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6 reasons to use mobile at events

By Peter Micciche

The Aberdeen Group recently surveyed enterprises on strategic meetings management and emerging strategies for the next generation of events.

The survey found that the likelihood of using mobile applications to support events management and improve the attendee experience was a key characteristic of best-in-class companies.

Interestingly enough, the survey also found that more than 50 percent of these companies were already using mobile apps and portals updates.

These organizations understand that by adding mobile to events, they have an opportunity to enhance meetings management, improve experiences at events, and drive significant value for both the organizations and the attendees.

So how are event professionals using mobile? Here are the top six areas where I see mobile technology having the biggest effect for corporations.

1. Stay on attendees’ calendars. Mobile users live in a world of real-time immediacy and they rely on their mobile devices to manage their time, both personally and professionally.

Mobile applications keep attendees on the event schedule with customized agendas that save them time and energy.

You can also deliver an event pocket guide via mobile, helping attendees plan their event experience with highlights of the area, maps, sight-seeing tips, and offers from local area restaurants.

2. Enhance the appeal and value of your event. In addition to using mobile as a pocket guide, you can make an event more meaningful and engaging through mobile.

I have seen organizations use Twitter® feeds to connect in-demand speakers with prospective attendees.

Attendees can also view pre-scheduled appointments through appointment-matching applications based on profile information, enabling meetings that drive relationships and revenue between key customers and company executives.

3. Keep attendees current with real-time updates. One area where I see mobile becoming highly valued is through real-time updates.

With instant communications to all attendees, immediate notification of sessions added or cancelled keep attendees informed.

To promote important highlights of an event, you can send out “hot session alerts,” so participants maximize their time with sessions they value.

Time-sensitive promotions and traffic triggers, as well as daily news blasts with summaries and highlights, can also enhance the experience for attendees.

I personally appreciate when I get real-time notices for events I am attending that will affect the logistics or check-in at the event, such as weather updates that can affect packing and travel arrangements.

4. Take a real-time pulse of the event. Mobile’s accessibility allows to you do real-time polling of event attendees, so you can find out immediately what is working and what is not.

You can use the good news you learn from the polls to initiate conversations on social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, among attendees as well as with the outside world.

And for the not so good news, I have seen smart event professionals use this information to course-correct on the spot and potentially block a disaster from occurring.

5. Create a zero-paper event. Corporations are embracing eco-friendly strategies from the top down, and I personally would love to see all events adopt a zero-paper philosophy.

With mobile, you can deliver the same content electronically that previously would have required hundreds of reams of paper.

Commit to making your next event paperless, with all registration, agendas, updates, speaker bios and session takeaways done online or via mobile device downloads.

This will not only reduce your carbon footprint for the show, but it will also reduce overall costs significantly and increase the productivity of event staff.

6. Generate more revenue. As a CEO, I can say that the best kinds of events are the ones that have a positive effect on the bottom line.

You can create additional revenue streams for your event by offering promotional opportunities to exhibitors, sponsors, and partners via mobile marketing.

Banner ads are an inexpensive way increase the monetization of your event.

You can also encourage partners to sponsor events, such as a networking hour, and promote that event in real time via mobile apps and integrated Twitter feeds.

And if you do take advantage of marketing opportunities such as “hot session” alerts, those can become a paid sponsorship as well.

WE ARE JUST beginning to see the potential of how mobile can positively affect meeting management.

As more event professionals integrate mobile and portals into their meeting strategies, I am sure we will see a more widespread adoption of mobile into every event.

Peter Micciche is president/CEO of Certain Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of SaaS event management technology for the global meetings and events industry. Reach him at [email protected].