"2012 will kick off a breakthrough for the industry that will revolutionize the value that attendees, meeting professionals and executive sponsors derive from events," said Peter Micciche, CEO of Certain. "A tsunami of connectedness, driven by social, mobile and virtual, will ultimately enable the attendee engagement experience. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are mainstream, making integrated event marketing the new normal for event professionals. This integration of digital solutions with event planning software will result in 2012 as the 'year of the platform.' Software-as-a-Service solutions are now seamlessly woven together into a comprehensive ecosystem architecture designed to meet, track and measure planner, marketer, sponsor and attendee needs."
1. Traditional event planning will be massively disrupted by the widespread adoption of social media and mobile.
Social media and mobile will become core components of events - with or without the sanction of the organizers. This will create new and exciting opportunities for agile organizations that can adopt these technologies to create high-performance event interactions that lead to increased revenues and market share. The industry will evolve quickly from simple and personal experience usage of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to the more strategic ability to support "continuing the conversations" post-event and year-round. Because of the increase in popularity of social media and mobile devices, planners will need to focus on harnessing the attention of attendees by finding ways to leverage these marketing tools.
Social media will also disrupt the traditional format of speaker presentations. Instead of pushing information and talking "at" participants, speakers will find new methods of creating conversations with and amongst attendees long before the live session begins, and facilitating and supporting two-way, real-time interaction and evaluation after the event closes. In 2012, speakers and planners who do not embrace social media as a means to fully engage and support all participants risk the potential of attendees dominating the buzz around their events, and miss an excellent opportunity to gain real-time feedback and to deepen their understanding of participant needs.
2. 2012 will be the "year of the platform."
Single-use mobile and virtual applications are short-lived. Over the next year, leading enterprise software vendors will introduce new platform-as-a-service offerings. Event planners will discover that in order to meet industry demands, technology must be integrated into a holistic, consolidated approach that is best expressed through a single event management platform covering logistics and digital solutions for all aspects of the event ecosystem. This framework best suits the growing demands for all event participants via a one-stop digital shop from which they can access event details and engage and connect with other participants via social media, mobile, and virtual. Single-purpose mobile and virtual applications will get acquired or become obsolete as leading vendors raise the bar for platform application integration. The industry will witness a natural evolution of products and only those companies that best adapt to the advancing technology landscape will emerge as the fittest.
3. All roads lead to 1:1 business activity.
1:1 meetings will become the norm for events and tradeshows. The year 2012 will overwhelmingly point to the importance of productivity derived from facilitating one-to-one, quality relationships at events. Attendees will increasingly leverage technology to network and build business relationships, maximizing the Return on Investment (ROI) from the events they attend. Opportunities for networking and relationship building will become key determinants in the value of a particular event, and mobile technology will play an integral part in fostering those connections. Event organizers can best meet the demand for rich 1:1 participant experiences by providing strategic, matched appointments and a platform for communication between attendees before, during and after events.
Next-generation appointment matching solutions, tightly integrated with SaaS event planning and CRM platforms, will leverage social media capabilities and mobile to connect individuals based on their interests resulting in the optimal value from face-to-face meetings.
For more information, visit blog.certain.com.