apple-camera-desk-office-rsvp-internet.jpgHere’s a fascinating thought: one day, all our devices will be connected and internet-enabled through wireless networks. “Everything will be connected to everything”, says technology futurist, Jim Pinto, in his blog on theAutomation Internet of Things. And this will be true no matter the device’s operating system, network, or IP address scheme.

There’s more though. This wireless connection of devices – more commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT) – doesn’t just include the connection of mobile devices, laptops, tablets or the likes. When Pinto says “everything”, he is referring to the connection of previously ‘passive’ objects too (like your toaster, garage door, or water sprinkler system in your garden) to turn them into smart devices that can send and receive data, and learn from and respond to the information that they collect.

And, as a blog by The Content Strategist points out, this means that,“[w]ith sensors, [any] product can go from being a tool to an actual medium of communication between the marketer and the consumer.” This sounds like an event marketer’s dream!

The IoT may have a while to go before it becomes an event planner’s daily reality – or does it?

With regard to the events industry, the IoT is bound to augment our event automation activities. This includes the ways in which we collect data about our guests’ interactions with our brand. Paired with existing event automation technology, the IoT can help further “automate, personalise and measure our event management and marketing activities” to increase leads, sales and revenue. This is according to information sourced from a Certain web page.

McDonald’s has already begun harnessing the power of the IoT to learn more about consumer behaviour

According to a blog by The Content Strategist, McDonald’s has already gotten in on the IoT action by partnering with a solution provider called Piper to develop an app that uses Bluetooth to send greeting messages to customers as they walk through a restaurant’s door. The same app pushes other information their way – like free coupons, surveys for them to complete, or quick Q&As for their response. The end goal for McDonalds is to gather data to monitor their consumers’ behaviour and to then put that data to good use for the brand.  

Event automation and smart devices working in tandem in the event’s space is already a reality

The IoT can be used to augment a business’ event automation processes. iBeacons, for example, are low-powered transmitters that make use of a device’s Bluetooth capabilities to push messages to guests and track their consumer behaviour.  At an event, iBeacons can be used to send direct messages to guests on their arrival to remind them to register, for example. The same technology then allows them to ‘check in’ via their mobile devices. Existing event automation and registration software then retrieves, confirms and completes this registration process.

Currently, The RSVP Agency’s event registration software uses QR codes unique to each guest to scan participants in at events using our iPad-based app. Guest’s information, captured during the online registration process prior to the event, can be embedded in these QR codes to help streamline the catering process and give them  their easier access to shuttle transport services, VIP venues, workshops and the likes. iBeacons take this functionality one step further by enabling a more continuous flow of communication between guests and the event organiser.

The idea is that, one day, event guests will attend your events and remain constantly connected to your brand and the event experience via their devices and the IoT. The IoT will become an integral part of your event automation activities.

Download our Event Technology guide for insights into how email invitation software can assist you with running your corporate events.

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corporate-event-trends.jpgCorporate branding involves the communication and promotion of an organisation’s values, vision and culture – it’s ‘vibe’ – to inspire brand loyalty in their customers, employees, and stakeholders. Loyal brand ambassadors are ones who feel that a company’s ethos and culture aligns with theirs’.

In many ways, the public relate to and engage with a company’s brand as if it’s an actual personality. This is why the recent Volkswagen (VW) emissions scandal was so bad for business: VW was meant to be trustworthy, and the fact that the organisation (knowingly or unwittingly) deceived its customers was more scandalous than the flawed product itself. VW let its people down.

Positive sentiment towards an organisation’s brand ultimately drives sales, profit margins and a business’ overall success

This is why effective corporate branding strategies are so important. Marketing managers are responsible for developing an organisation’s corporate branding and, whether they like it or not, corporate events form part of this marketing strategy.

So, how do marketing managers plan and execute events so that these experiences strongly resonate with attendees and have a positive spin-off for their organisation’s corporate identity and brand?

1.Start at the beginning – it’s a good place to start

An interesting research article by Professor Simon Knox and David Bickerton suggests that getting back to the basics may just be part of the answer. Management (both in marketing and senior leadership) first needs to make sure that the company’s vision, culture and image are aligned so that they can correctly position the organisation’s brand. As management develops a better understanding of their organisation’s unique brand identity and image, they can then more effectively communicate this across the organisation – and beyond – through their brand management activities.

When it comes to running corporate events, a company’s corporate branding must be intentionally communicated through the type of event experiences that the business organises. An organisation’s core vision, culture, values and image need to be well represented at every point of engagement with event guests.

2.Work on articulating brand statements and ensuring brand consistency

When (re)constructing a brand, Knox and Bickerton recommend that a set of brand statements be developed to describe the organisation’s corporate branding position. This will help to develop a unified corporate language for an organisation’s formal and informal communications.

According to the Knox and Bickerton, consistency in communications is also key for effective corporate branding. Communication for corporate events needs to align with the company’s brand statements and style guide, and remain consistent in style and tone, to help build on (and not break down) what guests already know about the organisation’s brand identity.

In many ways, email invitation software is ideal for ensuring consistency in corporate branding communications: To find out more, download our Event Marketing Guide.

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Have you ever wondered what makes the top corporate event planners so exceptionally brilliant at their jobs? Pulling off a large-scale corporate event can so easily turn into a logistical nightmare (especially if you don’t have all your event planning ducks in a row), but these top professionals seem to do it with such flair and pizzazz. What’s their secret? The answer is simple: they use automated RSVP systems.

 

Top corporate event planners aren’t dummies; they’re keeping up with the times and have moved a number of their event planning processes across to be handled by automated RSVP systems and event management tools

The RSVP Agency’s automated RSVP system has been designed to assist corporate event planners with the entire event invitation and guest registration process. Our professional event management software boasts a number of unique and customisable features:

a.) Our online invitation software automates the emailing of uniquely designed electronic invites to corporate event guests

Invited guests can click on links within the body of the email invitation to see the custom event invitation, register their attendance and see more information about the event (such as a breakdown of the event’s agenda and guest speakers’ bios).

This online registration process includes the capturing of information pertinent to each guest. This includes guests’ dietary requirements, the company to which they belong, their specific stationery needs and flight or travel details, their hotel and room-type selections, airport transfer bookings, and the likes.

Once guests have confirmed their attendance and supplied the necessary information for this process, they are put on an automated workflow that sends follow-up communication reminding them to pay their event fees and book their accommodation (through an online Pay U system).

Customised conditional dropdowns can be created for each form field to capture any additional information required.

Our automated RSVP system automatically captures invitation accepts, declines and non-responses in the system’s back-end for up-to-date and automated status reporting.

Automated status reports can be sent to event planners based on their unique reporting and feedback needs. These reports include a summarised overview of invited guests, as well as a breakdown of guests who have accepted, declined or failed to respond to your event invitation.

Custom form fields for reporting can include the following information for each guest:

  • Dietary requirements (Standard, Halaal, Strict Halaal, Kosher, Vegetarian, Vegan or Banting)
  • Preferred contact details
  • Unique QR access code and name tag number
  • Flight or travel details
  • Accommodation needs

Having a centralised repository for all guest-related information, which is constantly being updated in real-time as new guests respond, takes much of the headache out of tracking guest responses and registrations. Top corporate event planners trust our automated RSVP systems to handle their events – why don’t you? Give us a call for more information or request a quote from us today. Image

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Other than automating and streamlining event management processes, does Event Planning Software in any way assist marketing managers to measure and report on their corporate marketing events’ ROI and ROO? We would sayyes.

Online Event Planning Software can be coupled with a combination of event measurement tools to determine the overall success of your corporate marketing event

In one of their blogs, Special Events provides a list of ten event measurement tools that Marketing Managers can use to measure their corporate marketing events’ direct ROI and ROO. The blog’s author, Jim Cavanaugh, believes that these tools are most effective when used in combination.

These tools are:

  1. The number of responses you get from attendees to your event invitation
  2. The number of new client leads that you generate through the event
  3. The ongoing commitment levels that you experience from your clients after the event
  4. The total number of guests who attended your event
  5. The revenue (if any) that you generated through the event
  6. The results from event surveys that you conduct both before and after your event
  7. The quality of attendees (customers and prospects) at your event
  8. The response that you receive from management after the event
  9. The sales growth (if any) that you can attribute to your event

Many online Event Planning Software solutions have been designed with these metrics in mind and make this information readily available for analysis. The RSVP Agency’s Event Management Software, for example, provides event organisers with access to an online dashboard, which reports real-time data that can then be used for effective event planning.

The following are some of the key features of Event Planning Software that help with the measurement of an event’s ROO and ROI:

  • Automated and live reporting, using data pulled from guest’s online invitation responses, provides marketing managers with real-time reports on the number of guests who plan to attend an event and those who still need to respond, while on-site event registration tools help to track on-the-day guest attendance.
  • Event Planning Software also allows for the setup of multiple guest lists, which enables customised communication with company employees, the media, VIPs, VVIPs and other types of guests. This means that you can track attendance responses according to guest types (which allows for more accurate reporting) and you can more easily measure if your event marketing activities have attracted the right audience.
  •  The RSVP Agency’s Event Planning Software includes a forward invitation feature, which is an effective means to expand your existing client base and to market your brand and event. Here invited guests can send an invitation to other potentially interested parties from their own outboxes. The software system’s back-end tracks the initial referral contact so that you don’t lose touch with invitations and guest numbers. Marketing managers can use this feature to measure the effectiveness of more organic, ‘word-of-mouth’ approaches to their event invitations.
  • Event invitation responses can entail more than just clicking on a simple ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ button in an email invitation. Many online invitation response forms ask for additional information from their guests – including their dietary preferences, the workshops/sessions they will be attending (if any), their accommodation requirements and the likes. Event organisers can use this feature to gather more general information from guests, using a survey-style approach. This can be followed up with post-event communication that also asks for feedback from guests about their event experiences.

It’s clear then that Event Planning Software doubles as an effective data gathering tool for feedback to managers about a corporate marketing event’s overall effectiveness and impact. Download our brochure for more information on The RSVP Agency’s email invitation software.

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What maps are to travellers, event planning checklists are to a corporate event planner. Checklists point event planners and their teams in the right direction and help them know what to plan for, and by when they need to have planned it, so that everyone involved can reach their journey’s end feeling proud at having pulled off another top notch event.

If your event planning checklist is regularly updated, it should already contain a wealth of wisdom and practical experience that you have garnered over the years. That being said, the following are some considerations that may be new to you, so do listen up:

Are you ensuring that your event’s are green enough?

‘Greening’ your event is now quite a thing – did you know? ‘Going green’ refers to intentionally reducing the size of your event’s waste and carbon footprint. This can be done by selecting vendors and venues that are concerned with environmental sustainability. Choosing caterers who use organic or Fairtrade produce, for example, can help green your event. Digitising processes is another way to go green, as this reduces the amount of paper and resources wasted by using conventional processes. For more statistics on why there is such a push for greener events these days, have a look at this infographic by the Event Manager Blog.

Do your events have a clear and strategic purpose?

Do you know the end game? You need to add a few key questions to your event planning checklist to help you define your event’s purpose. We found these handy prompts on how to review a conference’s purpose in a Velvet Chainsaw Consulting blog. They suggest that you ask:

  •  What strategic business objectives does your event support?
  • Are you running the event to make a profit, rally investors or increase brand awareness and acceptance?
  • How much networking and engagement does your event need to facilitate?

Are you in touch with what your data is actually telling you?

According to another Velvet Chainsaw blog, you don’t just want to hone in on event data that makes you feel good. Instead of focusing on how many people attended your last corporate event, for example, look at who attended and to what extent participants have actually engaged with your brand after your event. This is the kind of data that will help you tailor-make your next event to achieve your business’ strategic objectives.

Have you paid attention to all the types of experiences that your event might offer your guests?

You need to give consideration to how guests will experience your event and brand from the moment they receive their Save The Dates and invitations, right through to their experience of your event’s registration and follow up processes.

Email invitation software is a great solution for automating and professionalising your event’s invitation and RSVP process to ensure a positive experience overall for your guests.

Because security and safety are another key factor to be included on your event planning checklist, we have developed a checklist to help you remember the steps needed for ensuring a risk-free environment for your event. Download our Event Compliance Checklist for more information.

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Have you ever used Quick Response (QR) codes for your event registration? QR codes are two dimensional barcodes that store data and can be scanned and read by Android or iOS smartphones and tablets. They look something like this:

When it comes to the latest event technology, QR codes are fast becoming the ‘in thing’ because of how they simplify and consolidate the event registration process. They’re also exciting to interact with, and lend themselves to some creative use in further engaging your guests in the event experience. 

The following are some of the imaginative ways that you can use the QR code as touch points at your next corporate event:

QR codes are fun, interactive and improve guests’ safety at your events.

Because QR codes are so easy to encode, print and distribute, they lend themselves to being used in a number of versatile ways. Other than being used digitally for event access you can:  

  • Use QR codes in your print marketing during the build up to your event. Attach them in emails or post them onto your social media channels to entice people to engage with your online event brand.
  • Print them out as wearable armbands and ask guests to use them to access your event or certain venues outside of the main event location. o Print them onto welcome packs and encode them with additional information about the order of events for the day, or link them to exclusive event-related video footage.  
  • Include this latest event technology in brochures as a direct link to sponsors and other marketing information.
  • Print them onto moveable objects, such as your event management team’s T-shirts. QR codes have been painted on cars before and even converted into tattoos.
  • Turn them into 3-dimensional objects, like cubes, or display them digitally on screens around your venue.

The downside to QR codes mean that you need to ensure that your email invitation software is ‘hacker-safe’.

Because QR codes are a relatively easy event technology to make, it means that hackers can also use them as a means to encrypt and spread viruses. The good news? Using an established and reputable email invitation software system will eliminate the chance of your event QR codes being tampered with.

The latest event technology, combined with sophisticated Event Registration Software, allows you to generate secure QR codes for all of your guests, and ensures that the personal information that is encoded on them remains private. These codes can be sent directly to event guests (via email, SMS or as a printable ticket), so event access remains private and secure. 

Codes can be stored on guest’s smartphones and used to access event venues, which eliminates an unnecessary paper trail or the chance of guests losing their event tickets. 

If you are interested in finding out more about some of the latest event technology on offer, download our guide  ‘Event Technology 101’. I

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