A New Dawn for DoubleDutch

“What was previously a dark channel reachable only by microphone and post event email, has become illuminated as physical world event attendees engage and connect with technology.” – @lawrencecoburn, CEO

The CEO of event app provider DoubleDutch has boldly declared the end of the legacy event tech era and unveiled his plan for a future the company calls Live Engagement Marketing. As DoubleDutch’s PR team put out a marketingspeak-crammed press release to announce its new purpose-built engagement platform, founder Lawrence Coburn posted an inspired blog on the company’s website where he outlined his thrilling vision for the future digitisation of live events.

“The analog event experience is dying”, said Coburn. “Event attendees are engaging with software as they navigate a live event experience, enabling far more customized experiences, and also generating troves of live engagement data that can be acted on in near real time.”

He points out the hundreds of millions of monthly data points DoubleDutch collects from exhibition attendee activity and says that, with the current huge investment in wearables, sensors, and IoT, by 2018 the “smartphone will still be an important device, but the event floor will be fully instrumented”.

He also predicts a new marketing role for all B2B companies: ‘Live Ops‘, responsible for managing their presence at conferences and tradeshows (presumably in the space between CRM, eventprof and BizDev – or perhaps replacing all three).

Constellation Research reports that events comprise up to 33% of marketing budgets. It claims that every year, companies spend more than $300Bn on analog events in an attempt to engage with more than 250 million delegates worldwide. DoubleDutch claims that with the new live engagement platform, activity (and RoI) at events will be as easily measured and managed as other digital marketing channels, like Google ads, social or mobile campaigns and email marketing.

“Digitising events will make live engagement marketing a new marketing category just like search, mobile and social marketing,” says Constellation’s Principal Analyst, R Wang.

Coburn points out that the live event business is perfectly placed to be the use case at the bleeding edge of all this new technology implantation: we know exactly who the attendees are, precisely where they are, what they’re doing and how long they’ll be inside the controlled environment we have built for them.

This is true, in fact, The Guide to Events would argue the only companies with more precise customer data with which to test new tech are airlines (and frankly, they have bigger fish to fry). I agree with a lot of what Coburn says – though the technology adoption curve in the events industry is so wide that while his use-case predictions are possible by 2017 or 2018, most of them won’t find their way to practical application on a trade show floor in Kansas City or Kunming much before 2030.

I will leave you with a quote from the press release (but please don’t hold it against them):

“The DoubleDutch Live Engagement Platform is an ecosystem of applications, integrations, and performance metrics that allows event organizers and marketers to digitize live event experiences, capitalize on the engagement signals, and supercharge business outcomes.”


Editor • 10th May 2016

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