Blog

Always thinking...

Case Study: Event Engagement With Added Caffeine

 

Have you had your coffee fix today?

The 60% of Australians aged between 30 and 70 who drink coffee every day probably have!

Given coffee’s popularity, it’s no surprise it’s a non-negotiable feature at most events.  While catering to the caffeine demands of a small internal meeting is easy, things can get tricky for large events hosting hundreds or thousands of attendees.

Do you serve filter or barista brewed? How do you avoid long lines and over stretched service?  What happens to a large crowd when they’re deprived of caffeine?!

The coffee conundrum made us dig deeper to find out more about the Customer Engagement and Loyalty Conference that took place in Australia’s coffee capital, Melbourne.

We chatted to event organiser, Elizabeth Hanlon from Global Loyalty, about how they pulled off a caffeine masterstroke to boost event engagement!

 

CC: Hi Elizabeth, can you tell us a little more about your event?

Elizabeth: It’s the Customer Engagement and Loyalty Conference.  The event has been running for six years and provides information, discussion and networking opportunities.

Attendees tend to be people in senior, decision-making roles in marketing managers, loyalty and data analytics.

CC:  So, people who are very likely to expect, or rather need, coffee at an event?

Elizabeth: Absolutely! In the past we’d serve filter coffee, but we’d find that people were nipping out to get a ‘proper’ coffee.

Given the 2018 event was being held near Melbourne where there is a strong expectation for great coffee we felt filter wouldn’t fly with our attendees.

CC: Did you bring in a barista?

Elizabeth: We certainly did. We hired two coffee carts to cater the event. One would provide a walk-up service like a normal café. The other would deliver coffee orders made via our event app.

CC: Wow! A clever idea.

Elizabeth: I thought incorporating a coffee ordering element into the event app would not only make getting hold of a coffee a lot easier but it would also encourage downloads of the event app itself.

CrowdComms came up with a clean and simple ordering feature for the event app that was exactly what we were looking for.

CC: Did it work?

Elizabeth: It did, almost everyone downloaded the app! We also made coffee ordering part of our gamification strategy.

For every coffee attendees ordered they would receive 25pts and boost their place on the leaderboard. It definitely helped with event engagement.

CC: And how about the in-app ordering, was that a success?

Elizabeth: It went down so well. It was really easy to place an order. People could specify their coffee preference and milk type. The order went straight to the barista who worked from the list of incoming requests.

Attendees could order throughout the day so we had hardly any queuing.

CC: What was the attendee feedback like?

Elizabeth: They loved it! Attendees could order as many coffees as they liked.  I had plenty of people asking me “where can I pay for coffee?” They were delighted to find out it was free!

We planned on three coffees per person and came in just under that for the event.

CC: Did you get any sponsor feedback?

Elizabeth: Mastercard sponsored the coffee cart. While they didn’t give any specific feedback they had done this before so it obviously works for them.

CC: Finally, do you think the coffee ordering gave your event a strong point of difference?

Elizabeth: Definitely. Coffee is an instrumental part of many people’s day. Making sure attendees could get their daily cup easily (and for free!) helped create a lovely, positive vibe throughout the event.

How To Avoid Event Social Media Pitfalls

Whether you’re running a school fete or global conference, your event needs to have a social media profile.

Social media provides a forum for you to connect and share ideas and information with your attendees. It can generate buzz and enthusiasm for your event, boost ticket sales, create lasting positive impressions and inspire raging FOMO in those who missed out.

However, it can also go horribly wrong.

While the examples given the Inc.com post are extreme cases, it’s easy to trip up on social media. Here are some tips to avoid your hash-tag turning sour:

Have A Policy

While posting on social media can seem like freewheelin’ fun times, in reality it pays to have clear and widely understood policy that provides an engagement blueprint for you and your team.

You may have a social media/content manager who fully understands the event social media brief, including content language and tone, but what about team members who may post event related content across their personal channels?

Team cheerleading across social media can be important and influential, so help them understand them how to craft their event related posts. Issue guidelines around language, hot- button issues, personal opinion vs. company line and appropriate image use.

Pro tip: a useful analogy is to ask team members who want to post event related content to think about how they would act if they were at the event in person – and post accordingly.

Don’t Ignore Reputational Weaknesses

If you’re running a conference for an industry renowned for poor service or terrible time-keeping or low quality standards tread very carefully when attempting to spark conversation on social media.

The weaknesses may be a necessary by-product of low-cost, for example, but pretending they don’t exist or glossing over them with an inappropriately upbeat hash-tag could backfire. Understand how people engage with the event industry or brand you’re promoting and use this to craft your social media strategy and posts.

Keep Watch For Timely Issues

Your on point hash-tag might be the perfect reflection of your event, but don’t forget that every post will exist in the wider social media universe.

Whether it’s an emerging natural disaster, a political movement or troubled brand ambassador – a hash-tag that inadvertently connects to a divisive or important issue will appear clumsy at best and wilfully ignorant/malicious at worst.

Research your event social media themes and hash-tags in the hours leading up to posting. If a situation emerges during your campaign, don’t be afraid to change strategy. A few explanatory posts with the new hash-tag makes any negative associations easier to avoid.

Monitor and Respond

Keep an eye on your event mentions and respond to any potential difficulties quickly.   Include referral guidelines in your event social media policy. If team members encounter complaints, negative feedback or inflammatory event related content they are best referred to (and dealt with by) the appropriate marketing or customer relations expert straight away.

Fast and appropriate responses avoid public arguments that can quickly degenerate into a viral nightmare.

Pro tip: if your social media posts go awry, take responsibility and apologise where necessary – don’t ignore and hope it will go away.

 

 

Do You know Your Ideal Event Tech Solution?

Running an event and unclear what event tech solution will work best?

Whether it’s a long standing event or a new addition to the event circuit, it’s always a good idea to re-visit your event tech solutions.

Not only will your needs vary from event to event, but technology is always evolving. Your tried and trusted event app may have been superseded by a more efficient, tailored and cost effective solution.

Here are some scenarios that look at different needs and solutions:

1.Scenario: Public forum for infrastructure change

A government agency is holding a series of public forums to gauge opinion on a proposed light railway line. The agency needs a polling solution that will offer voters a comprehensive selection of questions. The technology must support open and closed questions. Given the broad cross-section of potential voters, the platform must be easy to use. As a government entity cost is a significant factor.

Solution: A stand-alone polling platform with data analysis.

The agency has a specific and clear need. While the event could be supported by an event app, a dedicated polling platform will deliver a more relevant solution. It is also cost-effective as the agency will only have to pay for the solution it needs.

A mobile enabled polling platform will allow attendees to vote via their personal device. It is important comprehensive data analysis is available to enable the agency to review and interpret responses.

2.Scenario: Annual industry conference with multiple speaker sessions and large numbers of attendees

The event organisers of this conference need an event tech solution that will help them manage multiple elements. They have a large number of attendees, some travelling from overseas. The conference is only running for two days. It’s critical that attendees can gain access to the event quickly and efficiently.

There are over a hundred speaking sessions running over the two days. Giving attendees as much information as possible in advance of the event will help them decide where and when to spend their time.

Solution: End-to-end event tech solution, including event app

For large and complex events, a streamlined end-to-end event tech solution will provide optimum results.   With so many different features to manage, it’s important the disparate elements can connect and transfer data seamlessly.

To get attendees into the event fast, organisers will need a registration system that can process check-in quickly. Profiles that can be completed pre-event will save time at the check-in desk.

Registration details should flow straight to the event app, which means no need for duplicate data entry. Whether attendees are participating in Q&A sessions or networking activities, their event app will have their details ready to go.

Once the event wraps, the end-to-end solution must deliver sophisticated analysis of conference features, from event start to event close.

3.Scenario: New trade show requiring strong marketing push and the means to attract sponsors

The organisers of this brand-new trade show need a strong marketing campaign to create awareness and drive ticket sales and registration. They also need to create sponsorship options that will offer genuine ROI.

Solution: Marketing platform that supports email, SMS and social media campaigns plus additional support for lead capture and gamification.

An automated marketing platform will allow the organisers to schedule communication across multiple channels, including social media. The platform should deliver alerts and updates in real time direct to audience mobile devices.

A lead capture platform couple with gamification will offer potential new sponsors an opportunity for qualified leads. Gamification will drive attendees to sponsors’ stands and web pages to ensure high traffic and engagement.

4.Scenario: An established medical conference wants to trial digital abstract management.

The conference organisers are transitioning from paper based abstracts to digital. To make the change smooth and successful they need a platform that is easy to use and can store over a thousand abstracts. They also need the means to assess how the success (or otherwise) of the digital trial

Solution: Event app with abstract management capability plus data analysis.

New features need to be assessed for engagement and user experience. An event app with the capability to store large number of abstracts is the starting point. Not only should the event app have sufficient storage, its search and retrieval functions must be easy and quick.

The data analysis will help conference organisers establish success points. How often was the material accessed, in what numbers and how long did attendees spend reading. It’s an important way to assess how well the new feature worked and where improvements (if any) can be made.

How Effective Is Your Pre-Event Marketing?

What are you doing right now to build anticipation and drive tickets sales before your event starts? With so much time and energy devoted to creating the event itself, pre-event promotion can fall by the wayside.

Event tech is critical to maximise attendees’ on-site experience, but it can also help to achieve the goals you set before the event starts.

Pre-Event Goals

The following pre-event goals are likely to be your priorities:

*Increase event registrations & boost ticket sales

*Generate excitement

*Right Information, Right Time

*Give sponsors a greater reach

*Spark active networking

Increase Event Registrations & Boost Ticket Sales

Registration rates and/or ticket sales can receive a significant boost with the right event tech. Choose a platform that integrates registration with the event app to keep processes streamlined and efficient.

By managing your own event app and digital signage through a content management system you can make changes (in real-time) when you need to. The right platform will also allow you to customise your registration site. Whether you need to connect to a badge-printing kiosk or include event specific branding, flexibility and control is key.

You can also launch your registration site when it suits you. An early launch could mean a good percentage of attendees are registered before event doors open – which gets people into your event faster.

Pro Tip: drive traffic to your registration page through:

*Early bird promo codes

*Tiered registration release dates targeting specific attendee groups

*Email analytics. Data will tell you when your audience is most likely to open your emails – make sure you send invites on the optimum day at   the right time.

Generate Excitement

Marquee or celebrity keynote speakers can be the difference between a well-attended or poorly supported event. If you’ve secured a high profile keynote make the most of their reputation to generate excitement in your event.

Promote your keynote on your event app’s main page and put their bio at the top of your speaker list. Use your app’s alert feature to send out teaser content ahead of the presentation.

A private chat platform, such as Group Discussion, can be used as a pre-event Q&A channel. Use the interaction with attendees to garner the hot topics people would like to see covered in the keynote addess.

Pro tip: don’t be afraid to ramp up the FOMO (fear-of-missing-out). Share and like social media shout-outs from attendees who are super excited to be seeing your event’s keynote speaker.

Right Information, Right Time

Your event app is the perfect one-stop source for all event related information.

An in-app info point will centralise all the key details attendees need, such as travel, local attractions, weather updates and contact details.

The event app’s real-time alerts will help focus attendees’ attention where it’s needed. Event doors about to open? Send an alert linking to registration point and sign-in details.

Give Sponsors a Greater Reach

You’ll want to help sponsors reach as many people as possible. Utilise your digital spaces to make sure your sponsor’s message connects with your attendees. Promote your sponsor on the main page of your registration and event app. Banner ads and pop-ups are great for drawing attention to key messages.

Uploading your sponsor’s brochure to the event app before the event gives attendees more time to engage with the material. Targeted alerts can make specific people aware of interesting content and where to find it.

Pro tip: Create a branded discussion channel to allow sponsors to share information pre-event with attendees. Feedback may even give sponsors the opportunity to curate event content according to attendee interest and need.

Spark Active Networking

Networking doesn’t have to be limited to the event itself. Connecting people before the event means on-site discussions and meetings can be even more dynamic. People know who they want to meet in person ahead of the event. It saves valuable time and maximises productive discussions.

To facilitate this, make sure your event app supports attendee connection from pre-event to post-event. Use such tools as attendee profiles, LinkedIn, and private social networks (such as Group Discussions) to spark conversations before the event.

 

 

This is an edited version of a post by our good friends at EventMobi. You can read the original here