Tech Trends

Danica Tormohlen, SISO content director, publisher and editor-in-chief, finds out how the largest independents are enhancing and maximising tech in 2022

Tech investments and strategies are critical pieces of the puzzle as the industry balances the return to live with the opportunities around connecting with communities year-round, providing digital tools for customers and driving new digital revenue streams. Where are independent organisers spending their time and resources when it comes to tech? To find out, the Society of Independent Show Organisers (SISO) produced an interview series with CTOs from leading companies, including RX, Emerald, Clarion Events, Tarsus Group and Diversified Communications. Here are highlights from our discussions:

2022 tech and business strategies

“There are three buckets: Information, integration and insight,” said Anthony Martin, VP technology and marketing services, Diversified Communications. “The information is trying to get that customer feedback to help evolve our website presence, the webinars and developing digital products. That’s not really a tech strategy per se, maybe more of a business strategy that tech is going to ride along. It seems to be one of the more critical things that could happen in terms of how we use our technology to help serve our customers. That’s definitely front of mind for me.”

Where Emerald is investing

“The three Cs: Content, commerce and connection. You add in these other subscription-based products, like the commerce platform or content, so there’s a lot of investment that’s needed on the backend,” said Bill Charles, CIO, Emerald. “We don’t want to be sending three different invoices to the customer for three different things. We are focused around not only the front end — how do we improve the communications with a portal and fewer emails — but also on the back end, how do we make it easier to invoice, contract? We have a lot of investment there. We recently purchased Zuora, a kind of a Salesforce of the invoicing space. And we’re making a lot of investment is in cyber security.”

Tech stack and recent additions

“We tend to buy, not build,” said Clarion Events COO Adam Ford. “Our tech stack consists primarily of third-party SAAS software like Salesforce, Pardot, Workday, and we’ve implemented a customer data platform called Treasure Data. Our initial focus has been around visitors and how do we accumulate all of that behavioral data, declared data and insight. How do we unify the data so we can see them much more clearly.” 

Digital experiences tied to buying cycles

“We fully expected folks would want to move to digital experiences pretty much year-round anytime,” said Brian Brittain, Global COO, RX. “Interestingly, the research is coming back and the data is coming back, it’s actually around the buying cycles, but that is different by sector. This is in every country we’ve tested this. It isn’t necessarily every day you want to jump on a webinar as an example. You want to use it just when it’s right for you, and that’s usually around the buying cycles. That was a bit of a surprise for us.”

Doing more with data they have

“With Pardot, we’ve done a lot of work on things like automated list building,” said Michael Hatton, data and marketing technology Ddrector at Tarsus Group. “If somebody inquires about a particular event and we have an additional event where they are in their country or city, we are adding them to the list automatically. If people visit a particular page on the website, view a floor plan or do other activity, they get a score. When they reach a certain threshold, the leads pass onto the sales team to follow up. Those sorts of activities have helped us in the last two years, especially in 2021. One division generated over $2m in additional revenue as a result from leads identified through Pardot.”

Watch the full interviews and read more takeaways from the discussions at

Click here to read the feature in the EW February/ March 2022 magazine.