Last week I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with some of the best thought leaders when it comes to Mobile Applications and Technology for Events. Panelists at PCMA’s Education Conference included Michelle Bruno, Johnnie White, Mike Immerwahr and Trevor Roald. Each panelist brought a unique perspective to the discussion and it was clear from the audience response that this is an issue that is on the minds of event organizers every where.
Following the session, Midori and I ran the Social Tech Clinic on the trade show floor at AIBTM, which was co-located with PCMA. Guess what everyone wanted to know about? If you guessed mobile apps, give yourself a pat on the back (or a cookie). Based on some of the questions that we received, I am writing today about some of the high-level benefits of integrating mobile technology into your next event.
The first question when looking at adding a mobile component to an event is to ask yourself: why? Just like everything else that we talk about, you need to know what are you trying to accomplish with a mobile application or website? Are you trying to reduce the amount of paper at your event? Does your audience expect a technology-driven experience? Are you looking at adding a higher degree of interactivity? Do you have a lot of last minute information that get changed and paper agendas become obsolete the minute that they are printed? Perhaps you are looking for new and innovative ways that you can spotlight sponsors. Or maybe you want to add some communication between the audience and the presenter. Regardless of what your reason(s) are for adding mobile technology, make sure to ask yourself and your team what you are trying to accomplish to ensure the best possible outcome.
To help you understand the benefits of adding mobile into your event, here are seven benefits that may help you answer the “why” question.
1. Paper-light. We probably have a few years before we (as a society) become completely paperless, but mobile apps and websites and help to reduce the amount of paper printed. Often the dollars saved from printing can offset the cost of mobile technology.
2. Quick Access to Info. Well-designed mobile apps allow easy access to information. Whether it’s the “What’s On Now,” a feature provided by QuickMobile (one of our strategic partners), customizable agendas or a map of the venue, mobile allows users to find information at the touch of a button. I always find it awkward to pull out my event manual and flip through a bulky book while walking down the hallway and chatting with someone. Thanks mobile apps for helping me be more graceful.
3. Sponsorship Opportunities. Sponsors are always looking for more exposure. Companies may sponsor the entire app, a portion of it or you, as the organizer, may simply provide it as as tool to help people access sponsor information easier.
4. Social Interaction. Mobile technology can go a great job of aggregating social networking tools into one place. From photo sharing to one-stop-shop for Twitter and Facebook, mobile can help to increase participation in the social networks that you are using for event engagement.
5. Q&A and Polling. Mobile can be a great way to engage audiences with live questions for a speaker. It can also be use to gauge satisfaction. Imagine being able to get instant feedback and make improvement right away instead of “we’ll do that next year.”
6. Customer Service: What do I need to do to get CEUs? Who do I speak to about bringing my spouse to the gala? By having a mobile app, you can provide instant answers to attendees without them having to walk ALL the way over to the help desk. If you’ve ever been to Vegas you KNOW what I mean.
7. Concierge: Maps, links to local dining, public transportation information, these are all the types of things that can be stored in a mobile application or website for events.
This is just the beginning of what mobile technology can do for your events. I’d love to hear what benefits you are looking for, have seen or wish a mobile app can do.