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How You’re Wasting Money on Meeting Technology

John Santaferraro
on 05/25/17 07:23 PM

John Santaferraro is the chief analytics officer at Educational Measures. With 20 years of experience as a big data analytics imagineer, he is responsible for driving the next-generation of meeting and event analytics. Previously, he was the interim CMO at Diyotta and vice president of marketing at ParAccel until it was purchased by Actian, where he stayed in that position to help guide the transition. He began his career in technology as the co-founder of a data warehouse software startup that eventually sold to Teradata. Along the way he has held executive big data marketing positions in top tech companies including Tandem, Compaq, and HP. When he’s not hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing in the Colorado Rockies, John loves to cook gourmet, collect fine wine, and brew craft beer.

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Confession time. How many of you planners are spending thousands of dollars on providing iPads or tablets to your audience simply because it “looks cool”? 

Yes, sadly, we do know your little planning secret; sometimes you do things that aren’t entirely strategic.

Fear not, you aren’t alone. The truth is that iPad technology is really cool and shiny object syndrome is all too common. Tablets can provide a great platform to reach the ever-growing and influential market of millennials. But the problem is that your world is strategic. More importantly, regulatory requirements and the emergence of Strategic Meeting Management will eventually expose frivolous spending.

Throwing Away Budget

I’m a visual learner so, here’s a basic summary of how you could be demanding more from your second screen technology.



And that’s just a handful of capabilities that second screen technology offers.

Missing Opportunities

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir. Maybe you already know how much more your organization can and should be doing with your meeting tech. The problem is that the business sponsor doesn’t want to hassle with the set up required to engage their audience. 

Consider this: if the technology you’re considering is more confusing than valuable, you shouldn’t bother with it at all. If the key players can’t easily use the application, you shouldn’t hassle with it. But when a meeting app is user friendly and can provide you more than a shiny object to put in front of attendees, you should realize all the opportunities you are missing out by not utilizing all the features available. 


Opportunity 1: You’re missing sales.

Your meeting technology should provide you with actionable insight to increase sales.

With engagement tech, you can adopt a progressive profiling strategy to better understand each attendee. Utilize polling and surveys to collect demographic and psychographic data, then incorporate what you’ve captured into your CRM.

With this personalized data, your sales team will be able to fine-tune their follow-up approach. If a participant submitted a question, the sales person can see what that question was and send relevant articles or marketing materials on that subject.

If the participant saved a slide or took a note, the sales representative can be sure to mention these topics in their conversation.

Second screen meeting technology can also help you and your sales team identify objections and questions right when they come up. If the audience had a hard time understanding a particular session (which can be determined by identifying a decrease in actions taken, lower slide rating, or increase in clarification questions), the mediator or speaker can identify and address questions and objections of the audience real-time. This will improve their understanding of the product or service and the associated benefits.

Meeting technology improves message decoding and retention, fuels an organizations CRM, and shortens the lead life-cycle—all of which ultimately lead to more revenue.

Opportunity 2: You’re missing your desired ROI.

How much are you spending on iPad rental, app integration, and delivery? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Do you know what your ROI is or have you set an ROI goal? If not, you’re just throwing bad after good. You already have budget for rentals, so why not put that toward a measurable return on that investment that lasts more than a few days?

With second screen technology, you can increase your relative “return” by tuning into your audience. You can see what information is relevant to your attendees so you can adjust presentations over time. A few ways you can determine what content was best received include reviewing what slides were saved the most, which slides ranked the highest or lowest, or what topics were reoccurring in audience questions or notes.

Rather than simply having a “cool” device that provides immediate participation opportunity, meeting engagement technology aggregates engagement data that can be used to strategize future meeting agendas, improve marketing messaging, and increase invitee attendance.

Opportunity 3: You’re missing out on original research.

Your meeting is chalk full of industry experts, decision makers, and influencers. While you might be focused on showing how your product meets their needs, you’re missing out on an opportunity to ask them about their perspective.

Instead of just presenting on your own view of current trends, why not ask thought leaders in our audience about future trends?

These participants have a direct channel to your end-user. Instead of spending an additional slice of your budget on segmented research, go straight to the source to see what the market says. Utilize surveys, polling, and crowd comment to understand how risk averse the market is or adopt open-ended questions to get a fresh perspective and some new topics to toss around at subsequent events or sessions.

Then, publish your findings and share them with your audience. Not only will it improve your credibility, it will also guide you in new product development, advertising and marketing, and sales pitches. 

Making a Change

Your meeting technology should be more than just a pretty face. Whether you think it is necessary to use all the features available within their meeting app or not, we are quickly approaching a time where you competitors can easily eclipse you simply by doing so. 

Don’t let your little secret sabotage all the other strategic elements of your planning. Take advantage of the opportunities available by simply asking more of your meeting technology. 


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