Writing an event brief for your event technology partner is important to ensure successful event execution. The event brief should provide a clear and concise overview of the event goals, objectives, target audience, and the specific requirements and expectations for your potential event technology partner. This guide explains how to write an effective event brief that will ensure your technology partner understands the details of your event and can provide an appropriate solution.
Overview of event
First, you should include an overview of your event: the event goals, objectives and target audience. This will help the technology partner understand the event and the context in which they must provide a solution. Additionally, it is helpful to include the event timeline, including when the event will take place, when the technology partner needs to be on-site, and any other important deadlines.
- Event title
- Event date(s)
- Event time(s)
- Event run time
- Event format (virtual, hybrid, or in-person)
- Event location (online and/or on-site location, as applicable)
- Event description
Second, you should provide a detailed description of the technical requirements for your event. This should include any equipment needed, such as audio-visual equipment, wifi, computers, and other hardware, as well as the software required for the event. Also, provide any technical specifications for the hardware and software, such as the minimum system requirements, any formats that need to be supported, and any other specific requirements.
Third, provide any additional information the technology partner might need to provide the best solution. This could include the expected number of attendees, any special requirements that need to be accommodated, such as language translation, or any other constraints that must be taken into consideration.
Finally, make sure to include contact information for the person responsible for the event. This will allow the technology partner to quickly get in touch if any additional information is needed or if any problems arise.
Use our helpful event technology brief template.
DOWNLOAD THE FREE EVENT TECHNOLOGY BRIEF TEMPLATE
Below we discuss how to scope, plan, and budget your event technology and then ultimately select your event technology provider.
Scoping the event
We commonly see two types of conflict when scoping the event technology brief.
Goals vs functions
When scoping your event, you should define the goals you wish to achieve rather than the functions it must perform. It is easy to have your head turned by the latest features in event software, but if this is at the expense of essential functions in your software, then it is better to go without than have the latest gizmos.
A competent event technology provider can suggest what is critical to event success and provide that accordingly. Requesting the latest tracking or matchmaking facility when your app cannot offer essential functions will ensure that guests do not use it.
For example, if your event has seminars, it should have Q&A functionality in the event app, as this is a base requirement for guests, even if it comes at the expense of a much-wanted bespoke AI matchmaking solution or similar.
Examples of setting a goal for your event:
- Increase my sponsors’ ROI at an event with technology (goal) versus requesting lead-scanning in an app (function).
- I want to increase session attendance (goal) vs requesting a live Q&A (function)
- I want this to be a central hub for information on the event (goal) vs requesting all sponsors to create an electronic brochure for the event (function)
Importance vs budget
The second type of conflict in scoping the project is the pull between importance and budget. How important is it for your event to have a certain feature? Does the importance of this feature mean everything else must suffer because of its cost?
Your budget will determine what is essential within your event, so allow your event technology partner to suggest the best use of your budget to meet your goals.
What’s in it for the delegates?
When putting your event technology brief together, work from the point of view of benefitting your customer, the delegate.
What is in it for them? Does it make their event day better, faster, more efficient, or easier? Does it reduce friction in the check-in process? Does it enable them to find their way to and around the event easier? Does it provide them with all the information they need to have a great day?
If you provide helpful event software, your guests will use it, talk about it, and benefit from it.
Let the supplier be the expert
Event technology suppliers provide solutions daily for hundreds of events worldwide. They experience various events and scenarios and have generated sufficient expertise in producing software that works for events (if they’re good, that is!)
Armed with your list of goals, you should ask your technology supplier to devise a solution to them. By allowing your supplier the freedom to generate the solution you enable them to display their expertise, and you’ll almost certainly be presented with solutions you hadn’t thought of yourself.
If you create a prescriptive brief full of a list of requirements and necessary functions, then all your tender companies will come back with the exact same solution. You’ll end up sitting through five demonstrations of the same thing!
In certain situations, you may have multiple suppliers to your event, including AV, electricians, stand builders, etc. Where possible, include these other suppliers in your brief requirements for technology so that you’ll get the best possible solution for your event. For example, we recently had an issue where the AV team had very different requirements to how they could manage Q&A for what our system could offer. Within five minutes we agreed that putting slido into our app would be better for the event.
Data and Reporting
The success of your event will almost certainly need to be measured. How you measure that success is up to you. What metrics will determine a successful event?
Are these metrics the same as your initial goals? If so, how will you plan to record, demonstrate, and present these to your various event stakeholders?
In your brief to your event technology partner, you should request their assistance in providing measurable metrics and reports to deliver those metrics.
Some ideas for metrics to convey the success of your event:
- number of attendees
- real-time positioning of attendees (tracking solution)
- dwell time on stands (tracking solution)
- Number of questions asked – seminar interactions
- Pre-registrations vs actual attendance
- Brochures downloaded
- Appointments booked
- Seminar attendance
- Meetings conducted
- Social interactions shared
- Advertising interactions
- Post-event surveys for qualitative metrics
Reports that these metrics contain should be clear and easily understood. Nobody wants to look through reams of data to try to understand what happened at an event. Ask your technology provider for a clear reporting solution or completed report as part of their delivery post-event. This report should allow you to make clear and obvious understandings of your event and share them with your partners.
You’ll use your reports to:
- make real-time decisions during the running of your event
- make decisions on the management of future events
- provide return-on-investment information to stakeholders
- create efficient attendee traffic flows
- provide quality feedback to exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors
- deliver actionable insights to your suppliers and staff
Reporting can be easily overlooked and difficult to create after the event happens if you haven’t planned for it. Ensure data recording and reporting is part of your event technology brief and your technology supplier can incorporate it into their solution.
Have a long-term plan
When briefing your event technology, plan for the event to evolve over the years. Unless it is truly a one-off event that will never be repeated, you should plan to build on features over the years. Delighting your customers with new features or building on the success of existing ones should be calculated into your brief.
Don’t try to do everything at once
With your long-term plan in mind, don’t try to do everything at first. You can afford the luxury of learning and developing and working with your supplier to discover what works and what doesn’t in your event. You don’t need to have the event app that does it all in your first event year. Nobody needs to have the new Facebook invented for their first event app. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should!
Learning to work with your technology partner and allowing them to make a success of your event piece by piece is important. Learn from the reports that your event provides and plan for the future based on that. Plus, you allow for the growth of your event with new things to talk about in future events as features are added.
At VenuIQ, we like to use the example of the Woundcare event for this long-term plan adoption. Woundcare in their first year of event software chose to only have sessions in personal agenda, Q&As, and polling in their app as they knew their guests would appreciate that interactivity.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing
If this event has happened before, use the information that it generated previously to help with your brief.
What worked previously?
What didn’t work? Do you know why?
Do you have event reports or feedback surveys that you can use to help guide your event technology partner for this year’s event? And if you don’t then should you absolutely plan to ensure that reporting and feedback are part of your event technology brief.
With reporting and surveys, you don’t have to guess your audience’s reaction to your event. You know. You know what they did, where they went, for how long, and what engagement they took with guests, speakers, and exhibitors.
“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.”
Bespoke developments have a better chance of succeeding when based on data, not assumptions.
How can it scale?
When asking your event technology partner to respond to your brief, you must ask them about their ability to scale. Your event may not always be at the same venue, have 500 guests, and have the same theme.
Your event technology partner may have a perfect solution for year one, but what about the future? What happens as your event grows, becomes more popular, and has different requirements?
- Have they got examples of engagement or functionality growth with previous industry clients?
- Events will change, but can their technology move with it?
- Will they implement changes after debriefs or put the onus of change on you?
Budget is key
Set your budget based on the value that technology brings to:
- Speakers and learning
- Reduced administration and time savings
Make sure your budget plan includes more than one year. Your first-year budget may be higher for many reasons, but that initial cost should average down over three years.
Who should you send your brief to?
First up, you should send your brief to VenuIQ, and then several competing companies. You can choose from recent award winners at Event Tech Live or from one of the larger review sites.
How to select your event technology partner
Once you’ve written your event technology brief and sent your RFP (request for a proposal) to your chosen shortlist, you’ll want to receive responses and choose some to talk to directly. Here are some tips for this process:
Tip 1: Quality vs Quantity
- Speak to your peers – they may well have been through what you are going to do and will have valuable opinions.
- 75% of our new customers come from recommendations.
- Limit the number of responses. Spending an hour with five suppliers will tell you way more than 20 minutes with 15 suppliers.
- That doesn’t mean book five right away.
- Sit with three and book two additional meetings when you know what you want
Tip 2: Don’t ever buy from a slide deck
- If they can’t show you a live system! Don’t buy it!
- We have some pre-made, best practice examples, but we show our prospects real events
- Identify what has been done well vs industry hype
- Ask for some examples from your industry
Tip 3: Use all your knowledge
- Nobody knows your event(s) as you do
- Ask salespeople, marketers and operations to join
- Effective event technology will be relevant for all departments when used well
- Ensures you don’t buy something one of your teams will hate – get buy-in from all departments
- It’s just as much for you as it is for your event stakeholders & attendees
Tip 4: Gauge the service & software
- You will be buying into the people more than the software
- Are you and your team tech-savvy?
- Don’t live in denial – will you need additional assistance with delivery, implementation and execution?
- Cost doesn’t guarantee you good service
- We (event tech suppliers) mostly do the same thing. It’s about listening, scoping and delivering.
- Will your event technology provider support and back up their technology even when things go wrong?
Tip 5: Find out the true cost
- Event tech pricing is a nightmare
- Look for open book pricing – like on our website where every item is itemised and any extras you would like have a given price
- Find out what is included in the demonstration
- Will their pricing be relevant to you?
- Stay away from variable usage costs
- Agree a fixed rate
- Watch out for minimum spend agreements for multi-year agreements
What should happen now you’ve bought it?
Have a strong timeline in place with milestones for :
- Training (will it be knowledge banks?)
- Do you need a 7-day certification to use it?
- Collateral provided
- Who’s making it?
- Launch dates
- Internal vs external
Who can you speak to?
All event projects should have a named project manager and account manager with knowledge of:
- Planned functionality
- Type of attendee
- Event goals
You should have periodic catch-ups planned to ensure there are no issues with your event software. Talk to several of your key suppliers, venue, exhibitors, speakers and sponsors first and include their feedback in your regular meetings with the event software provider. Be sure to include your staff in these discussions.
Can they really deliver?
What happens when the S**T hits the fan?
Every software is great until:
- Last-minute branding changes
- A change in the timeline. ie. needing the app earlier than previously agreed.
- Adapting to new report requirements
Who’s responsible or responsive
- Will you receive onsite or priority support?
- Find out what their response times are
- Speak to your network
Will your tech-partner support you with changes?
Wanting to use live Q&A?
- Are your existing chairs up to the task?
Need to use lead scanning?
- Can your badge printer do this for you?
Want live session reporting?
- Does your agenda complement or negatively impact your ambitions for reporting?
Can you prove ROI?
Proving return on investment (ROI) should be a key part of your event technology brief. What techniques, reports, or methods does your provider have to assist with proving the ROI of the event?
Ensure you scope any reports before purchasing the event solution, as there may be additional costs in providing post-event reports.
Best practice reports would be:
- Uptake/engagement report
- Conversations started vs connections made
- How many meetings have been booked?
- Leads for sponsors – easily benchmarked vs competitor sponsors
- Session attendance
Reports should be LIVE and Accessible
- Don’t wait until post-event to action your data
- Get information while it’s useable
- Actionable information that could be used onsite
- Fix the problem now vs apologising post-event
- Deliver measurable improvements to your event and sponsors hour-by-hour or day-by-day
There are more solutions than just an app
- QR Code tracking
- Bluetooth tracking
- Data porn
Make sure you debrief and re-scope
- The supplier should review reports and onsite (if attended) to provide future improvements
- Tweak the short-term and long-term plan
- Do you need to develop or change suppliers?
- What worked best, and how can we capitalise?
Writing an effective event brief is an important step in ensuring successful event execution. By providing a clear and concise overview of the event goals, objectives, and target audience, as well as the specific requirements and expectations for the event technology partner, you can ensure that your technology partner understands the details of your event and can provide the best possible solution.
- Scope on goals not functionality
- Let the supplier scope out functions
- The budget should be based on the importance of tech
- Demos are quality over quantity
- If it’s not a live demo, don’t buy it
- Use your industry peers
- Get the real price
- What are their service guarantees?
- Can they prove required ROI to you and stakeholders?