Heidi Cohen, president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, has 20+ years experience in direct and digital marketing across diverse product categories encompassing soft goods (such as clothes and uniforms), highly regulated financials services, entertainment-related products, and craft-oriented offerings. Her blog provides marketing related insights grounded in digital and direct marketing. In this installment, Heidi answered some questions via email. You can follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiCohen. Continue reading »
In lieu of a PRMM Interview this week, I’m sharing these top five ways to make your events more mobile.
Here are two videos that I took while I was at the Virtual Edge Summit 2011. Again, while I provided PR/marketing/social media services to the summit, the below represents my personal opinions and not those of the Virtual Edge Summit.
NOTE: I am providing pr/marketing services to the Virtual Edge Summit. This post reflects my personal opinions and is not representative of the Virtual Edge Institute or Virtual Edge Summit.
I previously wrote about some of the efforts we undertook to promote the Virtual Edge Summit. I would like to highlight some of the buzz coming out of the Summit and what this means for marketers. Interestingly, I anticipated hearing some innovations from the key players in the US virtual events market – INXPO (Note: I was previously employed here), 6Connex, and Unisfair.
Rather, for me, I was intrigued by the number of mobile developments by other providers at the show, Altus, Digitell Inc. and Social27. While this was surprising, it fits into my overall predictions about the industry, that newcomers will help push the innovation for virtual and hybrid events. Here’s a quick summary of the announcements. I also had the opportunity to speak briefly with Altus and Social27. Here is a quick overview of the Altus and Social27 news, and I plan to post the videos once I get those completed.
Altus Brings Conferences to the Palm of Your Hand
Altus highlighted their announcement as an extension of physical to provide a “hybrid” experience. The mobile application allows conference organizers to put the conference agenda, sponsor information and even presentations on your mobile device.
Why you should take a look? Since attendees proactively download the app to their device (supports many operating systems), conference organizers can continue pushing updates to attendees long after the conference has ended. If you leverage this as an opportunity to continue a conversation, you can keep members engaged while driving interest for the following conference, as well as open up possible revenue opportunities via sponsorships.
Taking Social Interaction to the Next Level with Social27
Social27 originally started as a service to bring social collaboration to enterprises. Seeing an opportunity, Social27 is moving into events and conferences. The company has a philosophy of “Social, Mobile and Local”, which Ike Singh Kehal, CEO of Social27, explains in his video (coming soon). Like the main U.S. players in the market, Social27 provides an environment with 2D locations for networking, exhibitors and sessions. Since the company comes from the social collaboration space, Social27 provides a simple integration with the key social networks.
Why you should take a look? Social27 does the social collaboration and networking well. I would venture to say that it provides the simplest and most intuitive interface to date. Furthermore, the company leverages the wealth of your social graph to provide “matches” to assist with networking. Currently available on Windows mobile phones, expect Social27 to expand the services to additional mobile OS. By adding the geographic aspect as well, Social27 provides marketers with the ability to search, seek and network with prospects – virtually or in the real world.
The Virtual Edge Summit provided great insight into how marketers can leverage virtual and hybrid events as part of the marketing mix. And an integral part of the experience is extending the event to mobile devices. Do you agree or disagree?
Last week, I spoke with Dannette Veale of Cisco regarding how Cisco is leverainge virtual and new technologies for their events and conferences. This week, Dannette shares her predictions for 2011.
It’s the time of year for 2011 predictions. What do you see in store for the industry in 2011 and which technology(ies) do you think will gain popularity?
I see mobility as being the big one and will start looking at that. We leveraged Ustream last year and have a lot of interest with the mobile app for Ustream iPhone. I also think that with the onset of tablets and number of tablets being put out by Samsung and Apple, we will see a huge amount of event tools and experience extended out to mobile, especially tablets. We will see people go beyond the provider mobile applications and opt for white label applications for mobile to create a push-pull opportunity.
For example, download a hypothetical Cisco Live mobile app that will notify the user of updates to content, new contests and upcoming live events they can watch via their mobile device. This type of mobile application could be leveraged as an audience acquisition tool. If I’m not reaching you via the event web site, direct email or social media, but you’ve downloaded my app, then those individuals will be notified of updates. They are invested as they downloaded the app already. This will be a key way to distribute live video for hybrid events.
I also see mobile for event management taking off tenfold – the ability to monitor traffic to various areas with physical security reading back to data analytic tool, 40% of audience in auditorium or 60% in tradeshow floor, is a powerful tool for an event operations team. From an event management perspective, you’ll have real-time results for key surveys on key session and prize notifications on basic level, etc.
I see mobile becoming an intrinsic tool that event managemers will really be able to leverage to manage the event and do that analysis. It simply makes them more nimble.
The unconference will be realized as well, and mobile can help with this. You can watch the video, translate and ease the conference experience with maps on their device. Add to this a way to heat map where the traffic levels are, extending this function to your buddies and contacts, you can enhance the virtual experience or promote friending at a physical event itself. You’re able to see when people are online or physically at a specific location. In a large conference where there are many people, you can only send a small group of people to the event and the social gatherings are around their co-workers for dinner and other activities. The social mobile tools now give them the access to make and find connections.
The event experience will increase as a whole.
Dannette Veale’s Bio
As the virtual and social technology strategist for Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX), Dannette Veale lives and breathes new media. Prior to her role on the GSX team Dannette lead the creation and drove the strategy for the award winning Cisco Live and Networkers virtual program. Dannette has also managed global online and virtual programs for a variety of Cisco groups; most notably emerging markets. When she’s not evangelizing the use of virtual environments to extend the reach of an event and broaden the overall audience demographic participating, you’ll find Dannette engaged in such varied hobbies as producing streaming media, designing Web sites, or watching classic films such as Blade Runner. Outside of her daily immersion in the bleeding edge of collaborative media, Dannette’s also been known to partake in such real world activities as gardening, baking, and knitting;while watching cyberpunk anime, of course.
I attended the WITI Summit earlier this week, recapping the keynotes on the first day. On the second day, I attended three panel sessions on the Applied Cloud, New Opportunities in the Mobile Market, and Social Media Business Solutions. Below is my summary of these sessions:
Applied Cloud Panel Discussion
The panel discussion highlighted the benefits of cloud applications in terms of cost efficiencies, speed to implementation, scalability, and flexibility. Vanessa Alvarez, analyst with Frost & Sullivan, indicated that a hybrid approach (on-premise and cloud) may emerge which may ease issues with integration across multiple vendors and data.
While the benefits of cloud applications was discussed, the issue of data integration was present. According to R. Ray Wong, analyst with the Altimeter Group: ” Integration is very hard. Going backwards to best of breed … People are going out to procure apps themselves. Integration has to come back to have same reports. Everything is coming back as have to have a good data architecture and how the business processes get tied back for reporting. Then can talk about data integration.”
In the end, the possibility of SaaS suites will emerge.
Mobile is becoming an integral part of our lives. The panel clarified that there are six types of mobile applications: 1. Communications, 2. Games, 3. Multimedia, 4. Productivity (email, calendaring, etc.), 5. Travel, and 6. Utilities (address book, task manager, etc.).
Considering that the US has double the number of smartphones than China, which is second worldwide, there is ample opportunity for marketers to leverage mobile. The key takeaway was to provide your audience with useful applications that address their needs. For example, applications for new mothers would be an interesting opportunity for Johnson & Johnson or other company targeting new moms.
Social Media Business Solutions
The panel consisted of representatives from Meebo, Paypal, and IBM. For me, I found how Paypal and IBM leveraged social business very interesting:
Paypal Leverages Social for Community Forum and Customer Service
Paypal is leveraging social media as part of the service’s web self-service. The goal is to provide a long-term community to better understand the needs of their audience. For Paypal, the value is understanding the cost of product development and launch. With web analytics, they are also able to track customers and determine the path for communications help.
IBM Connects with Partners with Virtual Event
For IBM, they built a robust virtual event to learn from partners and provide them the information they need from IBM. 5,000 partners attended the virtual event live with 2,500 accessing the archive. IBM’s goal was not to replace its physical event with virtual. Rather, they can be selective with face-to-face events, using virtual to supplement the face-to-face.
In terms of value, they reviewed the analytics to measure against their objectives, such as engagement, did the conversations continue beyond the event, or was the conversation at a deeper level.
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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