As events become increasingly intertwined with digital marketing strategies, the number of acronyms and buzzwords flung around the space grows exponentially. If deciphering event marketing speak feels like a job in itself, fear not. We’ve explained some of the most common digital marketing terms associated with events, below:

ERMTM

Also referred to as Event Relationship Management, ERMTM is the event manager’s equivalent of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). In an age where your guests are bombarded with myriad brand touchpoints on a daily basis, getting a handle on ERMTM is paramount. Why? Simple: Event Relationship Management is all about forming authentic connections with your guests, through relevant and meaningful interactions that are informed by data. (We recommend reading this blog that delves into the practice, and what it means for you.)

Email blast

A series of emails sent over a short period of time to a segment of your database or target market. Email blasts are commonly used to promote a product launch or special offer, and owe their efficacy to the perceived sense of urgency they convey. That said, if they’re not personalised, relevant to the recipient and emotionally engaging, they’ll linger unopened in the inboxes of guests long after your event has ended.

Native advertising

Also known as sponsored content. The connected world is awash in a deluge of content. In a mere sixty seconds, 4,166,666 people are clicking ‘like’ on Facebook, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 350 000 tweets are sent. It’s no wonder then, that catching – and keeping – the attention of your guests is getting trickier by the minute. In an effort to broaden their reach, brands are reaching out social media influencers and media stables to post content that subtly alludes to the brand’s message, but is posted in the trademark style and tone of the platform it’s posted on. The goal? To create positive associations with the brand, by way of aspiration, influence, or both.

Affiliate marketing

A marketing tactic whereby a business pays an affiliate for each customer or site visitor that they’ve brought in by their own marketing efforts. Think of it as the digital equivalent of word of mouth. Brand X touts the benefits of Brand Y, and is then paid based on the number of leads they’ve generated. As market competition becomes ever more fierce, brands are joining forces with industry thought-leaders and heavyweights to successfully increase their exposure via affiliate marketing.

Influencer

Also known as a social media Influencer. Scroll through your Instagram feed, and you’re bound to follow an individual whose 5000 followers clock their every move. This growing breed of social media ‘star’ are what brands refer to as influencers, thanks to their large followings and visible presence on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. For example, Woolworths and Uber Eats South Africa turned to social media influencers like Suzelle DIY (Julia Anastasopolous), who promoted their Easter campaign on Instagram and brought so much traffic to the app that it temporarily crashed.

Webinar

As video gains in popularity, brands are turning to this format to host live-streamed seminars over the web. The appeal is obvious: anyone can join from anywhere, and content is presented in a personal, engaging way. Many established events now offer webinars of their sessions, thanks to strides in live-streaming technology. As Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope battle it out to bring livestreaming to the mainstream, we’ll see more and more events being broadcast into cyberspace – for a fraction of the price and with minimal technical know-how required.

Engagement

Customer or guest engagement is any interaction a consumer has with your brand. Customer engagement can be facilitated via myriad touchpoints: an event, an in-store experience, a conversation on social media, and the like. As customer experience becomes more important than ever, so too does your ability to find ways to meaningfully engage your guests. Just like ERMTM, optimal guest engagement relies on data: the more you know about someone, the better equipped you are to create and provide relevant, targeted channels of communication.

Smarketing

Also known as ‘closed loop marketing’. The alignment between sales and marketing thanks to data-driven insights. Smarketing entails a symbiotic relationship between the sales and marketing teams. As inbound marketing authority, Hubspot explains: “Sales teams report to Marketing about what happened to the leads that they received, which helps Marketing understands their best and worst lead sources.” Smarketing enables brands to see how each marketing activity (an event, social media campaign, etc.) results in a lead or a sale. When done properly, you can focus on the marketing tactics that are most effective, and reduce spend on those that are less so.

Make sure your corporate events are a resounding success, by downloading our ebook below.


There’s a lot that goes into pulling off a successful event. For the most part, the hardest work goes on behind the scenes, long before your guests set foot in the venue. And a lot of the details that seem minor (and as a result, are overlooked), are the details which can sabotage your entire event.

Technical requirements – two words that instil dread into the heart of almost every event planner – are one of these crucial minor details that, when you really get down to it, aren’t so minor after all.

Let’s set the scene with a flashback to an event we were once involved in:

Our client had requested that we erect a bedouin tent on the balcony of the venue: a high-rise building. After getting the thumbs up from the managing company, we were all systems go. As our team stepped into the elevator – so did the client’s logistics engineer. An encounter which can only be described as serendipitous ensued: he informed us that the balcony could not, in fact, support the weight of a bedouin tent. Had we not crossed paths, over 200 guests would have plunged to their death.

The moral of the story? The devil is in the (technical) details.

In order to ensure your guests, and staff, aren’t at risk of a structural failure at your next event, it’s crucial that you include the following in your event planning checklist:

  • Familiarise yourself with the National Building Regulations for Temporary Structures , as well as the Rigging Guidelines for Ladders and Scaffolding.
  • Always ensure that you obtain written permission from the building’s architect prior to setting up any sort of structure.
  • Ask for the building’s engineering certificate and have it examined by a certified structural engineer.
  • Conduct a safety assessment of your venue with a certified structural engineer.
  • Draw up a Disaster Management Plan. This serves as a critical legal safeguard should any accident or structural failure occur.

It’s your responsibility to check, check and check again that all safeguards are in place, and that you’ve done your due diligence. As I’m so fond of saying (for this very reason), when it comes to technical compliance, assume nothing.

Make sure you’re equipped to give your guests a professional event experience – from start to finish – by downloading our free ebook, below.


Many event managers are of the opinion that software for event planners is just another new-fangled gimmick that’s expensive and ultimately useless. While we don’t doubt that this might be the case for some event planning software, superior solutions on the market essentially act as an event planner’s right-hand man. We thought we’d unravel some of the misinformation that’s often bandied about when it comes to software for event planners in order to give you a better understanding of what these programs actually entail.

Misconception: “Software for event planners requires technical know-how – and I’m far from technically inclined.”

Reality: Many people are of the opinion that in order to adequately use this software they’ll need to be tech-savvy or know how to code. The good news is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Software for event planners shouldn’t require any sort of advanced technical skill. The best solutions on the market are easy to use and incredibly simple. That said, if you don’t want to manage this software on your own, there are companies that you can outsource this to for an even simpler way to run your events.

Misconception: “Managing software for event planners is way too complicated.”

Reality: If you’re using event management software that’s complex, you need a new solution. You shouldn’t have to fill out countless forms or spend time working out how to navigate a tricky system. The best software for event planners prioritises the experience of its users and, unlike other products that are designed by an IT guru, are built by event planners themselves. They’re naturally aware of the specific challenges all event planners are faced with, and have designed a program that caters to every possible element of an event.

Misconception: “Using software for event planners will take up even more of my time!”

Reality: The right kind of event planning software will actually speed up the planning of events as it automates the entire process. Instead of having to manually collate lists or consolidate conflicting data, you’ll be able to easily access your guest list and the related information from one easy-to-use dashboard. The whole point of using software for event planners is to save time – if the application you’re currently using takes longer than manually managing the process, you’re using the wrong software.

Misconception: “Spend money on event planning software? All it does is make your invites look pretty!”

Reality: Industry-leading software for event planners is an all-encompassing event management solution. Besides allowing you to create exquisite invitations, you’ll be able to manage every aspect of a function. From the compiling of guest lists, sending out of invites, RSVP and registration process to the post-event communication – software for event planners does it all.

Misconception: “I’ll need to hire another employee to manage my event management software.”

Reality: Software for event planners is designed to act as a dedicated assistant. Available around the clock, you are easily able to manage the program without needing to enlist the help of additional staff. In fact, the right kind of event management software should reduce the need for additional employees. Instead of having to pay administrative staff to collate data, enter information into spreadsheets, and compile guest lists, you’ll be able to do all of this – and more – with the right kind of software.

Misconception: “I manage events for multiple clients, so I’ll have to fork out cash to pay numerous licensing fees”

Reality: One license for software for event planners should cover several clients – that’s how it works at The RSVP Agency at least. If you’re tasked with regularly planning and running events for multiple clients, you shouldn’t have to pay every single time you hold a new event.

If you’re still hesitant about using event software then feel free to contact RSVP Agency directly to answer any further queries on how event planning software can elevate your event management process.


Image Credit: Find My Way Home


It should go without saying that when holding an event, your boss’s priority is ROI.Their interest isn’t on table décor, the catering, or even the VIP you’ve flown in especially. Your job as event manager ultimately boils down to reporting on the amount of revenue generated as the result of an event. Here are our top tips, compiled to assist in optimising ROI.

1.    Establish clearly defined objectives

In order to accurately identify ways of improving the resultant ROI of an event, it’s crucial that both you and your boss are on the same page. What does your event hope to achieve? Do you want to increase your overall revenue? Find and engage 1000 new customers? Or get 50 existing customers to try a new product?It’s important that both you and your superior are realistic about your goals, and are in agreement as to the objectives from the get-go.

2.    Your event should encourage the most potent form of brand advocacy – word of mouth.

Holding an event that’s so enjoyable that your guests will want to share their experience relies on a slick, well-run affair.  If you can successfully hold an event that gets your guests talking and sharing their experience via social media, you’re well on your way to generating ROI thanks to you event management skills.

3.    Ensure your emails are deliverable

Don’t set yourself up for failure before you’ve even begun. If your invitations are bouncing or being marked as SPAM, you’ll struggle to populate your event. Your invitations and RSVP process plays a pivotal role in generating ROI from event management – so ensure you’re doing everything you can to ensure the right people know about, and end up attending your event. One way to do this is by making use of online event management software – which will help to ensure your invitations are optimised for deliverability as well as resulting in the maximum amount of RSVPs.

4.    Pay careful attention to your overhead costs

One area that event managers fail to pay adequate attention to is the accurate interpretation and analysis of their overheads. You’ll need to establish your costs per head in order to determine whether you’re generating ROI from this aspect of your event management.  For example, if you invited 100 people and the cost per head was R1000, but only 50 guests arrive, you’re actual cost per head will be R2000. Your guests would then have to spend essentially double by purchasing from you in order to generate ROI. This will help you to establish which clients resulted in ROI from the event itself. However – if you work out ROI on client level – don’t forget you’ll still have to assign the costs per head per client even if they did not arrive.

5.    Remember that ROI from event management is not immediate.

Your guests won’t necessarily purchase the day or week after an event – it’s more than likely to be in the region of a month or two. By making a positive impression on potential clients via a well-run event, you’re automatically increasing the chances that they’ll make a purchase. It’s crucial then to make use of event management tools in order to track the people who became customers as a result of attending your event.

6.    Don’t underestimate the importance of post-event communication

In order to increase your ROI, you need to have a plan of action for facilitating interaction with guests after an event. Many people fail to recognise how crucial it is to include means that’ll allow them to communicate with guests once they’ve attended an event. Think about ways in which you’ll conduct this – will it be via email? Traditional advertisements? A sales team? Setting up a strategy that will lengthen the life-span of an event’s impact is imperative in ensuring ROI from your event management.

Image Credit: shutterstock


Team of business people working together on a laptop

A CMO is a strategic thinker, and looks at a brand from a holistic point of view. His main concerns? ROI and consistently positioning the brand in order to get optimum performance. A big-picture thinker – a CMO isn’t concerned with the small details – like whether or not a client gets an SMS reminder about an event or whether an email invite is compatible with different email software. In fact, technicalities like the specific features of event software are the last thing to cross his mind.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the event manager, who deals with the various, intricate details that add up in order to create a successful event. Because of this, the capabilities of event software are paramount to an event manager who’s tasked with ensuring that all the logistics are in place to ensure that the event goes off without a hitch.

Even though event management software is ultimately used by an event planner, a CMO will advocate the use of it for the following reasons:

Event management software eradicates the need to employ additional staff.

Running a lean team and employing effective cost-saving measures are a priority of a CMO. Having to hire an employee solely for the management of guest lists and invitations isn’t practical at all. Event management software not only does this at a fraction of the cost, it’s able to do it much faster too.

Among other things, a CMO is concerned with the consistent communication of his brand’s core values.

Event management software enables you to set up an email invitations template that’s pre-approved and complies with your corporate identity guidelines. This will ensure that every single invitation you send out – whether for an intimate client dinner or a large-scale corporate golf day – is a professional portrayal of your brand and is in line with your brand values.

A CMO needs a precise way of calculating ROI.

Companies need to be able to see exactly how many people they’re inviting, and how many people actually attend the event on the day. More often than not, this data ends up being stored in different spreadsheets that are saved all over the place – rendering the consolidation of this information an extremely lengthy and frustrating process. Event management software stores all of these statistics in one easily-accessible place, allowing B2C companies to see which individuals attended their events, how much they spent on the event, and whether or not people purchased as a result.

Similarly, B2B companies will be able to see which represenatives from companies frequently attend their events as well as what they’re buying. This data is vital for calculation return on investment. Event management software makes it easy to track all of this and more, and can quickly consolidate this information into a report – a useful function for CMOs when preparing for a board meeting or EXCO gathering.

Lastly, the use of event management software demonstrates that your brand is innovative and tech-savvy.

If your brand still relies on printed invitations, or sends email invitations from a PA’s personal inbox, gathering RSVPs and information like dietary preferences will be a laborious process. You’ll also have to repeatedly ask invitees for the same information – which doesn’t reflect well on your brand’s customer relations.

In today’s highly competitive market, where brands have to scramble for the attention of a limited and fickle audience, it’s imperative that you do all that you can to demonstrate that you’re evolving with the times. By using event management software, you’ll be able to store data about each individual guest as well as send personalised communications to them -helping you to establish genuine relationships with your guests.

Image Credit: Interview Stream


Markex World of Events is the definitive marketing, promotions, and special events trade exhibition, and this year’s event promises to be the biggest three days in marketing in 2013. Attracting 10,000 visitors from all sectors of business, including marketing, creative agencies, advertising, PR professionals, event organisers, and resellers, Markex is a great opportunity to get your product out there.

The vast majority of attendees are in a position to either make or influence purchasing decisions, and Markex provides a platform for innovative thinking, inspiration and ideas, and of course, excellent opportunities for doing business, networking, and building relationships.

For this year’s exhibition, Markex have added cutting-edge marketing developments – boosting innovation, visitor and customer interest, and attendance rates. They’ve added a ‘Digital Village’ – where The RSVP Agency will be have its stand. The Digital Village is specialised: approximately 30 exhibitors, in all fields of Online and Digital Marketing solutions, are expected to campaign their products and services.

A new solution

The RSVP Agency provides the most affordable and comprehensive online RSVP management software and service offering available in the market today. We have designed an online system to manage the entire RSVP process. We will be showcasing our products and services to the events industry for the first time – and are expecting a very good response.

The strong shift towards Digital Integration for events means that The RSVP agency is at the forefront of this innovation. It’s a chance for us to show event professionals the value that they can receive with our products and services. We’re very excited to be a part of Markex for the first time, to be leading the way in digital integration through the Digital Village at Markex, and to showcase our product and network with like-minded individuals. Taking the corporate and eventing world by storm, we’re hoping to sign up event ‘resellers’ and make contact with new clients.

Understanding events and event requirements

The RSVP Agency is owned by Terry Sutherland and Sue Aerts, who between them have 30+ year’s event experience.

Terry Sutherland, CEO: “It was apparent to us that guest management and the RSVP process could either make or break an event. We contracted many agencies over the years to manage our RSVP, but were never satisfied with the level of service we received, or the limited features that the various software systems had to offer. Because of our vast experience in managing events, conferences, gala dinners, exhibitions, high level VIP guest management and roadshows, we decided to develop our own unique software system. Online Invitation Management is as much about building your brand as ATL advertising, and clients are beginning to realise this. It is how we speak to our clients that makes all the difference. Having 25 years of eventing experience helps us to understand exactly what it is that makes for a professional RSVP experience. Writing and owning our own software, allows us to constantly update our offering. We keep our clients up to date with what they want.”

Find The RSVP Agency at

Markex 2013 11–13 June 2013 Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa Show Times: 9am – 5pm  The RSVP Agency: Digital Village, Hall 2, Stand C4


Signed, sealed, delivered? Why go to so much effort? With the advent of online invitations via email, invitation services are changing the face of event coordination as we know it. There’s no waiting for invitations to make their way through the postal system, or for RSVPs that get lost in the mail…

These days, invitation management services issue invitations online, and have all the tools to remind guests about the event, send updates, text messages, and more. The virtual invites can be customised and make RSVP easier than any other aspect of event planning. Guest list management has embraced the 21st century – you should too.

An online invitation service helps event managers or coordinators design an attractive digital invitation, customised to your event and company or client, and track RSVPs and invitee responses with almost no effort. With time being a luxury not many of us can claim to have, online event invitation and registration management is useful not just for event planners, but also for the guest who just doesn’t remember or have the time to officially RSVP.

Digital gets even more personal

The internet has changed so much of our lives and made many organisational and time management tasks easier. There’s absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be the same for every aspect of your event management – right from the design and wording of your invitations through to tracking RSVPs and event reminders.

Responding to invitations should be easy, and software that both sends out invites and tracks RSVPs is a lifesaver in this regard – most people nowadays are attached to their smartphone, tablet, or computer, so it’s easy to catch their onscreen attention with an email, and makes the RSVP process as simple as it could be.

An online invitation management service is exactly what it sounds like – a facility that makes use of email to allow you to issue online invitations to an event. It’s also much more than just an invitation service – it’s a collection of tools that you can use to remind your guests about your event as well as send updates, text messages and manage your guest lists from one convenient, central location.

Why do you need an online invitation service?

In case you need convincing, here are our top five reasons to use an online invitation service…

1. Invitations simplified

Whether you’re a professional event manager or a corporate, you can make use of such a service to design an appealing digital invitation. You could use one of any number of attractive templates – they’re flexible enough to accommodate just about any design and can be personalised for each individual invitee.

Digital certainly doesn’t have to mean impersonal and an online invitation service can help you with every detail right down to the wording of your invitation. Should you choose to use your own designers, the service will simply integrate the guest registration process into your designs.

Benefits:

  • Create beautiful invites instantly (with or without the help of a designer).
  • Personalise your invites.
  • You have the option to allow guests to invite other guests – this makes sure your invitation gets to the right people!

2. RSVPs made easy

Using an online invitation service ensures that your online invitations have a high delivery rate. Gone are the days of paying a fortune to have an invitation designed and printed, only to have it get lost in the mail or tossed in the bin, unopened.

Once the email invitations are delivered, the invitation service tracks invitation bounces and out-of-office notifications to show you the status of guests who haven’t yet accepted or declined your invitation. Those that accept your invitation are then instructed on how to register online for the event. It’s at this point that you can gather information (like dietary preferences) from your guests. This data is stored on a secure server and utilised to give you live reports with up-to-date information on guest numbers and any guest preferences gathered.

Benefits:

  • Get a real-time view of all RSVP statuses.
  • Get tangible figures for people opened/read your invitation – takes the guess-work out of following up on RSVPs.
  • Gather guest preferences to ensure the smooth running of your event.

3. Automatic Reminders

You’ll find it extremely convenient that the system reminds your confirmed guests of the event via SMS the day before. Just in case the automatic iCal/ calendar integration and reminder that they received wasn’t enough…

Benefits:

  • You won’t have to waste a second of your precious time reminding guests to RSVP or attend – everything can be done for you.
  • Increased attendance at your event, less of a likelihood of guests ‘forgetting’ to RSVP or attend.

4. Ultimate list efficiency

An online invitation service caters for multiple guest RSVP lists which allow you to set up multiple lists for each event to enable customised communication for your VIPs, media and staff – making light work of staying on top of your inbox, and ensuring that important emails never go unnoticed.

An online invitation service consists of a sophisticated system that will identify duplicates in your guest lists. This means that none of your guests will be annoyed by duplicate information. This process of data cleansing happens automatically, every time you upload a list. For your convenience, guest information is uploaded from and downloaded to a spreadsheet.

The right online invitation service can also help you to ensure that your guest lists are accurate, comprehensive, and useful. When it comes to successful event planning, the importance of a detailed guest list cannot be overstated.

Benefits:

  • You won’t miss any important communications about your event.
  • Your guest list will be useful, detailed and usable for future events.

5. Complete integration Event invitations and guest list management isn’t something that should be managed in isolation, or using separate services. For the ultimate in convenience, the right event management software will maximise the success of your event by managing email invitations as well as event registration. A

n email invitation service is perfectly complemented by an event registration facility and software that handles everything for you, allowing you to spend less time managing guest lists and more time managing the event itself.

Benefits:

  • All the organisational assistance you need, all in one place.
  • Easy to use tools that makes your online invitation and registration process run smoothly. If these top 5 reasons caught your eye, then Contact The Professional RSVP Agency today to find out more about how you can make an online invitation service work for you.