From the Planner’s Desk: Why Meeting Professionals Must Embrace the New Mobile Reality

Do the people who attend your meetings aspire to or already live a mobile lifestyle? Next time you’re at one of your meetings, you will notice that many attendees are:

  • Always on their mobile devices (unless on a purposeful “digital detox” vacation from work)
  • Carrying multiple devices (smartphones and tablets)
  • Connected to both work and family via mobile
  • Booking their travel or doing their shopping on mobile
  • Accessing information on their mobile devices, such as maps and directions, news, and content relevant to their work and personal lives
  • Accessing entertainment on their devices like music, podcasts, movies or TV shows

What we have seen throughout the world is a proliferation of mobile devices and accounts, and a deep and wide adoption of apps to manage all parts of our lives, from banking to expenses, task lists to social connections, fundraising to fun, and more. The ubiquity of mobile is a topic covered by Forrester in The Mobile Mind Shift, which we apply to the meetings and events space in our webinar recording.

According to We Are Social’s Digital, Social and Mobile 2015 report, unique mobile users exceeded 50% of the world’s population in September 2014 and it is expected that there will be 200 million new mobile users over the next 12 months. Attendees are showing up to our meetings and events with mobile devices in their purses and pockets – and we are only going to see more of this in the coming months.

The reality is that even two years ago a mobile meeting app was a nice-to-have, where it is now an expectation. So, how do you as a meeting professional meet this expectation?  For the meetings you are already providing an app for, you know what it takes; for those that haven’t done this yet, here is what you need to consider:

1. Plan mobile into your budget

2. Determine your resourcing – will you manage your own app development including branding and content or work with your mobile app provider’s content team to manage this for you?

3. Determine what you no longer need now that you have a well-designed mobile app. Depending on your meeting this may allow you to replace the following:

  • Printed programs, schedule-at-a-glance, show floor maps, abstract books, etc. with in-app functionality (documents, maps, speaker, sponsor and exhibitor listings etc.)
  • External audience response systems (ARS) with in-app polling and live Q&A
  • Paper or post-event paper surveys with in-app surveys
  • A web-based event photo gallery with one that is in-app, available in real time, moderated by your team
  • Bonus: the marketing for your next event now begins with this event – as the in-app tool, including messaging, gallery and social allow your community to share their excitement now with both existing and new connections, and with social amplify it, creating a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) for those who aren’t there live

If you’d like to learn more about taking advantage of mobile moments in your meetings, watch our webinar recording here.

Next week, we will look at different pain points we have as planners when it comes to content and how mobile can address these. Stay tuned!

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