Technology connects people in ways that yesterday’s marketers could only dream of. Today’s audiences are engaged by mobile applications that turn events into multimedia galas complete with interactivity, gamification, and networking. With the help of smartphones, tablets, and computers, marketers have the power to conduct surveys and examine analytics to find out how successful their event has been. This way, they can refine their events marketing to drive profits home. If they think smart, they can often achieve a viral campaign that fills every chair.
Forrester Research’s Laura Ramos said, “The implications of this type of technology on reach, interaction, and improving the quality of event content […] points to the direction of ‘new’ digitally-enabled trade show.” The flexibility of applications such as Doubledutch and Crowd Compass offer enough flexibility to make event experiences relevant and personalized.
When people attend events today, they expect to have access to information on the event, participants, sponsors, speakers, etc., through an event app. While they are looking for the app to enhance their experience at the event, it provides marketing opportunities, the likes of which we have never seen historically. Data and information are a marketer's dream. Event apps can provide a treasure trove of information that can be used before, during, and after an event to maximize your investment of time and money in the event—driving enhanced customer experiences, increasing lead generation and sales.
Planning an event is like riding a roller coaster. The journey is fast-paced and often hair-raising. The Excel spreadsheets of yesteryear simply cannot make the ride any easier. The focus needs to be on the right demographic, event goals, and core marketing campaign at every stage of the organization.
Industry leaders like Neon:
- Sell tickets
- Act as guest lists
- Track RSVPs
- Scan passes
As they proceed through the planning stages, apps constantly feed data to organizers, allowing them to connect with their customers instantly. Disgruntled clients can be dealt with swiftly enough to dodge catastrophes, helping customer service levels to soar.
Mobile apps make the planning phase an interactive one. By constantly fine-tuning marketing and organization according to clients’ feedback, events grow the kind of wings that have never been possible before. Ticket sales can be monitored from a mobile dashboard. Once on-site, attendees are checked in and tickets are scanned, but mobile apps offer far more glitz than they seem to on the surface.
Every marketing campaign should evolve according to the constant assessment of analytics, but in the past, numbers had to be crunched on spreadsheets most of the time after the event had concluded. To draw comparisons between sales over time, graphs needed to be created manually. These days, they’re provided automatically. At a glance, sales can be assessed to find out which tickets are offering the highest profits and which events customers are most responsive to. Successful marketers are constantly trying new things, measuring success, adjusting, and repeating the process. This allows them to identify those tactics that work as well as those that don’t. The faster you are able to access and analyze your data, the faster you can make adjustments if needed or focus resources on the tactics that are working.
The 80/20 rule dictates that 80% of profits come from 20% of a company’s customers. These figures need to be leveraged by focusing on converting one-time buyers into return clients. The statistics are also confirmed by the leading event marketing companies, so the numbers don't lie. Existing customers need very little convincing. They’re already aware of who they’re buying from, so marketing to them is as simple and inexpensive as extending event and product offerings. Information is power, and the more marketers know about their demographics, the more they can hone their campaigns.
Incorporating social media and mobile apps into an event lets attendees take notes and engage with a business before it even opens the doors at its event. Social listening apps such as Hootsuite let marketers interact with clients via Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media. Networks are a potent tool, adding multimedia that are valuable at every stage of an event. They offer:
- Social network and mobile videos that add value to event presentations.
- Images, diagrams, and infographics for presenters and audience members to interact with mid-event.
- Games that amplify marketing and add to clients’ understanding of products or services.
- Influencer Marketing powers Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest marketing campaigns with their friends.
- Monitoring and tracking of all social network channels at a glance.
Using active social listening to use conversations and interactions to develop and enhance marketing content is powerful. We have talked in other articles about the power of creating unique content, and this is another tool to assist you in doing that. It also allows you to leverage the real-time aspect of events and social media as a powerful way to communicate your message to those at the event and even to those who did not attend.
Event Follow Up
After an event is completed, event apps can compile information on your interactions during the event and provide valuable follow-up after the event has concluded. When event attendees use an app to interact with you, it provides a positive customer experience and a gateway to future communication.
Two-thirds of North American subscribers have smartphones, and almost all US residents will plan or attend an event of some kind carrying their mobile devices. It makes sense, then, to optimize campaigns for mobile, and these days, many of those apps are free of charge. Applications often have a variety of interfaces for each facet of an event:
- Attendee apps for ticket purchases, interactivity, and information.
- Organizer apps offering statistics, sign-up figures, and views.
- Websites and blogs for events.
- Internet management interfaces.
Target markets often change from event to event and not purely from brand to brand. Events that market hi-tech products are particularly demanding. Their demographics are not only more reliant on their devices but also have high expectations of the applications they’re offered. Older demographics that are less reliant on their smartphones come with their own challenges. Interfaces need to be engaging and intuitive. For this reason, the integration of technology must be fully customizable according to budget, demographics, and branding.
As you plan to use an event app, you should consider some key factors when deploying a solution. Understanding your target customer's needs at an event is critical to engagement and achieving your goals. Monitoring how successful your interactions are throughout the event is crucial so you can make adjustments on the fly. The real-time data available allows you to ensure that if adjustments need to be made, you can do so immediately.
Type of Event
Some events will require a higher level of engagement between attendees than others. A conference or expo is one example of an event that you would want a high level of interaction. For example, you may want to drive them to attend specific seminars or visit your trade show booth. Providing general conference information makes it very convenient for attendees and will drive them to download and use the app. You can also use the data provided to target attendees with other types of communications and advertising.
Today’s buyers are allergic to overt advertising. They want to be entertained and informed which means the content delivered through mobile apps must add to customers’ lives even if they never buy the product being marketed.
Our responsibility here as one of the most trusted brand activation teams is to lead the charge in establishing the proper best practices and leading toward positive consulting that generates happy outcomes for all stakeholders.