Mike Seaman, MD of Raccoon Events, on an event app that succeeded in challenging his negative perceptions.
Ok so this is a bit of a provocative title, but in my experience, event apps (and the way we use them) are terrible. We are told to be satisfied with 50 per cent downloads and minimal interaction after paying lots of money for these things and it’s simply not good enough! Why spend £5k+ on a product that half of my audience can’t even be bothered to download, let alone use!
I’d sort of written apps off as a fad and a bit of a waste of money. Then one of my fintech clients taught me a bit of a lesson. When he told me he was going to invent his own cryptocurrency and have a wallet in his app that linked to a retail outlet at the event, I told him he was mental! I cited my years of experience in the events industry and told him it would fail and event apps are indeed rubbish. Like all good entrepreneurs he ignored my ‘conventional wisdom’ and went off and designed the app anyway. What he created is something that transformed his event and had a 100 per cent download rate! EVERY single delegate engaged with the app – thank god he didn’t listen to me!
So how did he do it and what can we learn? Firstly he created a currency that had value. It was a cryptocurrency (programmed in Ethereum and called xceedium). Every delegate was given an allocation of xceedium as part of their ticket. By having a shop onsite, xceedium had a value – my 800 coins could buy me a hat and a t-shirt, but if I gathered another 1,000 then I could “buy” a phone or a bag or some other pretty cool prizes.
Suddenly everyone was interested! What was this crazy currency and how can I get more?! This was where things got clever. You could “mine” xceedium by performing key activities that he wanted to encourage at the event, such as:
- Requesting meetings
- Posting questions to be answered by speakers
- Scanning QR codes on sponsor stands, delegate badges and other key areas
- Donating or persuading colleagues to donate P2P
It set the conference alight and was a real talking point. It also incentivised the behaviour we wanted to encourage. The app was clever but it was the way it was used that transformed the experience and delivered the engagement.
OK the cryptocurrency is clever but actually what he delivered was a dynamic delegate gift and a digital treasure trail (remember those?!) In my opinion this improved the delegate experience immeasurably and is a game changing piece of tech.
I guess that sometimes it takes someone from outside the industry to look at a problem slightly differently and create something meaningful. Event apps aren’t rubbish – we just need to raise our game and use them to create a meaningful and interactive experience.
Some key stats about the event (which was a conference for 200 people):
- Average interactions with app per delegate: 21
- Total engagement: 100%
- No. of questions posted through the app: 326
- 1on1 Meeting requests sent: 351
- 1on1 Meetings arranged: 179
- Delegate-Delegate scans: 1642
- Delegate-Sponsor scans: 1142