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Top 3 Reasons Your Conference Needs Mobile

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 24, 2019

What was once a deluxe conference amenity has become a necessary tool of engagement for successful events. Make your conference mobile and watch as speakers, exhibitors and attendees connect and communicate online. Excite your potential audiences before the event starts, engage with the attendees onsite and evolve throughout the process in response to change. All it takes is an app.

EXCITE YOUR AUDIENCE

In the weeks leading up to your event, a mobile app campaign drives excitement for a future experience. Downloading a conference mobile app provides a tangible teaser for a still far-off event. It gets the conference on the minds and in the hands (literally) of your audience before a meeting convenes. 

Through yet another channel, your brand, your content and your vision can reach your anticipatory audience.

Pro tip: offer an incentive to download the app. Nothing spurs attendees into action faster than the possibility of free stuff.

ENGAGE YOUR ATTENDEES

At any event, you’ve just gathered many of the best minds in your field in one space for a few hours or a few days. Now that they’re here, you need them to engage: with speakers, with exhibitors and with each other!

  • Engage with Speakers: Speakers come prepared as subject-matter experts. Polling and survey features offered through a mobile app can turn a presentation from a one-sided lecture into an interactive event. A mobile app’s ability to collect real-time data from the audience allows speakers to connect with attendees, answer questions and shape their presentations to suit the crowd.
  • Engage with Exhibitors: Companies joining you from far and wide come with expectations to make connections. As their unique swag often demonstrate, sponsors and exhibitors want to get their name in your hands. With a mobile app, it already is. Exhibitor websites and contact information, and digital handouts become instantly available to all attendees. It’s a simple perk for the companies that might just keep them coming back for more.
  • Engage with each other: The universal advantage of in-person events is the networking opportunities inherent. However, as attendees meet new faces in the field, especially at large events, it can be difficult to keep track of these new contacts. Mobile apps provide a fully filled-in contact book and messaging system without the hassle of keeping track of business cards or asking for phone numbers. Encouraging attendees to include their picture with their profile? Even better for those of us not blessed with the gift of face/name memory!

You’ll want an app a mobile app to drive your speakers and attendees to not only to listen but to engage. Empower your audiences to connect through a technology we all know well.

EVOLVE WITH CHANGE

Despite your meeting planner’s best efforts, plans change. As rooms fill up faster than anticipated and speakers call in sick—your mobile app can alleviate the headache of last-minute change.

Rather than disparaging your beautifully branded signage and collateral with handwritten speaker updates and blacked-out sessions, leverage the power of digital technology to make quick updates looks seamless. 

Mobile app push notifications provide a sort of virtual intercom. Communication is immediate and allows your event to evolve as quickly as the outside world.

Conferences are a great opportunity for your organization to showcase the caliber of members and body of knowledge. Mobile applications will only help you improve your conference attendee’s experience and increase the ROI of your event.

Tags:  conference  engagement  event planning  marketing technology  mobile  technology 

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Using Technology and Creativity to Drive Association Marketing Strategies

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, CAE, CMP, CRP, QAS, Thursday, August 1, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Associations have a long history dating back to the 1800s. They are the original communities and influencers for professions long before social media became prevalent. This marks my 30th year in association management and I currently am the Vice President of Marketing Communications & Technology for Ewald Consulting.

When I started my career with the Builders Association of Minnesota in 1989, our technology tools were a fax, typewriter, pagers, lots of file cabinets for paper registrations and membership applications and a DOS database with the blinking bright orange text on a small screen, big box computer. No email, no website, no cell phone, no Microsoft Office – they hadn’t been created for the mass market yet. We launched the association’s first-ever website in 1996.

In 2005 when I joined Ewald Consulting, my first major initiative was to find us a new database and migrate our clients to Affiniscape 24/7. After researching limited options, we chose a custom database built in Microsoft Access. Every Friday, I would export the client data into 24/7 so they could have searchable directories and see their data online. A few years later, Affiniscape launched its M360 platform which integrated the website with a database providing a dynamic experience for our members.

A few years later, Affiniscape was bought by YourMembership (YM) and we proceeded to transition our clients from Affiniscape to YM. A few years later, Community Brands bought YM and several other platforms to have a suite of offerings for associations. Which summarizes the current platform environment of technology platforms – thousands of options plus mergers and acquisitions is now the norm.

The marketing technology landscape is one of my favorite graphics that demonstrates the extensive proliferation of tools over the past 8 years. In 2011, there were 150 platforms. As of April 2019, there were 7040. There are plenty of tools to choose from now. So unlike the 1990s, options, access and affordability are no longer barriers to entry for associations.

Choosing a limited set of tools, learning how to implement them creatively and executing value are critical for associations to remain relevant. We are at a critical junction of technology and human behavior that will create our future depending on how we strategically implement our choices effectively with simplicity and clarity key for our customers.

With a plethora of platforms to choose from, our Marketing Communications Team is focusing on executing relevant and measurable marketing strategies for our associations. Key strategies include:

  1. Building out a content marketing strategy for the long haul. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build awareness, generate interest from new audiences and expand our base. Our volunteers are our Subject Matter Experts (SME) for content for our conferences, blogs, social media and have a wealth of insights that are core to building our community. Generating content with context and driving conversations will keep the association vibrant and the go-to resource for professions. Going beyond conference and membership promotion is critical to drive the value proposition of being a part of the association.
  2. Reviewing the business models and clearly delineating the value proposition of being a member and buying offerings from our associations;
  3. Conducting website audits to ensure clarity, clean and creative design and coding for mobile responsiveness and effective Search Engine Optimization;
  4. Creating strong landing pages for our home pages, membership and conference pages to  have a strong and clear Call to Action, concise benefits, bullet points for scanning, original photography and call out buttons to prompt action;
  5. Implementing marketing automation to build awareness and convert prospects to customers and ensure a clear customer journey;
  6. Using an event mobile app platform for our clients’ conferences. With the technology development of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), we are looking at developing year-round mobile apps for our clients in the next year to connect our  members year round.

Other initiatives we are working on include business intelligence, data collection and analysis and the implications of AI (Artificial Intelligence) for our clients. We are excited about the tremendous opportunities that nonprofit organizations now have access to and to implement best-of-class strategies to ensure their success.

We are excited to be implementing our own content marketing strategy based on our research and experience with our clients. Please email me if you have any questions at kathiep@ewald.com.

Kathie Pugaczewski is the Vice President of Marketing Communications and Technology. She has more than 30 years of association management experience with a focus on technology platform strategy, marketing communications, conference management, continuing education and certification programs. She joined Ewald Consulting in 2005. Previously, Kathie worked for the Midwest Association of Association Executives (MSAE) as Marketing Director and the Builders Association of Minnesota as Executive Vice President. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and completed the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame. In 2003, she earned her CAE designation. In 2009, she earned her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation. In 2019, she earned her Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) designation and her Qualified Association Specialist (QAS) designation.

Tags:  association management  associations  content marketing  marketing  marketing strategy  marketing technology  technology  value proposition 

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KNOWLEDGE & RESOURCES

MANAGEMENT | View all Management articles
A Successful Year Starts with a Solid Budget by Bill Monn
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MARKETING | View all Marketing articles
9 Marketing Ideas for Your Organization by Kathie Pugaczewski
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MEMBERSHIP | View all Membership articles
A Holistic Approach to Membership Recruitment by Darrin Hubbard
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VOLUNTEERISM | View all Volunteerism articles
Three Ways to Stronger Volunteer Engagement by Paul Hanscom
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