Posted: December 5th, 2013 | Author: Cece Salomon-Lee | Filed under: Product News | Tags: event management, event management software, event tech buyers guide, event trends, Hart Energy, online registration, regonline | No Comments »
As the year comes to a close, we‘re taking this opportunity to summarize some of our top posts, trends and tips over the next few weeks.
For this post, we’re highlighting what you, our readers, found to be the five most popular posts from this past year:
- 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Event Management Software: Question #1 - In this post, we introduced our new ebook highlighting the top 10 questions to ask when looking at event technology. This post highlighted how it can save you time.
- The new ACTIVE RegOnline – Designed with Event Planners in Mind – in July, we announced the launch of our new ACTIVE RegOnline solution that included a redesigned user interface and navigation, while introducing a Hotel and Venue Sourcing Tool to find the perfect venue for your next event.
- The Global Value of Face-to-Face Meetings – Written by our European-based colleague, this post delved into recent research regarding the value of face-to-face meetings. Some of the findings? Events generate more ideas, allow meeting participants to feel more committed to their corporate goals and objectives, and higher motivation. Who would argue with those benefits?
- Hart Energy Achieves Skyrocketing Growth with RegOnline – Just one of the many customer stories we’ve brought to you this year, Hart Energy highlighted how to use event technology to take their business to the next level.
- Happy New Year and Our Event Trends for 2013 – The year has passed by quickly this year and it’s intriguing to review the trends we identified earlier this year – smarter events, SMM as the new business automation, consolidated event technology platforms, engaging audiences on multiple platforms and measuring face-to-face interactions.
What was your favorite blog post this year? And don’t forget to share and like this post.
Written By: Cece Salomon-Lee
Posted: December 4th, 2013 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Planner | Tags: Active Network, electronic request for proposal, eRFP, event technology, event venue, hotel and venue sourcing, meetings and events industry, Rick Binford | No Comments »
Are you “old school” or “new school” when it comes to finding an event venue? And, as an event planner, does the evolving technology play a part in your company’s expectations?
The meetings and events industry has varying opinions on the state of hotel and venue sourcing processes, as well as electronic request for proposal (eRFP) and event technology solutions. It can be a challenge to understand it all – so we want to help you learn how to make the best business decisions that are right for your needs.
We believe that eRFPs and event technology can help improve the process, which is why we’re hosting a webinar on December 12, 2013 at 1:00pm EST titled, “Tips For Successful e-Sourcing: Leveraging Technology to Get the Best Rates and Space for Your Events in 2014!”
In this webinar, you will learn:
- Best practices for finding and evaluating, hotels and event venues;
- Tips and tricks for building an effective eRFP to drive the right responses;
- Negotiating a contract with event venues to save you money and limit risk; and
- Findings from a new survey that highlight opportunities for improving the event sourcing process.
The webinar will be hosted by ACTIVE Network’s Rick Binford, CMP, VP of Strategic Marketplace Development and Git Rossell, Manager, Strategic Sourcing. With their expertise, you’ll learn how to make better-informed decisions for sourcing your hotels, venues and meeting spaces.
Sign up today for your chance to progress your internal company processes and understand what changes could make a positive impact on your business in the future.
What questions do you have for Rick?
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: November 22nd, 2013 | Author: Don Munro | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Mobile, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: Cisco, Cisco Live, content creation, Event Marketer, EventTech Conference, John Chamber, Kathleen Mudge, President Obama, social media, Teddy Goff | No Comments »
Christine Gallatig-Ottow reports on one of the key trends at this year’s EventTech show in Las Vegas – how to use social media to transform your event.
More Social Media Best Practices and Takeaways from Cisco Live – Know Your Audience
According to Cisco’s Cisco Live social media manager, Kathleen Mudge, who presented at EventTech in Las Vegas at the Bellagio November 4-6, one of the key strategies from Cisco Live’s award-winning social media programs is getting to know your audience pre-event. This means learning the conversations happening online, as well as trends, so you can plan effective content and discussions that resonate and engage your audience. Cisco’s understanding of its customer demographic — which is mostly a tech audience — helps it connect on a more personal and engaging level.
A great example of how this info is helpful in its social media strategy was how the team leveraged a statement from CEO John Chamber’s keynote: “We’re all geeks and proud of it.” The team placed the statement on a PowerPoint slide and created an image that became one of the most re-tweeted images of the event.
Mudge advised that visual images – whether photos, charts or graphics are among the most popular and re-tweeted posts. For example, the team posted an image of a low battery to tweet info to attendees about where to find charging station. The team also sent out images to convey statistics, contests, informative/helpful info and brand messaging.
When it Comes to Social Media, “Don’t be Lame”
“Don’t be Lame.” This is one of the more memorable statements to resonate from EventTech. According to keynote speaker Teddy Goff, Digital Director, for President Obama’s 2012 Re-election Campaign, it was a directive he gave his team.
Teddy Goff: “Don’t be lame.”
His team focused on creating content that was fun, shareable and engaging versus content that was marketing-focused. Goff advised “people care about issues if you reach them the right way.” Sharing simple charts of recent trends and research were among the most popular social media posts and proved to be much more effective in reaching people than simply hosting webpages for whitepapers or press releases.
Key to the campaign’s success was harnessing the exponential reach of its known supporters to make contact with their extended social media network as they shared interesting stats and posts. Goff’s digital team and their strategies were among the most effective grassroots organizing in history – raising $690 million.
Written By: Don Munro
Posted: November 20th, 2013 | Author: Don Munro | Filed under: Best Practices, Case Study, Engagement Marketing, Events Industry, Product News, Social Media | Tags: ACTIVE Conference, Adobe, Adobe Summit, breakout session management, Cisco, Cisco Live, Event Marketer, EventTech Award, EventTech Conference, Kathleen Mudge, lead management, onsite session scanning, registration software, social media, social media impressions | No Comments »
We’re thrilled that our customers, Cisco and Adobe, were recognized for their achievements in meetings and events recently at Event Marketer magazine’s annual EventTech conference. Here’s a summary from Christine Gallatig-Ottow, who attended the EventTech Conference with our customers.
With its hashtag trending nationally twice on Twitter during its event, it is easy to see why Cisco Live won
the Gold EventTech Award for “Best Use of Social Media B-to-B” at the EventTech Conference in Las Vegas November 4-6. In a workshop, Kathleen Mudge, consultant and social media manager for Cisco Live, shared how Cisco Live 2013 reached 227 million social media impressions – an increase of almost double over the year before.
Cisco dedicated onsite space near registration for a very visible “Social Media Hub,” where Cisco Live attendees could view all event posts and activity on large screens, and interact with the social media team. Many would stop and tweet or post, and then take a picture of their post when they saw it on the ‘big screen”. Thus, online engagement turned into onsite engagement and vice-versa.
The space also included a lounge area for those who wanted to set “meet or tweet-ups.” Mudge advised the hub played a major role in keeping the attendees networking and social media activity focused on the Cisco brand during the event.
Here are some key takeaways from Cisco’s success:
- Conduct pre-event listening to know top trends, interests among your audience;
- Plan out your workflow, staff roles and responsibilities in advance;
- Create an event playbook and map out your pre-set posts, tweets, in advance but also leave room for your real-time onsite creative program;
- Measure outcomes and discuss insights.
Adobe won big at EventTech, too. Adobe won for the innovative ways in which the company used ACTIVE Conference™ for Adobe Summit, one of the world’s premiere digital marketing events. Adobe leveraged the capabilities of ACTIVE Conference to provide attendees with more personalized experiences at the event. ACTIVE Conference provided Summit participants with:
- registration services
- breakout session management
- onsite session scanning
- lead management.
The services enabled the participants to maximize their experience at the conference and provided the data needed for more personalized lead nurturing, which led to a strong return on investment.
Nice going, Adobe!
Written By: Don Munro
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Case Study, Event Planner, Events Blog, Events Industry | Tags: ACTIVE RegOnline, event management software, event management system, event websites, online registration services, online registration system | No Comments »
Here’s a post from Christine Ottow at ACTIVE Network; who shares real-life stories from customers that have benefited from using ACTIVE RegOnline.
How do you judge the success of your meetings and events solutions? Event management software offers an array of benefits, including: time savings and efficiency, increased compliance, visibility and reporting, payment and accounting accuracy, and attendee experience. All of these things can be valuable on their own. But bundled together, they can deliver significant impact to a company’s bottom line.
Following are some examples of how our clients have seen specific, monetary results with the ACTIVE RegOnline online registration services and event management system:
- Letting people sign up and pay online led to a 15% increase in sign-ups and revenue for Anheuser-Busch’s Brewery Tours. Plus, the upfront payments mean no-shows have gone from 10% to just about zero – and the company is planning to double the number of tours offered.
- Without the automation provided by ACTIVE RegOnline, Denver Catholic Biblical School estimates they would require two additional full time employees to handle all of their recent growth. They also realize savings of about 5% by no longer processing payments internally. On the revenue side, the school is able to add last-minute classes to meet demand based on visibility and the ability to quickly and easily act on it. This drove between $15,000 – $20,000 in incremental revenue in 2012. The bottom line benefit to the organization = $90,000.
- Centris Group cut marketing costs per target attendee by 45%-65% by utilizing registration sites and other tools that make the marketing, communications, registration and tracking processes more streamlined and efficient.
- MPI’s Kansas City chapter has attracted incremental event sponsorship dollars because they can offer enhanced sponsor brand presence and links on event websites and communications.
Have you seen similar results with your online registration system? And if so, which have been the most meaningful to your company and which best justify the cost of the solution?
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: October 24th, 2013 | Author: Don Munro | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Technology Seminar, Events Industry, Mobile, Social Media | Tags: Alan Blank, Alon Alroy, Bizzabo, Eric Ly, LinkedIn, Meetings Tech Expo, mobile event apps, MTE, social media | 2 Comments »
Recently, I attended Meetings Tech Expo in New York City, and I had the chance to hear some great speakers … even greater ideas. Mobile event apps were the hot topic of the day, and here are some pearls of wisdom that I heard:
- Mobile event apps are no longer a novelty; they’re becoming necessary. In a session called “Full Circle Audience Engagement,” LinkedIn cofounder Eric Ly, now the president & CEO of Presdo Inc., which makes an event networking product, emphasized the social media and communities that event apps help foster. “Unlike other areas of the internet where we’re collecting information, social media is information about ourselves; it’s about people – a very powerful tool we use to express our likes and dislikes.” Ly suggested some ways you can use apps and social media to support your event:
- Before the event: Encourage speakers to blog and produce videos about their sessions, and share on social media;
- During the event: Offer incentives, like prizes, to attendees to tweet using your event hashtag;
- After the event: share event content online, such as blogs, presentations, photos, tweets and video highlights.
- Mobile event apps work best when they meet your goals and objectives – not because of their bells and whistles. In a panel of event app developers, Alon Alroy, cofounder and VP of Business Development at Bizzabo, a developer of networking apps for events, said that, when shopping for event apps, first consider conference or event goals. For example, consider whether you plan to network and whether your aim is to give easier access to attendees to content and education. “Then go to vendors and see if their app will help you meet your goals,” said Alroy. “Don’t decide on apps based on features; try to understand your objectives and use apps to achieve your goals.”
- Event apps should be easy to use – otherwise attendees won’t use them. Get into the minds of attendees and their goals. And deliver value to match the commitment you want from them. For example, if you’re asking them to log in to an app, make sure they get value from that, such as the ability to schedule meetings with others in attendance. “It’s really crucial to make sure people use the app, to create a zero barrier to entry,” said Alan Blank, VP of Marketing at Guidebook, Inc., a mobile tech company.
While at MTE, I followed Sarah Beachamp of PCMA’s Convene magazine on Twitter. Check out what she had to say.
Resources: ACTIVE Network whitepapers:
- Benefits of Mobile Technology for Event Organizers
- 5 Ways Mobile Technology is Reshaping Events
Written By: Don Munro
Posted: October 22nd, 2013 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Industry | Tags: Active Network, Anthony Miller, Attendee engagement, Cisco, event technology, Jason Paganessi, Matthew Stein, online community, PCMA, tweetup | No Comments »
Anthony Miller, VP of Strategy at ACTIVE Network, summarizes what attendee engagement really means at its core – “continuing the conversation.” At a recent ACTIVE Network enterprise summit in Orlando, Miller was the panel moderator for the breakout session, Engaging and Growing Audiences, to discuss using content strategies and persistent engagement to put customers at the center of your business.
Miller was joined by Matthew Stein, Sr Manager of Global Content at Cisco; and Jason Paganessi, Vice President of Business Innovation at the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Organizations like Cisco and PCMA that understand customer-, attendee-, and member-centric business models, get the big picture: make your content personal and make it important.
Need a hand? Ask event technology for help
“Don’t be scared of technology,” says Stein, who suggests to first understand what you want your conference to do, and then figure out how event technology can help. Every attendee has a reason they are there so why not find out that reason ahead of time? Creating an online community for speakers before the event, helps them engage with attendees and provides the opportunity to ask questions ahead of time, so speakers can cater their content around attendee’s needs. Another engagement tactic Stein recommends, as seen at the Cisco Live! events in recent years, are live tweetups.
For PCMA, event technology is used as a resource to gain efficiencies with limited staff so they can get back to focusing on the attendee experience. Of the many ways ACTIVE Conference helps PCMA, Paganessi highlighted event registration at its largest conference, Convening Leaders. PCMA administers registration at several partner hotels where attendees can check in for their hotel stay along with their conference registration. By eliminating registration onsite at the convention, there was less mess and staff could focus on the event experience and engaging attendees.
Are you sharing TMI?
One attendee asked the very important question, do you ever worry about over communication? This is a valid concern in a world where data can be sent quickly and easily through email and social media. But the issue isn’t actually as much about over communicating as is it is about ‘under valuing’. What you are sending HAS to add value to your audience or else it will go into an abyss of junk mail.
What ways have you, or your organization, found success with audience engagement? Share your own tips with us below!
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: October 17th, 2013 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Planner, Events Industry, Industry Research and Stats | Tags: Active Network, Donny Neufuss, Ellucian Live, event webcasting, hybrid events, Jim Kelley, PRG, Ron Mickey, Sonic Foundry | No Comments »
Event webcasting should not be overlooked as bait to bring in potential attendees who are still fishing around to join an event in person. Cast a line with hybrid events and you might be surprised with the conversion the following year. In fact, the 2013 Virtual Edge Institute Digital Event Benchmark Report stated that 47.7% of respondents said 10% or higher of their past online attendees have attended a subsequent in-person event.
Three industry experts – Donny Neufuss, Senior Account Manager, MediaSite Event Services at Sonic Foundry; Jim Kelley, Director, Global Accounts at PRG; and Ron Mickey, Conference Director at Ellucian Live – joined the Mastering Hybrid Events panel at a recent ACTIVE Network enterprise summit in Orlando led by Kevin Iwamoto, Vice President, Industry Strategy at ACTIVE Network. Although the majority of the audience hadn’t begun using hybrid events within their own organizations, the audience was intrigued by the potential and opportunity that event webcasting can offer.
- Neufuss: Begin by defining the strategy of what you want to accomplish with the content. As part of your agenda, you can post the topics online and as the content is ready (usually within 24 hours or sooner) you can update the session titles with links to the videos.
- Mickey: Prepare speakers for the virtual audience so they are comfortable with focusing the session to both groups and interact accordingly. For example, don’t ask the live audience to break out into groups as the virtual audience will not be able to follow.
- Kelley: Added on that you should prepare the live audience there is a virtual event happening as well. In-person attendees may be less busy taking notes and become more interactive knowing the content will be stored online. And, always remember that content is king and can be used in a variety of ways.
- Is there additional equipment needed for hybrid events? No – most of the equipment is already needed for a live event.
- How long does it take to setup? Not long – about the same time as the audio/visual setup.
- What do I do with the content once I have it? Use it for year-round engagement and, as recommended by Mickey, audience acquisition for the following year’s event.
Crawl before you run with event webcasting
Each panel member agreed that getting your feet wet before diving in is the best approach. Start by testing with one room or one track in the first year and see what results you get. Then take the lessons learned and decide if expanding would be a successful route for your conference or event.
Are you considering building a hybrid option into your meetings and events program? Share your thoughts with us here!
For more tips on event webcasting, check out panelist Donny Neufuss’ ACTIVE Network guest blog.
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: October 17th, 2013 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Industry, Green Events, Mobile | Tags: Active Network, event management, event technology, Kelly Peacy, meetings and events industry, mobile event apps, online communities, PCMA | No Comments »
This is the second entry of our Technology Innovator’s Corner series, where we share tips from industry experts that you can take back to your own meeting and event planning.
Ensuring your members are educated and engaged is not only important for member retention but also for getting them involved in your meetings and other events as well.
ACTIVE Network spent time with Kelly Peacy, Senior Vice President of Meetings and Education at the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), to better understand what drives successful year-round member programs for PCMA and how to make them last into the future.
Peacy ranked her top five member education tips, with details on best practices of how to implement each one:
- Collect member intelligence for program ideas
- Engage attendees before and after the meeting
- Make everything a learning opportunity
- Eliminate paper-printed materials
- Use one event technology system to streamline events
An example of how PCMA is engaging its meetings attendees can be seen in the online communities they are focused on building; to create a welcoming atmosphere for attendees/members. And with the help of mobile event apps, PCMA is going green by eliminating paper-based materials. This area of event management is important not only in helping the environment but keeping attendees and members engaged in PCMA educational materials.
Check out the full interview to learn more details from Peacy and PCMA, which should be considered for any organization in the meetings and events industry. How are you educating your members and attendees? Share your best practices with us below!
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: October 14th, 2013 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Case Study, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Industry, Mobile | Tags: Active Network, BlackBerry, BlackBerry Live, enhance attendee experience, mobile event technology, mobile technology | No Comments »
Cristina Simoes, Sr Manager, Conference & Events Management at BlackBerry, has the inside scoop on technology that will mobilize your badging process… literally. BlackBerry Live introduced the new mobile badge with RFID technology from ACTIVE Network earlier this year.
“We need to try new things and take chances,” said Simoes, at the ACTIVE Network Enterprise Meetings and Events Summit in San Francisco, CA. Simoes wowed attendees at the event with a live demo of the progressive mobile event technology that delivered:
- Mobile badges
- Lead retrieval
- Session Scanning
BlackBerry Live’s goal is to “make it the most mobile conference ever.” With the exciting deployment of this mobile technology, they removed the need for additional equipment. The mobile badge turns the smartphone into a scanner where sponsors can simply tap the attendee BlackBerry smartphone to obtain contact information. Download the BlackBerry Live case study or watch the video for more details!
How would you use mobile badges with NFC technology to enhance the attendee experience at your events?
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer