Today we’re very excited to share a guest post from Brian Kolb of Wright’s Media. We’ve collaborated with Brian on the event app for Content Marketing World over the past few years and it gets better every time! We always walk away with a new insight or idea after talking to Brian (and usually a few laughs too!) Today on the FLIRT blog Brian is sharing his tips on how to successfully integrate technology into your events. Take it away Brian!
Integrate Tech for Event Success
You can have a jaw-dropping splash page, seamless registration system, brilliant email campaign and every early bird discount gimmick known to the civilized world, but filling the seats at your event is only half the battle.
Let’s face it – anyone with a checkbook can throw a party. Yours has to pay off for your company.
So how do you assure that your event generates the desired return on investment? You’ve got to integrate technology throughout the experience, and that includes before, during and after the event.
First Things First
But before you hook up the espresso IVs for the creative team, determine what you want from the event. What specific results will be your definition of success? Here are a few likely measures:
Total Attendees from Each Target Industry
Number of Contacts Acquired
Number of Registered Booth Visitors
Total Appointments Held/Scheduled
Total of Sales Contracts Signed
Establish your goals and then focus on deploying tech. For 2017, there are several trends that, when integrated effectively, promise to fully engage and enthrall any group.
These devices are now available at all price points ranging from $10 to the thousands, and everywhere in between. Of course, the real value with AR/VR is the ability to immerse anyone in any experience at any time without the dreaded airport or bus station shuffle. Product demonstrations, exotic travel destinations, extreme sports immersions – these can obviously have a huge impact on potential customers.
However, don’t limit AR/VR to just demos – think bigger. Before the show, how about getting some industry personalities to experience some alternate reality? If it’s great (and it will be, right?), they will be sure to blog, tweet, snap and more. Their followers will pay attention and share, creating awareness, excitement, and perhaps most important, credibility for your product. And all along the way, you will happily collect the contact information of new potential customers, increase your social media following, and generate earned media to be used across all marketing channels. Continue using AR/VR during the show to engage those who couldn’t make the event – it’s a natural for many products and services, and the company bean counters will be surprised to see that in most cases, AR/VR is less expensive to develop than transporting and setting up your actual equipment.
Remember the old days when you received multiple on-site reminders to turn your phones off? Not anymore! Now marketers want you “distracted” as long as they are providing the distractions. Get your audience involved – preferably long before the event even starts. Six or more months before, poll your audience on where they might like to see the next conference held. It is said that scheduling and location won’t make a winner out of a bad conference, but bad scheduling can kill a good one (for example, try not to compete with that big football game held in early February every year.)
How about an event app? You’ll have to be careful with these because many people won’t want an app to be used only with a single event, but again, use your imagination. These apps can remind attendees of special offers, networking opportunities, special guests, impromptu gatherings that weren’t on the program – you name it. These can also push polls to users that will obtain their opinions on any topic you want. How about letting your guests choose the last presentation topic of each day? That’s good service, people, and it will generate huge social buzz and shares.
Events Can Be Smart
Event apps can also deliver scads of data to you (be sure to get permission at download). Want to know where people are lingering? Interested in how the traffic is flowing? Curious why the same group of people seems to be walking by your booth? You will know. With real-time data you will be able to make all sorts of adjustments on the fly that will be immediately noticeable to your attendees. This ability to adapt will pay huge dividends on your post-conference surveys, and will boost your repeat business.
Make It Click
In today’s digital landscape, event planning isn’t complete without the integration of technology. From social media to mobile apps, from AR/VR to interactive technology – sponsors need to weave technology into every corner of their event. The result will be increased booth traffic, better networking opportunities, more lead generation and ultimately, a return on investment to make an accountant proud.
How do you plan to utilize tech at your events in 2017? What advancements are you the most excited about? What’s missing? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments!