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Event Benefits of Mobile Apps

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A-Speakers has spoken to Marvin McTaw, the CEO of EventCommercials.com. He has worked extensively in the event industry and has a lot of experience with the social, mobile and media side of event planning, marketing and execution. Picking the right social and mobile strategy for an event can often be overwhelming.

We therefore asked Marvin to demystify the idea of event apps and to guide you all through the selection of the best value adding mobile apps. Over the next few weeks, Marvin will be focusing on various aspects of mobile apps that are relevant for all event planners.

To begin with, we are taking a look at the various event aspects that would benefit from app assistance, and how to identify the best app for that purpose.


What aspects of events could benefit from mobile apps?

The first question that needs to be asked is who is the app for: the event organizer, attendees, or others involved with the event (like exhibitors and speakers)? If the end user is going to take the time to install and use your app, the organizer must be sure the app delivers real, tangible value to the end user.

Tangible value means the app needs to do something “better” than what is currently available. “Better” can mean being faster, easier or just smarter than what’s currently done. For example, replacing the printed schedule of events is usually an easy first step many events take. The problem though is that is the app is harder to use than flipping through pages, slower than scanning a page, or difficult to understand because there are 72 menu options then it’s probably not even worth deploying and marketing the app in the first place.

From an attendee standpoint, there are several parts of an event though that can benefit from an app. The schedule of events mentioned earlier is usually an excellent place to start. Printed programs containing the full and detailed schedule are usually expensive so scaling back their production or completely eliminating their production can do a lot to offset the cost of your mobile app.

Another area that would benefit from mobile apps are announcements. There are some apps that allow organizers to send out push notifications via their app and SMS messages (text messages) to attendees who don’t download the app. This is ideal for announcements relevant to all attendees and can also be useful when there are security concerns.



Collecting feedback on speakers, sessions and events can also be one of the areas that mobile apps can help with. Apps are probably better for collecting feedback because they can ask for responses in a timely manner when your users are relatively engaged (i.e. at the end of a session). Using mobile apps to collect feedback can help improve the response rate, cut down on the manual work involved with paper responses, and potentially reduce the number of staff/volunteers required to actually collect feedback.



There are some apps that help to increase the amount of face to face networking at events. These types of apps and modules within apps can be useful in helping shy people to network better. They can also be useful in helping everyone to actually remember and follow-up with the people they met.

Overall, I’d encourage every organizer to remember that having a mobile app is not going to change a crappy event to an excellent one. A mobile app is a tool that can be used to enhance an attendee experience.

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