What #Eventprofs Say About the Meeting-Planning Process

A new study by Bizzabo reveals how meeting planners market their events, use technology in their meetings, and measure event success—as well as their biggest pain points.

Have  you ever been in a meeting with someone who is so hard to read that you wish you could jump inside her head and see exactly what she’s thinking and why’s she’s thinking it?

Well, good news, if the person you were trying to suss out happens to be a meeting planner.

Bizzabo’s new “Event Professionals of Tomorrow” survey gathered event-planning best practices directly from event professionals related to their marketing, measurement of event success, and technology use. While some results from the event-management-software firm’s survey won’t come as a surprise, others may give you something to consider as you plan an upcoming meeting or event. Here is a closer look at the three areas the survey dove into:

Event Marketing

The most popular way to promote events: email marketing, according to 85 percent of respondents. This was followed by social media (82 percent), word of mouth (69 percent), content marketing (44 percent), and snail mail (32 percent).  In addition, more than 45 percent said email marketing has the biggest impact on actually increasing event registrations.

Diving deeper into the second-most common way to promote an event—social media—respondents turn to Facebook and Twitter most, with 81 percent and 76 percent using them, respectively. But the survey also revealed two social tools that are underutilized: Snapchat (3 percent) and Pinterest (7 percent). Bizzabo suggests that the explosive growth and use of the latter two tools could make them prime marketing vehicles for event planners.

“The data from this survey identified that event organizers understand the importance of event marketing,” the report said. “The data also illuminates that event planners are starting to choose ways to maximize their event marketing potential, specifically through email and through social media, indicating a trend toward automation and deeper segmentation over traditional outreach marketing campaigns.”

Event Technology

As you are well aware, event technology like planning software, mobile apps, wearables, and audience response systems are widely discussed within the community and in industry publications, including this one.

With all that talk, you might think that most planners are taking advantage of it, but the survey reveals that’s not the case.

In fact, the survey showed that 58 percent of event planners spend less than 10 percent of their budget on event software. Another 15 percent surveyed do not invest in software solutions for their event at all.

Yet, the survey also revealed that various technology tools are among the biggest trends in event planning. Close to 90 percent of respondents said audience engagement solutions (e.g., live messaging through event apps, networking through LinkedIn integrations) are the biggest trend in maximizing the event experience. That was followed by wearable devices (35 percent), augmented reality (23 percent), iBeacons (19 percent), and drones (12 percent).

Event Success

What determines whether an event is successful: smiles on attendees’ faces or the number of registered attendees?

The survey found that 84 percent of respondents choose attendee satisfaction as their measure of event success. This was followed by revenue (56 percent), media coverage (16 percent), and team building (12 percent).

“[A]ttendee satisfaction leads the way as the determinate of event success, rather than revenue or ticket sales—by a vast difference of 28 percent,” the report said. “This statistic explains other data from this survey, notably how the majority of respondents chose audience engagement solutions as the biggest trend in maximizing the event experience.”

How does your meeting-planning process align (or not) with the survey results? Please share in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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