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Is your Event Digital Strategy on the right path?

This is probably going to be ironic, taking the fact that Jublia is a event tech startup, and we should be evangelising on digital benefits for your business, rather than the opposite.

However, after reading this insightful article on Harvard Business Review, I believe it should be put into the context of our industry to provide an alternative viewpoint.

I would like to present the 4 points discussed in the HBR article, and put them in context of our industry.

1. Network effects: The winner does not always take all.

Network effects can drive consolidation and in some cases inevitably, there’s only one big winner in the game (like Facebook in the social media category). However as the article explains that while, “many business models that make extensive use of digital technology have network-type properties”, it is also a “misconception to think that network effects inevitably and always lead to a winner-take-all market”.
In our industry of exhibitions and conferences, there is typically no winners take all situations. The fragmentation of our industry is a strong testament to this and as well as the fact that while we have huge events in every industry, these huge events actually command a minority market share in the industry itself.

Therefore, while digitising your business can give you an edge over your competition (especially when your customers have to make a choice), it is not going to drive out all competitions as “digital disruption” are known for.

2. Complements are not substitutes.

The second misconception, as the article notes is that “digital disruption is that new technology will inevitably substitute old technology, rendering it obsolete”. A few years ago, virtual events were all the rage and many people feared that their underlying event business model is threatened by virtual events. However, virtual events found itself to be a hype, and died out not long afterwards.

Virtual events never managed to replace in-person events.

However, what led on from there was the digitisation of events, where digital tools are introduced as complementary to the event itself, rather than replace it. While some organisers introduce digital marketplace platforms, they were only aimed at bolstering the event brands, in a bid to provide a more wholesome buy-sell experience with a mix of hybrid digital and onsite experience.

The article could not have said it better: “Business models and competitive advantages are complex systems. This means that they consist of multiple elements – some of them tangible; some intangible – which interact with one another, meaning that it is their combination that makes it work. In many markets, digital will just add one new factor to the mix or replace one element, but not often all of them. This means that in many businesses, digital technology will complement and alter the incumbents’ existing resources and capabilities, but it certainly won’t always entirely replace them altogether. Therefore, when making strategy, the focus should be on identifying complements, rather than assuming complete substitution.

I will let you decide if the “event apps will replace your physical catalogs” pitches that you are receiving from vendors make any sense now.

3. Geography (still) matters

Basically this points prove why exhibitions and conferences still holds a huge lead on digital platforms where physical interactions must be facilitated. This also tell us that the technology that you may employ in your events should not be left to work out itself. You always need a team of concierges/specialists to ensure that your customers is getting the maximum value from your events with the right digital tools to automate and ease the facilitation process (for example, meetings scheduling is an impersonal process that can be automated).

This is why Jublia always advocate a Technology-First approach, rather than a Technology-Only approach to your events.

4. Speed? Not so fast.

Hype versus the real deals. Digitisation of events have brought opportunists who sell hypes, rather than technologies that really work. The results of ‘all-in-one digital platforms’ and ‘features laden event apps’ have been paltry at best.

While early adopters may get a bigger lead on their peers, it is important to benchmark the underlying claims made by providers, to see if you are really riding on a hype train, or the real deal. To do that, set key KPIs against the providers claims to see if the technology really works, and if it translate to tangible benefits for your organisation, and constantly iterate the technology use-cases against how your customers are reacting to them.

And as the article sounds out: “If your company is in an environment in which new technologies come and go quickly, you may need to slow down rather than speed up. Given the level of market uncertainty, you will really only be able to distinguish the fads from the more substantial developments after some time has passed. It may sound paradoxical, but in an environment of rapid change, sometimes trying to match that speed can backfire.

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Blazing into 2017 with new features on Jublia

We have been a little silent since end 2016 going into 2017, but that only means our team has been hard at work to introduce relevant features in our products.
I am pleased to announce the following features which are aimed to improve organisers workflow on Jublia platform and let them deliver the best business matching performance with more efficiency.

1st, CRM

CRM, short for Customer Relationship Management, on Jublia SENSE allows you a one stop platform to gather all relevant data, to assist your clients at your event in the most efficient way possible.
This is especially useful for hosted buyers programme, where show team members are highly active in managing the buyers needs and will be able to use this extensive feature to manage buyers meetings, print buyer schedules, find out which exhibitors would like to meet them (and if they have responded).

Let us know if you are interested to take it for a demo spin to see how this can boost your buyers meetings management.

2nd, Sending better requests

We are taking one step forward in create better meetings will more relevant context. As of today, any requests sent in Jublia allows you to send a message and more: the sender will be able to indicate specifically which products, services or partnership he/she is interested in. This allows the receiver to understand why the sender wants to meet him and thus, giving more context to allow the receiver to respond.

This is a small add-on, but we find it extremely useful especially in trade exhibition and investment related events.

3rd, Search Trends

Search is probably the single most important feature of any business matching system, to enable your customers to accurately source for important leads.
This is why it makes complete sense for organisers to study their event search data. Sample images from our demo platform below.

4th, Requests over time

We found that by understanding how requests are made over time, you can better understand how passive (or active) your attendees are, and how strong the buy-sell potential is sustained in your event. Give this graph a look on Sense if you already have an event using Jublia previously and want to find out how and when exactly your users are more active (or passive).

5th, Agenda

I kept this as the last item, but Agenda is the single most exciting part of our system to merge Content and Leads together, into 1 platform. We can now provide an integrated Agenda within our business matching system, offering the world’s first unified scheduling platform your attendees. This is especially useful for Confexs and/or Conferences which are are mainly agenda-based events.

This is not irrelevant for exhibitions too. The agenda can be used to include your exhibitors’ booth activities, allowing exposure of these activities for your visitors/buyers, as they setup their on-site meetings. All via the same platform. Below is a sample image of how it looks like on Jublia MATCH platform.

We will be speaking about Agenda in further depth in a separate blogpost soon. Stay tuned!

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Temasek Polytechnic’s 2016 Entrepreneurs’ Forum

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Just before Christmas, I was privileged to have been invited to speak at Temasek Polytechnic’s annual Entrepreneurs’ Forum.

It was a half day event organised by the School of Business and most in attendance were from the graduating cohort. Nevertheless, I noticed a number of students from other faculties who were eager to learn beyond the conventional curriculum of their subject major. Great, entrepreneurs come from all fields and walks of life! It’s no secret that the entrepreneurs of this century (technopreneurs) aren’t just majors in business but design, technology, science, engineering and so on!

I was one of three speakers who took the stage for 30 minutes to speak about my entrepreneurship journey – the Jublia story thus far. After which we had a panel question and answer before concluding with light refreshments at the foyer.

To sum up, here are the take aways I hope to have left everyone at the forum that day:

1. Opportunities – Make full use of them and don’t dwell in the ones you’ve missed, the next one would come

2. Hard Work – There is no substitution for the investment of blood, sweat and tears

3. Faith – Every business starts with taking a step of faith

4. Adaptable – Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you response to these circumstances

Since speaking at TP, a few students have been proactively reaching out for internship opportunities and I’m glad to say that we’re having more TP students joining the Jublia family this year. Thank you and keep it coming, the internship slots are filling fast!

If you’d like to find out more about internship opportunities with Jublia OR are interested in the content of my session for future guest speaking opportunities, do reach out to me at errol@jublia.com.

Once again, many thanks to Temasek Polytechnic School of Business for having me. Here’s wishing everyone a prosperous and healthy 2017!

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3 Essential Questions to Answer for your 2017 Event

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As I look back at 2016, with new technologies and changes in the events industry, I asked myself a simple question. Are organisers collecting relevant networking data and analysing it? It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed by trying to collect everything.

Here are the 3 top questions to be answered with data –

1) Are you attracting the right people to your event?

Let’s face it. As nice as it is to report huge attendance numbers, it boils down to the quality of these visitors and exhibitors. It’s vital that you are able to track these group of people and their networking potential to identify opportunities for retention and to attract a similar segment for future events. Quality versus quantity. This brings us to the next question.

2) Do you know the networking preferences of your stakeholders?

Being able to identify the reasons why stakeholders want to network provides valuable data and trends to be used by your Sales and Marketing teams. Having data on the most demanded products or industries, equips your Sales team with the insight to approach potential exhibitors / sponsors to the next event. Marketing teams are able to use this data to segment and target specific groups to attend the next event.

3) How successful are the networking experiences created at your event?

Through the usual rounds of post event feedback / surveys via a physical questionnaire or on the phone, you’ll gather information to be keyed back for the usual post event pie charts. Through this, you’ll have one side of the story, but what about the other person they met? Honest and transparent data should be tracked for each individual based on the actual meetings that have taken place, and this allows for better planning of future business matching design.

The above are simple questions and there are many ways to skin a cat (in this case, there are many ways to present data). As we usher in the new year expecting new technologies, be honest with yourself and I hope that you won’t clutter yourself with collecting everything and analyzing nothing. It’s time to go back to the basic purpose of attending a trade show – Buy & Sell, Collaboration & Partnership, Knowledge Sharing – connecting people.

Feel free to get in touch with myself or anyone from the Jublia team if you have any comments, thoughts or questions. We’d love to hear from you.

Written by Aidan Chan, BD Lead 

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Internship Reflections by Sherilyn Tang, our Business Development Intern!

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* A picture from our regular office gatherings – charades, pictionary, pizza and beers!  I’m in the centre beside Jasmine who’s giving two thumbs up 🙂

Hello there!

It’s Sheri here! I’m from Temasek Polytechnic, Diploma in Business and I have been interning here at Jublia for the past 3 months. It’s been a great experience interning at Jublia so far and no I’m not saying this for the sake of just saying it haha.

Coming in to the company, I realised that I was fully expected to take charge of my own learning for the rest of my internship here as well as any tasks that have been assigned to me. What really helped me to get used to the company would definitely be the friendly and interesting people which I have met here who helped me to get settled in especially during my first few weeks at Jublia as they got me used to the company. Also, something which I really liked here was the flexible working culture as I was allowed to work on my tasks at my own pace as long as I got the job done at the end of the day and did it right.

During my short 3 months here at Jublia, never have I ever felt that I was not a valued member of the team as I was given responsibilities that thankfully did not involve me standing at the photocopiers or doing data entry which was what made up much of the nightmare tales from my seniors. Something which I appreciate in the Business Development team at Jublia is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I appreciate the straightforwardness of the team here whenever we have a discussion. Though we may have differing opinions at times and some strong opinions on issues that we face, I think that the differences in opinion help us to view things from different perspectives that we may not have thought of before.

After these three months here, I feel that I can really say that I have really enjoyed my time here with the whole Jublia team and I will be sure to miss them when I leave. Being here has really boosted my confidence as well as has encouraged me to step out of my own comfort zone as I was exposed to many new experiences such as learning how to throw a basic pitch while attending MICE Asia 2016.

If anyone were to ask me if I could turn back time and do my internship again, would I still choose Jublia? The answer would be a definite YES haha! All I can say is that I promise to be back to visit and I would highly encourage anyone looking for a meaningful internship experience to join the Jublia Fam! 🙂

Cheers,

Sherilyn Tang

p.s. Errol our COO will be sharing his entrepreneurship experience at Temasek Poly this Saturday, 10 Dec at 9am. Come join in the session if you’re interested to find out how Jublia started! 

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