Mission Possible Series
A mobile event app used to be an elaborate feature of a conference reserved for the high end, tech savvy event. Now, a mobile app is standard and will warrant an embarrassing comment or two if one is not offered. Mobile event apps provide easy access to event information and can play a large roll in an attendee’s ability to optimize their conference experience.
As common as mobile apps have become, however, there is not one simple formula for a perfect app. The information below is geared to empower a novice mobile app idealist to take the first step: source the mobile app platform best suited to their event. Let’s get started…
Begin with the End in Mind
Define your goals and objectives for the mobile app. Some helpful goal discussion questions can include:
- What are you trying to accomplish with the mobile app?
- Is replacing a printed program and the agenda the focus?
- Is networking and attendee interaction the most important feature?
- What exposure do you want for sponsors and exhibitors?
- Do you want the app to be a “one off” for the event, or to serve as a community resource throughout the year? Do you have multiple events each year?
- Should the app be native and white-labeled, or are you content with the less-expensive option of an event within a platform directory?
- Consider the culture of the event. Would the attendees benefit from gamification and other socially driven components of the event?
- Does the app integrate with registration software?
- What content do you want included in the app? Do you have any special sponsor benefits or content? Will it link to external websites? It’s highly recommended to create a content outline before talking to the sales teams so you can be sure your needs are addressed.
The Discovery Process
Start your discovery as early as possible. If you’re able to select a mobile event app in conjunction with building out the registration site, speaker submission, sponsorship program, etc., you will be able to setup the sites in compatible formats.
For example, based on the mobile app chosen, you may want speakers to include their social media profile during the submission process for import. If you structure your submission template with similar fields as the mobile event app requires, it will simplify the manual maneuvering of the spreadsheet prior to import.
Some apps work with themes or tags, and you would be able to setup the collection site to match these elements. Streamlining the process of transferring information between software platforms is key to efficiency during the build-out.
Learn the Language
Acquaint yourself with some basic mobile app jargon. You’ll need to feel comfortable with some basic phrases, as the mobile app world embraces acronyms and industry-specific phrases.
Choosing an App Provider
The bulleted list above is not comprehensive, but should help equip you to talk to the sales team. The sales team and apps they demo are often slick it’s easy to get seduced by the lovely design and the fluid performance of the demo your representative has perfected over time.
During the demo, don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down or inquire about specifics. Ask your sales rep for samples of their top apps, or the apps they think are most compatible with the needs you’ve expressed. Sign in to the sample apps and explore as if you were an attendee. By really dissecting the user experience, you will have a clear idea of the end product you desire.
Once you’ve reviewed a variety of apps, make an informed decision on which app best accommodates your event. Before signing the contract with the app provider, be sure to negotiate! You can often get perks, such as registration integration included, or a deeper discount for a two-year agreement. The sales reps almost always have wiggle room when they are negotiating the app fee.
Once you’ve sourced the app, the next step is managing the buildout, which will be covered in an upcoming MeetGreen blog. Stay tuned!