The Dirty Little Secret of Event Apps
No one uses them.
Ok not quite true. But no-one has cracked the code of regularly getting more than 50% of event attendees to download and populate their apps for use over just one day. Doesn’t that statement itself not highlight the issue though? Really, do we think attendees or delegates will do that? Clearly a whole events industry does – there are literally hundreds of event app companies.
Here was our insight. These event app companies were targeting the event organisers as their customers. No wonder we don’t end up with something attendees are delighted with. You cannot serve two masters with an app – an app has to be simple and deliver immediate utility.
So what’s the common ground between what an attendee wants at an event and what an event organiser wants? In simple terms any event is successful if it achieves two things for its attendees:
1. Great content – whether that’s awesome conference speakers or a perfect set of high profile competing exhibitors.
2. Great Networking – Attendees want to meet other attendees with shared interests or representatives of companies that can solve their issues.
Maybe an app can signpost the great content. But unless you have a very large event such active signposting is limited in value in an app. A website does that perfectly well – just make your website mobile friendly. (We can talk iBeacons etc another time).
However, no matter the size of the event, attendees always expect to find other people who add value in attending the event. Its why even at the smallest event we have name badges with our company name and sometimes a printed list of names and companies at the event. For me, I learned early – networking at events was THE reason for attending…I can get great content online so easily. You cannot beat the face to face meeting for validating the early start and the long day out.
Now this is the sort of thing an app can do – it can make the event networking a breeze. So how should it do that?
Well first and foremost – lets deal with the very first issue we raised – it should be one app for any event or location, so that I, as an attendee, only have to learn one app. This also means that as I invest in content in the app it goes with me to the next event and the next. So it should contain a means to document my interests and share them with those around me. It should enable a event/location based discussion forum – no more Twitter hash tagging for which I have no way of knowing whose tweets are from people here now that I can network with, and whose are from some commentator half way round the world. If they have something to say about whats happening right here right now, then it might be the spark that makes me want to network with them…to meet them. This also means I need a private way to message them, to initiate personal contact.
But of all these things, perhaps its discovery thats most important – the ability to discover who is here right now, what they are currently interested in and why I may want to meet them.
This is the Krowd – one app, any event – Discovery, event/location forum, personalisation of content to present who I am, and private one to one messaging. A tool to do one job – enable networking and introduce professionals to each other.
Even better when the app sets new standards for privacy and security. No location tracking, no profiling, no intrusion into my privacy at all. It puts the attendee in control because its a product for them. But the event organiser benefits because his/her attendees have a great networking experience, they all engage in the mobile app, again and again, event after event, bringing more and more personal value to event after event. Even better – its free. And no admin setup – we use clever co-location software to auto-discover who is on your event Wi-Fi (so the Wi-Fi access becomes the event organisers management tool), so no need to register for the event in order to network – just turn up and login to the Wi-Fi. Exhibitors and conference speakers can prepare event specific profile updates to ensure attendees gain immediate value too. And those exhibitors and speakers take that investment to the next event and the next – promoting where they have been before. And if they make connections at one event – they’ll get flagged when those same people are at the next.
An event app for attendees that makes your events amazing.