Admit it. You are guilty of it yourself. Your digital devices have become an extension of your arm and the gateway to your world, and whether you are a Millennial or not, you are always ‘switched on’ and open to disruption.
While the ‘internet of things’ has brought new methods for learning, networking and engaging it also brings a whole lot of external distraction too – something you don’t want interfering with the attention of your business event attendees.
For those of you wanting to maximise your future, adaption to and management of the vigorous event technology currently trending – both locally and globally – will ensure not only next-generation attendee engagement and interaction, it will also extend the lifespan of your event well beyond the circled calendar dates. In simpler terms, merging with event tech will keep you ahead of the pack. With today’s still sluggish economies, you are going to need to pull on all the resources available to you in this new ‘experience economy’ that will keep your attendees smart devices lighting up with the type of content your suppliers, products, services, marketers and thought leaders are wanting to communicate.
Blueprint for the meeting experience
What does it look like? In the cloud, big data is becoming more accessible and user-friendly and is no longer just the domain of the big corporates. Now smaller organisations are able to better capture, access and manage data that keeps track of the attendee’s journey, assists you in effectively growing your events, increasing return on investment (ROI) and creating more compelling experiences for your target audiences. As a marketing tool, EventCloud from Kagiso Digital is the first of its kind in South Africa as a one-stop online network.
On the ground, via wearable tech, iBeacon technology based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), mobile e-commerce, and the blending of virtual and augmented realities, sees participants able to receive GPS directions and maps, register virtually, make e-wallet transactions, receive meeting alerts, exchange contact information and receive targeted content for continued learning.
How does it play out? Here’s an example: a delegate arriving in range of the registration area would instantly receive his registration code and a personalised welcome notification on his smartphone. Meeting schedules, delegate profiles, floorplans, maps and messaging is readily available for two way interactions. Instead of distributing brochures, exhibitors, via BLE devices able to sense the proximity of nearby mobile apps, can send targeted promotions to attract those attendees to their stand. Throughout the attendee’s journey he is offered a wide range of assistance such as networking, live slide sharing, promotions and prizes, opportunities for informal knowledge sharing, and social media user-generated information. Adding Gamification strategy (game playing elements) to your event, according to independent consultant Dr Cathy Key, is “not just fun and games” either; it drives both business, learning and loyalty. Why is this worth a heads up? Because according to Gartner by the end of 2015, 70% of the Fortune 500 companies will have adopted Gamification as a strategy for training and employee development.
This growth in event technology is personalising the meeting and events offering. Today’s best of breed event technology offers participants a user friendly interface and self-service controls. It is turning attendees into participants via a digital ecosystem of information sharing that extends beyond the boundaries of the physical meeting space.
As today’s event planners move away from keypad polling, paper surveys and manual registrations and instead invest in enhanced Wi-Fi, tighter security and privacy measures and interactive tools such as responsive web design and enhanced mobile marketing tactics, they are enabled to create better content, share more content over extended periods of time and better engage with audiences outside of the event dates for year-round communication, and a crowd sourcing of new ideas. In this brave new world, attendees convert to participants and further share experiences of the events themselves.
Ready or not the tech evolution is here to stay and is speeding up our rules of engagement…make sure your tech strategy doesn’t stop at the end of your arm but extends outwards to encompass real-time engagement, 365 days of the year, to your entire one-world, one-marketplace global audience.