From the Tool Chest: Mobile Event Apps

With the growing importance of hosted events to a company’s success, it’s important for event professionals and marketers to take a step back and assess what tools are not only available to them, but which ones work best for their particular strategy.

One of the tools these professionals are increasingly relying on for successful events are mobile event apps, and the reasons are many and varied.

A customized mobile event app allows you to maximize the potential success of your event for all involved: your organization, your guests and your vendors. It allows you to capture and store actionable information about your attendees before, during and after the event, and to offer your guests the most pleasant, productive and memorable experience possible.

Let’s explore how.

Properly preparing

First off, it’s important that you strategize in advance of the event on how to fully leverage the power of your mobile event app. You’ve collected some information about your attendees’ interests through the registration process. Now sit down with your sales and marketing teams. Share this information with them and discuss what additional information to collect throughout the event—what would they find most valuable in furthering their relationships with current and future clients.

Your guests are going to appreciate that you’ve prepared for their arrival. Your app presents them with a personalized agenda, one with links to content relevant to their interests, as indicated by the information you’ve gathered.

You can also offer them a personalized in-app list of things to accomplish throughout the event. You can then track their progress, and give them a little nudge if need be.

And, pre-event, your guests can assemble in-app profiles—with photos, if they wish—that enhance networking potential. They can also use the app to schedule meetings in advance.

Your guests are going to appreciate that you’ve prepared for their arrival. Your app presents them with a personalized agenda, one with links to content relevant to their interests, as indicated by the information you’ve gathered.

Maximizing participation

Your mobile event app allows you to send your attendees reminders or notifications of changes. It also affords you the opportunity to differentiate your guests in order to provide them with information specific to their interests—tagging them by industry or region, for example. This feature also enables you to provide targeted resource documents and to protect proprietary information.

But where things get really exciting is with the real-time interactive features: surveys, live polling, discussion boards, in-app Q&A. These features offer instantaneous feedback from a captive audience—feedback that can be shared with everyone in attendance or strictly with those behind the scenes.

Surveys and polls can be used to shape the content of a particular session as it unfolds, to generate questions for consideration throughout the event and to explore emerging viewpoints.

Or they can be used simply to further liven things up: trivia, “what’s-your-favorite,” “where’s-everyone-going-later.”

Or consider the concept of the “unconference,” in which your guests vote on topics they want to learn more about, with the most popular choices scheduled as sessions on the last day of the event.

Then there’s gamification—a splendid merging of productivity, pleasure and reinforcement. Digital badges are awarded to attendees for the activities that maximize their experience: session participation, exhibitor booth visits, social sharing and more.

And speaking of your exhibitors: Your mobile app offers them, as well as your sponsors, the opportunity to fully leverage their time and investment. You can place ad banners and images on the home screen or alongside selected session descriptions. And you can tally clicks-through to a sponsor or exhibitor’s website.

You can also offer your sponsors and exhibitors a scan-and-capture feature to gather sales leads for follow up. They can add notes and a rating to qualify each lead.

Access such as this will certainly encourage your partners to return next year.

Fully realizing your gains

It’s now time to reflect on what you’ve learned and share it with all parties of interest—your marketing and sales teams, upper management, your board, as well as your sponsors and exhibitors—and commence strategizing for the future.

What worked? What didn’t? What have you learned about how your industry is evolving, and how do you rise to meet its emerging potential? What needs to be done to make your next event even more pleasurable and productive than the last?

You and your team are meanwhile mining this wealth of knowledge you’ve gained about your attendees. You’re weighing what they told you prior to the event with what they revealed throughout and after, not only in their survey and poll responses but in what they downloaded and with whom they networked.

Keep the conversation alive. Maintain the energy. Let’s all look forward to gathering again.

Your mobile event app affords it all.

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