Oliver Thomas reviews global event tech company ExpoPlatform’s new e-book, The Monetisation Blueprint, which aims to provide guidance for organisers on securing revenue streams in the rapidly digitising events world
Covid-19 has changed the way event organisers monetise their digital platforms and ExpoPlatform believes that this industry shift, accelerated by the pandemic, requires “new skill sets and new processes” that are critical to shifting revenue mixes more equitably between ‘digital and in-person engagement’. The Monetisation Blueprint looks to provide a practical resource that gives advice to organisers who want to make this change.
The e-book uses a variety of industry reports and leading figures to build a template for eventprofs to use in their digital strategies. The ‘blueprint’ is split into four sections: 1) Keeping up with a changing landscape. 2) Digital solutions and packages. 3) How to adapt your sales team to the new world. 4) A go-to-market checklist.
Luke Bilton, ExpoPlatform’s chief growth officer, told CMW: “We speak to a wide cross-section of event organisers, who are all at different stages in moving to blended revenue streams of events plus digital”.
Bilton believes: “The benchmark target of around 25% revenue forecast to come from digital, first identified by AMR research, seems to be a pretty accurate reflection on the journey organisers are on. Delivering this over the next three years represents a real step-change for the industry, which is having to adapt teams, processes and technologies to the challenge”.
Keeping up with a changing landscape
ExpoPlatform’s first chapter, ‘Keeping up with a changing landscape’, explores the ongoing uncertainty created by the pandemic and the key trends that have been created by it. Brian Field, COO of Emerald, commented that “a certain amount of hubris and lack of willingness” to invest in digitalisation before Covid-19 was completely changed when the crisis hit, and organisers looked to “whatever solution one could muster up.”
The chapter provides tips on how to be adaptable and make overall event strategies ‘pandemic proof’. An emphasis is placed on a shift from in-person spending to the rise of online markets. Specific attention is given to the rise of the subscription economy and micropayments. A case study is provided by James Hampton, director of operations at event management specialists MCI UK, where he explains how to extend “engagement outside of the period of the event.”
Digital solutions and packages
The second chapter investigates ‘Digital Solutions and Packages.’ Digital solutions are categorised under three classifications: ‘Thought leadership’, ‘Branding’, and ‘Lead generation’. Through these three titles, the chapter goes into detail about the diverse inventory that can be produced and monetised on digital platforms beyond the opportunities offered purely by the traditional in-person events. Summarising ‘Dos and Don’ts of digital inventory management’, ExpoPlatform highlights the importance of not underestimating the value of digital platforms and the need to spend time thoroughly organising an all-encompassing strategy.
The ability to segment your client-base was also outlined as an important tool in tailoring your strategy to different customers. The consideration of different budgets and expectations was highlighted as key differentiators to segmenting client bases. Once event organisers have a better understanding of their clients, digital packages can better customise their prices.
‘A monetisation journey’, a term coined by the MBB-Consulting Group, is presented as an instrument for extending the lifecycle of an event. By creating a hybrid event, organisers can enhance the timeline that content is accessible for, creating better value for clients. Timothy Skennion, managing director of Derabo Advisory Group, stated: “Hybrid events provide a blank canvas for reinventing the event experience – for attendees and sponsors alike – through unlimited formats, content and engagement.”
This chapter is concluded by examining methods to monetise visitors. A tiered system is recommended, where organisers can offer, at its most basic, limited free entrance to an event, or at its most exclusive, an access all areas ‘VIP’ pass that can be ticketed. Transparency on data is highlighted as crucial for organisers, especially when social media companies such as LinkedIn, Google and Facebook provide these statistics in real time for customers.
Adapting your sales team
Chapter three takes a look at ‘How to adapt your sales team to the new world’. ExpoPlatform asks whether traditional event organisers have credibility to sell online. A clear trend emerged that a willingness to change and provide relevant solutions to clients was critical to attaining credibility. Raoul Monks, CEO and founder of Flume Training, provides insight on how to walk clients through what they are hoping to achieve and how solutions can be provided digitally.
Two schools of people are presented as the solution to ‘structuring for success’ by digitally transforming: specialists and generalists. Neither one approach is identified as being better than the other, rather a strategy that incorporates ‘a bit of both’ is seen as the key.
The final chapter provides a summary ‘go-to-market checklist’. This checklist, consisting of 10 key points, aims to help organisers assess whether they have made all the appropriate steps to make the transition to a digital model successfully, covering the major points covered throughout the e-book.
The Monetisation Blueprint is a concise analysis of the problems and opportunities presented by this period of uncertainty. The publication is the third e-book of ExpoPlatform’s Future of Events series, and Bilton commends it as an offer of “practical advice of how to make this shift”.
This has only been a brief outline of ExpoPlatform’s top tips and vision of how to negotiate this uncharted road and take advantage of what this digital age has to offer. For a full version of the e-book, click here.