Posted: January 7th, 2014 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Industry, Social Media | Tags: Active Network, facebook, Jay Baer, social media, social media strategy, Twitter | 1 Comment »
Image provided by mkhmarketing via Flickr.
In last week’s post, we discussed reasonable types of goals organization’s set for their companies and events. If you missed it, you can read it here. Today, we’ll work on our tactics. To get started with your social media strategy, you’ll need a little more information:
Identify your “one thing.” Social media author, speaker and consultant, Jay Baer, says it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product’s features and benefits aren’t enough to ignite passion in anyone other than you. He urges organizations to appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head. “Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?”
Identify your audience. What does your audience look like? Look at its sociographic, demographic and technographic make up. Where do they live socially?
Social Listening. Find out what’s being said about your organization, event and industry. What are the hot topics? What are people fired up about? What types of things do they “share” or forward to others? Learn to use keyword research tools, such as the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, to identify the words and phrases people are using to find content in your industry – and on social channels.
Competitive Analysis. It’s always a good idea to see what the competition is doing – even with social media. Does your competitor dominate a specific channel? Have they left the door wide open on another? Can you identify their “one thing?”
Now that you know what you want to do and where your audience is, you can choose your platform. But again, be reasonable. Pick one or two, at most, and focus. The most important thing to remember as you ramp up your social media efforts is that you’re trying to build relationships. You’re talking with people, not at them. Think ping pong, rather than archery.
- Build your profile on your chosen platform (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Use those keywords.
- Make sure your social channels are integrated with your website.
- Start following the people who are talking about your industry or product.
- Start commenting on blogs, LinkedIn posts, Facebook, etc. Just add your two cents.
- Start making posts of your own. You voice should be authentic, transparent and engaging. Don’t push your goals too hard yet. You’re trying to build a following.
- Share your content. Why hide it behind member-only walls? Could it do more good shared?
- Don’t over post –or under post.
- If your platform supports it, schedule “chats” or start a discussion group.
- Know when to get out of the way. If your audience wants to move a conversation in a specific direction, let them.
- Always respond to negative comments. Tell us how you’re addressing the issue.
- Think collaboration. What could your audience help with? Socializing topics or speakers for your event? Features for a new product? Social media is like having a free focus group.
- Help attendees engage. Launch a game. Introduce people. Connect exhibitors and speakers with attendees.
- Make a point to meet your followers at industry events. Plan a “meet-up” for everyone.
- Congratulations, you’ve started building a community.
For a complete and definitive guide to using social media for events, download ACTIVE Network’s Social Media Playbook, with articles and checklists for best using each of the major social media platforms.
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: January 3rd, 2014 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Event Planner, Events Industry, Social Media | Tags: Active Network, event planners, facebook, LinkedIn, meetings and events industry, Pinterest, social media, social media strategy, Twitter | 3 Comments »
Image provided by bizbuzzmedia via Flickr.
Like most event planners, you’ve probably got a Facebook page, and maybe a Twitter account. It could be you’re part of a LinkedIn group or have your own Pinterest board, and maybe you’re feeling pretty good about your 3,000 “Likes” and 500 followers.
But what are you accomplishing? Have they converted to sales? How many of your LinkedIn group members are registered for your event? And which of your followers are using their own networks to evangelize on your behalf?
The sad fact is most of us in the meetings and events industry are using social media without a strategy, without goals and without measurement. Hence, wasting much of our time.
Without a strategy, goals and well-planned tactics, you could be spending all your time on Twitter, while potential attendees are on Facebook – having a wonderful conversation with your competitor.
Before you can write your social media strategy, you need a clear understanding of your business goals. What is your organization trying to accomplish this year? Are you launching a new product? Hoping to gain 20 percent more market share? Do you want your association to be seen as the education leader in your field? Maybe you want 500 new members/customers this year. These are the goals that will drive your social media strategy. And it’s important to identify them because different social media tools will work best for each one.
Though you certainly may have separate event goals – increase attendance by 10 percent, grow sponsor revenue 20 percent, etc. – your event goals should also tie to your organization’s business strategy. For instance, if your business goal is to get 500 new members/customers this year, what will you do at the event to help make that happen? And how can social media support you?
Armed with business and event goals, you can now start to write your social media strategy – but keep your objectives realistic and measurable. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – one or two goals will do it. These are typical – and reasonable – types of goals organizations set for their companies and events:
- Establish the organization as a thought leader
- Establish the organization as an education leader
- Increase the number of new attendees
- Increase the return attendee rate
- Increase the spend of returning attendees
- Gather more information about attendees/customers – education needs, spending plans, etc.
- Expand the reach of the event/organization through the advocacy of attendees/customers
- Expand awareness of the event to – and grow – niche audiences
- Build community
- Drive more traffic to specific parts of the event – or specific exhibitors
- Make the industry more aware of everything your organization offers
- Extend the reach of the conference to an at-home audience
- Increase the organization’s (or event’s) visibility in search results
Stay tuned next week for Part Two of this Social Media Strategy post, where we’ll examine the social media tactics you need to employ to reach your business and event goals.
And for a complete and definitive guide to using social media for events, download ACTIVE Network’s Social Media Playbook, with articles and checklists for best using each of the major social media platforms.
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: December 13th, 2013 | Author: Rebecca Yetzer | Filed under: Best Practices, Engagement Marketing, Event Planner, Events Blog, Events Industry, Global Event Perspectives, Industry Research and Stats, Strategic Meetings Management | Tags: attendee experience, big data, Buzzfeed, cloud computing, cloud software, event marketing, event planners, event technology, event webcasting, Forbes, Gartner, German Convention Bureau, hybrid events, Maritz Travel, Meeting Professionals International, meetings and events industry, SMM, SMMP, Sonic Foundry, strategic meetings management, strategic meetings management program, top 5 event technology trends | 2 Comments »
Image provided via Flickr.
The government shut down. A former Disney child star goes wild. Breaking Bad comes to an end. These are just a few things we’re happy to leave behind in 2013. But as we look on to the New Year, we’re excited about where our own industry is headed and want to share the top 5 event technology trends for 2014 we think should be on your radar.
1. Cloud software will make a huge footprint in the industry
Event planners continue to work in a high-stress, high-demand field – that is definitely not a new trend. But event technology designed to make their lives easier is absolutely at the top of our trends list. Moving away from multiple-point solutions to one consolidated platform (cloud software) is one of the most talked about topics in the meetings and events industry now and growing into the future. “We’re seeing over 50% of enterprises prioritizing private cloud in 2013 to 2014, and there will likely be very few private clouds that don’t have a public [hybrid] component,” said Dave Bartoletti, analyst with Forrester Research Inc.
In fact, according to Gartner, by 2016 cloud computing will become the bulk of IT spend and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
2. Big Data will lead the way to big business success
While you may just be on the cusp of understanding what Big Data means and how it benefits your business, enterprise companies are already seeing the positive effects of Big Data initiatives. A recent survey paper, The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs from Forbes and Rock Fuel, finds that most marketers agree Big Data helps:
- More than 9 in 10 companies (92%) who said they had made sufficient use of Big Data met or exceeded their goals, while just 5% of those who made sufficient use of it fell short.
Companies are looking for ways to merge their event marketing and spend data to gain a better understanding of their business and apply those conclusions to improved business practices – such as more efficient event management and dynamic attendee experiences.
3. SMM will be the phrase heard round-the-world
Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) is starting to emerge in Europe, in which the German Convention Bureau revealed in a recent meetings and conventions study that 28.6% of respondents felt very strongly that globalization will be influential in the future.
The more notable location to watch though is China, as their business travel spending is projected to expand 17.2% in 2014. SMM adoption throughout Asia-Pacific, especially in China, will be essential as businesses there struggle to contain costs and cut risk. Steve O’Malley, Senior Vice President of Maritz Travel explains that many companies are now looking, “to find ways to enjoy the savings and risk mitigations that they’re now getting here in North America, where SMMP [Strategic Meetings Management Program] is a well-developed practice, and extend that overseas to the other largest markets they serve.”
4. Hybrid Events will be more than your event’s sidekick
Meeting organizers are progressing from just having a conversation about hybrid events, to now actually making them part of their event. Event webcasting and hybrid events are hitting a tipping point, especially now that real data exists to show their value. According to a recent Aberdeen Group report, 55% of companies surveyed plan to either start using or increase their use of virtual online events, in part as a way to show a meeting or event’s return on investment.
Another reason is conversion. 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. Additionally, a recent project conducted by Meeting Professionals International (MPI), sponsored by Sonic Foundry (Disclosure: Sonic Foundry is an ACTIVE Network partner), showed that 23% of event planners surveyed said that after going hybrid, attendance actually went up. But remember, you can’t just decide to go hybrid – you have to really own it to be successful. Samuel J. Smith, an event technology consultant and President of Interactive Meeting Technology, put things in perspective: it’s all about “how you design the content and the experience to engage those people and keep them connected.” Which brings us to our next trend…
5. Content will remain king – with no plans of giving up the crown
According to MPI’s 2013 Q3 Business Barometer, innovative format and content delivery is a major meetings industry trend. It’s more important than ever to be creating content that adds value to your audience and ignites an interest and loyalty with them to your business. Content also plays a role in helping events attract attendees by building a “buyer’s vision” that addresses challenges and solutions.
“The user is now at the top of the value chain. The consumer is deciding what they want to see and how they want to see it,” said Buzzfeed’s Jonathan Perelman, VP of Agency Strategy. Very true and you might already be aware of. But he adds on with something you’ll want to take with you into the New Year, about understanding how content travels online, “Data is useless unless you have insights on it… content is king but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” Going back to Trend #2 on our list – get on board with Big Data!
Additional articles on event and meeting trends for 2014:
IMEX Forecasts 2014 Meeting Trends (IMEX)
4 Trends That Will Impact Meeting Professionals in 2014 (PCMA)
14 Meetings Technology Trends to Watch for 2014 (Corbin Ball)
10 Event Trends for 2014 (Event Manager Blog)
Meetings & Events Advises on 2014 Trends (CWT)
Top Meeting Trends of 2014 (Destination Hotels & Resorts)
Top 5 Meetings Megatrends (German Convention Bureau)
Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends of 2014 (Wellness Tourism Worldwide)
Feel free to share your own 2014 meeting and event predictions below. We wish you lots of success in the New Year!
 Gartner Says Cloud Computing Will Become the Bulk of New IT Spend by 2016, Gartner, October 24, 2013
 Survey Demonstrates The Benefits Of Big Data, Forbes, November 15, 2013
 German Convention Bureau Study Reveals Future Industry Trends, Meetings & Conventions, October 23, 2013
 GBTA Predicts China Business Travel Spend to Increase by 14.3% in 2013, and at More than Double the Rate of the US in 2014, GBTA, October 24, 2013
 Event Marketing, Aberdeen Group, November 2013
 Americas: How to Create a Hybrid Event, International Meetings Review, November 18, 2013
 Meeting Professionals Trade Uncertainty for Creativity, MPI Reports, Successful Meetings, November 6, 2013
 Event Marketing, Aberdeen Group, November 2013
 Digital advertising: ‘If content is king, distribution is queen’, ScreenDaily, October 23, 2013
Written By: Rebecca Yetzer
Posted: December 11th, 2013 | Author: Cece Salomon-Lee | Filed under: Best Practices, Events Blog | Tags: Best Practices, event management, event planning, hybrid events, mobile event app, tips | 1 Comment »
In our previous post, we highlighted the top five most popular blog posts and Rebecca shared our top trends for 2014. Our last post in the end-of-the-year series, we want to highlight the top five event technology and management tips from our blog this past year.
- Top Five Tips for Choosing a Mobile App for Your Event – Mobile is definitely a top topic for most of our customers, so it’s no surprise that this post was the top for 2013. Did you know that ACTIVE RegOnline includes a free mobile event app? Watch the video to learn more.
- Global Perspective – Top Give Tips to Network and Learn at Industry Conferences – According to Aberdeen, one of the top reasons to attend an event is to meet new contacts for sales and business development. If you’re uncomfortable networking, read this post on 5 quick and easy ways to begin networking at your next conference.
- Top 3 Tips for Hybrid Events from Event Webcasting Experts – From our partners at Sonic Foundry, this post provides best practices and common questions for creating a hybrid event – an event with in-person and online components. And maybe most importantly, start small before going big.
- Nine Tips for Choosing a Hybrid Events Streaming Partner – Another helpful post from Sonic Foundry, this one focused on the top 9 questions to help define your goals for webcasting and the best partner to help you plan and hold a flawless hybrid event.
- Five Tips to Save Money on Your Next Event – Earlier this year, I attended the HSMAI Event in Anaheim and attended a session on how to “Save Across the Board” presented by Caroll Reuben, CMP, SMM. Read this for great insights for your next event, such as did you know coffee is one of the most expensive items you can purchase?
We look forward to working with everyone in 2014. Have a great holiday and a better New Year!
Share your tips with us in the comments or like/tweet this post.
End-of-the-Year Blog Posts
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