Recently a fellow event app provider, QuickMobile, published a report about mobile event apps from budgeting to favourite app features. Nestling amongst this in a section on ROI was the startling intel that a mobile app can cost less than half of what is typically spent on coffee per person (at a 3-day conference) and that an app offers way more value than a cup of coffee. Ergo (although this was not one of the report’s conclusions), the cash-strapped event organiser might do well to consider axing the coffee budget in favour of an app. The very thought!
Let’s face it, most of us cannot function without coffee. In fact, recent studies have shown upwards of 95%1 of event participants actually need their caffeine fix to enjoy an event. As fervent coffee consumers ourselves (our CE Marie-Claire Andrews is even a shareholder in a coffee roastery), and with the knowledge that coffee is a key ingredient in the production of mobile apps, especially last minute ones, we could not morally, or ethically, suggest that coffee budgets are cut in favour of event apps.
So we have come up with a winning compromise. Unselfishly, and in the interests of the greater event-going community, our coffee-addicted event app
monkeys team took a quick break from business as usual, sacred brews in hand, and brainstormed 10 top ways to get an event app WITHOUT making the supreme sacrifice and going cold coffee turkey.
1. Increase attendance and ticket sales by making your event awesome
Apps make events more efficient and give better returns for exhibitors and a better experience for attendees. They increase your audience. They increase options for communicating with attendees. They can take your event beyond the “event” into the unknown; the usual greyzone before and after the event.
With more and more organisers including apps as a core piece of the event toolkit, attendees are noticing the events that have not. We get comments all the time from organisers telling us how much they’ve enjoyed using ShowGizmo at their events. It’s great to see the innovative ways organisers and attendees use our apps, often things we haven’t thought of. Don’t miss out on these benefits. Your attendees, your exhibitors, and your stakeholders will thank you .. and talk about how much they’re enjoying it over … er … their coffee break
2. Add value to your event by deploying new technology
You can think of event apps as a foundation— a glorious foundation from which you can deploy any number of interactive, engaging technology options. Some of these, (already built into all of ShowGizmo’s event apps), include live polls, support for iBeacons (little hardware devices that enable location based behaviour like automatically opening the ticket when you walk in to registration), push notifications which let you communicate important messages to attendees in real time, and social collaboration tools like our event feed.
All of these can add value to your event and give you an edge in the super competitive event space … something to celebrate with an Irish coffee perhaps?
3. Sponsors sponsors sponsors
Let’s face it we all love (and often need) sponsors. Many events already have sponsorship options in play like brand placement, advertising, and preferential positioning to create value for sponsors who in turn help make events possible. Event apps add many new options for sponsors to engage with attendees. Some of these include banners, interstitial messaging, “app sponsorship”. Unlike placement on banners and physical presence at your event, sponsorship in event apps can have an effect well before and after your event as attendees will keep going back to your app to review event content, connect with contacts, and get updates. You could even … get a coffee sponsor and promote them via your app.
4. Reduce printing costs
Reducing printing costs can be one of the most beneficial outcomes of deploying an app at your event. Printing is expensive, time consuming, and can be logistically tricky to manage. We shouldn’t need to mention all those dead trees and the huge wastage. By using an event app you can cut printing dramatically, or completely. Further, event apps can be updated at any time, meaning stick-on schedule changes on your printed programme and change announcements in your keynote can be a thing of the past. While we’re on the subject of waste, think about bio-degradable coffee cups or sell event branded re-useable ones that attendees can take with them.
5. Cut the swag
Everyone has too many stress things and who needs another 256 MB USB stick (that doesn’t even fit a bad quality Game of Thrones episode!). And we all know those eco bags are going straight in the bin. Many of the benefits you are aiming to get with swag (loyalty, sponsor brand exposure, etc) can be better achieved in less wasteful ways. The uplifting aroma of freshly ground coffee as they walk past will ease their pain and underline the gain.
6. Improve efficiency and effectiveness of your event for your exhibitors
Exhibitors come to your event to get leads and to get their products or solutions in front of your attendees. Exhibitors will pay more to come to your event, and come more often, if they get more of these things. By replacing lead forms and business card bowls with mobile app lead generation (like our lead qualification product) and digital attendee profiles, exhibitors can get more leads and better data for each lead, as well as more robust and reliable ways of communicating with potential leads. Featured presence in the app for selected exhibitors can also assist with exhibitor brand exposure, even to event participants who might not make it to their booth or stand in person. Also let’s face it, apps + coffee = better efficiency.
7. Replace expensive legacy technology
Handheld lead trackers. Voting handsets. Door scanners. Separate, dedicated hardware for all of these things — why? It reminds us of the bad old days when had to carry a separate Palm Pilot, cellphone, and camera. Jokes aside, all of these functions are costly to deploy, require dedicated on-site staff (which you pay for by the hour), and also happen to be available in mobile apps, many of them in built-in to ShowGizmo already, and at no additional cost to you. Another 1,000 attendees get to have coffee:)
8. Skip the Kopi Luwak
Avoid the temptation to try and be a trend-settter with the unbelievable civet coffee [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak]. This product combines coffee berries and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus in a box for a few days, and then people brew the result. OK it sounds er, great, but who needs it?.It’s also inhumane — give the civets a fair go and use any one of the fantastic and ethically produced coffees on the market.
9. Put an app in your budget
Include your app in your preliminary budgeting. Then plan (coffee in hand) how you will use it to build engagement not only during but before and after the event. It is one of the most, if not the most engaging channels you can use to communicate with your event attendees. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. ShowGizmo has options starting from $1000 for one event and less for several.
Planning ahead will also give you more options. For example you could reduce costs by utilising a multi-event version of your app over the year.
10. Cutting coffee from events is a sign of the End Times
There you have it. Being producers of event apps, we naturally had a robust debate about the possible downsides of recommending that event organisers keep the coffee budget when it could be reallocated for our benefit. But we know, deep down, in our caffeine saturated enriched little hearts that there is no parallel universe in which we could ever advocate for caffeine-free events. Keep the coffee …please.
1. may not be actual science