Previously, I discussed the benefits of having a centralized place on your organization’s flagship healthcare website to create awareness and promote events via digital methods, understand the importance of having a holistic end-to-end events digital experience that aligns with the rest of your digital footprint, as well as, provide an overview of the events tool market. This post will identify the top players to consider for creating holistic digital experiences and key criteria to use for an events tool assessment to help you find the right vendor for the events digital experience.
There are a number of digital tools available to create holistic digital experiences for healthcare events offering full-spectrum support for calendars with search and filter capability, registration and payment methods, as well as event promotion. This second post examines the top players to consider for creating a complete end to end digital experience for healthcare events and provides a set of key criteria to assist you in identifying a set of tool requirements and the right software provider for your needs.
Top Players in the Market
The events management, registration and marketing tools industry has a small number of software providers that offer a comprehensive end to end solution. These top players include Aventri, Bizzabo, Cvent, Eventbank, Eventbrite, Eventzilla, and Trumba. They share a common set of features that include event registration and payment, customization of templates with various branding options, e-invitations for event promotions, social media integration, as well as reporting or analytics tool integration. Where they start to differentiate is where the value-added extras come in for general event planning (such as agenda builder, name badges, attendee check-in, etc.) as well as the type of solutions offered (e.g. white label domain events website, embedded widgets for your flagship website, listing events on vendor community site, API feed, or mobile apps). Pricing across the software providers greatly varies according to volumes of events and attendees in addition to the full range of features needed for your solution.
Bizzabo offers some of the highest levels of customizations for their solution that includes a white label domain site with an easy drag and drop website builder that has won awards for back-end ease of use. Cvent offers the strongest analytics reporting of all software providers that are built into its platform as well as Google Analytics integration. Eventzilla offers the greatest flexibility with an API that is available for you to create your own custom solution. Trumba offers solutions that can be integrated directly into your website through the use of an embedded widget so users never leave your site throughout the experience. They support a high level of customizations to ensure the digital experience looks consistent with the rest of your website and also have exceptional customer service support.
With a number of players in the market that offer strong solutions for creating holistic digital experiences, it does come down finding the right tool that meets your organization’s digital experience needs for healthcare events.
Developing Business Requirements
Initially, start by conducting an events audit on the public facing website and on the intranet. This way you’ll know how many events in total are listed, what type of events they are (e.g. for a specific clinical or administrative area), what current tools are being used for event listing and registration, and whether you require a payment method. To obtain pricing from software providers you will need to know how many events you have annually in addition to a breakdown of how many free and paid attendees.
With these details, you can then move onto answering a couple of key questions to assist you in scoping the solution. Of the departments/clinical or administrative areas that regularly host events, how many require their own dedicated calendar? Is a calendar needed on the intranet in addition to the public facing website? The number of calendars you need will form a key part of your conversation with prospective software providers to ensure the tools meet your very basic requirements.
With this lay of the land understanding of the healthcare events at your organization, it’s now time to start gathering detailed requirements for the events digital experience so you know what the final solution needs to be and to assist with tool selection. It’s worthwhile to take the time to work through the steps below:
- Learn about existing tool capabilities so they can inform requirements
- Conduct a series of sessions with power users of the existing tool(s) to learn about the pain points and what is working well from an authoring perspective, this should also inform requirements
- Schedule sessions with departments that host a large number of events to understand any future changes they anticipate in their needs
- Meet with Marketing and IT to understand what the current integrations are for the tools being used and existing event promotion
With the detailed requirements in place, you can start to review various software providers in order to find one that best meets your needs.
Tool Assessment Criteria
Meet with software providers to see and learn about their solutions that align with your needs is a key next step. The criteria below will help you in your discussions with tool providers to ensure you have a solution that meets your specific needs as well as food for thought following a tool provider meeting to help you decipher whether they are a good fit for your needs.
What level of customization of the experience is needed compared to what is offered as out of the box by the software provider? Is there enough branding, opportunity for consistent design styling, or customizable questions to ask regarding medical history?
- What search and filter functionality is available? What are the restrictions on user functionality?
- Is there a method for accepting payments? How does payment work? Who is the preferred payment gateway provider?
- What do the authoring and publishing workflows look like? What’s the ease of use of the interface to set up/edit events, registration forms, promotional emails, etc.?
- Which level of analytics is provided to measure success? Are any integrations available with analytics platforms?
- Do they offer additional integrations that might be needed with CRM and/or Marketing?
- What’s the pricing model? Are there restrictions for a number of events, attendees, admin logins, etc.?
- Is the solution mobile friendly?
Ensure tool demonstrations with software providers are part of your dialogue with them so they will be key in helping you and your team ask questions and ensure the solutions meet your needs. It will also assist in the development and creative teams in understanding what is possible and estimate the level of work involved. From this level of insight, it will be clear which software provider is the best to proceed with.
If the new solution requires migrating from an existing tool(s) to a new centralized tool, various clinical or administrative departments across your organization that host events frequently will need a transition plan of when the switchover will take place. They will also need training and support on the new tool for authoring events.
I hope this post has been informative in helping you understand the key players in the events management, registration, and marketing industry as well as guidance on tool assessment criteria in making that final decision on tool selection. I would love to hear back on how you’ve navigated this space and created holistic digital experiences for your healthcare events. Please note, the third and final post will offer guidance on features to include when designing/redesigning the digital experience for healthcare events and how to create a personalized experience for website users.