For one moment put aside what benefits the mobile has for your attendees. Let’s look at what inefficient practices, processes and procedures can be replaced by using the full power of the mobile / cell on site. Having a mobile strategy can help you the planner be more efficient. Ask yourself what can the mobile do more efficiently FOR YOU THE PLANNER?
The power of the mobile for the event planner
I’ve outlined ten ways that the mobile can help areas ameliorate the onsite processes. Now there are event apps which claim to do all of these ten things exceptionally well but I personally haven’t found one app that can do these ten things well. So rather than focusing on ONE silver bullet app my suggestion would be find one event app that can do five or six really well and then be decisive and choose one or two other apps on site that complete your onsite support package.
So here goes, here’s how to get the best from mobiles at events. Ten important roles your mobile can fill on site:
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1. The mobile as the amplifier
That wonderful tool can help you sell your tickets and your sponsorship next year: it is this powerful. At your event you have to do everything you can to persuade your attendees to jump on to social media, use your hashtag and amplify your event. But don’t rely on your attendees: use the mobile to do this for your event. With this visual representation of your event being beamed out by you and your attendees it is likely to have a direct impact on your attendee numbers the following year. It is therefore crucial that your event LOOKS GOOD!!!!!! and you use the mobile to amplify your beauty.
2. The mobile as your communication tool
It is inevitable that things will deviate from your initial plan once you are on site. Timings are fluid. Using the mobile as the tool to inform attendees will make your life as the planner a lot easier. No more waiting for the Chairman to pause before you rush him – note in hand – like a Rhino that’s been stung by a bee.
3. Your onsite – in hand registration aid
There are many ways we can use the mobile to speed up your registration process, you know that with NFC, RFID and iBeacons attendees can register simply by walking past a reader? Not only are you making it quicker and more efficient for your attendees you are removing a lot of resource from the front of your event. You can reduce the number of staff physically registering delegates placing them in the heart of your event providing value.
4. The mobile as your onsite payment tool
We know that having attendees turn up who you aren’t expecting is unavoidable. It’s a nice problem to have especially if the event is a paid for event but collecting their payment can be tricky. In the past I’ve seen organisers collect business cards (and invariable lose some of them) to invoice but never be able to collect. Generating post event invoices and chasing them can be a resource heavy process. So why not have the mobile act as your payment point and collect info at the point of sale?
5. The mobile as your session voting tool
In session voting is an essential part of an interactive session. Good old fashioned ways are always an option – like raising hands, remembering doing that? – but one big advantage with the use of a mobile is you can easily and seamlessly collect the data. You can easily collect a lot of information so not just how many people voted but who voted. This can be exceptionally useful data for you and your speaker to harvest.
6. The mobile as your session and speakers rating tool
I recently spoke at an event in London and I am still waiting on the feedback from my session. It won’t come. It’s probably too much work for the organiser to find now and it wasn’t something they obviously planned to collect. But how much easier would it be if they had used the mobile to collect some feedback on my session? Just a few simple questions that would have helped me for my next presentation or given me and them some valuable feedback. It would save checking thorough the post event questionnaire, running a report and sending it off to a speaker. Use a great app and miss out the middle man and get the information straight to the speaker.
7. The mobile as your event questionnaire
There is a huge amount of value in collecting opinion on your event as soon as possible. If you collect this information during the event you open up the possibility of making changes which will improve your event while it is still happening; not waiting to close the gate until the horse has bolted. Also if you collect feedback via the app at the end of the event you collect that all important gut reaction response. And where does the resource saving come in? Using the right app will mean all the feedback is collected, analysed and displayed. It can even send a different report to your stakeholders. No pouring over forms, and forms and forms.
8. The mobile to send out slides
One area where planners still struggle to act super efficiently is making sure that attendees receive the most up to date version of speaker slides and content. Often the presentation delivered on the day is not the one planners have collected. The right app can open up timely access to speaker presentations. Attendees choose to download the sessions they want. This frees up your time. You don’t need to send links or copies of slides to attendees. Also having a digital version of the presentation on the mobile could mean you don’t need to print out any handouts. Or how about this, if you get really creative you might not even need to use any AV equipment.
9. Your 1.2.1 meeting scheduler
As part of your event you may have set up 1.2.1 meetings. Traditionally this can be done on a standalone registration platform. Those participants who have meetings organised would normally print out their individual schedule (well they would have supposed to). Including an updated digital version of their meeting schedule within your mobile strategy can keep everyone up to date with no need to print out anything. As the planner if you have this information in your hand it gives you the flexibility to act as the onsite and mobile match maker.
10. Work out which areas are popular
Using iBeacon technology, RFID or NFC you can track your attendees movements. You can tell which sessions are popular (while they are going on) and which areas within your show floor are buzzing. You can also use the data post event to get a great feel for your event. While the event is happening – via the mobile – you can effectively be in each room seeing where the buzz is.
Mobiles for events the present not the future
It is exceptionally important for planners to think about how they use the mobile on site. Events have to be mobile. For your attendees the mobile or tablet will be the default bit of technology when they arrive on site. But is using the mobile on site the default position for the event planner? Are event planners using mobile technology and the apps available to help them do their job on site much more efficiently? I am not too sure but they really should be. #loveeventtech