Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Conference Technologies 102: Mobile Tech for Events

Mobile isn’t an option anymore, it’s a requirement. We live and work in a connected world. No matter how captivating your session is, attendees will be on their phones tweeting and emailing. If you can't beat them, join them. Use this to your advantage by integrating mobile into all aspects of your event. Here’s how to use mobile conference technologies for 3 different purposes.

Mobile Tech for Event Marketing

The first, and probably most obvious, way to use mobile tech for event marketing is with social media. Using event hashtags, contests and real-time updates to create buzz and engagement is great. But let’s get even more creative!

Depending on your target demographic there are all kinds of trends to jump on and take advantage of. Currently, live-streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope are taking the social media and event worlds by storm. Using social mobile apps like these and the more-established Snapchat during networking and behind-the-scenes portions can create FOMO for those who didn’t attend and validation for those who did. All you need? A mobile device, the app and followers!

Mobile Tech for Personalizing Attendee Experiences

Personalization, not just customization, is a growing trend in marketing and sales. Use what data you have to enhance an attendee’s experience into a meaningful and memorable one. You can do this quite a few ways. Here are a few ideas:

Location-Based Messages

Use RFID technology to push notifications to your attendees based on where they are (and are likely doing). It’s not creepy or annoying if you actually give them a valuable message.

Event Apps That do More Than Sponsorships and Schedules

No one’s excited by an app that just pitches a product or has no other use than a schedule (which they can- hopefully- easily access elsewhere).

What they will use and talk about is an app that uses data to suggest the best places to eat or things to do while at a conference for that attendee in particular. They’ll spend more time on an app that has extra, useful content (think exclusive access to a more information from a speaker). They love an app that helps them network with other attendees-- bonus if it’s pre-event! Think of ways you can add value to your app from the user’s side based on the data you have access to.

Hands-On Trainings and Presentations

No matter the purpose of your event, there’s usually a portion full of important information that attendees are easily distracted from. Product demos, training sessions and presentations have so much potential but can often fall flat.

An easy fix for that is to make these portions hands-on. Give each attendee a tablet or make use of the mobile device they already have to make your selling points stick.

Mobile Tech to Improve Event Basics

Even just little tweaks here and there can take an event from ho-hum to impressively streamlined. Mobile can fix 3 main areas of event basics:


No more fumbling around with printed tickets and faulty badge scanners. Set up your team with tablets to scan physical or digital tickets instead. It’s not only easy, but kind of a no-brainer at this point.


You can throw the best after-hours reception, but if your attendees don’t have an efficient way to quickly make and keep useful connections, you’ll find less interest in this part of your event. Using mobile tech like business card scanners and apps that integrate social profiles make networking a snap.

Enhancing Presentations

Mobile event technology can take your speakers’ presentations to the next level in more ways than just hands-on elements. There’s an app to turn a smartphone into a microphone (if your event or session is small enough). You can make interactive polls or carry on the conversation virtually. Your options are practically limitless.

What You Need to Succeed

Ok, so there are some limits. In order to make mobile tech work for you, you need 3 things:

Mobile Devices

If your strategy doesn’t only rely on your attendee’s personal devices, you need to provide them. Oftentimes, it makes financial sense to rent items like tablets and iPads (even the biggest technology brands rent their own devices for training events).


I’m talking good Wi-Fi. This one is difficult because you don’t always have much control. In order to get the most use out of mobile devices, they have to be able to connect to a reliable, speedy network. Talk to your venue about your options so you can plan accordingly.

An Engaged and Aware Audience

No one wants to put a lot of time and effort into something and get nothing but radio silence in return. Your audience (attendees, partners, sponsors) all have a hand in the success of your mobile campaigns. Get them talking and get them acting. Do this by
  • Educating your audience (let them know about it)
  • Making sure there’s value in it (what to they get out of using it? is it worthwhile?)
  • Making sure it’s easy enough to actually use

Further reading: how to get your attendees to use your mobile app.