Posted: February 19th, 2013
I attended the PCMA Convening Leaders conference in early January (Disclosure: ACTIVE Network is a communications partner with PCMA). This will be my third time attending the conference, which has a reputation for driving technology innovation within the industry. This year’s conference was no different with lunch incorporate into part of the experiment – testing different cuisines or creating a learning lunch area.
As a marketer, I’m always looking at how technology can be leveraged for your event. Here are three considerations for your next event:
- Shout it with Tout: Think of Tout as a video version of Twitter. Why would you use it versus YouTube? The key here is using a video medium to capture questions, feedback and reactions in 15 seconds or less. As an organizer, it’s a great “teaser” to other content at your event. Currently being leveraged by media outlet and consumer organizations, such as 49ers and WWE, Tout is venturing into the events space. Hurry – while currently free, the company may soon move to a paid model.
- In-person versus Virtual perspectives: While I was unable to attend this session, I did hear some very positive feedback from attendees. Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw lead a session that challenged attendees to evaluate how room sets (the type of seating used as well as layout) can impact learning and participation for attendees. This was also streamed to the virtual audience. The key take away? For the virtual audience, they had a different reaction to the room sets than those sitting in the convention center. If you plan to stream a physical event to a virtual audience, be aware that how virtual audiences “see” the room and presentation is significantly different than a physical audience.
- Mobile is the New Black: Mid last year, we highlighted in several blog postings about the level of mobile usage within the meetings and events industry. At the time, we noticed that mobile was just gaining ground with mobile usage beginning to saturate beyond 100% (meaning owning more than one mobile device). At PCMA, it became clear that mobile devices, from smart phones to tablets, are an essential part of an event planner’s life. In fact, the learning lounge session on tablet tricks & tips and mobile apps were regularly overflowing. Beyond leveraging mobile devices to help with event logistics, attendees will begin expecting a mobile event app to help navigate the show floor itself.
What event technology ideas are you seeing at events?
Posted: January 8th, 2013
by kevin033 via flickr
I’ve been with ACTIVE Network for over a year now and I’ve seen the industry transform greatly. There are signs that the industry is recovering and technology will become an increasingly important facet of face-to-face meetings for 2013.
In December, ACTIVE published our own list of five trends impacting corporate events in 2013, briefly:
- Events are becoming smarter – this means that you will have even more information at your finger tips to understand the needs and wants of your constituents in real time.,
- Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) is the new business automation – With our acquisition of StarCite last year, we see new opportunities for SMM to help organizations of all sizes – large and small – get a better handle on spend management to increase savings and control.
- Consolidated event technology will provide one-stop shop for organizers – instead of purchasing point solutions that you have to integrate with one another, we believe that having a modular platform that you can plug-and-play technology as you need it will be key in 2013.
- Ensuring your audiences are engaged on multiple platforms will be the norm – mobile and tablet devices are the norm for event attendees. Leveraging these multiple, mobile platforms to extend the event will only enhance the experience for audiences.
- And finally, we’ll be able to measure the value of face-to-face interactions.
You can read the full summary here.
Additional Articles on event trends for 2013:
- Meetings & Conventions highlights the increased demand within the hospitality industry which may boost average daily and occupancy rates
- Special Events highlights that mobile technology and technology continue to expand reach of live events, while tight budgets open the door for digital enhancements.
- Smart Meetings provides their list of top trends under four categories covering food & beverage, décor, technology and industry at large.
- Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw provides his five trends from the participant’s perspective: participation economy, social sharing, content economy, smobile (social + mobile) web, and last generation sponsorship.
- Meetings Net takes the event planner’s perspective on the 5 things that planners want: location, sustainability, healthy food & beverage, team adventure and technology.
Share your 2013 event trends below.
Posted: December 11th, 2012
We’re looking forward to PCMA Convening Leaders, which is just 3 weeks away in Orlando, FL. As an event management technology provider to PCMA, we are leading tours on how PCMA is using technology at the convention. We will provide an exclusive look at our technology in action from how attendees can check into the conference from the convenience of their hotel to the mobile event app, social media integration, surveys and more at the conference.
Sign up for one of our 7 tours before all spaces are reserved:
- Monday, January 14: 7:30 am, 9:45 am, 3:00 pm
- Tuesday, January 15: 7:30 am, 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 2:45 pm
And for participating on the tour or visiting our kiosk in the Learning Lounge Partner area, receive a free copy of our new study – Event Trends: 2008-2012. The study looks at eRFP patterns in five key U.S. meeting destinations to help meeting planners and suppliers make smart decisions in 2013.
Unable to make a tour? Leave us a comment and we’re more than happy to meeting one-on-one or answer any questions you have.
Posted: June 4th, 2012
From June 10-13, PCMA will be holding its annual Education Conference. This year’s education is centered around how to get the best bottom line out of your events from attendance buiding, saving money on your events (both face-to-face and virtual) to leadership and business acumen.
Event Technology Tours
As a partner of PCMA, our Active Network, Business Solutions team will be in San Antonio. We will once again bring our popular event technology tour to PCMA Educon. The tour will highlight how PCMA is leveraging event technology from registration and session scanning to real-time data and mobile applications to deliver an engaging event experience. Sign up today for one of two tours at http://bit.ly/Educon or even suggest a time to meet one-on-one:
- Monday, June 11, 9:30 – 9:50 am
- Wednesday, June 13, 9:30 – 9:50 am
In addition to our event tech tours, we’re expanding our tours to include suppliers – how you can leverage technology to expand busines revenue, win more business and drive efficiencies for your properties. To participate in these tours, join one of the two groups at http://bit.ly/PCMASupplier or suggest a time to meet one-on-one:
- Tuesday, June 12, 9:00 – 9:20 am
- Tuesday, June 12, 2:15 – 2:35 pm
The Battle Between SMMP and Event Marketing: Myth vs. Reality
On June 11, 2012 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm, Kevin Iwamoto, an expert on Strategic Meetings Management and Vice President with Active Network, Business Solutions, will be particpating on a panel to bridge the gap between SMMP and event marketing. Kevin will provide the SMMP perspective with Elizabeth Lathan, Event Marketing Director, Dell | Global Event Marketing providing insight from event marketing.
Learn how SMMP can complement and integrate with you event marketing strategy.
We look forward to seeing you at PCMA, either in person at our kiosk located behind the registration area or on Twitter at @ActiveBusiness.
Posted: May 30th, 2012
Choosing the right event app can be a daunting process. As with any new technology it can be difficult to know which option is the best for your needs. Before choosing a mobile event application (app), it’s important to consider a few things before taking the plunge into the mobile event app world. My advice when choosing any new type of software or technology is to always go back to basics and think about your fundamental event needs and requirements first.
Here are a few questions to consider when choosing a mobile event app:
- Audience – what are the demographics and technographics?
As with any marketing activity, it’s important to begin with your audience and consider their needs, demographics and technographics. This will tell you how they are likely to interact with your event. A younger audience or those who work within the technology industry may expect more from a mobile app, such as the ability to share via social media or mobile gaming elements. Those less accustomed to using mobile technology may not get as much value from it and would require something more utilitarian (e.g. session schedules) and easy-to-use.
- Strategy – how will this enhance the overall event experience?
Mobile offers a host of benefits for event attendees but consider what elements of mobile technology will really contribute to your overall event strategy. If your audience is an environmentally conscious bunch and you’re aiming for a greener event, a mobile app can significantly cut down on printed material and a large amount of waste. If your event is innovative and fun, you could even incorporate a branded interactive game into your app.
- Objective -what are you seeking to accomplish?
Achieving targets related to event ROI (return on investment), ROE (return on engagement) and brand building are all part and parcel of any successful meeting or event. Mobile can help deliver on all of these but different levels of mobile apps will allow you to achieve more with the technology. Perhaps your key objective for this year’s event is increased return on engagement and extending the event lifecycle? Then you may want to focus more of your budget on a robust mobile app to engage with your audience, offering special features such as games, videos or a series of surveys.
- Metrics – how will you measure the success?
Like everything in life these days, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, and ultimately you can’t justify it in the business world. Mobile event apps offer important reporting capabilities that put the power of metrics in your hand. Encouraging your event attendees to use and take full advantage of your mobile app will, in turn deliver more of the metrics you need to measure success.
- Budget – how much will it cost?
Your event budget will often be dictated by the size, type, and complexity of event you’re organizing. Many of the larger tradeshows and conferences now include a budget for their mobile event app as standard whereas smaller meetings and events may just be entertaining the idea. Either way there is a mobile solution available for all budgets from a simple out-of-the-box solution with limited customization/configuration and basic features to native apps, developed especially for an event or brand with advanced features and interactive elements. If you’re already working with an event management software company many of them now offer mobile as standard, so it is worth exploring what your current provider can offer.
Are there other considerations or tips you would recommend when selecting a mobile app for your event?
For more on mobile event technology check out the following links:
Active Network Mobile Suite
The Future of Events is Mobile White Paper
Infographic – Mobile is on the Rise: Meeting and Event Professionals Take Notice
Posted: May 21st, 2012
According to the International Telecommunication Union (2011), 87% of the world now has mobile technology. What does this mean for marketers, event professionals and sales organizations? That mobile is an essential component of our business and a necessity for creating engagement with our key audiences – customers, partners and employees.
Today, I’m pleased to announce the introduction of our mobile suite that provides a portfolio of mobile event apps to address the marketing needs of an organization and for any type, size or complexity meeting and event.
Posted: May 3rd, 2012
By: Cece Salomon-Lee, Director of Marketing
On April 30, 2012, the Ex Awards honored the best in innovations related to pop-up retail, digital and physical convergence and integrated event-based B2B marketing at the Event Marketing Summit in Chicago. It was only a few years ago (I believe in 2009 or 2010) that the Hybrid or Live+Digital category was added to these awards.
Then, the discussion was around the impact that virtual or hybrid events would have on physical events. As we’ve discovered since, technology – whether social, mobile or virtual – can greatly enhance the experiential component of an event when incorporated as part of the strategy of that event.
Cisco has been one of the innovators in leveraging technology to enhance audience experience. And once again, Cisco was recognized with a Gold Ex Award in the Live+Digital category of its Global Sales Experience event. The event brought together over 20,000 sales members worldwide.
We are proud to be part of the team that brought this event to fruition. Congratulations to Cisco GSX on a well-deserved award, as well as (in alpha):
- The great team at Active Network (yes, I’m playing favorites) – attendee management and scheduling tools
- George P. Johnson- strategy and experience design
- INXPO – virtual platform
- JUXT Interactive – creative and interactive design
Read the press release or learn more about how Active Network powered Cisco Live!
Posted: July 15th, 2011
We’re happy to announce that we will be exhibiting at Association Congress 2011 in London (July 18 – 19), Europe’s largest association conference. The event will be held at the Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington – London N1 0QH.
Here is where you can find us:
- Technology Seminar presented by Banks Holcombe, Head of Sales EMEA at Active Network, Events on Tuesday at 9:15am.
- Exhibit Floor, Booth #45 – Schedule an Event Technology Demo with us or stop by to have a chat with a member of the Active team. Click here to request a technology demo.
Hope to see you in London!
Active Network | Events
Posted: July 7th, 2011
People are digesting more and more media through the internet, so providing interesting and valuable insight on your website that’s relevant to your customers’ needs is an effective way of increasing engagement.
It also drives web traffic, builds kudos through the knowledge and expertise it demonstrates, and boosts loyalty by adding value to the online customer experience. Growing the customer-focused content on your website also helps increase search engine optimisation as it confirms relevance to search engines like Google, which view it as an online resource.
The first lesson for anyone planning a digital content strategy is that the information must be engaging and relevant to their target market and not just sales focused. For many marketers, this may require a shift in mindset.
Why do you need a content strategy?
Having a content strategy helps brands focus on what’s important to them and their target market. It means avoiding wasting valuable time and resources on content that may or may not appeal to internet users and customers. To do this, it’s important to study the target audience in question to determine what information it finds important and valuable. This can be done through a range of activities, from trial-and-error (publishing content and then tracking how many people read it), to audience surveys/focus groups and feedback through existing social media channels.
As well as making sure digital content is appropriate, a good strategy can also help with audience conversion (transforming people from being simply website visitors to customers) and so drive sales. By understanding and catering for the needs of its target audience, a website becomes relevant and appealing to customers and prospects. What’s more, using keywords that relate directly to a website’s digital content creates a more targeted resource that will optimise the visitor-to-customer conversion rate.
Understanding customers is nothing new, but being able to drive them directly to the information they want and answer their questions quickly and easily is a key benefit of digital communications. But doing this requires marketers to learn more about their target audiences than simply basic demographic data. The aim should be to develop a comprehensive picture of their interests and desires to inform the creation of a key online resource. Howard Schultz, Chief Executive at Starbucks, which has been extremely successful in social media, describes this as “breaking a code”, in order to give people opportunities to feel good about themselves. He also considers the experience of ‘discovery’ to be very important for communicating content (Harvard Business Manager Special, Oct 2010, “Managers need to reveal weaknesses”). This suggests that people are likely to be more loyal when the make their own ‘discoveries’ on the internet during the process of searching for information using a search engine like Google, than simply being directed to it.
Importantly, if a brand or business is already active in a range of social media channels, then any relevant digital content it produces – from written articles to applications and video – should be used to feed this activity, increasing and broadening audience engagement and driving more web traffic.
How can marketers do this?
Producing this kind of customer-focused digital content is not something that marketers are traditionally accustomed to. But to really engage customers and drive brand awareness, it’s important to create regular new content that promotes and encourages two-way dialogue with your audience. Doing this successfully requires techniques more usually associated with journalism. Indeed social media makes it possible for organisations to become publishers and so the line between these disciplines is becoming increasingly blurred.
It’s crucial that any content produced must also be tailored for publishing on the required channel – whether that’s a blog, Facebook page or Twitter. Employing a one-size-fits-all approach will not work in this situation, as each channel requires a different approach. Furthermore, the relevance of the topics will be a deciding factor in whether information will be shared further, or disappear without being noticed.
Tone and style also need to be clearly defined. It’s not about broadcasting advertising slogans. Building a successful content strategy revolves around creating an entertaining form of brand and sector-related reporting. It is important to remember not everyone will react to a brand, so in many cases it is better not to appear too polished and corporate.
Beyond simply generating the content, the brand’s ‘editors’ also need to ensure that they encourage community members to participate in groups and social media channels, promoting feedback. After all, the whole purpose of modern communication channels is to encourage discussion and interaction. From this feedback, brands can not only gain valuable customer thoughts and opinions about their existing products and services, but also use obtain key information that can drive future product development.
Posted: June 23rd, 2011
Our society is witnessing the rise of a group of people who have grown up with the internet, and been the catalyst behind the dramatic transformation of the way we communicate today. Not only are they very much at home in the digital environment and highly active online, but they are also driving our adoption of social media. This group is known as Generation Y.
Who are Generation Y?
As a demographic classification, Generation Y first appeared in 1993. It refers to anyone born after 1981 – the successors to both Generation X and the Baby Boomers. This group are the workers and wealth generators of today, and are a highly influential target audience for marketers and brand owners.
However, their drivers and motivators differ distinctly from previous generations and their consumption psychology is one born from the new media age. This psychology affects both the way they consume media and how they are motivated to buy into a brand proposition.
“Generation Y’s acquaintance and aptitude with technology in all its forms, from an early age, sets it apart from previous generations,” says Professor Rob Davidson from Greenwich University. “This is the first demographic to grow up with the internet and it is clear that its members view the web as a two-way communications tool. This has led a shift in media consumption towards the internet, social media and mobile phones. As a group, Generation Y also demands more honesty and engagement from the brands it buys from, meaning organisations need to think beyond conventional marketing to make an impact.”
Crucially, they are a critical and difficult audience to communicate with in conventional terms and with conventional media. As a group, they demand transparency from a brand, and to be valued and treated with respect. What’s more, in an environment of ‘social advocacy’, any brand that tries to, or inadvertently, misleads them will potentially find itself damaged.
So having established this fundamental ground rule, brands also need to consider how Generation Y respond to media. They react best to communications that understand their uniqueness, and their particular way of receiving and processing information. The key is to use as few words and as many strong images as possible.
Telling the brand story
It’s vital to be aware that the balance of power has shifted, and to understand that rather being directly sold to, Generation Y want to be engaged. Marketers need to consider whether they are still telling stories about their brand or whether they are helping their customers to tell theirs. Brands should be encouraging customers to ask: “Where do I feature in this story?” In short, Generation Y do not buy the brand or the product, they buy what that product does for them.
Generation Y buy on emotion and justify purchases with logic. Social currency is emotional, but conventional research and focus groups generally only return logical responses. So marketers need to understand the emotive effect of their brand or product on this sector of society and deliver two key drivers of behaviour: the need to belong and the need to be significant. You cannot buy the attention of Generation Y, you have to earn it!
Get it right and Generation Y can not only be a tremendous source of new ideas for a brand to evolve itself, and at the deepest level of engagement can and should be involved in the evolution of products, services and brands.