September 16, 2013
There are around 210 million people who attend various enterprise conferences and meetings each year to fuel the $565 billion dollar event management industry. Unlike simple events like a birthday or graduation party, though, enterprise events consist of multiple moving pieces that have to work together seamlessly.
Additionally, events and meetings are high-profile and high-impact marketing initiatives available to an enterprise, featuring product launches and user conferences. Thus, the enterprise views these events as a valuable opportunity to maximize their marketing and sales potential by having customers, partners, and employees all in one location.
Gary Mack took his 12 years of industry experience and founded PlanetNow as an engagement platform that offers event stakeholders unprecedented access into their attendee behavior. Officially launched in March 2013, PlanetNow is already serving big-name clients like AT&T, British Petroleum, and Teradata, and we got a chance to learn a few things Mack’s expertise.
Tech Cocktail: Why did you choose to focus your entrepreneurial efforts on event management?
Gary Mack: Planning and running any conference, large group meeting, or consumer event is a highly complex, tedious, and oftentimes manual process. The way things were done in 1913 is virtually the way things are still done in 2013: by hand.
The event managers must coordinate with numerous internal and external constituencies like personnel and venues, respectively, to ensure a successful event. The issue is that historically this process has lacked integrated software solutions, which results in hundreds of millions of dollars spent without oversight.
We wanted to create PlanetNow to eliminate the storage lockers filled with hard copy binders and manifests; we kept thinking there had to be a better way to automate this business. By organizing global event workflows and simplifying corporate events, the focus of an event can be placed on the lifeblood: the attendees.
Tech Cocktail: What are some of the finer points of PlanetNow?
Mack: Basically, the software takes all the tasks associated with event management and breaks them down into five main modules that are crucial for the success of any complex enterprise event: communications, budget, participants, programs, and travel and accommodations.
Whether it is communicating with your coworkers on the spot, providing ultimate budget transparency, tracking attendees across multiple events, or staying on top of everybody’s real-time travel schedules, PlanetNow has you covered. Our cloud-based tool integrates engagement tools that help people discover information about their attendees and then innovate for them.
Tech Cocktail: PlanetNow is still relatively young. What does the future look like?
Mack: Our play is to continually mine our own backyard of clients, essentially using our long and celebrated relationships to facilitate short-term growth. As we move forward, though, we want to exploit our experience to stratify us from our competitors.
Most of our competitors are focusing on workflow or registration technologies, but not many of them have the real engagement and knowledge of event inner workings that we offer. We will also remain strictly B2B as we continue to grow up.
We want our customers to be saying, much like I already do: I live on planet Earth, but I work on PlanetNow.
PlanetNow was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Los Angeles mixer.
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