The complete guide to event technology integration
Event technology integration is crucial for getting insights from the vast amount of data now available to an organiser.
ExpoPlatform research estimates there is now 20 times as much of this information at the finger tips of planners.
But being able to see the bigger picture emerge requires it to be accessible, connected and available in one place.
Our Event technology Integration Guide explains how you can bring together the info from multiple sources to better track performance, understand customer behaviour and make informed decisions.
Here’s what we will cover:
- Rise of event data
- Evolution of event technology stacks
- What is integrations in event management?
- Advantages of event technology integration
- Importance of integration from a tradeshow perspective
- APIs vs Imports – which is better?
- Event integration offered by ExpoPlatform
- Integration questions to ask an event technology provider
Rise of event data
Today’s digital landscape has changed the way we think about, experience and plan live events. They are no longer viewed as a one-time engagement opportunity but as technology-enhanced experiences anchored to 365 online communities.
At these events, an enormous amount of data is collected by organisers. This data is crucial in many ways:
- Helps build contacts database: Organisers need to know exactly who is attending their events, when they registered and why they came. They can build a potential customer database for follow-ups and lead nurturing.
- Helps understand your audience: If you notice that a certain demographic is consistently underrepresented at your events, you can adjust your messaging strategy accordingly. You can understand their pain points, needs and desires to build a more complete buyer profile.
- Helps personalise your events: You can customise your events based on the data you receive. Studying the engagement patterns of attendees and their responses to live polls and surveys gives a good idea of what they expect from your show.
- Helps makes it easier to measure success: You can track which events are most successful and identify trends over time. This information can be used to improve your event planning process and ensure you’re delivering ROI-driven experiences for all attendees.
This data comes from event technology. Let’s understand how these technology stacks have evolved in the past few years.
Evolution of event technology stacks
The classic event technology stack consisted of registration, email marketing, badge scanning system and a CRM.
This evolved to include mobile apps, lead retrieval solutions, hosted buyer software, exhibitor manual and a lot more.
The growth of technology has been exponential, with new advancements coming out every year.
Having a disjointed event technology stack means your data from different tools is siloed.
There are many dashboards to look at, a deluge of tracking and engagement info to analyse and it can take ages to convert these details into useful, actionable insights.
It’s important to have this data connected and integrated in a way to have a unified dashboard and a seamless workflow process.
What is integrations in event management?
Event technology integration means connecting two or more software applications. This allows data to flow seamlessly between them, making it easy to share information about attendees, speakers and sponsors.
In response to the shift in expectations and behaviour around live shows, event technology integrations have become more essential than ever before.
Connecting different platforms allows vendors to share event information without having to manually transfer data between separate programmes every time a change is made.
In the past, event technology integration was primarily focused on connecting legacy applications with each other.
However, it has now evolved beyond simple data connections and includes powerful features like user authentication, identity federation, access control, security, privacy controls etc.
This evolution has been driven by the increasing complexity of modern event platforms. As these tools become increasingly sophisticated, they require more advanced integrations to work effectively.
There are several ways to integrate event data into your system: through an external platform like Salesforce or Quickbooks, through an API or by using a custom-built solution.
The option that works best will depend on the type of event data involved and the level of customisation required for each instance.
Advantages of event technology integration
Integrating event data into your CRM has become a crucial part of staying ahead of the game. This info helps you gain insight into how people interact with your marketing efforts in real-time.
This is especially useful when measuring ROI on marketing activities, segmenting customers by their interests and understanding where people are engaging with your brand so you can reach them again where they’re most receptive.
Here are some advantages:
- Increased efficiency and accuracy: integrated data allows everyone to have the same information and track any changes and updates simultaneously.
- Data-driven follow-ups: improved customer experience through attribution data and engagement metrics for clear follow-ups and community building.
- Get a complete view of the buyer journey: better understand customer buying behaviour through a unified view. This leads to more profitable sales transactions.
- Evaluate event performance: get credible metrics to analyse marketing campaigns and make informed decisions about future investments in marketing efforts.
- Save time: less up-front work for organisers as the time spent on backend processes is saved.
- Better attendee experience: a fully integrated event provides a cohesive experience to attendees and enables seamless navigation from one part of the show to another. Drop-off rates will go down significantly.
Importance of integration from a tradeshow perspective
Organising a tradeshow involves several moving parts. A number of technology tools are used with the aim of enhancing the audience experience.
However, the data from these tools is often siloed, making it difficult to get a holistic view of event performance. This hinders performance analysis and can lead to sub-optimal event planning. For example:
- Exhibitor data usually resides with a CRM system like Salesforce or A2Z
- Visitor registration happens on an external platform like Aventri or Visit
- Products data is available on a previous system database or internally
- Use of third-party vendors like Mapspeople, IIRIS into the event management platform
It’s crucial to view this data through a single, unified dashboard. This helps track participant behaviour and get a granular look at what worked during the event and what didn’t.
APIs vs Imports – which is better?
An ideal scenario in an integrated technology stack would have all tools connected with each other and working in perfect harmony. However, that’s not always the case.
In recent years, using an application programming interface (API) has emerged as a popular option for data integration in events. But what does that mean?.
An API is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components. It is what allows applications to connect with one another, or with services like an online database.
APIs can be used to build applications that are more powerful and useful. They give them direct access to specific features instead of forcing the developer to build them from scratch.
It is like having a contract or user manual. The documentation tells how and where you can call certain routines and what inputs they accept.
This contract makes integration easier, as you get all the information at once instead of piecing it together from different places.
APIs play a vital role in event data integration. They allow you to connect to different types of data sources and normalise it into a format that is usable for your event data platform.
This way, you can have a single source of truth for your event data and avoid the hassle of manually integrating data from multiple platforms.
Is it possible to perform data operations without an API?
Yes, through manual imports. That’s what you do when you export data into a spreadsheet, clean it, sort it out and import it into another system.
But it’s not feasible to do so manually all the time. It’s challenging, time-consuming and prone to human error.
Making manual data imports scalable and reliable becomes a challenge for any third-party integrations. It also becomes a nightmare when you have to import terabytes of data on a daily basis.
In comparison, APIs are an efficient way to streamline data imports automatically. Instead of spending days on developing custom scripts for each new integration, an API can be created in just a few hours.
You can easily get insights from unstructured customer data in a fraction of a second while keeping operational costs under control.
Event technology integration offered by ExpoPlatform
This image explains how integration decisions are carried out by ExpoPlatform prior to the launch of an event:
There are three types of integration ExpoPlatform offers. Here’s a comparison:
Here’s a look at how our API Integration delivery is carried out:
Step 1 – The requirement is locked for the project brief. Necessary details like admin credentials, API key and API documentation are shared.
Step 2 – The field mapping is finalised. The ExpoPlatform team shares a sample request with the fields in scope for the third-party vendor to understand the requested format.
Step 3 – The third-party vendor completes the development and the ExpoPlatform team performs the user acceptance test. This is confirmed with a sign-off from the client.
Step 4 – Deployment day. Go live!
Examples of custom integration done by ExpoPlatform for Informa Smart Events:
- Using MapsPeople to greatly enhance floorplan functionality
- Using IIRIS to have a custom login widget configured for participants. IIRIS also does the data push for all attendee records using ExpoPlatform APIs
Event technology integration questions to ask a provider
There are several factors you need to consider for your integration plans. Here are the questions you need to ask your event technology provider:
1. What data will be shared?
Will the integration allow you to share any data or only certain types? Will it support multiple formats?
2. How secure will the connection be?
The integration should offer strong encryption and provide protection against man-in-the-middle attacks.
3. Who will own the data?
Who owns the data after it is transferred – the organiser or the provider? Refer to ExpoPlatform’s Data Manifesto for more details
4. How scalable will the integration be?
It should be able to handle large volumes of data and scale easily as your event grows.
5. How well documented is the integration?
You should be able to find documentation on how to implement it with your current technology stack.
6. How flexible is the integration? Can it adapt to changing requirements?
Organiser should be able to accommodate new technologynologies without breaking compatibility with older versions.
7. How easy is it to set up? Will IT admins need special training?
The integration should be simple to set up and a proper feedback mechanism should be in place to contact support.
Organisers are collecting more data than ever before. But all this data is trapped in different silos across the company — and can’t be easily accessed or analysed.
As a result, insights are limited and business performance suffers. We see this problem frequently with event data – it’s locked in silos and disconnected systems, fragmented, unstandardised and not widely accessible.
Integrating through APIs and other means can help you capture, analyse and act on your events faster than ever before—helping you drive new business value with less friction and risk.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.
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