. Until next time.

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