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Planning an Event? Don't Forget the Branded Apps!

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Events are great opportunities to bring people together to share knowledge, learn from experts, and generate high-quality business leads.

Marketers know that, so we spend a ton of time and money on events. According to Forrester, event marketing on average makes up the largest chunk of the B2B marketers' budget at nearly 20%.

Despite that, I know why marketers have a love/hate relationship with events: ROI on events is more ambiguous than we would like. We have only a few data points as reference when we attempt to justify event sponsorship spend. Knowing exactly how well attendees are engaging with the content—or if that's even happening at all—is difficult.

Luckily, mobile is solving this problem by opening up new data sources and a new marketing channel.

Embrace Your Audience's Mobile Obsessions

Research has shown that people look at their smartphones between 14 to 150 times a day.

So, attendees most likely will be checking their cherished devices before, during, and after an event.

Breaking Through the Noise

The best speakers in the world are worthless if they're speaking to a room full of people checking email and browsing Facebook, but event marketers—like mobile advertisers—would do better to embrace this behavior rather than compete against it.

At this year's Mobile World Congress, marketers agreed on two things:

  • Mobile is going to continue to become a more important part of the marketing mix.
  • Consumers will demand higher quality mobile content that is easily accessible.

So, marketing leaders are looking to native mobile technology to break through the noise and reach consumers exactly where they are. For example, a thoughtfully constructed app has a far more lasting impact than tiny banner ads and interstitial pop-ups. Those best-practices for mobile marketing hold true for events, as well.

Why Your Company Needs a Branded App

Marketers should consider creating a branded app for the conferences they host to open up new marketing channels and maximize engagement.

Here's why.

An app can multiply the number of opportunities to reach attendees with targeted messaging and branding. It helps drive interest pre-event with an easy-to-browse schedule of events, a list of attendees, and relevant info exhibitors and speakers.

Moreover, the event app kick-starts discussions, such as which local bars are ideal for networking or how to connect with speakers after a session.

During the event, marketers can fire up engagement with contests, driven by in-app activity. They can send push notifications before a scheduled session to encourage attendance and survey requests afterward.

Also, the mobile event app creates a hub for discussion, centralizing all social interactions into one platform, with the ability to share out to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

At DoubleDutch, we've seen that 56% of users engage with event applications at least 10 times on average, proving that attendees are eager for this type of timely, contextual content.

What's most exciting for marketers is that mobile apps can make event marketing just as trackable as digital marketing channels.

Yes, you read that correctly.

With each tap of the application is a signal of interest, much like clicking in an email or visiting a website. Marketers can now better understand which messages and speakers are drawing the most attention, how attendees are spending their time, and uncover location-based traffic patterns at the event. We don't have to rely on attendees to fill out surveys for feedback; we can get it in real time from attendees, exhibitors, and speakers, based on their in-app actions.

* * *

Given the enormous investment of time and money that goes into events every year, marketers should be looking to maximize event ROI with best-practices from mobile marketing. Mobile event apps embrace consumer smartphone addictions to increase event engagement and consequentially, increase the data from which marketers can make informed decisions. Mobile event apps are the next step in any marketing engagement campaign.

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Jennifer Hawkins is director of Marketing at DoubleDutch, a company that is embracing mobile and social to transform the event landscape with customized, data-driven event applications.

LinkedIn: Jennifer Hawkins

Twitter: @jenhawkn

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  • by Misty Wed Apr 2, 2014 via web

    We build custom apps, but we haven't yet done any event apps. It would be interesting to see how it plays out for the developer.
    AB Mobile Apps

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