A key challenge for event organizers is motivating participants to invest their energy into the experience you have in store for them; to buy the ticket and take the ride. I was recently involved in organizing ibtm world, and thought I’d share a few tips on what I found to be most effective. If your aim is driving technology adoption at your events, try these 5 methods.
- Align event tech with the objectives of attendees and stake holders
The success of technology adoption depends upon how well the objectives of the organizer (and in-turn, the objectives of the participant) align with the technology in deployment. It is about the right tool set for the right job. So the first question when devising the strategy should be ‘Why are the attendees/ exhibitors/ buyers/ etc coming to the event? What are they aiming to achieve? Often this comes back to strengthening their networks, whether it be personal or professional, driving business opportunities, and furthering their education. What is the most relevant technology to facilitate this? If a piece of technology doesn’t help participants meet their objectives, it will ultimately become noise and distract from the experience.
- Create environments and shape the experience
Once the organizer is in tune with the motivations of the stake holders, they can positively affect adoption by looking at ‘how’ the technology will drive the desired behavior. Creating an event environment, culture and format that stimulates participation and learning will ultimately encourage adoption.
As events are physical by nature, bringing together the physical and digital event spaces is a great way to form the experience as a whole.
Here are just some of the latest technology features that event organizers and planners can place in their events to drive engagement and boost results
Gamification- Gamification is all about creating a richer event experience. By aligning event objectives with strategic incentivized challenges, not only will visitors have more fun, but they will have a much more rewarding time.
Matchmaking and meeting scheduling- A fantastic way for maximizing the effectiveness of time on site, attendees, exhibitors and buyers create profiles that identify and match them with the most suitable people, as well as schedule meeting time slots.
Event mobile apps- Provide participants with a plethora of information and opportunity in real time. Everything from agenda building and mapped floor plans, to surveys and social media are common among today’s mobile event apps. The future of event apps will see additional focus upon creating unique experiences for each attendee through targeted meetings, gamified experiences and content.
Smart devices- The best way to build adoption is to put the technology in the hands of every participant, and make it as simple as possible for them to use. Enter smart devices. RFID, NFC or beacon technologies allow attendees to network, share information, participate in surveys and compete in games in the physical event space, while harboring low learning curves or other barriers to usage.
Audience response systems- Features such as live Q and A, session polling and group discussions are changing the face of audience involvement, by turning passive listeners into contributors.
3 Recognize the barriers
It is important to recognize what the limitations may be for a particular technology in relation to the event and the participants. The classic example here is the far too common, lack of venue wi-fi. For the organizer who has just invested in a state of the art event app, or audience response platform, the adoption rates will provide a sad shock. Barriers are sometimes not only physical or defined by space, but can be due to the experience of the participant, or the process to access and use the technology. Take some time to think about the participant. Regardless of whether a certain piece of technology could greatly benefit them, if it is considered complicated or otherwise outside their comfort levels, they simply won’t use it.
Educating your audience not only on what to expect but how it will help them achieve their objectives before they arrive is paramount. If the participant is aware of how a particular technology will benefit them, they are more likely to be excited by it and will be ready to participate as soon as they hit the floor. Is your technology partner equipped to help you communicate the benefits of the tools you put in place most effectively to your audience?
Channels to educate your participants
Host informational webinars- For technology that may require a more detailed explanation, such as scheduling meetings or advanced match-making, hosted webinars are a great tool for speaking directly to the audience, and answering their specific questions in real time. Should you have different participant types, information can be tailored, reducing the incidence of dis-interest.
Create instructional videos or brochures- Not everyone can be expected to see your webinars when they are live. Give people the option of learning about your tech features in their own time. Make it clear and make it simple.
Email Campaigns-Still the most effective way of directly getting in front of stakeholders. A steady drip campaign will mean more penetration. However, it is important not to flood your audience, otherwise they will equate the technology to being more hassle than it is worth.
Take it social- Once you have the content, share it across your social networks. People are social creatures. Sharing content that offers value not only serves to influence them, but also creates buzz around the event, so people are ready to enjoy themselves from the get go.
- Involve stakeholders in the reviewing process
Involve participants in the process of reviewing the technology in use. This not only shows them that you are committed to improving the experience for them, but also allows you to learn what was a success, what can be improved upon and most importantly, why.