Like the software industry, the event management industry has tech stacks. An event tech stack consists of all the technology that helps an event run efficiently. Event planners often forget to consider whether their tools are suitable for the job and their budget leading to overspending and inefficient processes. Re-evaluating your tech stack can help ensure your events improve and run optimally year after year.
In today’s Event Tech Podcast episode, Brandt Krueger and Kyle Kocinski talk about the event tech stack and several tools that event planners might want to incorporate into their stack. They think event planners should re-evaluate their stacks regularly to make the most of their time and money.
When to Re-Evaluate Your Event Tech Stack
Kyle begins today’s topic by considering an event planner’s time and budget. He explains it’s essential to ask, “Do I have the right tools as a planner? Are these tools best for my budget?”
Brandt adds that he regularly sees people working with tools that aren’t working well for their events. “Take a step back and ask yourself what you would do if you were going to do the event from scratch,” he says. Brandt recommends a “can-be-improved” doc to record things about your event that could be improved. “You know, why did this not update here? It could also be the coffee sucked. Anything that needs to be improved,” he says.
Kyle adds that this documentation helps you remember things after the event to re-evaluate your tech stack after an event or before the next one.
Tools in Your Event Tech Stack to Consider
While any technology used to make your event run is part of the tech stack, the duo focuses on select tools they think planners often overlook.
Tools for Exchanging Files
Brandt begins the discussion on tech stack tools by asking Kyle about exchanging files. “What have you been seeing out there other than the obvious Google Drive?”
“You’ll see with different event technologies the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements specifically for sharing files,” says Kyle. “We use a project management tool such as Basecamp, Monday, or Asana to compile different information that is being changed. That way, the client is always touching the data themselves, and the organizer is just helping them move it to the right places. The less you have to move data, the more secure your event will be.”
Map-Based Tools for Exhibitor and Vendor Relations
Exhibitor and vendor relations is another area that requires a lot of correspondence and time between event planners and exhibitors. Kyle finds that map-based tools can help make exhibitor relationships more robust and efficient. “I’ve seen a map-based platform called ExpoFP that lets you lay out your floor plan and sell those spaces directly from your floor plan,” he says. “Buyers can see exactly where they’re going to be on the floor plan, and you’re essentially managing your vendor relations through ExpoFP. While you can’t use a tool like this to collect registrations for an entire event, it is simplifying one of the components of the planning process.”
“I’ve heard anecdotally from multiple exhibitors that they would like it if event planners could coalesce around one platform,” Brandt adds. “Exhibitors that go to multiple events a year struggle with having different usernames and passwords and remembering which platform each event is using.” Brandt suggests working with exhibitors to find the tools they prefer using.
Customer Relationship Management Tools
Kyle thinks it’s also important to consider whether attendees funnel to a customer relationship manager (CRM). Understanding whether attendees return to your events is essential information.
Kyle says, “Clients today are doing two syncs back to their CRMs. After they’ve registered for the event, they’re going to push their attendees back into Hubspot and say this is a confirmed registrant. Post-event, they’re connecting your analytics from your platform back to Hubspot saying these are the documents this attendee downloaded, giving your sales team a head start if you’re following up with that lead from the event.”
Brandt agrees, “Even if it’s not a sales situation, that is a great way to get to know your attendees or stakeholders. CRMs don’t have to be expensive. I actually use a plugin for Gmail called Streak, which is free and puts basic CRM functions into Gmail.”
Communication Tools for Event Day
One component Kyle finds fascinating about hybrid events is event-day communication. “I would love to know what planners are using for this because we’re using some of the more generic tools like Slack audio rooms,” he says. “We’ve also seen some clients using things like Discord. What have you been seeing, Brandt?”
“I’m also hearing more popularity with Slack. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to start dipping your toes into 365 engagement,” Brandt says.
Tools for Managing Speakers
The last tech stack tool Kyle wants to mention is a tool for managing event speakers. “Too often, you’re collecting in-session information documents, almost every week. What’s your session topic about? Do you want any documents listed? Are you going to have any poll questions? If the speaker could manage all of that information in one portal, you wouldn’t have to worry if it’s correct because that’s what the speaker submitted themselves,” Kyle explains. “It definitely helps the process.”
“That’s one thing that could be surprisingly time-consuming. There are a lot of good speaker management portals out there,” Brandt concludes.
Tools for Managing Judges
Brandt offers one last tool to consider, a tool for managing event judges. “There are great platforms out there. Evalato is the company behind the Eventex awards,” he says. “As someone who’s judged those awards for many years now, it’s very simple to use. If that’s another one of those categories that you’re spending hours and hours trying to do by email and sort out, it’s a great opportunity to shave some time off of that.”
While there are near endless event tech tools you could incorporate into your tech stack, Kyle brings today’s episode to a close and invites you to share how many different event technologies are part of your tech stack. “Is it one? Five? Ten plus? It’ll be interesting to learn from each other how we can make our budgeting and our time more efficient,” he says. “And if you’re one of those technologies that are helping planners save time and money, let us know!”
Brandt concludes by emphasizing the major takeaway from today’s podcast, “Take a moment to think about where you might be able to shave some time off your work and what tech might be able to help you do that.” He invites listeners to reach out with their responses to today’s conversation at [email protected].