There is a clear shift in conference apps from “nice to have” to “must have.” So for meeting organizers with cold feet, it’s time to plunge in! These tips could be your life jacket.
In general, visiting an event means that time’s scarce and opportunities to catch attendees’ attention is limited. Information and interaction must be quickly available, simple to access and easy to digest. Designing and implementing a mobile event app is an exercise in essence and relevance. Try to be relevant rather than complete or cool.
So you want a conference app for your event — “Let’s have an app for our event!” — right? Wrong. First misunderstanding: It’s attendees who have the app, not you or your event. Have you ever realized that you intrude upon attendees’ personal space with an app?
Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. The obvious is often the most overlooked. Let’s analyze the attendee before we move on. Generally speaking, there are three types of attendees, or maybe it’s better to say attendee “personas.”
What, when, where, I’ll know it (WWWIKI): This attendee wants to know all about what’s going on at the conference, who’s speaking, where and when to go, what’s on now and what’s coming up next. He or she wants to be up-to-date on all event information and wants post-conference download access to all presentations and other event documents.
The business-card collector (BCC): This person’s main goal is to connect and interact with the other attendees. Who’s coming, what are their profiles, how can I get in touch with them? Each connection could be a potential business deal.
Part of the action (POTA): This attendee is eager to participate and interact during the event. For example, polling, voting and asking the speaker questions. But also interacting with the outside world via social media and gaming during the event. Julius Solaris from EventManagerBlog recently launched the term Vitruvian attendee — young, dynamic and connected.
The secret ingredient
Looking at WWWIKI, BCC and POTA, the main ingredients of the app should be information, people and interaction. If you have a good sense of the distribution of the personas within your event — and you have, haven’t you?! — you can decide what kind of app your attendees need.
And let me remind you, there are a gazillion event app providers out there, so don’t event think about developing your own app from scratch. Based on the profile distribution, you can focus more on information, people, interaction or make various blends within your budget.
And the secret ingredient? That would be implementing and promoting the app in the communications flow. Remember, having an app doesn’t necessarily means people will use it.
Happy conference app baking!
What app intel can you share — good, bad, indifferent? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.