‘It all comes back to data’

Event tech firm Glisser engages audiences through social interaction and slides, EN talks to founder Mike Piddock on how presentations at events can be made better. 

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Over the past two years, we’ve seen the proliferation of mobile devices transform us into an app-driven society, as everyone with a smart device is spending more time on their apps than ever before.

This has not only presented marketers with new opportunities to connect with consumers, by creating more interesting and sophisticated apps to attract their attention, but it has helped evolve the technology sector in the events industry.

The days of sitting in front of a PowerPoint presentation with a notepad may soon be gone, with London-based startup Glisser ‘socialising presentations’ through a simple app.

According to Mike Piddock, founder of Glisser and the former marketing director at London-based venture capital firm Octopus Investments, Glisser engages audiences through social interaction and then generates data that helps make presentations better.

“We broadly do three things. We live share slides (either slide by slide or immediately post-presentation) to audience devices, which gets content into people’s hands so they read it, remember it and share it. Not to mention are less likely to chase event organisers for slides.

“Then we allow audience interaction through Q&A, up-voting, polls, Twitter feeds, feedback slides, etc. we collect and synthesise this audience data to evaluate presentations, content and events overall,” he explains.

Keep it simple

“Event tech is really just emerging and while it may be familiar to us in the industry, it’s crucial that audiences (who don’t see this stuff day in day out) ‘just get it’,” adds Piddock.

"So we’re constantly trying to simplify our product, reduce friction, and help event planners understand how they can use Glisser themselves. We want to do a few things really well, and create something that can be applied to all sorts of events, big or small.”

Events used to be the largest spend in his budget, back in Piddock’s B2B marketing days, he says.

“We knew they were effective, but it tended to be based upon gut feeling rather than hard data. I wanted to change that – to create some technology that would help us collect data and feedback from audiences at events of all sizes in a really simple way, so we could add it to our CRM and measure event ROI.”

Glisser emerged from there, he adds. “Since we launched just over a year ago we’ve worked with corporates, agencies, conference organisers, universities and individual presenters. We’ve had a large part of our business from the financial services sector – companies like Investec, Amex and Visa – probably because they tend to have a lot of PowerPoint content and detailed graphs that audiences like to study in more detail.”

The firm went on to win Best New Technology Product at the 2015 Event Tech Awards.

Creating communities

With the Glisser app, presenters or event organisers can push slides to audience devices one at a time as they are presented. Attendees can then write on them, mark them up and take them away just like a printed slide deck, but in electronic format.

“Technology is just the facilitator for audience interaction and data gathering,” Piddock explains to EN.

“Think about how you encourage people to use it, or design sessions around particular goals – collecting audience insights for example – rather than just using technology as an afterthought. Soon a lot of this stuff will be the norm at events, so time taken now to understand it will put you in a great place in terms of your career as an event planner.”

He believes that events will be increasingly important, but in the context of creating communities of audiences across a range of platforms.

“Communities developed on social media, or groups of customers or stakeholders created on and offline, must be viewed through a single unified view – not as event attendees one minute, and Twitter followers the next.

“It all comes back to data, and while it is getting easier to track user behaviour online, event tech like Glisser and a range of other providers enables you to understand what people are doing and what they think at that most crucial moment – when you’ve got them in the room."

 

This article was first published in the January issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

 

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