It's Not [All] About the Platform

I just need to get this out, once and for all: it’s not about the platform. I’m referring to the explosion of event technologies aimed at the virtual event industry fueled by the unprecedented financial investment in the sector.

My colleagues and I at Event Strategy Group sometimes say that we’re platform agnostic.

In the context that we work with many different tech platforms, this is true. This could be construed to mean that we don’t care or don’t have an opinion about which platform you use, which is false. We have strong opinions.

In our industry’s frenzy to “pivot to virtual”, some organizations were understandably confused. The result was to the cart before the horse. The conversation became about the technology vs the content, likely because that was what was most tangible. Yet it persists.

Think about it this way: you’re in a meeting, and your executive stakeholders ask about the events/shows/sponsorships/activations your organization is engaging in this year. Your answer? Las Vegas.

The platform is to virtual events what the venue or venue city is to in-person events.

The right event technology it is a critical decision, but it needs to be placed in right place:

objectives > strategy > content | design > attendee experience > platform selection

This holds whether it’s virtual, in-person or hybrid.

Far too often we see organizations trying to make a technology do something it wasn’t intended for – or worse – brands spend big dollars on an enterprise platform only to underutilize its features. You wouldn’t book a huge venue for a week only to hold a networking event for your VIPs. We continue to be offered engagements to manage or clean up after a platform decision (read: error) has been made.

We believe that the tech stack – like sites and venues – should be carefully selected based on these factors, among others:

  • Business objective – what is the purpose of the event?
  • User experience – what is the desired attendee journey based on profile and demographics? production value?
  • Analytics – what do you need to know about attendees? are you actually going to act on it if you have access to it? (don’t pay for something you’re not going to use)
  • Integration – does the platform need to integrate with other digital tools already deployed?
  • Scale + Frequency – how many attendees? how many tracks/sessions? will it repeat in the future?
  • Budget – how much do you have to work with?

Now before my tech friends accuse me of blasphemy, know that as an event agency our purpose is to deliver results on spend. The strategy, design and planning of events is more important now than ever. We’ve also spent hundreds of hours researching new tech tools and platforms and will continue to do so. Do we have opinions? Oh, youbetcha – and we’re happy to share.