Every year has its own highs and lows, but for us at a2z, it was a memorable and exceptional year in more ways than one. We added many new and powerful solutions to our portfolio that have already started garnering high ROI for our clients. Hearing many wonderful success stories from our clients and partners through the year has only reinforced our belief in serving the whole ecosystem and looking at the big picture first. So, as we look back at the year, here is a part serious, part fun a-2-z look at some of the very many high points of the year.
We are very excited to share that the NADA/ATD 2014 mobile app has been awarded the 2014 Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) MobileWebAward by the Web Marketing Association. The ChirpE-powered mobile event app was judged the best mobile solution leveraged by an association.
The winners are selected by independent judges who review the entered advertising using the criteria below:
- Use of the medium
Other noteworthy organizations conferred with the MobileWebAward include GEICO, POSSIBLE and MTV.
This is the second time this year that a2z and National Automobile Dealers Association have been honored by the Web Marketing Association. A few months ago, a2z’s technology and promotional campaign for the NADA/ATD mobile app were recognized with the 2014 IAC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising in the Best Event Mobile App category.
Please read the press release for details about the NADA 2014 mobile app and its acclaimed success.
Today I would like to share 3 creative conference ideas. I ask that you think outside the box. Some of you may or may not have tried yet, but they can help make your conference more fun, engaging, and spark rave reviews!
1) GIVE EVERY SESSION A UNIQUE ENVIRONMENT.
Keep attendees stimulated by moving them into a different environment for each session. Here are a few fun ideas you might consider:
a. At your next opening night party or social event, add a matchmaking game to help people connect with each other.
b. Instead of chairs, have everyone sitting on large round exercise balls. During your lesson, incorporate an activity that uses these balls.
c. Set up a “technology playground” where every table has a new industry related technology they can test drive and give feedback on.
d. Create a speed-networking room. Let suppliers sit still and buyers move from chair to chair each 3 minutes.
e. Set up a room with 10 mini boardrooms of 6-8 people each. Give each group a flip chart and a task or problem to solve. Give them a process to follow that ensures everyone is engaged.
f. Set up your own “Talk Show” with guest experts speaking and audience involvement. Broadcast it online, on monitors at your food and beverage seating areas, record it and use it to promote next year’s event, etc.
2. SHOWCASE YOUR ATTENDEES.
a. VIDEO. The idea here is to take short 60 second videos that attendees can watch and share with their friends. For example, imagine each group in 1.e presenting their problem and solution by video for everyone in your industry to see! They would be proud to share it and watch the other teams who also presented. Also imagine video taping your “Talk Show” and sharing the tips from the experts and audience responses! Be sure to break up the show into shorter videos and label them so people can watch them in short segments.
b. PICTURES. Capture pictures of your attendees having a wonderful time at your event. Set up a mobile photo booth that will allow you to take a picture, post a comment, then share it socially…IMMEDIATELY in real time! Don’t forget to tag the people in the picture so they can show all of their friends how much fun they are having. Use these pictures next year to promote your event! (Check out ChirpE Photo Booth here)
c. REVIEWS. If your event’s mobile app allows for surveys of your sessions, be sure to ask your attendees to fill out the survey on their phone or tablet BEFORE they leave the room! Reserve the last 5 minutes of each session to direct the attendees to your event’s mobile app and have them answer your survey for that session. Be sure to include a field for leaving a testimonial and additional comments that the show organizer can learn from. Keep it short and sweet. No more than 3 multiple choice and 2 fill in the blank. Use the information you gather to tweet testimonials and learn who your audience enjoyed the most. (Check out ChirpE Premium Mobile App)
3. ASK SPEAKERS TO WRITE OR SPEAK ABOUT IT.
Getting the speakers involved can really help expand your reach!!!
a. Ask each speaker to write an article or give an interview about their session for your website, and ask them to share them on their own website. Make sure to keep them interesting.
b. Have them write or talk about what they learned from their attendees, what was the most memorable moment, etc.
c. Post their articles and video’s online and share them for several weeks after your event is over, and on your website for next year to get people excited about attending.
Do you have other ideas? Share them below…
Attending Expo! Expo! in Houston, TX next month? We are delighted to share that a2z will co-host the ChirpE Photo Booth Scavenger Hunt along with ASP, Inc., International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), J. Spargo & Associates, Projection Presentation Technology, The Expo Group and Visit Baltimore at Expo! Expo! 2013.
Participating in the ChirpE Scavenger Hunt is fun and easy. Just visit each of the seven locations on the show floor to click and share your photo using ChirpE Photo Booth, and provide your email to enter the raffle for a $500 Gift Card from a2z. Your photos will be posted on Facebook and Twitter right away, enabling you to share your event experience with your online friends even as you meet and network with other attendees at this premier event.
The name of the ChirpE Scavenger Hunt raffle winner will be announced by a2z on December 18, 2013.
Launched at Expo! Expo! 2012, the ChirpE Photo Booth solution adds a strong real-time social media component to face-to-face events by enabling fans to share and promote their show experience on leading social media sites directly from the event venue.
To learn more about ChirpE Photo Booth, visit a2z in booth 117 at Expo! Expo! or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently attended New York Comic Con (NYCC) to observe what brings 116,000 attendees to a show with 200 exhibit booths. The obvious answer is that the individual who attends New York Comic Con wouldn’t miss it for the world. NYCC fans have a passion for the subject matter. Sessions like “I want to cosplay but don’t own a sewing machine” have stanchions outside to control the crowd as they line up outside the room. It’s truly unbelievable.
So, other than the obvious, what else makes New York Comic Con successful? What can the trade show industry learn from a show that seems to be “the show” to attend?
- The comic industry could have died years ago. They reinvented themselves, retained their audience and stayed relevant. This is a huge lesson learned for other industries who are facing major competition in today’s world.
- The show treats people like people. Not only are there exhibits about the gaming industry, there are also large sponsorship presences like Arizona Tea and Chevrolet. Why wouldn’t ANY brand want to be in the same building as thousands of onsite and millions of online potential consumers? Talk about exposure…and a diverse sponsorship prospect pool.
- The atmosphere is FUN. I have attended a lot of trade shows. Most pride themselves on being professional, and…well..stiff and formal. The message that attendees usually get – “Please don’t anyone act like a human being, we have business to do”. In contrast, New York Comic Con is a place where people can be themselves, and many grab the opportunity to be someone they are not.
I’m not saying that every event should encourage attendees to wear fantastic costumes on the show floor. But throwing in a little bit more of the human element can definitely go a long way. This can be accomplished by something as simple as having flash cards at your breakfast tables asking people to share with the table what their most embarrassing moment was, or what their favorite vacation was. If you appeal to the more personal side, people will feel connected to your event, other attendees and the subject matter.