Crowdsourcing – taking the event planner out of the equation

As if event planners aren’t under enough pressure from Google search and online low-price event website models…!

Now, we have crowdsourced events. Speakers put their names forward or are nominated. Then the delegates choose who they want to see. This is working with the so-called wisdom of crowds but can it really work? And what happens when you take the traditional event planner role out of the equation?

The simple answer must be that it can work. Go to Event Tech Live to see an example (I have no commercial interest in this event). Event Tech Live launched an online vote that allows delegates to have control of topics and speakers by crowdsourcing the content. Over 30 applications from speakers were submitted and pre-registered attendees are able to vote for and influence the content and choice of speakers.

Clearly this is ‘Customer is King’ in action.

It is an event designed for and chosen by the customers. Sounds perfect. However, there are some clear potential problems: potential vote-rigging is one concern. Another is the way that ‘democracy’ works: people will vote for what they know; the tendency will be for the ‘sexy’ topics to dominate.

The wisdom of crowds is a great concept but the word of the people is not always right. – Tweet this.

Sometimes, the agenda should be decided by the organiser and not the crowd. For instance, there may be new, disruptive or challenging points of view that get lost or forgotten by the status quo. The audience often knows what it wants but doesn’t know what it needs.

As a speaker, I recognise that this new model requires the ability to get up-to-speed on social media and to write content or rather titles that appeal to the voting audience. The danger is that speakers will over-promote or over-egg their case. In an attempt to stand out from the others, some speakers will self-promote and push to be heard above the rest. The winner will be the best self-promoter and not necessarily what the audience needs. It was, however, always thus, in beauty parades.

So, what should the old-school event planner do?

Stand back and see how things roll out? Maybe. Embrace the new world with its new business models and the general drive to miss out the middleman? Surely that is suicide?

Or, is it simply a case of getting back to basics. Make sure that you deliver a blistering, seamless and flawless service to your clients and speakers, demonstrating and adding incredible process to the event process.

All event planners are not born equal. All event planners are not the same. Surely it is your job to demonstrate how and why clients should be working with you?

Here are the two big questions:

“Why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?”

“What make you different from the rest?”

Answers on a postcard.