“There’s a sucker born every minute,” is a famous phrase attributed to P.T. Barnum.
Yet in today’s information driven society, we don’t stay suckers for very long.
Today, empowered attendees, connected to the information economy, affect your conferences and events.
Four Technologies That Empower Your Conference Attendees
In the book Empowered, Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler identify four technologies that are creating a new groundswell of empowered customers.
1. Smart Mobile Devices
These devices extend connected experiences everywhere, regardless of location, pushing the power of connections and better information. Three out of four consumers in America and four out of five in Western Europe have a mobile phone. Think about these devices as mobile information conduits.
2. Pervasive Video
These inexpensive videos are created by conference stakeholders and your organization. Cisco estimates that by 2013 video will represent 91% of all data flowing over the Internet which is very different than today’s text and graphics medium.
3. Cloud Computing Services
These cloud Internet services are accessible anywhere with a login from a web-connected device. The servers, software and storage are in the cloud. Cloud computing enables improved system integration, data exchange and user experience. This is a great tool for attendee collaboration and online customer service.
4. Social Technology
Social networks have exploded and your event participants can influence their peers, tap their community for information and spread communication–both positive and negative.
These four technologies strengthen the power and influence of individuals. They give power to your event attendees and create new opportunities for you to serve and connect with them.
Four Step Plan To Empower Your Event Attendees
Bernoff and Schadler identify a four-step plan, IDEA, to empower customers like your conference or event participants.
1. Identify the mass influencers.
Focus on attendees that are most likely to spread messages about your event. The average Mass Connector, as Malcolm Gladwell identified in The Tipping Point, has a total of 537 followers and generates 18,600 impressions a year. And consider this: for every ten U.S. social network impressions, six are in Facebook, two in MySpace, one in Twitter and one from some other site.
2. Deliver groundswell customer service.
Reach out through social media channels and serve your customers. That means a new type of online onsite customer service to deal with real-time feedback too.
3. Empower your attendees with information.
Make your information mobile accessible and easy to find. Share exclusive information with influencers and bloggers too. Distribute “I’m attending” event badges, banners and logos for users to display in social networks and blogs.
4. Amplify your event fans.
Find those past and potential attendees that love you. Give them access to information, content and experiences so they will increase the impact they have on their peers. Provide registration discounts to individuals that they can share with their friends and followers.
Your conference and event strategy must begin to identify how to effectively use WOM and empowered individuals. An integrated marketing plan of traditional and new media tactics will yield better results.
How have you used individuals as a channel to market your conference or event? What has worked with your events to indentify mass influencers and amplify your event fans?