31 May Event Management Software: 8 Ways To Tell If Your Organisation Needs It
Before you begin to evaluate whether your organisation should use event management software, you need to know what this technology can do for you.
What is Event Management Software?
Event Management Software is a system designed to aid event planners in managing numerous event technologies from one type of platform or backend. These platforms offer features that affect the entire event lifecycle—from planning and design, to onsite management to post-event evaluation. (If they don’t, they’re likely just a point solution.)
Event management software can/may include some or many of the following types of tools:
– Team management
– Event marketing (including email and social media marketing)
– Venue search and management
– Registration website and ticketing
– Data libraries
– Sponsor promotion and management
– Event apps
– Onsite engagement (attendee networking, gamification and/or notifications)
– Digital signage
– Audience response systems (live polls, ask a question, etc.)
– Reporting and analytics
Should You Purchase Event Management Software?
You may be wondering if the benefits of an event management platform will be worth the time and labour it takes to research and buy, and then learn and build the app to your liking. You might also already have various software solutions to plan your event and engage attendees (like using different systems for registration, collecting sponsor information, email marketing, an event app, and event survey tools)
Event management software can be used by so many different types of organisations: event planners, internal staff, and third-party agencies who manage various events all from one backend.
Here are the signs your team could utilise a singular event management platform.
Sign 1: Over 5+ tools are currently needed to manage and enhance your events.
If you find you are constantly jumping from one event technology to another while engaging with attendees before, during and after your event – you may benefit from switching to a single platform.
It is easier for you and your team to learn and use one tool rather than having separate training sessions and logins for each of your current tools. This may include the independent tools you use for registration, event app, post-session surveys, audience response systems, digital signage and networking.
A unified event management platform could also save you time – a precious commodity! – since branding effects may be universal across products—meaning you only end up configuring one tool vs. many.
Sign 2: 1-2 other teams (aside from your own immediate team) are needed to help manage your technologies.
When you realise that you cannot configure your event without having to reach out to different departments in your organisation to help manage the numerous event technologies you have – from Product Engineering and IT, to Finance and Operations, and of course Sales and Marketing – it can detract from your ability to be efficient in executing your event.
A single event management platform means that you, the event planner, can design your event according to your needs. It is easy to make changes and updates on your own, without waiting on others or going through a hierarchy. This saves you time, helps to streamline communication and gives you back the power to use your technology more easily.
Sign 3: You’re sharing licenses/contracts for your event technologies with 1-2 teams (other than your own).
Having to share the licenses of your event marketing and management tools with other teams can cause some issues. First, you may have to limit the number of seats your own team can use since others in your organisation may need access. In addition, many event management software solutions charge by the “seat” (or individual user licenses).
Sharing licenses and tools might be better economically for some organisations, but realistically it can also make it more difficult to switch providers or negotiate prices if you need to coordinate with other teams if ultimately you’re dissatisfied. Bringing in other teams to the table means a longer timeframe to make decisions and can complicate the process.
Sign 4: You’re not able to negotiate costs for event technology.
If you’re using a number of separate solutions, your individual spend with each company may be too low to qualify for lower prices or bonus features. Having one provider with various tools and multiple events may mean spending more up front, but it can simplify the billing process and make it easier to negotiate on pricing and qualify for special discounts based on usage and needs.
Sign 5: Your event technologies are not integrated with one another.
When your tools don’t automatically share data with one another, you have to spend time manually uploading the data to each tool. For instance, if your registration is separate from your email marketing system, then you’ll likely need to download a list of attendees from the registration system, reformat it and then upload it into your email marketing tool in order to send your attendees information and updates. Should that data change – for example, when a new person registers – you will have to re-upload the data. This not only takes time but can cause errors, even creates the possibility of outdated versions being sent out due to human error.
When your software is integrated between event technologies, these issues are usually solved. However, this means they are still provided by different vendors and you have had to budget to pay for setup and support. A single technology platform shouldn’t need integration between products because the data is all housed in one system. The automated flow of data can save time and prevent version issues.
Sign 6: Building reports and collecting data means logging into separate tools.
When using various software tools, reports often require complex Excel spreadsheets where data is strung together in order to share observations gleaned from the attendees’ feedback. A single platform can alleviate the process and decrease the time you spend collecting and exporting event data – it can also reveal relevant event insights for the stakeholders.
Sign 7: You plan multiple events a year, or have multiple teams planning events.
A single solution that has multi-event as well as group management features makes managing events easier. Organising and modifying specific aspects of several events becomes easier, especially when compared to having multiple events and logins for each tool. It can also expedite the process of marketing and promoting multiple events to your attendees, or to view attendee data from various events.
Additionally, a single platform can help you to quickly and easily compare data from event to event, year over year. The idea of using one tool one year for your event technology and then changing it the next year – your data, your learnings, your vital information may all be gone or not at all comparable depending on the system you’ve moved to!
Sign 8: You and/or your technical team struggle to learn and configure all of the event tools you’re using.
It can be quite time-consuming to ensure everyone on your team gets properly trained on the event technology tools you are using. They can all have such a variety of features depending on the function they perform. For instance, customer relationship management tools or professional level marketing automation require extensive courses to master, which most event planners don’t have the opportunity to do.
This can be doubly difficult if you have a smaller team, possibly with less technical knowledge to manage and properly utilize these tools; the planning process slows down and making time-sensitive changes will be harder. A single event management platform can speed up learning time, and make using and configuring your event technology simpler since the features and products are meant to work together.
What Are the Cons of Purchasing Event Management Software?
Some of the potential cons of using an event management software are:
1 – Costs can be high if you usually use free or one-time use tools. Event management platforms can be costly, especially for an enterprise-sized company. Some may be subscription based and might require one or event a multiple year contract, while other are event by event billing. Look for solutions with flexible pricing options based on number of attendees, features used, and/or number of events—whatever works best for your organisation.
2 – Event management platforms may have less depth in some features and functions – when compared to point solutions, since these are designed to do just one task. It is important to find a platform that is customizable. Be sure to also weigh the pros and cons of desired functions or features to ensure you get all you need, since you may lose some.
3 – Not all event management tools within a platform are created by one company. Some software may be a compilation of acquired technology solutions, which means they were not initially built on the same platform. This could create data transfer and reporting issues. This could also make it more difficult to learn separate products, which defeats the purpose of purchasing a single platform. If you find this is the case, be sure to ask for a demo that includes all the products/features.
4 – Some event management platforms charge high fees for API integrations. It’s a good idea to ask about integration costs and services before making final decisions. Check as well if they have an open REST API key that your team can use for integrations. Your technical staff can be instrumental in building out the integration, which helps save on cost.
How to Get Buy-In for Event Management Software
The benefits of adopting an event management platform can be as follows:
○ Easier to learn one platform vs. multiple tools
○ Simplified reporting
○ Single-team management vs. multi-department collaboration
- Improved buying process
○ Simpler billing by using fewer vendors
○ Time-saving researching multiple tools in the buying process
○ Better opportunity to negotiate costs with one vendor
○ Can be more cost-effective than license for “best in breed” point solutions
- Streamlined event management
○ Branding and files shared between products and tools
○ May not need to set up integrations between a multitude of tools
○ Multi-event and team management of events simplified
It’s important to look for solutions that offer integrations (custom built services or out-of-the-box), as you may still need or want to use tools your organisation has adopted. Customisation options you can tailor your event stack to your event. And with so many tasks to balance for event organizers, every little bit of help makes an impact on the overall event planning experience.
Michelle Wong is the Content Marketing Manager at EventMobi, the most customizable and easy to use event app technology platform in the market.