How to dazzle and delight as an agile partner

You’re an event planning pro. Nothing phases you. But now you have a new client in the tech industry. Sure, every industry says they’re unique, but in our experience, the tech industry truly is. Why? They go to conferences around the world and get to experience the pinnacle of pizazz. That makes them a bit harder to please. Plus, in any given aspect of the event, they may be focusing more on the “how” versus the “what.”

Here are some tips to exceed the expectations of this hard-to-please audience. It’s time to push the limits on creative solutions and invest in wow moments to drive home the messaging!

Tips for Success

1. For Better Output Get Lots of Input

Time to polish your listening, collaboration and facilitation skills. You’ll want to make sure you work with a wide range of stakeholders, from a marketing manager to the C-Suite. Not only will they want to share their input, but they’ll also expect to see it reflected in the final program.

Read More: The Sure Way for Association Leaders to Get Constructive Feedback About Meetings

2. Amp Up the Tech

Forget about rear-projection for the general session. The majority of our tech clients want to bring their story to life through motion graphics. The best way to display that is on LED, from an ultra-wide video wall to panels to help make the brand and messaging pop.

3. Center the Experience on the Customer

While a main session has to dazzle and delight, many tech clients also need smaller breakouts where they can spend time with their end users. Be prepared with CRM integrations, sponsor portals, speaker portals and customized event apps.

4. Make Time for Giving Back

We’ve seen a big uptick in CSR (corporate social responsibility) included in our programs. Many of our tech clients have added the gift of time. We’ve planned agendas to include making kits for the military, filling boxes for girls in STEM or decorating instruments for veterans dealing with PTSD. We have also included text-to-donate campaigns and been blown away by the generosity of attendees. I can recall a program of 200 people raising an additional $10,000 for a charity in two days. For some clients, we focus on the city, making sure the environmental impact is minimized and helping local residents.

5. Be Prepared to Scale (Budgets)

In one way the tech world is like any other—budgeting is often the number one question and variable. Planners need to be nimble to adjust to ups and downs in the market, organizational changes, a new product from a competitor or any other curveball.

Read More: Helpful Budget Tips for Event Planners in a Post-Covid World

When clients see that you can scale, based on what’s going on with them, they know they can trust you. Agility based on understanding is an immeasurable asset.

While planners don’t often initiate sponsorships, those opportunities for trusted partners to participate and strengthen their relationship with the client can offset budget. And yes, sometimes sponsor expectations add more layers of complexity, but as planners, we need to be aware that the success of the sponsorship program is much larger than the event itself.

Top Take-Away for Tech Industry Events

With any client, the relationship is like a dance. Each of you needs the other, and if you each execute your steps correctly, the finished product will be amazing. When it comes to tech industry clients, the dance can be more fast-paced and intricate, and your partner may do some improvised moves! That just makes it all the more rewarding when you partner together for perfectly executed events that exceed expectations.

“It’s time to push the limits on creative solutions and invest in wow moments to drive home the messaging!”


When High Expectations Turn into Invaluable Assets

One of our clients was looking for a solution to integrate Salesforce into their registration software. They had two goals: to track their customers’ attendance and to assign them automatically to the correct registration path.

In year 1, we tested the process. Then we took all our learnings and revised the process for year 2. Those hours (and hours!) of time from our team paid off. Now the integration is working seamlessly. Our client can recognize which customers are coming and identify what products they use.

With that knowledge, our client can put the perfect internal team together onsite to support them. That ability to respond in a 100% tailored way is invaluable. And our team’s ability to take a hurdle and turn it into asset is what can turn high expectations into an ongoing partnership.

woman in grey sweater smilingJaclyn Trainor, CIS, is a strategic account director at Bishop-McCann. With more than a decade of experience in the corporate events industry, Jaclyn is passionate about creating memorable experiences and exceptional events that exceed client expectations.

This article appears in the May 2024 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.