Using Mobile Apps to Build an Intelligent Trade Show and Conference

October 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

Join me at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! on Thursday, December 8, 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. for “Using New Tech Tools to Organize “Intelligent” Events.

Deploying a mobile app before, during, and after a trade show and conference has one obvious benefit—the cost and environmental savings from replacing some or all of the printed show directories. However, that isn’t the only reason for event producers to consider a mobile app. If building an intelligent event—one that yields relevant, immediate, and accurate information—is one of the organization’s goals, mobile apps are a critical part of that strategy.

Getting session & speaker evaluations back ASAP

Using a mobile app to deliver electronic session and speaker evaluations has some significant advantages.  (1) Results are obtained in real time, which improves the organizer’s ability to evaluate content just after it is offered. Paper evaluations—basic handouts or Scantron forms—are not environmentally friendly and require more labor to distribute, collect, and summarize.  A mobile app can collect feedback and tabulate the results instantly.  (2) Speakers can learn how attendees received the content shortly after presenting it as opposed to weeks after the event ends.  (3) Evaluation results from all of the sessions can be combined at the end of the conference and presented in a digital dashboard to make analysis of the event easier.

Helping speakers interact with the audience

Other than a “show of hands,” conference speakers have few ways to gauge an audience’s interest and opinions on the fly other than audience polling.  Using mobile apps to carry out this mission helps speakers understand what attendees are most interested in.  This way, the presenter can tailor his presentation to the attendees in the room. Using mobile devices for polling and Twitter for backchannel conversations gives speakers a chance to engage more fully with attendees and offers participants a valuable opportunity to connect with one another.

Getting a daily gut check from attendees

Using Smart devices to survey attendees once per day on show content and their experiences promotes engagement. By sending out a “Daily Poll” such as “how would you rate last night’s gala” or “have you found the show services to be satisfactory,” event producers can obtain instant feedback that can be acted upon right away or analyzed at a later time along with the information from more detailed post-event surveys.

Deploying overall trade show surveys more efficiently

Most surveys are delivered via email days after the event is concluded. One way to boost response rates is to use the same mobile app that attendees have engaged with during the event to deliver the overall show survey in the final hours of the show. Doing so gives the survey more visibility. Rather than sending an email that becomes buried in a sea of other correspondence after the show, a mobile survey can be taken at the show, in the airport, in a taxi on the way home, or anytime it is convenient for attendees.

If speed, accuracy, analytics, and simplicity mean anything to trade show and conference organizers, they will look further than the more obvious benefits of mobile apps. This is only the beginning of a mobile revolution that smart devices, including (and especially) the iPad, have helped to launch. Mobile apps are one of the cornerstones of an intelligent event strategy.

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Entry filed under: Conferences, Mobile, Tradeshows. Tags: , , , , .

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About Roger

As a 15 year veteran event analyst, Roger Lewis is a leader and visionary in the area of event measurement. He is an expert on utilizing technology, such as radio frequency identification (RFID), to measure and understand marketing performance metrics. As executive vice president of Alliance Tech, Roger has been instrumental in positioning the organization as the number one provider of event business intelligence metrics for Fortune 500 companies. More about Roger

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