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Event Tech Live 2017: two panels, in one show

This year the annual Event Tech Live was hosted at The Old Truman Brewery in London, as it was in 2016, but this year it was bigger and better than ever. With a host of start-ups, panels, forums and technologies to explore, it was a day in the #eventprofs calendar not to be missed. drp were fortunate enough to have two of their team members on two different panels at the event. Ryan Curtis-Johnson, our Head of PR and Marketing, exercised his thoughts on the “Event Marketing – How to boost outreach and clout online to maximise registration” panel, and Ed Vickery, our Head of Exhibition and Live Business Development , discussed “Event tech on the road: A look at out of home and roadshow technology”. In this blog, I hope to give a summary and an insight into the points discussed on both of the panels that Ryan and Ed were a part of.

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Panel 1: Event Marketing

Located at the Conference and Creativity stage, Ryan was joined by; Max Scatarzi, Senior Account Executive, at Bizzabo, and Saul Leese, Marketing Director, at GovNet.

The initial question to the panel asked, what are the best ways to get a message out there, to sell tickets, and promote an event?

  • Ask what makes your events special? Who is your target audience? How can you reach them, and then match demand with the supply? Ask, what is it you’re trying to achieve?
  • Be impactful and on your social media, be consistent, because you have to stand out compared to other events.
  • Look back at previous years and the data for this – what worked then and how can you use this to benefit going forward?
  • Inbound marketing is essential too – build and strengthen the brand. The power of influencer marketing can be limitless.

What about email marketing?

  • Make sure when doing email marketing, you analyse what is relevant for your audience and why.
  • If you don’t send something at least 3 times then they aren’t going to see it but if you go too far then you can lose people!
  • Personalise emails and allow them to choose the information that they want and what they want to hear. This way they have the control back rather than being told or bombarded with things.
  • Click throughs – how many opened, bounce backs, and so on.
  • Percentage of marketing managers that don’t do personas is shocking, and personas are so important when you consider who your key customers are and how you talk to them / how they like to be talked to. You can get ideas simply through speaking with your customers – deliver strong messaging when you know what emotionally drives your customers and you can really understand them.

The kinds of channels you use?

  • If you have 7 channels, then obsess over them and operate at 100% across all those channels.
  • Marketing through exhibitors is huge. Your own database might be huge, but your exhibitors represent the universe. It is not enough to send an email to tell your exhibitors to send an email, get 70-80% support from your exhibitors and their customers.
  • Editorial team – get them engaged with influencers, blogs, posting on feeds about what they are doing.
  • Have ambassadors and get them to share and spread the word – online and offline.
  • It’s important to start with ‘why’ why is it important, who is it important to?
  • Look up where the conversations are happening, what hashtags are related?
  • Consider live streaming too, as it is another way to reach international audiences.
  • Social media is essential, but be consistent with it.
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Panel 2: Event Tech on the Road.

Located at the Brand and Buzz stage, Ed was joined by Robin Carlisle, who runs live event management agency Mobile Promotions.

Briefing Stages

  • In the briefing stage find out what you are able to do and what you aren’t, for example, the venue might be right logistically, but it may not be right for the Wi-Fi / connectivity.
  • It is important to be comprehensive and ask the right questions in the planning stages.
  • Find the most impactful and cost-effective solution, is it better for them to travel to the expo, or to bring the expo to them in a roadshow? For instance, for one of our clients it was logistically challenging and financially more expensive to bring people to one location than to go out to where the clients were base across Europe.


  • Connectivity – on the road you are relying on potential venues and Wi-Fi connections that are not always guaranteed, and data is key to the successful ROI afterwards and what the client can get out of the roadshows.
  • Anything that you produce to get the data needs to be accessible offline and online – speed to access that data must be good too.
  • Overall, there has to be good strong and reliable Wi-Fi, because how impactful can it be when connectivity fails?
  • Source local suppliers in the area, so that if anything fails such as tech or Wi-Fi, then you have the means to fix it wherever the roadshow is located at that time.
  • Data capture our digital arm drpdigital create apps that can capture rich data from an event, which is essential. Make sure this is in place before, during, and after the roadshow.

"Marketing through exhibitors is huge. Your own database might be huge, but your exhibitors represent the universe. It is not enough to send an email to tell your exhibitors to send an email, get 70-80% support from your exhibitors and their customers."

Trends in the Future

  • Voice activated events, the next technology at roadshows/events will be software that recognises words and there are so many opportunities that this will bring.
  • Growth in festivals – concept of presenting brands / tech / connectivity – and benefit of a roadshow as you are taking all the activities to where the people are.
  • In the future, could be more of putting yourself and clients in front of people where they are going to be rather than waiting for them to come to you.
  • Roadshows becoming more experiential.
  • Events, experiential and expo will get closer as services, as there are cross overs happening already.

By Emily Johnson – PR & Social Executive, Ryan Curtis-Johnson – Head of PR & Marketing and Ed Vickery – Head of Exhibition and Live Business Development