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How Events Became Digitized: A Timeline

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Asset 2HOW EVENTS BECAME DIGITIZED: A TIMELINE0204DESKTOP COMPUTERS | 1980SUntil the desktop personal computers came along, all event management and marketing was strictly paper-based. Everything that we take for granted today, such as attendee registration and vendor management had to be painstakingly done on paper. This was until desktop computers became viable enough to use at events to collect and manage data. The later advent of laptops with their portability made them a must have at all event booths, to track their event performance and serve attendees with relevant information.THE MOBILE PHONE | 1990SThe mobile phones impact on the event industry can be mostly experienced through the instant connectivity it afforded event managers and planners. Suddenly, vendors were right in their pockets, rather than rushing to the nearest landline. Sales executives could be summoned to the booth quickly to give product demos. This kicked-off the era of expecting better returns from events in terms of revenue.THE INTERNET | 1990SUntil the Internet became popular, all those computers (in the event floor, and back at the office) were silos, only permitting transmission through floppy disks (and other obsolete mediums). The internet made it so much easier for event teams to collaborate by sharing data through emails and spreadsheets. This has increased productivi-ty and improved outcomes for companies exhibiting at events. THE CLOUD | 2000SThe cloud is an extension of the internet, and it has directly affected how businesses operate. Event teams now can add data to the cloud, which will be globally available to all relevant company executives to quickly derive insights from and act on it. We’re mentioning the cloud separately because it gave rise to SaaS products, which have greatly transformed event workflows by making management, marketing and tracking an easy part of a companys process. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | 2010While all these other technologies have been very visible on the surface, AI seems to have spread across all these existing technologies to increase their efficiency and make them so much more powerful. So many of the products and services that we use today have been bolstered by AI, even if its fingerprints are not immediately visible. 01030507THE SMARTPHONE | 2000SThe mobile phone was a great advancement, and so was the internet. But combining the hyperconnectivity of the internet and the portability of the mobile birthed a device that is so powerful that it changed the way events would be held. This not only affected eventprofs, but the attendees as well. Attendees got a new way to experience events, by looking up event schedules, directly registering through event apps, recording their experiences and networking with other attendees.SOCIAL MEDIA | 2000SAnother subset of the internet, but with massive implica-tions for event marketing specifically. Social Media became the place to market events, because it was so much easier to reach out to a targeted and relevant audience. Compared to other mediums, the level of engagement that event teams were able to elicit from their attendees, so it became every event marketer's darling to promote their booths, run contests, engage with attendees after they’ve left the booth and drive event success. If an eventprof from the 90s were to time-travel to a present-day trade show, they’d be stunned. Digital technology has replaced paper-based processes in so many aspects of events, with far more efficient and collaborative tools. This has made modern event workflows much more productive.BUT WHERE DID IT ALL START?B2B events and trade shows were ways to exhibit their wares and products to the world in an industry context, so they’ve been content with only measuring metrics such as attendee registrations and footfalls. While these are great metrics to start with, measurement has to move on to more meaningful numbers such as ROI, revenue and sales advancement.Digital Technologies have made it so much easier to measure the impact of events on a company's revenue stream. Once they started measuring the important metrics, improving their workflows became so much easier. Infographic06ONE PLATFORM FOR ALL ENGAGEMENTS AT EVENTS