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Cloud events

by Tyronne O'Callaghan on Apr 17, 2012
You see much written today about a technology, data and analytical driven marketing future. Whether it be location based activity or marketing automation, we are seeing swathes of new opportunities...

Blogger profile: Tyronne O'Callaghan

Tyronne O' Callaghan has more than 12 years’ marketing experience from events to data planning and is currently the General Manager of PICO TBA Consulting Group Limited. He provides strategies and insights for many renowned global brands and in particular creating engaging and integrated brand experiences across multiple platforms. Prior to joining Pico, Tyronne was in senior management roles with another leading marketing agency with responsibilities ranging from strategy to agency operations.

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You see much written today about a technology, data and analytical driven marketing future. Whether it be location based activity or marketing automation, we are seeing swathes of new opportunities arise that allow brands to better engage with audiences.

While the talk of ethics is relevant, those that innovate and dream to create better brand future through new techniques and tools simply have a progressive view. When direct marketing boomed in the 90’s, opt-in  /opt-out legislation protected audiences and I see that this approach will also evolve in a brave new world. Governments will, or should, inform and protect their citizens. Ethical brands will support this.

Also, audiences will opt-in because they see value in doing so and I am keen to showcase the opportunity for marketers when audiences do opt-in. In particular, I want to show that data and analytics are not just for digital and mobile, but can be used in events.

I am not talking about virtual events / exhibitions or things that look to replace face-to-face. They have their time and place and events are still hugely popular. I am talking more about how people are now using the cloud to continue to build upon the equity that “event brands” have built with their respective target communities. Give event access to people who are not there and stimulate on-going engagement.

Being a passionate bodyboarder, the evolution of the International Bodyboarding Association (IBA) has really caught my eye ( With the right vision and plan they have made our sport into somethingway more accessible, yet hold competitions in some places not accessible to most of us (or most of us dream about getting to). Through the web we can now watch live feeds of the competition, access on-demand podcasts, get inside stories and share these with friends. But more than a competition, it is also an opportunity for niche surf riding misfits to stay connected and informed. It becomes a place where the community gathers. This is all built around event equity and gives the brand custodians the much needed finger on the pulse they need.

Many public events have looked to execute a similar formula. Many public events and their participants fail to capitalize on the equity they have. More so, many marketers feel that they cannot afford the investment to capitalize on the equity of their private events because of cost.

Terms such as hybrid events do not capture the essence of what is possible. The creation of apps are great, but also often hastily proposed because they are popular and the best returns-on-investments are often missed. The challenge facing marketers is that many providers are focused on providing tactical solutions as opposed creating strategic backbones that allow for community creation, broader and on-going engagement.

In a recent discussion with Kenes Asia, they revealed to me quite simply how their strategic view to how their clients should engage with audiences is creating more value for their clients. Kenes are in the business of Medical Congress Organization and Association Management. They are very clear on why the target audiences attend their client events – the content and to stay connected with their peers. What Kenes have done successfully is that they simply have made it easier for this content to be captured, distributed and used.

At its heart is a technology backbone which neatly plugs together all the elements of mobile, engagements, touch, scan and web into a cloud solution. Delegates no longer have to travel home with extra kilograms of paper. They have more room for gifts for the wife and kids so have no excuses now.

However, the strategic value lay in the ability for other community members to access this content through integration and syndication through existing communities.  Creating strategic value through the ability to provide their clients the opportunity to continue to engage with their audiences after the event and deliver on on-going education needs through such engagements as e-learning. Knowledge on personal preference and behaviour allows for improved value creation by allowing clients to design the next engagement better.

Given the on-going investments made on events in B2B and B2C marketing, there is room for improvement where marketers can create better value from their investments whether it is a corporate conference, product launch or road-show.

The view of an event as being simplyfour walls and a roof needs to change. An event is simply one engagement in a lifecycle of engagements. The engagement at event happens on the show-floor, but can also happen in the cloud. The opportunity of data and analytics is not just for better event operational management. With a long-term view on defining how events should be run, marketers can look to take advantage of the interconnected world.

And for the doctor in Tokyo who could not travel to Glasgow for the congress he attended last year. He does not need to miss out.

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