Mobile apps are no longer an expensive option for planners with big budgets and tech-savvy attendees. Now there are choices that work for events of all sizes and types. As an Event Planner and Consultant, these are four of the newest products which help digitize the event experience and engage attendees to showcase your branding strategy. Often my small business clients seek advice on how to best implement technology to make their events and businesses run smoother, so I am constantly looking for apps that are cost effective and useful across multiple platforms.
When exhibiting at a convention or expo, I find it is most useful to make the customer experience engaging. Your elevator pitch is usually no longer than 30 seconds, and capturing their contact information to continue the conversation at length to pitch your brand is priority. Whether you are running the convention, expo or conference or exhibiting, here are some amazing apps to engage attendees and exhibitors alike. The goal always? Increase ROI.
EXMO launched in early October and is targeted at events with fewer than 1,000 attendees. The app is self-service: Planners log into a Web site, input information regarding location, schedules, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors, and the system creates the app and a simple Web page that planners can promote in emails and through social media. For ticket sales, EXMO has a partnership with EventBrite so attendees can purchase tickets and planners can track sales through the app.
The system offers interactive features including real-time polls, feedback forms, push notifications, and integration with social networks. During an event, organizers have the option to share content on an “Activity Wall,” a large screen display of information such as announcements, polls, tweets, and photos. The app is free for attendees, and planners pay nothing to use the system if their events have 50 people or fewer. For larger events, planners pay $2 per person (and less as numbers increase) using a credit system that can be rolled over to future events.
EventAccess launched in early October and is the newest app from E-proDirect, a marketing and technology company focused on the meetings and convention industry. For $2,500, EventAccess provides a multi-platform (Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry) native app and a Web app in as few as three days. Planners provide content to customize the app, for example: a welcome message or video, venue information, links to registration and surveys, maps, schedules, and as many as 12 social media links. The app can become a source of revenue through the sale of banner ads or by charging exhibitors a fee to have an enhanced listing that could include a product video and contact information for a company representative. E-proDirect provides a revenue calculator to help planners estimate the earnings potential.
EventAccess also includes information about dining, attractions, and transportation within a five-mile radius of the event, using information from Yelp. Once the app is created, planners use a dashboard to update content and track data such as downloads and ad click-through rate. Clients also receive marketing support that includes templates for press releases and tweets, screenshots, QR codes, and a mobile-optimized landing page that can be shared in emails and on social networks.
Pathable has just released its Event Experience Platform, which C.E.O. Jordan Schwartz says is intended to help planners facilitate engagement at events and build a year-round community. “We have the desktop and integrated mobile experience, so we don’t drop you at the door of the conference and we don’t meet you at the door of the conference. This is a long-term engagement,” Schwartz said.
Pathable creates a custom URL that can be embedded into a client’s existing Web site. Planners use the system to manage the agenda, exhibitor listings, private meeting scheduling, interactive facility and trade show floor maps, and surveys. It’s also integrated with several event registration systems, including Cvent, RegOnline, and Etouches, to capture new registrations in real time.
When attendees register, they can tag their profiles with keywords related to their industries and interests, search for other attendees with similar tags, and initiate private conversations. Profiles can also be linked to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to identify existing connections at the event. Exhibitors get a landing page with instructions on how to customize it with their logo, company information, and more. An upcoming update will turn the system into a revenue source by inviting exhibitors to upgrade their presence to receive lead retrieval data and an enhanced listing. Pathable pricing starts at $4,250 for single events and is based on the number of attendees, exhibiting and sponsoring companies, and events planned. Discounts are available for larger events, multiple event contracts, and nonprofits.
AtEvent provides a suite of apps that are intended to facilitate lead retrieval and prospect nurturing at trade shows and conferences. The four apps—Card Scanner, Fishbowl, Attendee, and Check-In—can be used independently or in tandem, and all feed information into a single system so brands can capture a holistic view of each interaction that occurs with a prospect. Using the Card Scanner app, exhibitors can take a photo of business cards, add follow-up actions, and then transmit that information to their marketing automation system. The Check-In app is used on a tablet to track people as they arrive at a booth. If a person is already in the company’s marketing system, the app will pull in contextual information so the interaction is more meaningful.
The Fishbowl app is a self-service option for attendees to input contact information to be entered in booth contests, sign up for newsletters, and request information. Finally, the Attendee app provides a digital view of a brand’s physical presence at an event. Attendees download the app to get access to product information, videos, photos, surveys, contact information, and more. Since launching in April, AtEvent has worked with companies such as Rackspace, SAS, and Adobe.