Experience with virtual expos – great as ‘teasers’ for events – great for data and brand exposure for exhibitors. Still costly and hard to manage…EtcAND - I’m going to use the word ‘app’ a lot in this presentation. To me it’s short for mobile application (some people use it to mean web application but for the purposes of today – app = mobile app)
According to technology writer TomiAhonen“at the start of this year we had 4.6billlion mobile phone subscriptions on the planet, for a population of 6.8 billion people That is literally a mobile phone subscription for two out of every three people on the planet. There are more people with mobile phones than have access to running water. More mobile phone subscribers on the planet than use a toothbrush…mobile has spread so rapidly that there was a mobile phone for two thirds of the planet at the start of this year and will be for 75% of planet earth’s population by the end of this year’2011 The Year Events Get Smart - published by Future Watch 2011 and MPI Foundation – gave us the quote about mobile apps being standard practice for meetings, conventions and events in two years.And we know, from the conversations we’ve had at events and the number of apps developers turning their hands to event-apps – that it might be less than two years before having a mobile app for your meeting will be standard practice.We also know, from those same conversations and our own experiences in the industry that its easy to be distracted by the new, shiny thing. Its easy to react and have an app for, really, the sake of just having an app. Now from my own business perspective I could encourage that – but I’m not going to!! These three questions are key to successfully choosing how to go mobile – how to ride the wave not get caught up in the fashion.
So why is the buzz word mobile now?Ahonen (him again) coined the term ‘seventh of the mass media’ to describe mobile phones – the other six are…..And it is, in fact, a new medium. If you think about mobile not so much in terms of hardware and apps, but rather in terms of an entirely new communications channel you can begin to see the opportunity for our industry.Mobile offers the best of all the other channels AND makes it personal for each person. With mobile, you have a channel with which to interact with your attendees, deliver advertising in context and enrigh the event experience for everyone. Mobile is the only mass medium that is truly one-on-one – the only one that passes the pocket test: what other devices are you willing to carry around with you at all times.So the ubiquitous mobile phone is evolving, adapting and learning new stuff. It’s getting SMART. (online, integrated with business and social systems…your umbilical cord to the world)A 2010 survey of 1000+ business travelers conducted by Deloitte reported that 48 percent of respondents owned a web-enabled smartphone. However, business travelers who are 18-29 years old or with an income of more than 150,000 are far more likely to own one (84% and 63% respectively)And in certain vertical markets smartphone use already exceeds 80% - medical professionals, lawyers, real estate professionals and sales proffs are all heavy users of smartphones.FINAL QUOTE – BY 2013….
I don’t need to tell you of all people. But its been a tough couple of years. There are so many good reasons not to travel to events now – tighter budgets, virtual meetings, fuel prices.But people continue to value the important face to face networking opportunities that events and meetings provide. They continue to prefer to be educated and connected in person, not online. So they will try and come, really they will.So the event organisers challenge – make sure they really want to come and when they get there it had better be worth it.
Apps have the answers.Tell them what they need to know – before they get there (where to stay, where to eat, what’s on)Get them connected – maybe they see someone on the list for whom making the trip is TOTALLY worth it….Save their shoulders (less things to lug around) – scanning and capturing of information via mobile phones is possibleAnd worth it for you too – make some money out of this (at least cover your first investment and then generate revenue)
More reasons going mobile is worth itCreate a community around your event – make the app available before the meeting, connect people with it during the event and then use it to follow up – surveys/ratings etc afterwardsMeasurements – all apps have inbuilt analytics for you. Measure what’s happening. Tweak your communications to focus them more closely. And see all activity in real time (mostly)New this year – position yourself as modern, hip and happening. And the other note re buzzz – smartphones being inherently connected to the wider interweb allow your visitors to tweet, digg and facebook your event all around the world….
As of early 2011, over 100 large US events offered their attendees a smartphone app to enable them to get information about the event through their mobile devices while they are on the go.These event apps run the gamut. Some only work on iphones, others on multiple platform. Some are mobile web only, other are native or hybrids. Some are designed to enhance social networking primarily. Others focus on navigation of the tradeshow floor, others still are vehicles for advertising. Some offer unique content, some are just repackaged web content. They are simple or complex, elegantly designed or clunky highly customised or fairly standard.So before you mobilise – ask yourself some questions.Build it yourself? Or buy off the shelf (have you the time, interest and money to hire developers and create your own branded app?)One for each show? Or use a platform for multiple shows (are your shows SO unique they need something completely different, or would a core suite of features work for many events that you run)Know what phones people are using – use a system that will ensure you reach as many as possible….
Whatever you choose – your app should have…..
But you can go really wild. And the space is evolving all the time (especially around location based services…yes big brother on the tradeshow floor!)
It will take time to merge all the different elements and implications of going mobile into your event cycle. Don’t bust a gut trying.Think 2-3 years to get it right – but sign up for one year (either with your platform partner or with your development team) to test and get startedAssuming you host one or two large events each year, simply building or deploying a great app and making it available should count as a success. You’re not going to be able to develop, sell advertising and sponsorship and package it into your exhibitor offer AND promote the app in the first cycle. New stuff about mobile has to be incorporated into your exhibitor, sponsorship and advertising sales strategy and collateral.So just do the first on. Learn about it and test ideas. If you must make money – sell overall sponsorship of the system to one sponsor.Year two or your second event try promoting the app more widely amongst attendees to increase use, integrate it into event marketing materials, make it available at the point of registration. This is a good chance now to look at how your other event technologies can overlap – now mobile phones can scan, the schedule is online, etc – what changes should you make to your website, your registration process etc
Many variables affect the price of a mobile programme. Some consultants tell us that you should never pay more than $30k for a mobile app to be built for you.Certainly for mobile web and even some hybrid approaches that makes lots of sense but might not be reasonable if you are concerned about usability and require native development. If you are seeking high performance on multiple phone platforms, want to integrate special features that will have great appeal to your specific audience, if you want to engage with more sophisticated sponsors - you might have to pay more.Which approach should you take?Yes you can build a one-off app – there are dozens of developers who can build you one-off mobeil web or even simple native apps for events. They are rebuilt for each event and are generally not very customisable other than content. Yes you can totally customise your development – bespoke apps are typically produced in support of a major branding initiative or enterprise meeting. We call them ‘whitelabels’ too – where all traces of the developers or partners branding is removed and your custom concepts, images and features are built.Or you can partner with companies like ShowGizmo who build the app and constantly update it in line with all their customers feedback. Your purchase gives you access to the latest version of whatever that company has, and often for up to a year (meaning you can deploy at many events during the year)
Its very early to be drawing conclusions about the value of mobile advertising at meetings – but mobile advertising in general gives us some interesting data.Mobile advertising is CONTEXTUAL - At any given event, mobile has the capacity to reach thousands of people who are planning buying decisions or learning more about industry products and trends, reaching them at a time when they are expecting to learn about them. Because banner ads are contextual, they are more likely to be clicked on – more likely to be effective.Location based ads (we call it ‘geo fencing’) are the most effective – though relatively few mobile users have seen them yet.Sponsors are already thinking about it – you’d be surprised. They get it. And they will snap it up – remember mobile is MASS and PERSONAL and ‘the latest thing’– a sponsors dream.
So to get started – who are your attendees and exhibitors? Why are they attending? What phones and apps do they use? Understanding your attendees, their needs as business travellers, the way they use mobile currently and the kinds of devices and phones they use is critical to developing a programme that works. You’ll be able to make choices that meet more of your visitors needs.Think about your objectives for mobilising – other than being cool of course! Mobilising as I’ve talked about can meet some or all of these objectives. To grow attendance – mobile has the potential to improve the quality of the meeting experience, through better information, better networking opportunities etc. And when used to increase the shelf life of events it can also serve to promote them to those most likely to attend them in the futureTo increase revenues – through advertising/sponsorship and exhibitors – to do this events typically need to be larger or more popular among the target audience.Achieve thought leadership – a highly respected event is one where speakers are easy to book! Speakers are more likely to value an event when they see their ideas being promoted and discussed, and in return your event becomes the one people talk aboutReduce Costs – reducing meeting costs can improve profitability. Pretty obvious. A mobile app programme can help reduce costs of paper, printing, shipping etcGoing green – mobile apps that include a digital directory can help you dramatically reduce paper, printing shipping etcThen – decide on your approach (as discussed)And go for it
Going Mobile: adding mobile tech into your events
Mobilise Your Events <br />the business case and best practice for bringing mobile into the event technology mix <br />
About us<br />Managing Director SmartShow Ltd<br />Born from Virtual Expos NZ Ltd<br />Marie-Claire: Event Management, Business Development, Capital Raising<br />ShowGizmo launched July 2010<br />10 events to date, 45+ in pipeline<br />New Zealand, UK, Middle East and Aus<br />Difference: event managers in tech<br />
Mobile is not a trend!<br /><ul><li>There are more people with mobile phones than have access to running water. Mobile is here to stay!
In two years, offering mobile apps for meetings, conventions and events will be standard practice...
How do you merge mobile with your other event technologies?
How do you get return on investment and even generate new revenues?</li></li></ul><li>The mobile (r)evolution<br />Mobile is “seventh of the mass media”<br />print, recordings, radio, TV, film, internet…<br />Mass…but personal<br />in your pocket the whole time<br />Smart and getting smarter<br />Deloitte 2010 survey: 48% business travellers own web-enabled smartphone<br />80%+ for medical, lawyers, sales profs<br />By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide(and remain)<br />
It’s been a tough couple of years…<br />Tighter budgets, virtual meetings, fuel prices..<br />People continue to value face to face<br />The event organiser’s challenge: <br />make sure they really want to come and…<br />…when they get there, it had better be worth it <br />
And it WILL be worth it!<br />More up to date information<br />Mobile apps driven by a content management system<br />Enhanced ability for your attendees to participate and network<br />Twitter, share speaker profiles, meetings, chat<br />A greener event<br />Less printing for you and exhibitors<br />More money for you<br />Sponsorship potential, premium pages, promotions<br />
Definitely worth it…<br />Extend the brand and life of your event<br />Make available before the meeting, use to channel post-event feedback<br />Measure and measure and measure again<br />Analytics in real time<br />Extra BUZZ<br />Still the ‘new thing’<br />Ability for visitors to amplify publicity <br />
First things first – questions to ask<br />Build it yourself OR buy off the shelf?<br />Show by show? OR on-going platform?<br />Which phones are people using?<br />Mobile web?<br />
Basic features of an app<br />Floor plan<br />Schedule of speakers and events<br />Lists/Directories of exhibitors<br />Advertising<br />Social-networking features<br />All about getting the attendee to take their phone out of their pocket and USE it on the show floor<br />Usability comes first (bells and whistles later)<br />Privacy <br />The list issue!<br />Next generation of user (its all online baby)<br />A new ‘use’ for data you collect<br />
But wait, there’s more…<br />Speaker profiles, ratings, feedback, QA<br />Favouriting/bookmarking<br />Interactive floor plans<br />‘Heat maps’<br />Push advertising<br />Local information and recommendations<br />Matchmaking and finding connections<br />Analytics<br />
Merging mobile into your event cycle<br />Think 2-3 yearsto get it right – but sign up for 1 year to test<br />First event – capacity building <br />Your team learns and tests the concept<br />Sell sponsorship/package it into exhibitor deals<br />Second event – integration<br />Promote intensively to attendees<br />Incorporate in sales efforts/materials<br />Remove duplicated event tech <br />scanners, listings, schedule<br />Integrate with existing systems<br />registration, website, lead management<br />
So what does it cost?<br />Should not be costly/time intensive when compared to other items in your budget<br />Costs affected by<br />Operating platforms<br />Mobile web v native<br />Advanced features (e.g. heat maps, interactive maps)<br />Approaches<br />One-off apps $1k-$25,000<br />Bespoke Apps $30k - $100k<br />Platform partnership $5k – $20k per year<br />
And what about ROI?<br />Leaving ‘relevance’ and ‘engagement’ aside…<br />Mobile advertising is contextual…therefore effective<br />Mobile banners have a higher conversion rate than online banners<br />Measureable<br />Location based ads are the crème de la crème<br />Sponsors already thinking about it<br />Overall app sponsorship easiest<br />As long as your app reaches a high % of attendees…<br />
Next steps<br />Create your mobile strategy<br />Who are your attendees and exhibitors?<br />What are your primary objectives?<br />Grow attendance, increase revenues, achieve ‘thought leadership’, reduce costs, go green<br />Test your assumptions in a first show – invest to learn<br />Choose your approach and find a partner<br />One off app, bespoke app, platform app/system<br />MOBILISE!<br />