(This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of PCMA Convene Magazine.)
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Conference Business Manager Laura Rednour wanted members to network with subject-matter experts and each other before and after AACN's 2013 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI), held May 18-21 in Boston. AACN members, Rednour had learned through experience, are not especially active on social networks — the association had used Facebook and Twitter in the past to engage attendees before the conference with limited participation. So AACN launched a proprietary solution.
The community platform, created by digital event experience provider Pathable, debuted a month before registration and was marketed to registrants as a tool to pre-plan their NTI experience. With 300-plus education sessions to choose from, NTI is a scheduling challenge. Using the tool, attendees could view sessions by track, level, facilitator, or a number of other options, such as age population of patients or type of health-care facility. And they could read comprehensive session descriptions and learning outcomes, as well as in-depth information about the facilitators.
More than 4,600 registrants — 64 percent — opted into the platform to plan their schedule. And because the platform allows registrants to see who else is attending and set up meetings with each other to add to their agenda, NTI participants soon were making connections. They also started joining group discussions — another platform feature — that were pre-populated by AACN and monitored by committee members and chapter volunteers, who initiated conversations about specific sessions.
(This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of PCMA Convene Magazine.)
Big data is the big buzzword. But what can it do for you? Help you figure out where your attendees are coming from and what they're interested in — and better negotiate and track your expenditures.
The information you can glean from tracking a single attendee at one of your meetings or conventions covers a lot of ground: details about her company and career, the vendors she visited, the products she most buzzed over, what she thought were your best breakout sessions, her online conversations with peers, meetings she had on site, and any questions she asked of presenters. Now multiply that data by the thousands or tens of thousands for a large event. And that's only counting the information you might collect at the meeting itself, to say nothing of pre- and post-event feedback.
Throughout every one of your conferences, vast amounts of information are flowing on everything from attendance patterns to purchasing preferences to venue costs. But the ability to capture this type of “big data” and convert it into a usable form is a challenge that meeting professionals are just starting to tackle. Apps, software platforms, and other new technologies are making it easier than ever to collect information and turn it into actionable data. But some experts say the meetings industry has been slow to adopt these solutions.
(This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of PCMA Convene Magazine.)
Banks exist, according to Alexandra Wagner, CMM, director of purpose integration and former director of event marketing for Sun-Trust Banks, “to build and grow businesses and communities.” So it only made sense that the Atlanta-based bank wanted to focus on building its own community when planning its 2012 employee-recognition event. Many of the people being recognized didn’t know each other — or the senior executives who would be attending. But Wagner didn’t want them to wait until they got on site to get to know each other.
So she and her team decided to employ Pathable’s community-engagement platform before the event and its “device-agnostic app” for participants to use once they were there.
For decades, content was the most important factor in a successful event; but in today’s landscape of mobile computing and social media, attendee engagement and interaction is increasingly what defines the success of an event.
So organizers are offering pre- and post-event online networking tools to their attendees, giving them the opportunity to identify who is coming, and to build relationships and share information with their fellow attendees. Pathable, the industry's most popular desktop and mobile event experience platform, makes events successful, memorable, and valuable by providing the tools and platform for these relationships in an easy-to-use format, encouraging repeat attendance.
In this triple case study, we look at three diverse conferences, Cannexus, No More Homeless Pets and AZMJ's Cracking the Nutand how they have used online communities to build peer relationships, communication and networking opportunities for their attendee community.
Every year, Rakuten LinkShare holds affiliate marketing events in cities across the world. Retailers and publishers come to network, holding as many as 2,000 one-on-one meetings at each event.
Coordinating the meetings had become a cumbersome process for Rakuten account managers, who were booking each meeting manually using Microsoft Outlook.
So how did Rakuten manage to cut the time they spent scheduling meetings for their attendees in half? Read this fascinating case study for the answer!
The Theater Communications Group is the national service organization for American not-forprofit theatre. TCG’s mission is to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. Founded in 1961 to foster communication among professional, community and university theatres, TCG's constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and nearly 12,000 individuals nationwide.
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. The National PolicyLink Summit (hosted every three years) brings together advocates from all over the United States who support equity agendas. Attendees include community leaders, policy makers, elected officials, philanthropy representatives , and those interested in opportunities for low income communities and communities of color.
SymphonyIRI helps clients transform insight into impact at every level of their organization across sales, marketing, merchandising, category and brand management. The Group Summit was made up of over 1,100 senior-level attendees from more than 200 blue-chip manufacturer, retailer, sales, merchandising and technology companies. The SIG Summit is a world-class conference for passionate senior leaders in the CPG, retail and healthcare marketplace.
The CHUG (Centricity Healthcare User Group) mission is to promote the optimum use of Centricity EMR and Centricity PM by enhancing communication among users and quality interactions between Centricity users. CHUG events bring employees together with Centricity Business and Centricity Healthcare user groups together to exchange ideas, best practices, train, and network.
SOCAP (Social Capital Markets) is a multi-platform organization dedicated to the flow of capital towards social good. Their event series connects innovators worldwide – investors, foundations, institutions and social entrepreneurs – to build a market at the intersection of money and meaning. SOCAP has received global recognition as a leader in the social capital space.
Meeting Professionals International (MPI), with over 23,000 members worldwide, is one of the largest organizations of meeting planners and suppliers in the world. World Education Congress (WEC) is their annual summer event, attracting thousands of attendees and offering 70-150 rich educational sessions. WEC also includes a tradeshow component involving hundreds of exhibiting companies.
New Media Consortium (NMC), is an international not-for-profit consortium of learning focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. NMC’s Summer Conference is their flagship event, spanning four days and dozens of educational sessions. Hundreds of representatives from member organizations convene to explore and promote innovative applications of technology to teaching, learning and creative expression.
Best Friends Animal Society works with shelters, rescue groups and its members nationwide to work toward a time when there will be no more homeless pets. The No More Homeless Pets Conference brought together over 1,000 shelter staff, veterinarians, Best Friends staff, rescuers and volunteers from across the U.S. and Canada to exchange ideas, share best practices, and network.