Author: Clifford Fairbrass, M&a Sponsorship & Event Manager
What is technology?
kids.net.au says it’s the practical application of science to commerce or industry
dictionary.com says it’s a noun:
1. The branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, Applied science, and pure science.
2. The Application of this knowledge for practical ends.
Since before the industrial revolution we have been using technology in our lives and today more than ever technology is omnipresent – let’s face it digital devices, smart phones, tablets and phablets are like noses, everyone’s got one and most people are attached to them 24/7.
Seeing as how everyone uses these devices 24/7 why not use them during your event? The simple answer to this is – is it “the application of technology for practical ends”?
We receive countless approaches from mobile app companies inviting us to lunch or coffee so that they can extol the virtues of their particular product. All of these approaches assume that we want to have a mobile event app.
To app or not to app? That is the question……. here are seven reasons why not.
1. It won’t actually improve or enhance the outcomes of the event – if you want people to talk to each other asking them to bury their noses in a mobile device isn’t going to help things.
2. It’s being used just for the sake of using technology – you just want to show how cutting edge you as an event organiser really are. Hint – It’s not about you it’s about the delegates and sponsors.
3. It doesn’t fit within the budget – enough said!
4. It doesn’t improve the sponsor / exhibitor experience – Gamification is the “buzz word de jour.” The analogue version of this used to be called a Passport Programme where delegates cruised around the event getting their passport stamped by all exhibitors. This only ever served to frustrate the exhibitors as they were flooded by “prize chasers” rather than by genuine enquiries that they could convert into their sales pipeline.
5. It doesn’t improve the reporting / intelligence you want from the event – it’s great to know who is at your event but until we are presented with an affordable app that enables us to passively count and report in real time – every delegate as they enter a session room or area of an exhibition – there really isn’t a lot of point in using the much lauded Geo-Location features being added to more and more app platforms.
6. It doesn’t improve the delegate experience – if the features and navigation of the app are not intuitive it’s not going to be used after it’s been downloaded. Keep it simple!
7. You don’t have the physical resources to create, launch and update one – I have seen and used mobile apps that were great two weeks out from the event but come show time the information was outdated. Resulting in delegates turning up to the wrong session rooms and last minute changes to floorplans and sponsors not available.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I love technology and love mobile event apps. I’ve spent the last two years researching and implementing best practices in mobile app-land and think that they are a great idea when:
1. They enhance the outcomes of an event
2. They are being used for practical rather than egotistical reasons
3. They fit within the budget
4. They improve the exhibitor/sponsor experience
5. They affordably improve the reporting / intelligence we receive from an event
6. They improve the delegate experience
7. We have the resources to launch and support one.