30 questions to ask a digital events platform vendor
If you’ve decided a digital events platform makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities by doing the following: Make a list of all the DEP capabilities you currently have, those that you would like to have and those that you can’t live without. This last category is critical, and will help you avoid making a costly mistake. If you find that one vendor doesn’t offer this “must-have” capability, it’s obviously not a fit.Take your list of capabilities and then do some research. Speak to your marketing peers to find out who is using which DEP and why.Narrow your list down to those vendors that meet your criteria. Submit your list of the DEP capabilities you’ve identified, and set a timeframe for them to reply.Decide whether or not you need to engage in a formal RFI/RFP process. This is an individual preference. However, be sure to give the same list of capabilities to each vendor to facilitate comparison. The most effective RFPs only request relevant information and provide ample information about your brand and its DEP needs. It should reflect high-level strategic goals and KPIs. Mention your company’s most important KPIs and explain how you will evaluate the success of your DEP efforts. Include details about timelines and the existing martech systems you have deployed. Dig deeper: How to mine data from digital events From the RFP responses, you should be able to narrow your list down to three or four solutions that you’ll want to demo. Set up demos with those vendors within a relatively short time frame after receiving the RFP responses to help make relevant comparisons. Make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call, and pay attention to the following: How easy is the tool to use?Does the vendor seem to understand our business and our needs?Are they showing us our “must-have” features? Other questions to ask each digital events platform vendor, depending on your business model, include: Agenda creation, management and registration: How does the agenda creation process work, and how flexible is it? Will it allow us to create and manage the types of events we do now?What type of machine learning and/or artificial intelligence does the tool use for suggesting content for users, and how would we facilitate that?Can the tool match event attendees to their roles in a buying group and their correct accounts in our CRM?Does the tool show where registrants came from (channel or campaign) and how they interact with the agenda pre-registration?Can the DEP maintain a single account for an individual across multiple events, so we can continue to accrue intent data over time?Does the tool allow sponsors, exhibitors and speakers to log in and manage their own content (bio and headshot for speakers, sponsor portal contents for exhibitors)? Download the MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Digital Events Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide Content creation, editing and engagement features: How many simultaneous attendees can attend an event without compromising video quality? How does something being live versus pre-recorded affect this equation?Can we do video editing and augmentation within the platform itself, or do we need to use a different tool or tools?What additional engagement features (gamification, quizzes, polls, etc.) are offered within the context of a session?What types of content (PDFs, live video, recorded video, interactive audio or video) can be offered within virtual exhibitor booths to maximize engagement in that environment?How does the platform facilitate networking between attendees, speakers and sponsors? Analytics, reporting and integration: Does the tool provide real-time analytics?Does the tool provide summary and/or detailed views of different personas and insights?What metrics are gathered to gauge user engagement and intent? How detailed are these reports? (For example, can I see whether a person watched a session to the end or whether they stopped after the first two minutes?)Does the tool help us gather relevant data for ourselves and our partners while complying with relevant privacy regulations?Are native integrations with our CRM and/or marketing automation platform available, so we can utilize historical data?If not, is an API available for custom system integrations? Training and customer support: How much training will we need to use the software, and what kind of training is available?What level of customer support is offered, and when is it available (i.e., 24/7 vs. 8/5)?What is the turnaround time for support queries/tickets?Are professional services or support available for our transition to the DEP?What new features are under consideration?What’s the long-term product roadmap and launch dates?
What is a digital events platform and how can it help you?
The COVID pandemic condensed nearly a decade of digital business transformation into just a few months. Companies in every sector scrambled to adapt to the new realities. Travel restrictions, masking, and social distancing requirements spawned by the pandemic compelled B2B companies to adopt new ways of engaging with customers. Relationships between businesses and their suppliers trended digital in recent years, but until the pandemic, in-person meetings and events played a central role in engaging with customers. Download the MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Digital Events Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide Event marketing, a mainstay of the B2B world, was profoundly impacted by this shift as brands sought alternatives to sponsoring and exhibiting at trade shows organized by professional content creators or to their own events for customers and prospects. Digital events platform (DEP) companies that delivered those digital experiences saw a sudden surge in demand for their offerings. Customers clamored for features and solutions that delivered the value once created at in-person events. While it’s difficult to quantify the value of in-person events to B2B marketing, anecdotal evidence suggests they are one of the few times event sponsors or organizers are able to engage multiple people within a B2B buying group in real-time, providing a unique opportunity. Nearly a third (31%) of event marketers surveyed in 2018 said live events were their single most effective marketing channel, beating out content marketing, email marketing and many other categories, according to a study released by event management software company Bizzabo.
20 questions to ask MPM system vendors
A marketing performance management (MPM) system employs statistical modeling and machine learning to holistically evaluate the performance of a company’s marketing initiatives on bottom-line impact. Its purpose is to help marketers allocate future spend and bring it in line with business goals. Read next: How to decide if you should get a marketing performance management platform If you have determined an MPM system makes sense for your business, here’s 20 questions to ask vendors: What platform hosting options are available (SaaS/cloud/on premise)?What are my options in terms of attribution modeling? Is there a set-in-stone pre-set formula or can I customize attribution modeling based on my own priorities?How do clients typically staff and manage the day-to-day operations of the solution?Do I need dedicated data scientists? What level of expertise is needed to get the full benefit of the system?What different kinds of data (e.g. from online paid media, from website analytics and from offline media or phone calls) are available for integration and for appending? Does the vendor specialize in a particular channel, vertical or campaign objective?How does the platform monitor integration successes and/or failures. How does it report on data variances or anomalies?How does the platform handle connectors and integrations with outside martech and business systems? Are your must-have integrations routine and proven, or work the vendor will perform after adoption?What is the system’s approach to integrating with the specific martech and ad tech systems that your company uses? Just because a connector exists doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for your organization and how you use that third-party platform.How does the platform employ machine learning for data analytics, such as predictingcustomer journey trends and modeling out scenarios for future budget allocation?Does the platform feature real-time or near-real-time connections with execution systems (e.g. DMPs, social networks) so that you can act quickly on insights and tweak in-flight campaigns?What data security regulations does the platform comply with?What data security certifications does the platform have?Is an annual contract required? Or can we trial the solution with a short-term contract?Will there be a price increase when I renew next year? If so, will the vendor commit to limits on annual increases?What are the additional fees (e.g., set-up costs, add-on features, API, quotas)?How long is the onboarding process typically? Will the vendor supply engineers to assist in implementation? Who will be the day-to-day vendor contact?What support is included in the price? What support is additional?Who pays if your system/team makes an error? For example, if a software bug results in overspending on a campaign or incorrect audience targeting, is the vendor responsible for covering those costs?Will the vendor’s support team work with us to test new features and assess results? Download the MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Marketing Performance Management Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide New on MarTech
How to decide if you should get a marketing performance management platform
A marketing performance management (MPM) platform employs statistical modeling and machine learning to holistically evaluate the performance of a company’s marketing initiatives on bottom-line impact. It helps marketers allocate future spend and bring it in line with business goals. Read next: What is marketing performance management and how can it help you? Committing to and implementing an MPM platform has implications for every aspect of your marketing operations and business as a whole. To evaluate the suitability of an MPM for your organization, do a comprehensive assessment of business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources. Considering the following questions: How would we use a marketing performance management platform? What are the first problems that we would use it to solve?How do we currently manage our marketing campaigns? How many and what martech and adtech systems are employed in executing campaigns? Is one the “master” or dominant system?Are they tied together in any way? How many and what channels do we typically deploy campaigns on? Depending on the complexity of your campaigns and the length of the typical purchase cycle you’re measuring, you may not need the advanced capabilities offered by a dedicated marketing performance management solution.How do we currently analyze success? Is there a central analytics solution? How flexible is the system? Are we able to arrive at insights that are actionable?How do we currently determine how much budget is allocated to marketing and how that spend is distributed internally and through media expenditures?Is your organization ready for a marketing performance management platform and ready to act on the insights gained by such a system? Do you have the staffing to use the tool to its full capacity or would you need to hire data analysts or train existing employees? Looking at your marketing spend in a more holistic way and allocating it accordingly may not be compatible with a department divided into media-specific silos. It may be necessary to dramatically reconfigure how staff resources are deployed, possibly resulting in a need to eliminate positions or provide training.How will we define and benchmark the success of a marketing performance management system? One challenge with this type of system is that it requires the commitment of resources that might otherwise be applied to campaign management martech or ad tech. Though research suggests this is likely to pay off, it’s important to determine how you’ll gauge success.Do we have management buy-in? You’ll be much more successful if the C-suite advocates for rolling MPM out across the company.What is the total cost of ownership? Be sure to consider things like adding staff, training existing staff and development costs for integration. MPMs’ capabilities make them very attractive to marketers. However, their expense and the additional resources needed to operate them must be weighed carefully when considering one. You also must to assess whether your organization needs everything an MPM platform can do. If it doesn’t, look for less expensive solutions to add to your existing stack. Finally, is your company capable of getting the most out of such a system? Do you have the staff and organizational alignment this will take? Download the MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Marketing Performance Management Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide
Questions to ask vendors before buying a customer journey orchestration solution
Once you have determined that customer journey orchestration (CJO) software makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities. Completing this research will better prepare you for when the time comes to select a specific vendor. Researching customer journey orchestration Here are the important steps in evaluating your company’s current CJO capabilities and conducting research on solutions. Make a list of current capabilities. Make a list of all the CJO capabilities you currently have, those that you would like to have and those that you can’t live without. This last category is critical and will help you avoid making a costly mistake. For example, if you seek to harness the data coming from your call center, make sure to ask vendors about their capabilities in this area, and their ability to perform sentiment analysis on the conversations happening in that channel. Take your list of capabilities and then do some research. Speak to your marketing peers at industry events to find out who is using which tool and why. Many vendors profiled in provide whitepapers and interactive tools that can help. The MarTech website is a great resource for advice and information on vendors. Narrow your list to those vendors that meet your criteria. Submit your list of the critical capabilities you’ve identified, and set a timeframe for them to reply. Decide whether or not you need to engage in a formal RFI/RFP process. This is an individual preference. If you run a formal process, be sure to give the same list of capabilities to each vendor to facilitate an apples-to-apples comparison. The most effective RFPs only request relevant information and provide ample information about your brand and its needs. It should reflect high-level strategic goals and KPIs. For example, mention your company’s most important KPIs and how you will evaluate the success of your CJO efforts. Include details about timelines and the existing martech systems you have deployed. When written properly, an RFP will facilitate the sales process and ensure that everyone involved on both sides comes to a shared understanding of the purpose, requirements, scope and structure of the intended purchase. From the RFP responses, you should be able to narrow your list down to three or four solutions that you’ll want to demo.