We love to talk about how technology can enhance the event experience and power new marketing strategies. But it's our customers who are using the technology to bring innovation to their organizations every day.
At LIVE 2016, we had the opportunity to sit down with our four Event Professional of the Quarter award winners — Emily Malin product owner at Bosch, Cassie Muniak associate of digital marketing at Blackrock, Sam Wheatley director of brand development at Gainsight and Chris Pendley e-media manager at Messe Frankfurt to find out first hand how they harness the power of mobile technology and Live Engagement Marketing to supercharge their event programs.
Here are five big takeaways from the panel:
1. Use Event Apps to Foster Community
Most panelists had the experience of being the first to introduce mobile event apps and Live Engagement Marketing to their company and witnessed first-hand the effects it has had on communication. "The DoubleDutch app actually really disrupted how people in my company are communicating with each other," said Malin. "Not just on an event basis, but also on an ongoing basis". This was a sentiment echoed by others on the panel as well. For Pendley, the new technology enabled his centuries-old trade show company to foster a sense of community that didn't exist before. "It's a community on essentially our own social program specific for each industry show, so our teams really appreciate that," says Pendley.
2. Test EVERYTHING When Evaluating New Event Technology
Getting internal buy-in for new technology can be a long and frustrating process, so it is important that you feel confident in its ability to perform. One way to make sure you have the best tool for the job? "Test everything," says Muniak. "Everybody is willing to give you a demo of their tool. A lot of these tools seem exactly the same but they all have their own little nuances that might work better for your company or organization."
3. Know Your Internal Process Before Implementing
Knowing your internal processes for implementing new technology is also key. Bosch, for example, has an incredibly long RFP and data security process, said Malin. "It took about a year to get DoubleDutch into the company and sometimes we still have to evaluate it to make sure privacy is good and all legal frameworks are in place on our global app. If you have specific legal frameworks that you need to have in place, do it in the beginning."
4. Use the Event App to Encourage Face-to-Face Connections, Not Replace Them
The notion that event apps are best used to foster in person communication, not to replace it, was a common sentiment among panelists. Whether it's creating missions for attendees to complete, alerting attendees about networking opportunities or nudging them to seek sponsors to talk to, it's all about getting people out in the world, said Wheatley. Making sure your most visible guests are familiar with the app and how to use it is also critical.
5. Push the Boundaries
The panelists agreed that event technology is only going to grow in importance in the years to come. While each panelist had to overcome their own barriers in order to get technology implemented in their organizations, all echoed that you shouldn't be deterred by a few bumps in the road. "Don't be afraid to try new things and fail. Get your feet wet and don't avoid technology. It's really cool and people really appreciate it," said Muniak. Malin also chimed in, "Don't just think of yourself as defined by your job description. There is so much you can do and so many ways you can go. Everything that could go wrong, may go wrong at some point, but you can handle it."