Back in my early days as an industry analyst, one of my first client events was, in essence, a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to take a tour of C.S. Longlines (which AT&T’s analyst relations [AR] team arranged). It was the ship from which tens of thousands of fiber optic cable was laid. I was barely over the US legal drinking age and just learning what bandwidth even meant. So as you can imagine at first, I had some serious doubts about how interesting this would be. It was actually fascinating. And that’s something I can say about only a few of the hundreds of events that I’ve attended since.

I was reminded of this trip after editing Laura Ramos’ newest report “Increase The Payoff For B2B Events With Digital Immersion” because the digital best practices that she writes about surprisingly parallel the most memorable attributes of my Longlines visit:

  • I was engaged before I even started. I knew enough about what we were going to see, and it piqued my interest.
  • It was immersive. We were on a big ship in a harbor — enough said.
  • My experience was customized. There was no predefined path throughout the ship. We toured what we wanted to see versus what AT&T’s AR team wanted to show us (though I am sure that the team eventually showed us all of it)

Needless to say, this tour set the tone for a long-term relationship. Not only did we have shared social capital after the visit, but also by the end of the day, the team from AT&T knew me very well, which made doing their job much easier.

Fast-forward to today’s post-digital world, and you’d think that technology would make scaling the attributes that I valued on my tour easier to do on an extensive level. But our recent research illustrated that the number of organizations investing in physical events is actually increasing but only 4% believe that they are advanced in their use of event-specific technology to manage and enhance attendees’ experience.

Think about the elements that made your best event experience a great one. Read Laura’s report. Combine the insights, and I bet that the application of digitized capabilities will become an integral part of your event strategy.

Caroline Robertson