I've been knee deep in research the last 2-3 years helping clients discover and acquire new technologies for their conferences, and gathering data on providers to include in our new EventTechGuide. After sitting through hundreds of demos and conversations, and analyzing dozens and dozens of pricing models in various categories, I can confirm that Event Tech is surely in a "Wild West" phase.
Just like every rush to opportunity that was the Wild West, there's lots of new storefronts - some will succeed, others will fail. Some will get funding, others will bootstrap. Some will be pure gold, others will be flimflam artists. Hard to tell who to trust for the long haul.
And all those storefronts offer a mix of services with a lot of hybrids. Just like the Wild West, sometimes the Barbershop was in the General Store. So you have reg systems offering CMS, or event apps offering marketing.
Just like the Wild West - there are no rules or laws when it comes to pricing. Pay per attendee, per month, one time buy, annual fee, a la carte, package pricing, or a percentage of registration fees.
Just like the Wild West - it's difficult and dangerous out there for technology buyers. It's hard to know what will happen, who will survive, and how pricing will evolve.
What can you do to mitigate your risks and get the most out of your investment? A few suggestions. 1) Set a strategy. 2) Do your research. 3) Get multiple bids. 4) Don't be fooled by the firms with the biggest marketing budgets. 5) Seek out advice from fellow planners and find objective reviews and opinions. 6) Don't sign long term contracts - technology and pricing evolves at a rapid pace.
The payoffs and ROI can be tremendous for those willing to take the journey into deploying new event technology. Increased efficiency, new found opportunities, enhanced experiences for attendees, improved attendance and sponsorship revenues.
Oh, and if you need a guide on your trip out to the Wild West, give us a call at The Event Guys.