Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Best Tactics for Analyzing Your Event's Social Media Activity

Tracking is important. You need to know whether your attendees are using your hashtag, sharing it, commenting on your event and whether they are creating their own hashtags to help continue the conversation. Every post will help generate data that you can use to better understand your event's reach and attendee experience. Analyzing your event's social media activity is one of the many ways you can measure ROI. Here's how to go one step further than just tallying "likes" and "follows." 

Pay attention to the timing of all the posts. If you make sure to look at posts throughout the entire lifecycle of the event you will be able to get a big picture understanding of what your attendees did, where they went, and what their thoughts were about each element. 

Are your attendees sharing content from your event? Are they excited about a particular feature? Analysis of what is being shared and at what time will help future programming and production. For example, are there many posts centered around one particular speaker? If so, are they positive, are they starting conversations and deep dives into the content that was shared?

Look into your attendees and who is posting. Are they influencers? How many followers do they have and what is their reach? Knowing the author of the info will help define your actual reach. 

If you are able to add GeoTags to your social media channels you will be able to see where the info is coming from. This works well for large events like festivals or conferences/events that take place over multiple locations. This doubles as a great way to add value to sponsorships. If you are able to provide data referencing your attendee's location during the event and the frequency of visitation when it comes to booths, speaker rooms or experiential exhibits that will help provide a quality ROI measurement for you and your sponsors.

Take a look at the length of time each attendee spends sharing info on social media. Are there consistent messages, posts etc. that span the entire lifecycle of the event or are there bursts of energetic posts followed by radio silence? If you can create a big picture of what, when and how the posts and shares are taking place you will be able to tell a more detailed story about the success of your event. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BENG! NY Winner of 2014 Best of Manhattan Award

I am proud to announce that BENG! NY has been selected for the 2014 Best of Manhattan Award in the Event Planner category by the Manhattan Award Program. Our company was founded in 2010 and has since won a Best Event Award in Europe for Best ROI and has been nominated for several other awards.

Each year, the Manhattan Award Program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Manhattan area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Manhattan Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Manhattan Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Manhattan Award Program
The Manhattan Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Manhattan area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. The Manhattan Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. The organization's mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

To find out more about BENG! NY please visit www.bengny.com

Contact: Nicole Nelson, nicolen@bengny.com

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

9 Ideas to Improve Your Next Conference

More Networking
Increase the networking time allotted within the day. Consider even changing up the way in which you allow your attendees to network. Think – about speed networking (similar to speed dating) or lunch round tables with facilitated discussions and a speaker per table.

More Breaks//Shorter Content
TED forged the path for this format with its 18 minute segments for speakers. As we move forward in a market where time = more money than before, it think it makes sense that we change up the format for conference goers. No one has the attention span to sit through an hourlong keynote session anymore. 

Better Pre Event Communication
A handy "Looking forward to Seeing You Tomorrow email" is all you need. Reminder of the event, all the details, start time, dress code and any new highlights to point out. It will help drive people to actually show up, provides you one last real push of information. The more prepared your attendees are, the happier they are. It seems simple, but you will be surprised at the number of conference producers who don't bother with the night before email. 

Digital Check In
Revise the badge/reg system to minimize frustration and long lines. There are so many event registration companies out there now, and the good ones are finally getting the praise they deserve. Search for one that fits all our needs and try it out. It is so much easier to walk up to a kiosk or a staffer with an iPad and receive your credentials and access than it is to have someone searching through pre-printed badges. If you are able to push it a little further, make your badges do more than just state a name and company. Incorporate NFC or a USB into it and track where your attendees go, who they visit and provide that info back to your sponsors. 

Social Seating
Conferences are no longer just about the content. People attend to network, to feel like they are part of the "gang" in their industry, to hear and be a part of awesome content and to meet vendors etc. They want to do more than just sit and listen. Create a new listening atmosphere for them by changing up teh traditional theater and classroom style seating arrangements. Incorporate clusters and lounge seating along with your classroom and crescent rounds and I think you will find attendees engage, and have a better experience. Not to mention give your conference a more modern look.

Better Sponsor Experiences
Have your sponsors move away from the generic booth. It seems simple right? Every sponsor tells you, we want to create an experience and then they plop down  a table, a wrinkled table cloth and a pop up banner  and call it a day. Don’t allow any more standard booths. If a sponsor wants to be a part of your conference, they will have to either choose from one your “sellable” experiences or brainstorm a new one that works for them. Think Latte Lounge for a sponsor who wants to spark up a caffeinated conversation and use the cups and napkins as branding  opportunities, a Smoothie Station for a  green start up, Magazine Rack lounge for a publisher. Talk to your sponsors and find the right fit for them. Your attendees will thank you.

Live Stream/Slide Sharing 
I know, I know. Making your conference content available to those who didn't purchase a ticket just doesn't seem right. I don't think you need to make everything available for free, if you don't want to. I think you can have a content marketing team put together a series of items you are willing to release and have them push it out during your conference. Whether it is Live Slide Sharing, Live Streaming of a Keynote or just pushing out some of highlights of the conference getting your conference publicity is your main goal. Pushing content will help spread the word and stop people from finally asking you - will this be available later.  We live in a sharing society now, so make sure your conference fits in.  

No More Paper
App vs. printed program. Digital Check in Instead of Badges. There are so many ways to reduce paper. Try to ask your sponsors to reduce their hand outs. A great way is to encourage USB use. Download collateral onto a USB prior to the conference and have that be part of your attendee giveaways. Sponsors will be happy because their content is being given out and attendees are thrilled not to receive a conference tote filled with paper. 

App vs. printed program is important. It's rare for an attendee to walk up to the reg desk and ask for a printed program. Most attendees sigh when handed a brick heavy agenda. There are so many amazing app companies out there now, there really isn't an excuse not to have one. You can push up to date information, agenda changes, and even sell areas on the app to sponsors. 

Make it easy for people to stay in their seats and get connected to a power source. Have plug-ins available (either in strips or hubs) so that people don't have to keep getting up and charging. You want people to stay connected, use social media and enjoy their experience. It's hard to do that when you are trolling for an outlet or sat next to a trash can in the next room because it's the only outlet available. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trends Impacting Events in 2014

At the end of every year we all scramble to put together a list of trends we think will be huge in the year to come. Rarely do we stop per quarter to note whether any of the trends are actually taking off, or whether something else may have popped up instead. Here are a list of the trends I currently see making headway in the event industry:

1. Digital Check In
 2014 seems to be the year of streamlining the check in process for events. Its something that event producers and attendees have grumbled about for years, but very little was available to help make checking in and receiving credentials easier. This year it seems like event start ups have finally streamlined the process enough for planners to take a leap of faith and try them out. Startups like Check in Easy,  Boomset and Eventfarm are helping to provide platforms to avoid long lines, paper and the dreaded "Can you spell your last name for me again?"

Registration tables are being replaced by brand ambassadors holding iPads loaded with check in lists and attendees are simply a button press away from admittance. FINALLY!

2. Experiences Vs. Selling Points
This trend seems to be continuing from last year. As marketing and event budgets rise, we are seeing more clients understanding that providing an experience is a better way to reach their target market and ultimately maximize ROI instead of just ramming selling points down potential customers' throats. Hopefully, this trend wont ever go away.

3. Increase in Budgets
Budgets have been tight since 2008. If you ask any planner who has been in the business for a while they will tell you that budgets are always tight when it comes down to producing events. 2014 seems to be the year where budgets are on a slight uptick. Not sure whether it is because it costs a little more to create a cohesive and integrated experience or whether client's are starting to feel more confident in Events as a medium for selling and marketing. Whatever it is, it's good.

4. No More Hotels Venues
Hotel venues aren't bad, don't get me wrong. They just aren't always the perfect place for your event. As budgets rise a little, clients are able to start looking beyond hotel venues. It's now trendy to rent out a warehouse build the raw space into what you need it to be. Finding odd and off the beaten track venues are in.

5. Event Start Ups
I think it might have taken a while for event startups to streamline their data and understand exactly what it is us event planners "need" to help us produce. Finally there are some great helpful companies whose sole goal is to make my life as a planner easier. I currently love: Gravy, Boomset, Socialtables, and GetMeConnected. All you have to do is type in Event StartUps into your search engine and you will see how many pop up. And they are good!

There are two other trends I am watching right now to see whether they really take off.

1. I am seeing a lot of events have much nicer websites and interfaces. There are links to live feeds, content marketing made easy, push functions to social media outlets and each page is pretty and easy to use. I am also happy to see SplashThat is rising in the ranks. It offers a nice, simple and clean interface that is easy for us producers to use, but even easier for attendees to navigate.

2. Second trend is linking causes to B to C events. Philanthropy and events have always gone hand in hand. Galas, fundraisers and auctions have always been a preferred way to drum up some cash for a great cause. Now we are seeing causes being linked to guerrilla events, cocktail parties, daytime luncheons and more. Whether it's a portion of your registration fee or just the press and buzz it helps garner, I am seeing more and more BtoC events featuring a cause.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Value Creation Through Events. BENG! introduces ROI “Placemat”

 Roi Masterclass Waardecreatie d.m.v. Events

So we had this brilliant afternoon last week Tuesday at the Delamar, the most beautiful theater in Amsterdam. BENG!’s strategy director, Rob Captijn, gave a master class on ROI and value creation, designed to change stakeholder perceptions of events from high cost to high impact, defining manageable and measurable contributions to the bottom line of their corporations.

The audience was filled with corporate event managers, agencies, suppliers and educators all anxious to learn about the role and value of events in a world with an ever changing media landscape.

BENG! has designed a “placemat” that explains value creation and measurement in 12 coherent steps. The 12 steps focus on the what, why and how of setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals, storySelling, content creation, designing events using retail marketing techniques, touch point management and maximizing the ROI of events. The placemat is available for free at bengny.com

BENG!’s strategy director, Rob Captijn, and the Managing Director of the European Event ROI Institute, Elling Hamso, shared over 25 years of hands-on and prize-winning experience, giving the audience logical insights and practical tips and tricks on how to rationalize budget discussions, how to improve the value of their upcoming events and how to become more valuable to their companies.
The reaction of the day: “finally, the revolution has begun!” 

See below for the slides and placemat tool used during the class.

Photocredits @punkmedia

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Event Planning: Choosing the Venue

When it comes to events, finding the right venue is half the battle. It’s like finding your events soul mate.  You need to think about what your event needs from a venue perspective and start your search around those parameters. Do you need outdoor space, do you need to have a specific view, do you need to be centrally located for public transportation?  Here are some things to consider when searching for the right venue:

What is the main purpose of your event?

The types of venues you will search for will differ depending on what type of event you are planning. A fund-raising gala needs to be in a beautiful venue, if its’ a non-profit fundraiser, you may want to consider a venue that will not require too much design and d├ęcor so that you can save money. For a pop up or innovative conference, you may want to look into a conveniently located raw space that you can build out accordingly.  For a 1 day conference or workshop, you may want to check out a conference center or a hotel, as they will have the services and rooms you are looking for.

The Search

Make a note to yourself of all the things you are looking for in a venue and start searching. You can either do your own searching on the internet or there are many different sites out there that can help you.

BizBash: The venue guide will allow you to sort by location, venue type (hotel, conference center, restaurant etc.), number of attendees and more.

Cvent: The free Cvent Supplier Network will help you search their database for venues that will directly cater to your needs.

Eventup and Eventwist: Put in the type of event you are looking to host, where, when and your budget and the site will come up with options that match your description. The great part about Eventup is that you put their event specialists to work. You can request proposals from your chosen venues and they will get back to you in 24 hours with pricing.


Once you have narrowed down your search for a venue, ask for proposals. Make sure to give them all your information and as much as you can about your event. A full proposal is a good thing; you can always cut away what you don’t end up needing. Review pricing, contract clauses, timing etc. Once you have your favorites chosen, you can move on to the next step. 

Schedule a Site Visit

You can’t make a decision on a venue without seeing the place first. Always schedule a site visit, even if it means traveling. Consider the following when looking at the place:

  • How easy is it to get to?

  • Is there construction going on – will there be during the time of your event?

  • What is the legal capacity for the space? What is the most comfortable capacity in the space? Make sure to let them know whether it will be a cocktail set up, theater style, table rounds etc.

  • Are there any special permits required? Ask about a Certificate of Insurance, whether you need any additional permits for outdoor events, for street activity, parking etc.

  • Will anyone else be hosting an event on your day? The day before and the day after? This will help you determine when your load in and out times are and help you negotiate any costs that may be attached.

  • Does your venue have exclusive or preferred vendors? An exclusive vendor means you can only use that particular vendor. A preferred vendor means they are recommended but you can still use your own if you wanted to.

  • Is there enough space for storage? Will there be a cost incurred for storage?

  • Is AV included or do you need to bring in your own AV team? What type of equipment is included?

  • Is Wi-Fi available and how much? Make sure to discuss the bandwidth you are looking for and the number of attendees/connections.

  • Can you put up signage? Branding? Some venues don’t like certain types of branding or signage. Make sure you know what is possible before you start designing and ordering.

  • Fire Exits, Restrooms, disability access. You will need to make sure you know where all of these are. Are they convenient?

  • Will there be a hard stop at the end of your event or can you extend? If you can extend will there be a cost incurred?

  • How easy will it be to work with the venue, the sales and account reps? Do you get along or do you think it will be difficult to get what you need from them. This is an important aspect to a venue. You need to have a good personality fit! 

Finalize the Contract
Once you have found the perfect venue and it has met all of your criteria…revise your proposal to fit all your needs and sign! Make sure to read the fine print. Don’t assume anything. If you have questions or need help, ask your lawyer to take a look at the clauses or ask the venue to explain. Never sign anything you aren’t comfortable with.

Once you have your contract you can move on the planning stage.