We investigated 15 platforms for SIPPO that can help here. Choosing the right platform is key! However, we want to stress once more that the execution of online matchmaking is equally important to ensure success. Often, we see the misunderstanding that the right digital platform alone will guarantee success by bringing a digital strategy to life. This is not true. Success is built on the four pillars of having the right content or products, gathering the right audience, be skilled in providing an exciting execution and finally, choosing the right platform.
Here are some tips that can help to choose the right platform:
Which digital online format do you plan to offer: This is a very important question to clarify so that you can chose the right platform. If you plan more “one-off” sessions such as webinars, panel discussions or product presentations, platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams might be a good choice. These platforms offer all functionalities for one-off sessions and they are often more cost efficient than larger platforms. If you plan to offer white papers or podcasts you may not even need a platform. This type of content can easily be distributed via LinkedIn, Facebook etc. You can also support your distribution with social media campaigns which are offered by LinkedIn and Facebook as well. However, if you plan a wider matchmaking activity with virtual stands, conference programs, breakout sessions etc, you need to choose a digital matchmaking platform with wider capacities.
How often do you plan to offer digital matchmaking formats: This is an important question to keep costs under control. Most platforms will offer their service with monthly payments. Investigate the pricing policies of each platform very carefully. They often start with cheap, basic models and upsell modules plus payment schemes depending on the size of the audience. Especially each audience dependant payment schemes should be reviewed with a critical eye as this can result in very cost intensive activities the more successful your model becomes. Try to stay away from this cost model if possible.
How many companies do you want to include: If you want to present products and services from just two to six companies, platforms such as Zoom might be enough. However, if you plan to present products and services from more companies, a more complex navigation is needed and therefore a more complex platform will be required.
How do you want to invite your visitors: Inviting your guests is often the first step to success which makes the invitation process very important. Your potential guest will have a first impression of how much effort you have put into the digital matchmaking session you plan to offer. Will your invitation come through a designed newsletter, a well phrased Outlook invite, will your buyer hear about your session through social media etc.? All this plays a role in making your digital session unique and world class. For that reason, the customer engagement tools the different platforms offer are a very important KPI for you to choose the right tool.
Do you want a graphic navigation, or a content driven navigation system: Platforms often follow two different philosophies: Bringing the content to life through a 3D-like navigation system such as a virtual exhibition hall etc. or a more functional navigation system. Whilst 3D navigation might trigger an initial “wow-effect” we do not recommend this as 3D navigations slow down the journey to the right product or service and often frustrate the user after a short while. Functional navigation systems are often more effective and bring buyers and sellers together more efficiently.
How do you want to handle / work with data: Especially when you plan larger matchmaking formats the question of data handling becomes very important. How can you upload visitor and exhibitor data to the digital platform? How does the digital platform capture the interest of the user you need to tailor your offer to? How compliant is the platform with the legal side such as GDPR? Those are the questions you need to answer or get feedback on in bigger projects so that you don’t run into problems once effort and money has been invested to set up a platform. Often these questions are under-investigated but we strongly advise you to take these questions seriously in a big project to ensure your investment is well spent.
It might be an old wisdom but, in our experience, it is really true: success lies in good preparation. For this reason, we encourage you to take time in choosing the right platform to make your digital matchmaking journey a success from the start.
Please find below the list of platforms we researched for SIPPO:
- InEvent: https://inevent.com/en/about.php
- Swoogo: https://get.swoogo.com/
- Hubilo: https://hubilo.com/
- ExpoPlatform: https://expoplatform.com/
- GRIP: https://grip.events/
- EventXtra: https://eventxtra.com/
- GTR: https://gtrnow.com/
- eZ-XPO: https://www.ez-xpo.com/
- Remo: https://remo.co/
- B2Match: https://www.b2match.com
- Socio: https://socio.events/
- Eventcase: https://eventscase.com/
- Eventtia: https://www.eventtia.com/en/virtual-events-platform
- Eventdex: https://www.eventdex.com/
- Hopin: https://hopin.to/
We wish you great success!
Matthias Tesi Baur, MBB Consulting Group, exclusive for SIPPO