EXHIBITION NEWS July 2017 - Page 29

Sophie Ahmed, event director, Informa Exhibitions Hellen Beveridge, head of strategic insight, Circdata Stefan Bonczoszek, managing director, Symposia Simon Burton, managing director, Ingo Kevin Jackson, director of ideas and innovation, The Experience Is The Marketing Waleed Jahangir, CEO, Algebra Consulting Nicola Macdonald, acting editor, EN Dom Millar, CEO, Completely Group James Ormiston, managing director, Circdata Katy Roberts, event director, Media 10 Hannah Todd, senior event technology consultant, Noodle Live Jamie Vaughan, senior director, Glisser think it’s just tech. All tech is just tech. We’re making it event tech because we presume that there’s a huge demand for tech that’s specifi c to events, but it’s just tech that has been adapted to events. Jamie Vaughan: You go to an event and have the audience looking at their phones because they’re checking their email. that’s not event tech, but it’s tech. It’s behavioural tech and it’s what they do now. It’s about embracing that. KJ: I do think we’re overplaying that. Technology is part of everyone’s live, and it’s a great part of everyone’s life, but what are we trying to do with it? What is the point of it? What are we trying to do with the audience? What do they want? We need to fi nd the tech that solves that need. There is tech that can solve problems, it may not necessarily be event tech but it is tech. What we’ve got to do is broaden our horizons and think about the audience. They have lives outside of the event industry, so what do they do, what do they like, what do they not like, what are we going to do to engage them at our event? How can we support them with technology? Stefan Bonczoszek: I think a key thing too is how you mar ket the technology. I think there’s quite prevalent ideology that if you build it people will come – and download it and get value from it – but they won’t necessarily do that. JV: There’s an elephant in the room already. ROI – do I get value? I sold mobile apps for two years and we sold apps that were incredibly expensive, but they had every user’s personal itinerary; their fl ights, what room they stayed in. It was like your personal PA. Every single person downloaded the app and lived off the app. It was ridiculously expensive so it can’t roll out mainstream, but it’s a great example of how technology can support and will probably edge towards those component parts in mainstream. They’re just not there yet. There a disparity sometimes between what people want and what they get. But it’s evolving. Simon Burton: Event tech is a term created by people who wanted to sell event organisers technology. It is largely meaningless, but simultaneously we all kind of understand what it means. Tech is frequently created by people who have identifi ed a non-existent problem and have then applied technology and their skills to solving a problem that didn’t exist, and they are pitching without an understanding of the market or how events work. Either that or they have the idea that all events are created equal, which they are not. Every event is different and has a different dynamic. Hellen Beveridge: Techies build tech and event marketers build marketing programs, event marketing programs are cyclical and other tech builders don’t necessarily build something that understands the rise and fall. They’re priced in a way that expects them to be used 365, but you may only use them for a very short period of time. JV: This is where feedback is really important; for the industry to say, ‘this is what we’re asking for’. The magic bullet James Ormiston: When I was younger I used to work for a marketing director, he was a very experienced bloke, who said to me once, ‘you are always market-driven, not product-driven’. You always have to look for a gap in the market and fi ll that gap, don’t develop a product and look for a market. Whenever you do anything you have to think, ‘are we doing this for the sake of it or are we trying to justify that we’ve got some bright ideas?’ I do think that with a lot of people you do see it in the event tech world, that people have these great ideas and try to create a market for it. KJ: Is there a gap in the market that we can serve? But also is there a market in the gap? The problem is that they invent something that isn’t needed. SA: If we are led by customers then event tech should be too. Stefan: As a supplier in that area I do think there is a tendency with event marketeers to look for that shiny new thing, because it’s a very creative industry and it has to be evolving. There is a natural desire to fi nd that feature, that one magic bullet that’s going to be this great solution. JV: We have many corporates who would come to us post-event and say, ‘that was great, we’re now planning next year, what’s new?’ They have to stand up in front of all their Fortune 500 competitors and say they’re delivering the latest tech. We’re absolutely required to invent stuff to make it new and fresh and sexy. KJ: There isn’t a brief I see now from a corporate client that doesn’t say ‘we want the latest X piece of technology’. Everyone is under pressure to fi nd that thing, but the reality is that thing doesn’t exist. continued ➞ exhibitionnews.co.uk | July 2017 29