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  • Corbin Ball & Co. Marks Its 23nd Anniversary +

    In April of 1997, I left my career as Head of Conference Operations for a high-tech association (SPIE) to form my own speaking, consulting and writing firm focusing exclusively on technology for events, exhibitions and meeting venues. I was the first person to do this full-time -- the 'OG' of event tech! Today, I am happy to say there are many Read More

  • Corbin Named as one of Prevue Meetings 21 Industry Influencers for 2020 +

    Prevue Meetings + Incentives has named 21 leaders in the meetings and incentives industry as Prevue’s Industry Influencers . These individuals are thought leaders in their respective niches and always ready to share their knowledge and expertise. I am honored to be included in this illustrious list. 

    Read More
  • Corbin Inducted into the EIC Hall of Leaders +

    Corbin Ball, together with Henry Givray, Edward Liu, and Deborah Sexton was inducted into the Event Industry Council's Hall of Leaders for 2018, the most prestigious honor in the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry.  The awards celebration occured on October 16, 2018 in Las Vegas during IMEX America. 
         Personal note: I feel tremendously honored and thrilled to
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  • Corbin Named as One of the Top 30 CMP Influencers by the CIC +

    I am very happy and honored to be included with 29 other colleagues in this first peer-nominated influencers campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) program. 
    As the 30th anniversary year of the Certified Meeting Professional Program began, the Convention Industry Council (CIC), which administers the program, wanted to recognize this milestone by honoring the CMPs
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Latest Articles

  • 1 Face-to-Face Vs. Virtual Meetings: Which is Better?
  • 2 Artificial Intelligence: The Upcoming Impact on Events
  • 3 How to Identify your Target Audience for an Event
  • 4 Planning an Auction: 4 Best Practices For a Smooth Event
  • 5 10 Ways to Integrate Trade Shows and Events Into Your Facebook Marketing
  • 6 Modern Association Management: 6 Tools You Need
  • 7 How Facial Recognition Will Disrupt the Events Landscape
  • 8 Event Registration: 4 Best Practices to Increase Attendance
  • 9 Association Community Building: Offline and Online Engagement
  • 10 The Next Big Trade Show Attraction Has Arrived: Virtual Reality Video
  • 11 8 Effective Ways To Promote Your Event On Facebook
  • 12 Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2019 Technology Watch
  • 13 A 60-Year Timeline of Events Technology Innovation
  • 14 How 5G Will Revolutionize the Event Industry
  • 15 The Event Technology Revolution – Are We There Yet?
  • Face-to-Face Vs. Virtual Meetings: Which is Better?

    ©2020 Corbin Ball This is a trick question. Actually, both face-to-face (F2F) and the range of virtual meetings have their strengths and weaknesses depending on the length and goals of the event. This article will cover them. Virtual Event Types: With the COVID pandemic shutting down nearly all F2F events,
    Read More
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Upcoming Impact on Events

    ©2020 Corbin Ball The past few decades have seen tremendous technology change and this coming decade will be no different: The 1990s brought us email and basic internet connectivity. The 2000s brought is the widespread adoption of the web The 2010s brought us the widespread adoption of smartphones and other mobile technology. The 2020s, I believe, will
    Read More
  • How to Identify your Target Audience for an Event

    ©2020 Guest Post: Donald Fomby In the age of digital media, one can be forgiven for considering live events as outdated. After all, it’s more affordable and straightforward to simply deliver content marketing materials to your target audience through social media, email and blog posts and call it a day.
    Read More
  • Planning an Auction: 4 Best Practices For a Smooth Event

    ©2020 Guest Post: Joshua Meyer, Director of Marketing for OneCause. As your organization prepares to host a charity auction, you’re handling a lot of moving parts. Tracking everything can be overwhelming, even if you’ve already put together a stellar team to run the event.   However, there are many ways you
    Read More
  • 10 Ways to Integrate Trade Shows and Events Into Your Facebook Marketing

    ©2020 Claire Divas, Editor - Likehack Introduction Facebook has over more than 2 billion active users with no sign of slowing down and acts as an ideal platform to promote an event or tradeshows. It provides the ability to reach your exact audience by age, interest, location, and behavior. Facebook is
    Read More
  • Modern Association Management: 6 Tools You Need

    ©2020 Guest post: Jake Fabbri, Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva A new decade brings new association advancements that can help increase member retention and acquisition rates. However, coping with technology change can be daunting— especially if you suddenly find yourself with outdated tools.    With new online solutions and digital resources
    Read More
  • How Facial Recognition Will Disrupt the Events Landscape

    ©2020 Electro-Media Design, Ltd. By Sara Friedman Facial recognition technology has the ability to transform the events industry, but it remains to be seen how attendees will respond to the biometrics solutions coming onto the market. Potential uses for facial recognition include simplifying the on-site registration process, tracking attendee facial
    Read More
  • Event Registration: 4 Best Practices to Increase Attendance

    ©2020 Asaf Darash,  CEO,  Regpack Hosting a successful, engaging event takes ample preparation and planning. As your organization’s event planner, you likely already know this, and have dealt with the obstacles and hiccups that inevitably come along the way.    However, the event world is constantly changing. With every technological
    Read More
  • Association Community Building: Offline and Online Engagement

    Guest Post by Jake Fabbri, VP Marketing, Fonteva, ©2020 One of the most rewarding parts of being an association member is the community built with the other members. Professional associations, usually made up of those in the same career or a related role is a huge collaborative effort of individuals growing
    Read More
  • The Next Big Trade Show Attraction Has Arrived: Virtual Reality Video

    © 2019 Guest Post: Greg Mischio is the Owner and Chief Strategist at Winbound Manufacturers who want to stand out at trade shows are incorporating a new feature at their exhibits: virtual reality (VR) video. Find out how its mind-blowing capabilities helped one manufacturer introduce a new production facility in a powerfully
    Read More
  • 8 Effective Ways To Promote Your Event On Facebook

    ©2019 Guest Post by Sarah Smith Either you are a startup or a giant business model, whether you are an online store or an enterprise, social media can do some magic to your business. In order to maintain a competitive stride, businesses are bound to clout of popular social media
    Read More
  • Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2019 Technology Watch

    ©2019 Corbin Ball, Chair of the IBTM Technology Watch Judging Committee Established in 2000, The IBTM World Technology & Innovation Watch is the longest running and one of the most significant technology awards for the meetings industry. The goals are to recognize technology innovation and to highlight significant trends impacting
    Read More
  • A 60-Year Timeline of Events Technology Innovation

    ©2019 by Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP Technology changes in the past six decades have been astonishing. This chronological list of significant technology milestones with societal technology events in “black” and face-to-face and virtual events industry-related technology innovations in “blue” shows far we have come, 1962 The Kodak Carousel slide projector was introduced. 1963 Bell
    Read More
  • How 5G Will Revolutionize the Event Industry

    ©2019 Ralf Llanasas, Whatphone 5G and the International Rollout The highly anticipated fifth generation of wireless network technology is finally a reality in countries around the world. Statistics predict that 5G networks will be full in use by 2020, with over 1 billion users connected to the technology by 2025.
    Read More
  • The Event Technology Revolution – Are We There Yet?

    I recently attended an open-air concert in the small city where I live. Before the music began, I noticed what appeared to be three generations of women sitting in front of me (a teenage daughter, mother and an elderly grandmother). I heard a phone ring and watched the grandmother reach
    Read More

Coming Engagements

Meetings and Marketing Meet: Three Ways Events Are Becoming Central to an Overall Marketing Effort

Meetings Meet Marketing
©2017 Corbin Ball & Co.

Events and tradeshows have posed a significant challenge to marketers. Although events are proven promotional tools, they have lacked detailed data collection and analytics capabilities found with other marketing vehicles such as email campaigns and websites. Much of what happened at the event or tradeshow, stayed at the event or tradeshow!

However, this is changing.

With the recent explosion of onsite data collection and analytics tools, meetings will no longer be the “black hole” of marketing analytics. Events and tradeshows are beginning to provide a goldmine of data detailing attendee preferences, interests, movements and interactions. These data can help meeting planners make mid-course corrections on existing events and improve future ones; they can provide significantly more value for exhibitors; they can provide attendees with a much richer and more personalized experience.

With the integration of sales automation tools and CRM systems, customer behavior at events can now be tracked in precise detail. Event analytics are moving to a central position in the marketing mix and can help planners using these tools take a seat a C-Level table with sales and marketing executives. New corporate positions such as VP of Sales Analytics and SVP of Sales Effectives point to this shifting trend towards the importance of analytics. Event planners and marketers can work together to improve the event and provide a much more detailed profile of the attendee (customer) interests and desires while elevating the importance of events within the organization.

There are three trends that are making this possible:

1. The explosion of onsite data collection tools:

The past few years have seen very significant increase in onsite data collection tools:

  • Mobile event apps: Mobile event apps have become the norm at many events and provide participants with rich detail about the event and a range of networking tools. As every touch in the app can be trackable, a wealth of data about user interests, likes, dislikes and interactions can be gleaned.  The mobile app providers are beginning to refine the data analytics within their products to provide significant marketing insight.
  • Fixed beacons: BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices (known as iBeacons or beacons) working with mobile event apps can measure crowd flow and individual participant movements. Interactions are based on location.  With beacon technology, not only is every touch trackable, every movement can be.  Some of the capabilities include:
    • Heat maps: the measurement of crowd flow through an exhibit hall to see where the hot spots are and where they are not.
    • Dwell times:  Beacons cans measure the time an attendee stands in front of a booth – if an attendee spends 15 minutes in a booth, they are likely more interested in the product than if they were just walking by. This list of interested booth visitors is very valuable to the exhibitor, but, from the other side, a list of the exhibitors and the time spent would be useful to attendees as well.  
    • Session attendance for CEU (continuing education units) tracking: This is very important for medical, pharmaceutical, some financial events and other meetings requiring continuing education, but is also valuable information about attendee interests in general.
    • Networking: It is possible using this technology for attendees to detect people of like interests who are near them for networking purposes. These interests are also a valuable component of attendee interest profiles.
  • Wearable beacons: Wearable beacons can do everything that fixed beacon can do and more. About the size of a U.S. quarter, they are inserted or attached to badges and can work independently from mobile apps. So, the attendee doesn’t need to download a specialized app and have their mobile device charged with Bluetooth on for them to work. The result often is a much higher use utilization rate, but at a higher cost.
  • Mobile polling, survey and social Q&A applications: Mobile event apps and standalone apps have made surveys and audience polling much easier and cheaper for an event planner to manage… and at a small fraction of the cost of renting polling keypads. The results can give immediate feedback to planners and speakers about attendee thoughts and sentiment. Social Q&A tools, where attendees text and up-vote questions, facilitate group interaction and point to what matters to the audience.
  • Second screen technology: Second screen technologies, such as Educational Measures, allow attendees to interact with onscreen visuals on individual tablets and other mobile devices. This technology can provide very precise detail of engagement, of individual attendee interests and responses to built-in polling and survey data.
  • Gamification: Gamification tools, increasingly found as part of a mobile event app, create better and more meaningful experiences. These data points are also very useful for adding to attendee profiles.
  • NFC badges and NFC USB sticks:  Although NFC (near field communication technology) has been around for some time, the ability to quickly exchange contact and other data between attendees and exhibitors with a tap of a badge or a standalone NFC device (such as Poken) is extremely helpful as well as valuable from a marketing perspective
The myriad of data collection tools listed above provide very precise detail of attendee actions, behavior and interests. This starts to become actionable when combined with the increased analytic capabilities of registration, mobile event app and standalone engagement technologies combined with interoperability with sales force automation and CRM and marketing automation systems (see next sections).
2. The rise of data integration capabilities:

Data management systems are maturing to where integration is a much simpler task. With state-of-the-art cloud-based event technology systems and advanced APIs (application programming interfaces), it is now possible to collect and analyze onsite data and connect them with CRM tools such as – closing the loop from a marketing standpoint.

Interoperability is at the center with much of the change that is happening.

One example is Eventbrite, a basic consumer-oriented event invitation, registration and ticketing system. This San Francisco based company has been built from the start to be interoperable with others and lists hundreds of software products that it integrates with in its Eventbrite Spectrum page.

Consortiums of newer cloud-based event technology companies are working together to share data and work as one.  For example, Swoogo (event registration), Hubb (abstract collection/exhibitor management/scheduling/task management), InGo (social marketing), DoubleDutch (mobile event app), and InsightXM (data analytics and marketing) work together integrating data as if they were a single platform providing rich data and marketing capabilities among them.

Other options for planners are integration platform-as-a-service products such as, providing solutions to more easily integrate a wide range of software systems into CRM and marketing automation tools.  Features include workflow maps, ties to enterprise collaboration tools such as Cisco Spark or Slack, data mapping, activity triggers for complex workflows, mobile app integration, API builders, API debugging and testing tools and more. In essence, they make the process of integrating modern software products much simpler.

The benefit for meeting planners is that they can choose a assortment of specialized event software products and figuratively bolt together to work together seamlessly. Meeting planners will be able to find highly customized solutions using multiple technology products with the ability to extract valuable marketing data is if they were a single platform. 

This rich interoperability makes it much easier to analyze the data and bring it back to CRM systems.  Customer behavior and interests expressed at meetings can, therefore, be tied to customer profiles allowing for much better marketing intelligence and more customized sales communication.

 3. Advances in analytics and marketing automation systems:

Marketing automation refers to technology used streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows to increase operational efficiency and grow revenue. Companies such as Marketo, Eloqua, SilverPop and HubSpot have been evolving progressively capable marketing automation products over the past few years.

Finally, with advances in cloud-based computing and APIs, event technology companies have been able to integrate with these companies to greatly improve marketing efficiency. We now have the technology to make data actionable. Events and exhibitions can now be integrated into a unified marketing program.

Here are some examples:

  • Vista Equity Partners’(owners Lanyon and Cvent– the world’s two largest event technology firms) purchase of marketing automation firm Marketo for US$1.8 billion is an example of how the big players are recognizing that live events are a significant component of a broader marketing landscape. The ability to wed live event data with customer (attendee) profiles is a major step forward for combining the data flow from all sources to provide a much more targeted relationship. Ties to marketing automation platforms and CRM systems are a natural step forward.
  • DoubleDutch, one of the leading mobile event app companies, integrates with Eloqua, Marketo and Salesforce. Their homepage emboldened title is “LIVE ENGAGEMENT MARKETING” without even a mention of mobile technology indicating the importance of using onsite technology in a marketing campaign.
  • Certain Software has been an industry pioneer with marketing automation. This major attendee management software firm has had ties with Eloqua and other related companies for the past several years. The opening page of their website now proclaims “Enterprise Event Automation Software” with a white paper on Integrating Marketing Automation and Events indicating a significant corporate move in this direction. Certain’s new “Event Intelligence” functionality allows marketers to tie event data within a marketing automation platform. Onsite attendee activity can be scored within the marketing platform allowing marketing campaigns to connect more directly to attendee needs.
  • Etouches, another major attendee management company, provides an “all-in-one event management platform” with 16+ modules to perform a wide range of event technology tasks. They have allied with Silverpop, part of IBM Marketing Solutions portfolio, for marketing engagement and acquisition services.
  • Feathr, originally a mobile event app company, promotes “Feathr’s Marketing Cloud,” a set of digital marketing tools to track event websites, publications, and newsletters to analyze more than twenty features for every action registrants perform – including time of day, session length, platform (mobile vs. desktop), browser, screen size, cursor position, geographic location, and more.
  • Splash markets as a “one-stop event shop” to provide “all the tools Event Marketers need in one place.” They provide a range of guest list management, web design tools, email marketing tools, mobile apps and more with integration to Marketo, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics.

Future Trends:

Financial services, pharmaceutical and technology companies are some of the key vertical markets pushing the events analytics envelope. And the efforts are paying off! Tracking the wealth of onsite behavior and incorporating into customers’ profiles allow a more precise measure of the event ROI and helps companies make marketing decisions with a better view of customer needs and preferences. As the trends mentioned above mature, we will see costs come down and become more accessible and routine for a wider range of events.

Additionally, new data options including artificial intelligence and predictive analytics (making statistically-based predictions of behavior through analyzing current and past behavior) will becoming available. Event planners and marketers will be able to make the best choices based on the data.

As meeting planners are often intimately involved in the onsite technology purchase decisions, they can help to elevate their events marketing impact with the right technology choices. This is a rapidly changing area, but there are many good choices to make now. Event planners should embrace these new onsite data collection, integration and analytic tools to figure out which ones are most applicable for their events. They, then, can work with their event marketers and other C-suite executives to grasp the true power of face-to-face marketing.

Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES, MS is a speaker and independent third-party consultant focusing on meetings technology. With 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity He can be contacted at his extensive web site Corbin Ball Associates - Meetings Technology Headquarters ( and followed at Subscribe to Corbin's free every-other-month, high-content TechTalk Newsletter/Blog at

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