How Technology is Leading the Way to a More Powerful Events Industry | Featuring: Tony Lorenz, Notified

EPISODE 8 | PODCAST

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Show Notes:

Tony Lorenz, Global Head of Event Solutions, SVP of Strategy at Notified (formerly Intrado Digital Media), joins us on this episode of Pivot Points.

Tony is 30-year business event leader with deep experience across a broad spectrum of the business events industry, from creative agency to trade show and event management and digital events and platforms, all rooted in a strategic approach to the delivery of omnichannel business events. In his most recent chapter prior to Notified, Tony served PRA as CEO, building the business to the position of sector leader in the Americas. Tony is an active industry leader through organizations including PCMA, MPI, ASAE, EIC and several other industry organizations throughout his career. Tony was recently recognized by Successful Meetings as one of the 25 most influential people in the global meetings industry.

Elise and Tripp find out from Tony how Notified has invested in technology and increased the impact of virtual events. With audience expectations increasing for the virtual experience, Tony explains how platforms providers have had to level-up their capabilities and why it is important for production to do the same.

They also discuss the new era for the events industry, and how it will become bigger and more relevant than ever before!

Transcript:

Elise Orlowski (00:06):
I’m Elise Orlowski a senior video director here at Cramer.

Tripp Underwood (00:08):
And I’m Tripp Underwood, a creative director at Cramer.

Elise Orlowski (00:10):
And at Cramer, we work with so many incredibly fascinating people from all over multiple industries.

Tripp Underwood (00:15):
We have so many great conversations, many that are just too good to keep to ourselves. So now we’re sharing them with the world.

Elise Orlowski (00:21):
Right here from Cramer Studios…

Tripp Underwood (00:23):
This is Pivot Points.

Speaker 3 (00:28):
Cut.

Elise Orlowski (00:34):
Well, Trip, good to see you again today.

Tripp Underwood (00:36):
Nice to see you as well.

Elise Orlowski (00:37):
I’m about to say something that’s revolutionary, but events have changed in 2020, possibly forever.

Tripp Underwood (00:43):
Yeah. News to me.

Elise Orlowski (00:45):
Exactly. But what hasn’t changed is our need for connection and the desire to share information freely and easily. And that requires technology, as we know, that is effective, efficient, and reliable. And to talk about that idea today, we are welcoming Tony Lorenz, global head of events solutions at Intrado Digital Media. He’s a 30 year veteran in the business events industry. He fully understands creative, strategic, and digital requirements for taking business communications into this new era, as we say.

Tony Lorenz (01:13):
New normal.

Elise Orlowski (01:14):
He’s been recently recognized as one of the 25 most influential people in the global meetings industry. And we’re happy to welcome Tony here today. So without further ado, Tony welcome.

Tripp Underwood (01:24):
Hey Tony.

Tony Lorenz (01:25):
Hey guys, how are you doing?

Tripp Underwood (01:26):
Good man. Thanks for joining us.

Tony Lorenz (01:28):
Good seeing you.

Elise Orlowski (01:29):
Yeah.

Tony Lorenz (01:29):
Thanks for doing this.

Elise Orlowski (01:29):
So I think, I mean-

Tony Lorenz (01:29):
Appreciate it.

Elise Orlowski (01:31):
I know we’ve worked with… Cramer has worked with Intrado for a very long time, and we could go on about all the collaboration that we’ve had together, but I’m curious from your perspective kind of jumping off initially, how has Intrado really approached online communication over this past 18 months? How have things really changed in your perspective?

Tony Lorenz (01:54):
Well, I’ll say first we miss events. We miss in-person events like anybody else. We realize at Intrado that events are the most powerful media on the planet and that we’re here to help amplify those experiences. And without those experiences, we’ve unfortunately been in that scenario for about 18 months now, it’s been tough. Obviously the industry has turned to our platforms like ours to get their point across from standpoint content and commerce and community. All that’s got to happen no matter what the scenario, but we do anchor our belief in the power of in-person and the fact that we have a role to extend that power through our platform and digital channels.

Elise Orlowski (02:39):
That’s awesome. How has the technology advanced over the past 18 months?

Tony Lorenz (02:44):
Well, I got to Intrado April 1.

Elise Orlowski (02:48):
Okay, well.

Tony Lorenz (02:48):
Hopefully not a coincidence [inaudible 00:02:50], but I’ve known Intrado for a long time. I’ve known Ben Chodor, our president for years and many of the members of the leadership team for years. So it’s not a brand new organization to me. We’ve brought in a number of different solutions, video chat and a lobby experience to really extend the valuable webcast left and right. That’s been helpful. We recently acquired Hubb, which has got a strong presence in event management workflow and tools and solutions to make that end to end solution really come together and some other things.

Tony Lorenz (03:21):
So it’s technology never stops. There’s always investments to make. We’re very robust, we’re very stable. We perform beautifully. So we don’t have to worry about that part having been around for so many years, but we also know that as the adult in the industry, there’s a few of us that have been on a long time, we really need to make sure that we are not complacent and that we continue to push for innovation and the delivery of our platform and the solutions around them as aggressively as we possibly can. And that’s tough in an environment like we’ve been through in the last year and a half where so much happened that was unexpected-

Elise Orlowski (04:00):
The ever-changing landscape.

Tony Lorenz (04:01):
In the way of [crosstalk 00:04:01] business. Yeah. It’s amazing. It’s amazing.

Tripp Underwood (04:04):
Tony, talk to me a little bit about audience expectation in your mind. How have you seen that change in terms of what they expect from a digital communication, either the platform or just the experience itself? What was that like in, I don’t know, say 2019 and what is it like now in 2021? In my opinion, it went through just a roller coaster ride of low, high, low, high. And I’m curious at what you guys saw over at Intrado.

Tony Lorenz (04:30):
Right. So let’s start with February, 2020, when this all started happening. There was an expectations we all know. This technology’s been around for a year. So it’s not new, but there was such an immediate abrupt turn to the left that the endeavor for the planner community was just to get their events online as quickly as possible. There was a lot of mimicking of the face-to-face experience and events, be it agenda, content, et cetera, and dropping that online. That happened a lot. I think we’d all agree that that’s not exactly the right way to go about doing it.

Tony Lorenz (05:07):
So over the course of time, to your question, what’s happened is both our customers and the audiences that they serve have, as you would expect, higher and higher expectations around how these platforms deliver content, commerce, and community. And so we’re getting to a place I would call as in the second inning right now of this story as to how production values and engagement, especially those two things really come to become reality if you will on a platform like ours. The expectations are getting higher as they should. And I think as we meet those expectations, we meeting our category, then we will have that, what I’ve always considered to be an amazing opportunity for this category to amplify the power of events.

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