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?
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