How Event Planners Can Get a Piece of the Big Data Pie

Guest post written by Michelle Bruno, MPC
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Michelle Bruno is a writer, blogger, content strategist and publisher specializing in event industry technology. Visit her LinkedIn profile at Linkedin.com/in/michellejbruno.  

When the subject of Big Data in meetings comes up, analysts, CEOs, and strategists immediately come to mind. However, that picture is only partially accurate. In an era where every survey question, registration field, and mobile click is a piece of a much larger business intelligence pie, event planners have a more strategic role to play if they choose.

As the individuals on the front lines, those who have to implement the data strategy that comes from the boardroom, event planners have both more responsibility and opportunity. To fully participate in the Big Data evolution, planners will have to evolve.

Select vendors to integrate processes. While it’s important to ensure various platforms are working together, it’s even more crucial that data is a major focal point. This spans across online registration systems, event management software, mobile event apps, housing, travel planning, etc.

Treat everything as a data point. Does the number of brownies served during an afternoon meeting break coincide with attendee satisfaction scores? That may be debatable. But these days, planners need to approach meetings knowing anything could be related to something else, until proven otherwise. Event planners have to at least prepare to extract and collect information wherever it’s available.

Map the front of the house to the back of the house. With a Big Data mandate from senior-level management, planners will be tasked with ensuring that meetings not only support organizational objectives, but also informational objectives. Thus, data from every form, field, click, and post will have to be organized and standardized so it flows back into a centralized database.

Get a seat at the strategy table. Planners are responsible for facilitating the collection of data before, during, and after the meeting. So, it’s critical for them to weigh in on the practicality, trade-offs, costs, and value of collecting specific information ahead of time.

Expand your skill set and your network. While you’re able to learn and understand data inputs and outputs on the job, it’s best to seek additional training or the support of a third-party consultant or vendor for more complex skills. These include expertise for data collection, survey methods, data modeling techniques, and analytics.

How do you plan to leverage the Big Data trend for your organization and your career?

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Posted: July 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Planner, Events Industry, Global Event Perspectives | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lanyon Strategic Relationship with Sonic Foundry to Deliver Webcasting Services for Events

Lanyon expands strategic relationship with Sonic Foundry to deliver webcasting and live streaming services to customers. Customer case study exemplifies the benefits of a hybrid event.

Today, we’re pleased to announce expansion of our strategic relationship with Sonic Foundry, with appointment by Sonic Foundry as a Value Added Reseller (VAR) of its Mediasite Events suite of solutions.

Sonic Foundry is the leader for video creation and management solutions. Since our first collaborative event in the spring of 2013, we’ve worked with Sonic Foundry to capture over 2,700 presentations – live streaming nearly 3,900 hours of event content, 28,000+ views, and over 5,600 hours of on-demand content watched! Now, as a Sonic Foundry appointed VAR, Lanyon can offer customers preferred Mediasite pricing and the ease and simplicity of single-source purchasing of applicable Mediasite products direct from Lanyon.

According to the MPI Meetings Outlook: 2014 Winter Edition, meeting and event planners continue to leverage virtual and hybrid meetings as part of a larger events strategy – either to enhance face-to-face meetings (24% of respondents) or to integrate onsite and remote meetings (30% of respondents).

Through this alliance, Lanyon will pair Mediasite Events webcasting services, which delivers live and on-demand streaming to remote audiences through their desktops and mobile devices, with our conference management solutions. This enables our customers to deliver a seamless, engaged experience for attendees in-person and online.

Case Study– Extend Engagement and Reach with Hybrid Event

 One example of how this alliance benefits customers is a technology corporation which brings together more than 8,500 attendees for the company’s annual event. During the economic recession, the company found that attendance dropped because many of its customers had reduced travel budgets. The technology company turned to Sonic Foundry to provide a virtual version. The virtual event is now a popular extension of the in-person event, expanding its impact and reach year-round. It also helps drive in-person attendance—now that travel budgets have improved.

With the success of its virtual version, the company turned to Lanyon to provide a unified event management solution for its 2013 event. Leveraging Lanyon’s Conference solution, a conference management platform for large, complex events, the company was able to provide a better experience for attendees, presenters, and exhibitors – all of whom now only have one login to manage.

It is also great for the event team.  Integration costs and time spent marrying the various pieces of data are much less, and they no longer jump through hoops to request or access reporting and event data.  Additionally, marketing uses recorded session content to promote next year’s show.

“All the attendee data on session attendance and on-demand viewing is at the hands of our marketing person who handles leads. They can go in and see who is looking at sessions, and even where in that presentation are the most hits happening. This information becomes really valuable to our marketing managers who are in turn able to work the sales.”

Event Manager

 Contact us today to learn how to extend your events with webcasting and live streaming solutions.

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Posted: May 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Case Study, Event Planner, Events Blog, Events Industry | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Vote for Conference® from Lanyon in PCMA’s Convene Magazine “Best of” Issue

pcmalogoheaderFor the third year in a row, PCMA’s Convene magazine will publish its “Best of” issue–coming this August.

I’m really excited about this! Convene does us all a great service by shining the spotlight on “the best the meetings industry has to offer.”  I’m certainly getting my votes ready for all my favourite suppliers out there; you know who you are!

And, for our part, we at Lanyon are pleased to partner with PCMA.  If you attended Convening Leaders or Education Conference since 2011, you will have experienced our technology during the registration process.  Yes, that’s right; it’s our technology that helps guide you — from registering online, selecting your sessions to attend, arriving onsite at your fabulous and convenient hotel check-in desks, scanning in to your 1:1 meetings, and scanning into your sessions onsite to collect your valuable CEU credits.

This is what we do and we are proud of the service we provide to PCMA with our cloud-based event management technology. We help Jason Paganessi and his wonderful team to focus on what they do best, which is looking after you – the members and delegates.  The data that is collected through our systems by PCMA is helping them to get to know you better, to understand your needs and behaviours so they can deliver a more targeted and beneficial education programme year round.

So whether you’re a buyer or supplier, check out Convene’s submission form for the “Best of” issue. While you’re there, please enter Conference® event management technology from Lanyon under “Best Technology Tool for Meeting Professionals.” Please enter Conference Mobile under the category of “Best Meeting App.” as well. The deadline is May 8th.

Don’t take our word for it either, read what the PCMA team has to say about us in the Case Study below.

It only takes a few seconds of your time to nominate, and PCMA is offering everyone who submits a chance to win a $250 American Express Gift Card.

Thank you!

Additional Resources:

Case Study: How PCMA cut its registration lines by 85% using Conference

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Posted: May 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events Industry, Mobile, Product News | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

5 Things You Didn’t Know about the Free Mobile Event App from Active RegOnline

Did you know that depending on which report you read, the average U.S. smartphone user has between 32 and 65 apps on their mobile device!  For our customers, this means incorporating a mobile experience for their attendees.

Don’t worry – there’s good news. While ACTIVE RegOnline is known for its online registration and event management software, ACTIVE RegOnline does include a mobile event app.

Here are 5 things you didn’t know about the ACTIVE RegOnline mobile event app:

  1. It’s Completely FREE – The ACTIVE RegOnline mobile app is a standard feature for customers who build, plan and activate registrations for their events.
  2. Create Your Event and Mobile Is Right There – No extra coding is required. Build and activate your event as you normally would and the web-enabled mobile app is created at the same time.
  3. Customized with your branding and logo – With our Theme Designer, all the logos and themes you create for your event website will automatically be mimicked for the mobile event app.
  4. No downloads required! – With just a QR Code or a URL, your event attendees will be able to access your event information from the palm of their hands.
  5. Mobile Event Guide included… Yep, again for FREE! Attendees can quickly check the event schedule. Plus, you’re event is greener by eliminating the need to print out conference guides.

Take a tour of the Mobile Event App Capabilities

What questions do you have about our free mobile event app?

Download the Mobile Playbook

Mobile Playbook – want the definitive guide to help with your mobile strategy? Download the Mobile Playbook for strategies, tactics and best practices to make your mobile experience the best.

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Posted: February 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile, Product News | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

12 Tips for Improving Adoption of Mobile Event Apps

Tips for Mobile Event App AdoptionAdoption rates of mobile event apps in the meetings and events industry are soaring – sometimes as high as the 90th percentile. One example we’ve seen is at Macworld/iWorld, where they experienced a 35% increase in mobile app usage from previous conferences thanks to the help of dynamic, real-time tools.

Your rate of adoption will depend upon your industry, your attendees and the effort you put forth. Think of it just as you would any other marketing campaign. Remember, downloading the app isn’t enough – you must continually give attendees reasons to use it before, during and after the event .

Here are 12 Tips for Improving Adoption of Your Mobile Event App:

  1. Promote early and often: Deploy your mobile event app at least 30-60 days in advance and promote it often. Though most attendees download the app within a week of the event, you should continuously remind users the app exists as soon as it’s live.
  2. Communicate it prominently: Place download information in a prominent location on the event home page. Websites are the go-to resources for trade show and conference participants, and will likely be the first place attendees go to find the mobile app for events.
  3. Distribute far and wide: Take advantage of any and all marketing channels, including social media, to get the word out about the mobile app. Tweet reminders, post links or pin pictures to make it easy for users to download and use the app.
  4. Use QR Codes or Short URLs: QR are an easy way for people to scan and download the mobile event app. Include QR codes on all printed materials in advance – and on signage throughout the event. Alternatively, use a short, easy URL.
  5. Educate Audiences on Mobile: Educate your speakers, exhibitors and attendees on the mobile app. Hold 10-minute webinars before the event. Create and promote a five-minute how-to video.
  6. Have Exhibitors and Speakers Promote It: Ask exhibitors and speakers to forward the QR code or URL to their customers and followers.
  7. Prepopulate content within the app to encourage adoption and engagement: If the early content isn’t compelling you may not get a second chance. Consider exclusive mobile content and promote it through social channels. As you get to the 30-day window, push out new content two to three times a week.
  8. Provide onsite assistance: Help users download and use the app effectively through signs, individuals, or specially designated areas (a mobile app “bar”) on the show floor or meeting space. For example, emphasize the ease of using it for mobile check in.
  9. Mention during keynote or sessions: Have the opening keynote speaker discuss – and perhaps show – the mobile app.
  10. Publish more content in the mobile event app: Reduce the content in the printed guide to encourage people to use the app. Use abbreviated course descriptions in the printed guide, for instance, saving full course descriptions for the mobile app – along with handouts, a video preview from the speakers, etc. (Caveat: Though their generation and industry is telling, only you know your audience and can determine their reaction to a reduced printed program. Some do resist the mobile apps and must be pulled in over a series of events.)
  11. Make it easily accessible: Make passwords and login information easily accessible or recoverable to reduce the number of inquiries to technical support or event management.
  12. Promote usage of the app before, during and after the event. Offer new content at various times or include a game element to compel attendees to use the app.

Make your mobile move with more tips on strategy and tactics with the ACTIVE Network Mobile Playbook – download it today for free!

 

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Posted: February 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Planner, Events Blog, Events Industry, Mobile | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

20 Ways to Use a Mobile App for Events: Before, During & After

Ways to Use a Mobile App for EventsOnce you commit to a mobile app for events, it’s important to fully embrace the improved experience and opportunities the app can lend to your attendees. With that said, it can be very overwhelming. Increase your chances of making mobile adoption and mobile event management a success with 20 ways to use mobile before, during and after your next event:

Using mobile event apps before your event:

  1. Encourage attendees to view session and speaker information online.
  2. Promote the mobile event app often and early to encourage downloads and access.
  3. Provide updates on new speakers, sponsors and exhibitors.
  4. Launch a game that begins before the event.
  5. Include links in email communications for mobile registration.
  6. Encourage attendees to set up appointments in advance.
  7. Upload 2-3 minute videos that are only available via the mobile event app.

And during the event:

  1. Easily provide information in the palm of their hand – sessions, speakers, maps, personalized schedules, etc.
  2. Push real-time updates and announcements, e.g. changes in schedule, news, bus schedules, etc.
  3. Encourage attendees to like, share and tag content.
  4. Update a real-time dashboard for game play.
  5. Use mobile to schedule 1:1 meetings or network with others.
  6. Send surveys after keynotes and sessions to increase response rates.
  7. Encourage social media use, such as uploading photos.
  8. Send coupons and special offers from local restaurants.

Then after the event:

  1. Post presentations, Q&A transcripts and other content from sessions.
  2. Load ad more video snippets from sessions – or “behind the scenes” speaker interviews.
  3. Create and post a highlight reel of the event.
  4. Provide updates on plans and progress for the next event.
  5. Invite attendees for feedback on proposed speakers, topics and improvements to help shape the next event.

For a complete guide to the inner workings of mobile apps for events – from selecting a provider to monetization and metrics – download the ACTIVE Network Mobile Playbook.

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Posted: February 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Planner, Events Industry, Mobile | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

8 Checkpoints to Selecting a Mobile Event App Technology Provider

How to  Select a Mobile Event App Technology ProviderSelecting your mobile event technology provider is a critical step toward success. The vendor you select will not only build or customize a solution for your event, but their support and customer service will be invaluable – especially onsite. After you’ve defined your mobile strategy and identified the features you’ll need, it’s time to choose a vendor:

Start with a list of industry mobile technology providers. Though you can certainly have a mobile event apps custom-built by a developer, it’s not usually necessary since there are so many event-specific apps already out there.

– Solicit input from key internal stakeholders
– Get feedback from industry colleagues that use a mobile app for events
– Identify the solutions that have the features and functions you want
– Establish your selection criteria, e.g. price, timing, expertise, etc.
– You may choose to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to mobile technology and mobile event management providers
– Make a short list of three or four providers and begin comparing their solutions:

  • Do they offer a native solution or Web-based app?
  • Ask for links to other mobile event apps, download them onto your mobile device and test the functionality and user experience.
  • How is the user interface? Easy to navigate? Cleary understood?
  • How are the graphics – visually appealing without losing functionality?
  • Will the look and feel reflect well on your organization?
  • What is their anticipated deployment time for release of the app?
  • Carefully review the back-end reporting and metrics they provide – will it meet your needs?
  • Have they handled events of your size and scope in the past, such as mobile registration and mobile check in?
  • What are all the costs?
  • Do they have the ability to assist and make recommendations for keeping the app running year-round?
  • What ideas and assistance do they offer to aid in adoption of the app?

– Call and check references:

  • Did the vendor hit the agreed upon deployment schedule?
  • Were there any unexpected charges?
  • Was the onsite support sufficient?
  • What was the adoption rate of the app?

Once you select a vendor and begin development, stay focused on your strategy and be wary of feature creep – those extra or unnecessary features that creep into products because they are sexy or fun, but often have little to do with your original goal.

For a complete guide to the inner workings of mobile apps for events – from strategy and tactics to monetization and metrics – download the FREE ACTIVE Network’s Mobile Playbook here.

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Posted: February 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Planner, Events Blog, Events Industry, Mobile | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

5 Insights to Google+ for Your Social Media Strategy

5 Insights to Google+ for your social media strategyImage provided by ivanpw via Flickr.

If you haven’t started your Google+ page yet, you’re not alone. Google+ is the social media platform still unfamiliar to many. But it will actually feel rather familiar once you get started. Like Facebook, you have connections (which are placed into Circles) – you post status updates, you follow people and you “like” (+1) and share posts. As a bonus, there are communities much like the groups on LinkedIn.

While Google+ hasn’t skyrocketed into social media dominance, neither can it be ignored. After all, it’s part of Google, and integrated into all that is Google – Search, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android mobile devices, Google Maps, Google Docs and more.

The search engine enhancement alone is reason enough to get started. With a strong Google+ page, a search on your keywords can include relevant posts, photos and videos from your Google+ page to the right of the returned results.

Profile
You’ll need to start with a personal profile since all Business Pages require a personal profile to act as the owner of the Page – but you’ll remain anonymous, and you can add other managers later.

Circles
Unlike Facebook, where everyone is your friend, Google allows you to create individual groups of connections. Adding someone to a circle means you follow them. Their posts will show up in your newsfeed, just as on Facebook. You can create circles for your friends, your business contacts, industry connections, and so on. As with Facebook, you can put people and Pages in your circles. When you post a status update, you decide which circles get to see it.

Hangouts
Hangouts are basically conversations with one-to-ten people. They can be text, voice or video. This free platform is a great way to host virtual face-to-face meetings and create more engagement around them.

Hangouts on Air
Hangouts on Air allows you to livestream your event to a hybrid event audience on Google+, your YouTube channel and your website. The stream is automatically captured and saved to your YouTube Channel for archive viewing.

Communities
Though Google+ boasts more than 50,000 Communities, there’s not nearly the level of activity you see in LinkedIn Groups (though there are certainly exceptions). Check the “meetings” communities, for instance, and you’ll find many with five members and one post. The good news is that you might be able to start your own community and dominate your field. Just be sure you’re prepared for the level of work required to build and maintain a thriving community. Public Communities on Google+ are indexed by Google search.

Learn more about this emerging social media channel by downloading the ACTIVE Network Social Media Playbook – and get more articles and checklists for using each of the major social media platforms.

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Posted: February 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Industry, Social Media | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Promote Your Events with These 8 Pinterest Pointers

Get 8 Pinterest Pointers for Promoting Your EventsImage provided by mkhmarketing via Flickr.

Pinterest is one of the newer social media platforms to appear in the meetings and events industry. If you have a strong female-to-male attendance ratio, it might be worth a look since more than 80 percent of the current users are women. This is obviously mostly personal use, but Pinterest is moving aggressively toward the business community.

Pinterest is incredibly visual. If you’re working in an industry with lots of visuals – radiology, photography, etc. – Pinterest could be for you. But, as you’ll see, that’s not a requirement. Great images can come from lots of places.

If you still haven’t seen it, think of Pinterest as a wall of bulletin boards. You might have one for recipes and one for pets and one for vacation destinations. On each board you “pin” pictures or videos. Next time you’re looking for a new recipe, you call up that board and see which one looks good. For you, it’s an organization tool. But here comes the social part – your images can be shared and repined, and your boards (and you) can be followed.

But Pinterest is more than just collections of images – it’s an aspiration platform. People pin things they want to buy, places they want to go, things they want to learn to make and things that motivate them to become the people they want to be. Keep this aspirational aspect in mind as you create your boards and pin content that taps into that.

So how do you translate this to promoting an event? Much of that is still evolving, but consider these ideas as part of your social media strategy:

  1. Capture images that resonate with the industry or group that your event is targeting. For example, if you’re in the travel industry, great photos of dream destinations would work well.
  2. Use it to humanize your organization. Put up a board of employee vacation photos, or unique cube décor.
  3. Help your attendees get to know each other. If you represent the widget industry, have people contribute pictures with their best use of widgets, or their most cost-effective widget installation.
  4. Create a board of all the new products that will be on display at the event and ask people to comment on the ones they’re most interested in.
  5. Create a “tip” board with one tip from each of your speakers and pair it with a relevant photo.
  6. Interesting quotes overlaid on top of matching images perform very well on this platform.
  7. Crowdsource content or destinations. Put options on a board and let your audience vote.
  8. Repurpose your YouTube videos here with a video “how-to” board.

Put pinning at the top of your event promotion to-do list for 2014! And for additional checklists and pointers on other social media channels, download the ACTIVE Network Social Media Playbook.

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Posted: January 31st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Industry, Social Media | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

18 How-To’s for YouTube and Your Events

How to incorporate YouTube into your social media strategyImage provided by Rego – d4u.hu via Flickr.

YouTube is probably the most time-intensive of all social media, but in today’s video-obsessed environment, a good YouTube channel can pay extra in branding your organization and your event. And, thankfully, you can capture enough video at one event to feed your channel for the next year. So once you get your channel built and can learn to quickly tag, annotate and upload videos, it can become routine.

Owned by Google, YouTube is also an SEO dream. After all, it’s the second largest search engine in the world behind Google. Tagging videos with the right keywords can leapfrog them ahead of other websites, articles and online resources.

At the first level, your YouTube strategy is about growing subscribers. But what will help that cause and how does it fit into your larger social media strategy? Do you want to be seen as an educational resource, and will therefore load your channel with how-to videos? Or do you prefer a thought-leadership or advocacy role? Think of your channel just like a broadcast station on TV. What does your industry need enough that they will tune in regularly?

You should also have a plan and a strategy for promoting your videos through email, social media channels like (Facebook, Twitter and blogging), newsletters and on your website to drive views of your videos.

Here’s 18 tips for using YouTube:

  1. Keep videos short. Shorter videos get more views. The most watched videos on YouTube are under five minutes.
  2. Learn to use clickable annotations and call-to-action overlays. A key purpose of these videos is to drive action – presumably registration.
  3. Put your keywords in your video titles, and make sure to include all your related key words in the “tags” field. Tags also play a role in helping your videos appear in the “related channels” section of other YouTube channels. (Include your organization and event name in your tags.)
  4. Write good video descriptions (full of your key words).
  5. Create playlists to categorize your videos – SME interviews, how-to videos, etc.
  6. Customize your channel page to reflect your brand and event.
  7. Ask people to subscribe to your page – during the video and in annotations.
  8. Embed your videos into your website, in blogs, etc. – and include a subscribe button.
  9. Always promote each video through your other social channels.
  10. Be consistent in your posting. You need to become a channel people tune into regularly.
  11. Use the “featured channels” function with exhibitors, partners and others to further drive engagement.
  12. Comment, like and subscribe to other related industry YouTube channels.
  13. Consider using the “prevent ads from showing on this page” feature.
  14. Don’t be overly promotional – it will turn away viewers.
  15. Interview industry bloggers and key influencers and ask them to cross-promote the videos on their sites. Make sure there’s a subscribe button embedded.
  16. Create white papers or other resources you can direct people to download at the end of a video so you can capture their information.
  17. Look and see what your competitors are doing.
  18. Ensure your like, share and subscribe buttons are prominently placed.

Use video to your advantage and play up your YouTube play. For more strategic tips on using other social media channels, download the complete ACTIVE Network Social Media Playbook.

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Posted: January 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Industry, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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