3 event marketing tips voor Meerkat

Als je sinds het Twitter-débacle over “The dress” – voor mij persoonlijk toch alleszins een reden om de ernst van Twitter als marketing kanaal tijdelijk in twijfel te trekken – niet meer actief bent geweest op Twitter, dan heb je toch iets interessants gemist : de geboorte van alweer een nieuw marketing kanaal.  Instant streaming app Meerkat, met name.

Meerkat geeft gebruikers de mogeljikheid om live video rechstreeks te streamen naar Twitter.  Volgers kunnen zich abonneren op de streams en live de feed bekijken.  Het kan gaan om webinars, Q&A’s maar ook actie in het skatepark of Uber ritjes.

De mogelijkheden van dit nieuwe medium en de app worden nog volop ontdekt en het is duidelijk dat Meerkat zelf nog enkele opstakels zal moeten overwinnen, niet in het minst de totale afhankelijkheid van Twitter.  Dat vorige week meteen aankondigde dat het een eigen gelijkaardige dienst zal opstarten.  Van een obstakel gesproken.

Maar het is duidelijk dat live video streaming hot is en alleen maar hotter zal worden.  Laten we dus eens kijken wat het te bieden kan hebben voor event marketing.

1. Meerkat activeert je doelgroep

Kijk eens terug op je vorige event.  Wat doen bezoekers vaak ?  Foto’s nemen, goeie quotes tweeten of notities nemen om er achteraf een verslag mee samen te stellen of een blog post.  Stel je nu eens voor dat een aantal deelnemers je event live streamen naar honderden of duizenden volgers op Twitter en vervolgens die inhoud gebruiken om er nog meer relevante content van te maken en te delen.  Kan je je inbeelden hoeveel meer aandacht dat kan genereren voor je merknaam, je spreker, je event en je product.  Meerkat brengt de toegankelijkheid en beschikbaarheid van video content naar een totaal nieuwe hoogte.

2. Meerkat laat je een uniek perspectief delen

Iedereen wil wel eens een “behind the scenes” ervaring.  En Meerkat laat je toe dat op zeer overtuigende en eenvoudige wijze te doen, zonder grote investeringen.  Stel je voor dat één of een aantal van je medewerkers de opbouw van je event in beeld brengen en op die manier al dagen voor je event de “buzz” opvoeren. Je zou bijvoorbeeld een exclusieve, on-to-one kunnen hebben met je keynote speaker die al voor de aanvang van de conferentie, live vragen van fans en deelnemers beantwoordt.  Het engagement verhoogt, zowel bij sprekers als deelnemers en de geweldige content die dat oplevert, kan je weer delen met de ganse wereld.

3. Dankzij Meerkat heb je content voor meerdere kanalen en netwerken

Facebook en YouTube worden overspoeld door video.  Mobiele video editing apps maken het makkelijk om goed-uitziende stukjes video te monteren vanop je mobiele apparaat.  Daarop inspelend, laat Meerkat je toe om je eigen live feed op te slaan op je eigen toestel.  Op die manier kan je dan één of meerdere stukjes inhoud monteren die je verspreid via andere kanalen.  Denk aan Vine, Facebook, Youtube,…

Trek een 15-seconden clipje uit je feed met daarin een belangrijke takeaway, en deel op Instagram of Vine. Creëer een YouTube serie met alle antwoorden op vragen van je deelnemers.  Stop de video in een post-event rapport, of een follow-up blog post.

De mogelijkheden om je exposure te vermenigvuldigen zijn eindeloos – en allemaal met het live gevoel en de vlotheid van “shoot from the hip”.

Pas ook op : Meerkat heeft ook nadelen

De democratisering van video content en die mogelijkheden in de handen leggen van iedereen, houdt ook risico’s in.  Je moet namelijk de controle laten gaan en dat kan best lastig zijn.  Stel je maar voor dat je keynote speaker niet wil dat de inhoud van z’n lezing volledig live beschikbaar is.  Hoe ga je daarmee om ?  Kan je verbieden dat deelnemers Meerkat gebruiken tijdens de keynote ?  Hoe pak je dat aan ?  Dat kan je best op voorhand doorpraten met de spreker en je team en een scenario klaar hebben als er zich een dergelijk probleem zou voordoen tijdens de sessie.

Het najaar in beursland is nog een 6-tal maanden weg.  Lijkt lang, maar niet voor event managers en marketeers.  In 6 maanden kan er veel gebeuren, zeker in de wereld van mobiele technologie.  Ondertussen is Meerkat een leuke uitdaging voor marketeers om mee te spelen en uit te vissen hoe het ingepast kan worden als kanaal om het contact met de doelgroepen uit te diepen en nieuwe volgers aan te trekken.

Hoe ga jij het gebruiken ?

Advertenties

Why you want to invest now in event technology ?

The approaching dedicated show Event Tech Live 2014 next week, but also the overall desire and anticipation to use and integrate technology in almost every aspect of our daily lives, causes a spike in interest and searches for event technology.  And rightfully so, I may add.  Today many, if not virtually every big and smaller trade show or conference boasts a mobile app, online registration, an online blog and social media interaction.  But every often I see isolated efforts not demonstrating a valid online strategy nor tight integration of these supporting tools.  Many organizers will invest in technology to keep up with the competition or just because – they feel or think – the audience expects that.  But you shouldn’t invest because it’s a buzz.  Only if you’re convinced technology can have a positive impact on your event.  I’m pretty sure it will. Why ?

1. Strategy first

While the practice of experimenting with technology isn’t bad – as I emphasize later in this article – you musn’t confuse an experiment with a best practice or final setup.  The goal must always be structural, well-defined and with tangible results and positive outcome in mind.  So you want to have a clear strategy including a list of goals and the appropriate tactics – read technology – to achieve that goal.  Look at all available event tech on the market, evaluate if and how it can help you achieve your strategy and goals.  And foremost look at how each individual technology effort can be enhanced by adding more or integrating with other pieces of technology.  Keep an eye on efficiency, costs and measure the results.

Of course Rome wasn’t build in a day and you can start small and isolated but don’t settle for that.

TIP : also look at technnology that’s not – or not yet – typically adapted to the event industry’s needs but holds promise to achieve your goals.  Typically retail technology (in Dutch) can be usefull in event environments.

2. Data is the ultimate proof360-customer-view

The real bonus of using event technology is the data it provides.  It has the potential to stop you from having to guess.  About what your audience wants, about how exhibitors performed, about the effect of your event, about activity levels, about the return of your efforts.  Actually about virtually everything you always wanted to track and then use to improve your event and demonstrate the value it holds.

3. Increase productivity

Good event technology boosts the productivity of your audience.  Whether it’s rapidly finding your way to the next exhibitor you wanted to pay a visit, or sifting through the lectures at a conference looking for topics of your interest, or looking for interesting other visitors to meet with.

But it also helps you to become more productive and improve your event’s value.  Knowing exactly how many people attented a demo and how many questions were asked and answered after a lecture, helps you identify valuable topics and speakers for your next edition.  Good social media analytics will point you to the community thought leaders, helping you Tweet: Great social media analytics will point you to the community thought leaders, helping you increase your reach. #eventtech #adekspoincrease your reach and maybe attracting the guru for a workshop at your next event.

Good event technology increases the likelihood of succesful interaction between people, networking and connecting the right business opportunities.  Without technology, organizing an event is like fishing with a line and hook and ultimate patience.  Great as an outdoor leisure but not for providing sustainable living.  As an organizer you went through an enormous pile of work and effort to realize the event and then you leave it up to pure serendepity for the right people to meet each other.  With just a little technological help you can do so much better and more rewarding.

4. Increase engagement

A mobile app, a Tweetwall, a Pinterest photo contest, a website, a voting system, … All of that will support your efforts to engage with your customers in a dialogue.  But the dialogue mustn’t start at the entrance and stop at the exit of the event’s venue.  The conversation has to be continuous.  By all means the intensity must be raised during the event by sharing valuable information with your audience.  But before and after the show you also have interesting things to share, or at least you must have.  Interest spans are decreasing which means you have a harder time if you have to reintroduce yourself and fight for attention from scratch, every time a couple of months before the event’s opening date.

This requires proven knowledge of your audiences – fact based, not hunches – stored in integrated software solutions, giving you a 360° overview of every single participant in your events.

5. Demand

I know I said in the beginning of this article that introducing event tech because people want it, is not a good reason to start with.  But don’t underestimate the power of your audience.  “Power to the people” is an increasing reality, and not only in the virtual world.  This means not having a highly appreciated piece of technology on your event can be more harmful than having it in a way that’s not optimal.  You must however make sure the experience is valuable from the beginning and be clear about the ultimate goal.  Ask for features users want to see in the future and communicate well about your plans for the future with this technology tool.

6. Experiment

Try new stuff !  Don’t be afraid of technology.  People attending your events aren’t.  More and more events will be attended by people between 25 and 40 years old.  Those are manifest 24/7 users of technology.  Try something new, evaluate well and then drop it or use it differently, more wisely to achieve your overall strategy.  Or to provide objective answers to the questions that you want to see answered.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Your specialty is organizing an event and managing a community, not knowing exactly how technology can help with those tasks.  So ask for professional help when developing a strategy or searching for effective technology.

It’s all connected. Just like any event’s goal is to connect more people and ideas together, the goal for your arsenal of technological features should be to connect them and gain insights and information helping you to become a better organizer who knows what people want to get out of your events.

7 things app statistics don’t mean for event apps ?

Comscore’s yearly statistical report on app downloads and usage, which arrived 2 weeks ago, can be – and probably was -interpreted as bad news.  In general numbers for downloads and usage per device are dropping.  The overall graph line is still on the rise, but only thanks to a still growing number of devices.  The relative growth rate is decreasing.

The full Comscore report can be downloaded here.

Being an event organizer or app provider for events, one could draw the wrong conclusions from those numbers and downplay or ignore the effectiveness of implementating a mobile app.  Knowing the industry a little, after 20 years of experience, and considering the focus on costs, I would say these premature negative conclusions were drawn in many boardrooms or marketing departments.  I would however argue the opposite, and here’s why.

1. General statistics over all categoriescomscore_f67903e623b4c046fa884cc93ac053fc

The Comscore report, although extensive and elaborate, doesn’t focus on the event app category, simply for it being absent as a seperate category in any of the mobile app stores.  Overall the app market may be stagnating, or to be more precise, not growing anymore at the same pace, that doesn’t mean all app categories behave in the same way.

In analogy, in a declining economy viewed on a macro-scale, some industries are growing rapidly.

On top the report only looks at the US market.  Yes, by far the biggest market but maybe not entirely comparable to the geographical target of your event in terms of mobile beheavior.

2. You’re special

Even if the event apps category would be highlighted seperately and proving to decline – hypothetical, still your app could be doing great.  You just have to provide a really useful, well promoted app that enhances the user experience of your attendees.  In analogy, in a difficult and suffering automobile market, some car makers are doing great.

Only one healthy reflex can help you draw the right conclusions : measure the download and use of your event app yourself.  And give it some time to have valuable, objective numbers to go by.  Prevent yourself from drawing any conclusions after one or two editions of your event.

3. A great mobile marketing strategy

Any app has to have a purpose, and so does an event app.  This purpose has to fit into the overall marketing strategy, which enhances the mobile and social promotion of your event.  Commonly used tactics for this purpose are social media integration, coupons, treasure hunts,…  Let’s face it : you need to have a mobile marketing strategy.

But the purpose of the app should also be functional.  The app must help your attendees with the primary problem they face when they enter your event : searching the information, places, products and people they want to find !

Consider how an app fits in your marketing strategy in terms of extra visibility opportunities a mobile app presents to your exhibitors and partners and how that can generate new revenue for you as an organizer.

4. The best search tool

An event app is the interactive and modern form of a show catalogue.  Gone should be the days that every visitor carries a 250+ pages book around the fair grounds for a couple of hours, going back and forth flipping pages to search what he/she was looking for – if ever found.

Your app should be the Google for your event.  Users must have access to all information available on your event.  Only the relevant information on site.  Don’t bother putting the complete description of your event in the app – yes I know examples that do.  People using your app will know which show they’re visiting, why they should visit and what they can see at the show.

Allow them to search for exhibitors, find a specific stand, search for certain products or product categories, search for lectures and seminars, speakers, demos,…  Put the entire list of attendees in your app, allowing visitors to meet each other.

In the best of cases your app was downloaded before the event, meaning there’s opportunity to give special offers and tickets through the app, exhibitor promotions, reminders and navigation from within the app.

5. Make it smart and interactive

Don’t build an app that waits for a user to search for the next piece of information he/she’s interested in.  Have the app make suggestions to the user automatically, based on what was searched for previously.  Use reminders, messages and pop-ups, only when allowed by the user, and when useful.  I’m sure an attendee having looked up 3 individual exhibitors that belong to a certain product category, wouldn’t mind getting asked the question if he/she wants to see all other exhibitors in the same category.  Would you ?

6. Embed into the online customer experience

Use your event’s mobile app as a logical extension of your event’s website. Allow the online purchased entrance ticket to be transferred to your mobile app, instead of routinely sending it to the buyers e-mail address.  Also a good way to promote the use of your app.  Give the app user seperate access to the list of preferred or favorite exhibitors he/she prepared on the event website.  Flag these exhibitors in the global exhibitor list displayed in your mobile app.

7. Audience quality

Let’s assume that the Comscore numbers are also valid for event apps.  Let’s assume the reluctance to isntall yet another app is high amongst your potential visitors or attendees and only a small percentage has actually downloaded – let alone used – your app.  I would argue that this small group of attendees is a very valuable, both to you and to your exhibitors or partners.  They’ve shown above average interest in your event and have opened up to enhanced and more meaningful engagement with your event.  They’re most probably – especially if your app is designed for efficient use – well prepared visitors, getting more out of their time spend at your event.  These are the visitors or attendees your exhibitors or partners have been waiting for.  The likelihood of deals made with this type of visitors, or the quality of leads for them, is much higher.

That’s why I recommend you – in spite of seemingly disappointing numbers and statistics – to build a mobile app and do the analysis yourself, together with your partners, exhibitors and visitors.  Focus on what’s important for them in terms of reasons to use the app.  Build in the desired functionality and promote those to your audience.  Monitor the usage in meticulous detail.  You’ll see the numbers rising, in contradiction to the deceptive overall trend.

A few other tips on mobile event apps, can be found in this article from a fellow blogger.

Do you have other reasons why you would still provide an app for your next event ?  Just post a comment.