Is Your Event App “Just an App?”

Event appIt’s hard to envision a conference these days without a mobile event app. It’s become de rigueur to offer people some mobile connection to the conference, the vendors and other attendees. Whether it’s as simple as event logistics, or something as complex as gamification and socialization, your audience assumes you’ll deliver an event app.

But what is your event app really doing for you? You spent the time picking a solution, you paid for it, and spent even more time implementing it. So at the end of the day, what did your app project return to you?

We suspect that most people don’t get nearly the value out of their app that they put into it, and it’s not usually the app’s fault. The problem starts with how you think about your app and what you want it to do. Below are some questions that might help you understand the amazing power your app could have to create deeper engagement to messages, speakers and attendees, to see higher use and activity rates, and to find post-show insights from the data. But this only happens if you changed your thinking slightly.

Is your app really just an app…

  • or is it a strategic investment in your people, in your message, and your internal alignment to a broader strategy?
  • or is it a platform for gamification to increase awareness, engagement and personal connections using physical and virtual activities?
  • that expires after the three-day event, or does it live on as a critical component of your internal communications?
  • or is it something designed to provide deeper meaning for your attendees?
  • helping people find a certain booth, or does it connect attendees with people with similar needs, problems and solutions?
  • or is it a mobile digital platform that cuts through the chatter and bypasses other standard message defenses because its a far more personal channel than even the laptop?
  • costing $15,000 just to show the world that your event has an app, or did you design an integrated plan that ensures the highest number of downloads, uses, touches and engagements over the three-day event and beyond?
  • or is it the infrastructure on which you have built an engagement machine? One that creates reasons for people to talk to each other more, to open up about what their issues are, to brainstorm different solutions, to create sparks across the event floor, to help them become next year’s shining stars?
  • that you think of as a cost center, or have you figured out how to take the data it collects and turn it into valuable, actionable insights related to your event, your attendees, and your company?

App-Store-300x300It’s up to you. You can think about your app like a utility, something you have to have and spend money on because everyone expects you to have it. Or you can think of it as an opportunity to connect people, create content, deliver learning and knowledge and collect analytics that will help you make better decisions in the future.

How you choose to engage your agency in this conversation is equally important. They are an important voice of reason, free of corporate pressure to advise you on how to maximize the value of your mobile app. The sooner and more involved they are in this conversation the better and more strategically useful your post-event information will be.

When you pick your event app, you get to choose how to use it. .

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1 Comment

  1. You’ve made many great points, James! I especially agree with you that an event app should “provide deeper meaning” for attendees and exist as an “engagement machine” that is built into the infrastructure of the event itself. It is key to overcome the idea that the event app is a separate component of the event or is there just for the sake of saying your event has an app. One thing my company, Bizzabo, strives to do is go beyond the “just an app” thinking, and instead create a platform that can fit seamlessly into an attendee’s experience. This means having a platform that’s intuitive, encourages attendee engagement, and not only gives organizers a communication channel with event goers, but creates data that can lead to actionable event insights.

    Thanks again for the article!

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