Marketing automation is known as a breakthrough strategy that has changed the face of marketing. It has not only improved the productivity of the businesses who use it now, but it has also shown amazing promise as a strategy that can continue to be used well into the future as technology expands. It’s not only the linear growth of marketing automation that can be seen though – the concept of automation in general has seen a dichotomous expansion into related concepts like Business Automation, Mobile Marketing Automation and Event Management Automation to name just a few. Today we’ll be looking at event management automation, explore how it is very closely related to marketing automation and show you how you can simplify and improve your events by using it.
Marketing Automation vs Event Marketing Automation vs Event Management Automation???
Marketing Automation – All (well, hopefully all) marketers know that the key to marketing is understanding your customers and providing personalised experiences to them – that’s the marketing explanation out of the way, but what about automation? Automation can be defined as the use of tools or a process to do something automatically that once would have been done manually. In the context of marketing automation, this refers to processes that occur as a result of certain actions, such as sending emails after a specific action, triggering popup messages when visiting a certain page, changing the content on a page for a specific group of people or sending an SMS on a particular day. The thing that makes marketing automation different from just automation though is the fact that these processes may be different or delivered differently for each person, based on their past behaviour or preferences!
Event Marketing Automation – this uses the same concept as normal marketing automation, but the experience of the event (or surrounding it, such as invitations etc) is personalised based on information your marketing automation platform has gathered already. It also refers to the use of the information gathered at an event in post-event interactions.
Event Management Automation – refers to the automation of the many factors that it takes to organise and run an event, such as sending or emailing invitations, emails to confirm, remind or thank attendees, SMS reminders, payment gateways, receipts and cancellations etc. It can also be used for managing the catering, entertainment and similar.
Note: event marketing automation and event management automation are frequently combined into one automation platform.
How does automation help make your event great?
The first way your event will be improved by automation is by using event management automation. The benefits of streamlining event organisation processes are pretty self-explanatory, but you may be shocked to know just how many things you can automate. If you’re using Swift Digital’s Event Management Software for example, you can do the following:
- Online registrations (incl. exclusive invites)/ cancellations
- Check event progress and statuses – see all the relevant information you want to know at a glance, such as who has registered or declined, who has paid or cancelled, who’s on the waitlist, where staff are assigned, which stallholders/entertainment etc. you have lined up and so much more.
- All email communications – from invitations to thank you’s, survey links and everything in between, you’ll see opens, clicks, bounces and more.
- SMS communications – send a variety of SMS’ incl. notifications, reminders and invitations to specific items on the event schedule
- Guest register, functionality and name labels – keep track of invited guests, print name labels, see capacity limits, waitlist etc.
- Payment gateway
- Create and run microsites and Apps – a website and App exclusively for your event
- Create barcodes and QR codes – for many purposes, incl. attendance marking
Many people don’t even think of half of these inclusions, let alone knowing that they can be automated, so you can imagine how time-saving these are.
The second way automation helps is through personalisation. Remember how we earlier mentioned the key to good marketing? It’s all about understanding your customers and what they want. This is obviously difficult to do for an event that may have anything from a dozen attendees to thousands. Having said that, if you effectively use automation for marketing and managing your event, you have the potential to make every single attendee feel like you personally organised your event just for them and their needs!
Of course, this is going to be more difficult if your attendees have had no previous contact with your brand, but even starting from nothing, you can ascertain so much information just from the pre-event communications, such as event registration information for example. From that very first contact, you can start building a CRM profile based on volunteered information and behavioural triggers and engagement scoring, and this may end up being a huge amount of data by the time your event date occurs.
You’ll hopefully be collecting data during your event for future use, but depending on the type of event you’re holding, you can even use some of that data during the event itself. For example, you could record (perhaps using a barcode scan or similar on attendee’s phones) an attendee taking advantage of a free sample or demo or attending a specific area of your event in the morning. Then by midday, you could have sent them an SMS invite to a VIP area or information about a specific product you’re selling at the event, related to the morning’s activities. By the afternoon, you might have determined that this particular attendee is open to subscribing to a yearly membership to your brand, so perhaps you send them an email invitation to a discount on the subscription, along with a free coupon to the event’s dinner! So, depending on the actions of your attendees, they may all be guided along nurture tracks to participate in personalised experiences at your event.
Because your attendees have had such a wonderful experience at your event, they’ll want to tell the world. This is another area where event marketing automation truly shines. Leveraging social media for event awareness before, after and during the event is almost a vital step these days and if used correctly, can dramatically increase the success of your event. It also allows you to collect and use behavioural data, so don’t neglect the social aspect.
If you have an upcoming event and want it to be amazing, there’s no surer way to guarantee success than with Swift Digital’s Event Management Software! If you’d like to learn more about it or want to chat to our friendly team, call us on 1300 878 289.